San Diego is said to be the birthplace of California. We drove west of downtown San Diego to Point Loma and Harbor Island. A peninsula jutting into the sea, it’s easy to think of Point Loma as a dead end – “land’s end” in fact. But, as the site where San Diego was discovered in the first place, it seems more appropriate to consider Point Loma as a starting point of my exploration.

Old Point Loma lighthouse is located on the Point Loma peninsula at the mouth of San Diego Bay. It is situated in the Cabrillo National Monument, and was built in 1855 by the United States government after California’s admission as a state.

Point Loma Lighthouse, one of the first eight lighthouses on the Pacific Coast.

Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This event marked the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States.

View of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo’s monument, Coronado Island and San Diego harbor’s and skyline.

After Point Loma, we went to Seaport Village. It is in downtown San Diego on West Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. A 5.6 hectares waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment complex recreating a harbor side setting of a century ago. And if you walk along boardwalk to the direction of Midway Museum, you will find one of the famous World War II icon for victory, the “Unconditional Surrender” (sculpture) or “Kissing the War Goodbye” by Lt. Victor Jorgensen – US archives.

Sunset reflection on the downtown skyline as seen from Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.

Another of the many firsts in San Diego is the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá. It was the first Franciscan mission in the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The mission and the surrounding area were named for the Catholic Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego. The mission still actively serves to this day.

The church facade of Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

While in the Mission, we visited Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. It contains 93 hectares. It is the oldest settled area in San Diego and is the site of the first European settlement in present-day California.

Next stop is a landscape of arts and culture, the Balboa Park. Encompassing 490 hectares, the Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in North America, exceeding even Central Park in New York in size. Filled with cultural treasures, architectural grandeur, lush landscapes, stunning gardens and award-winning performing arts, it will take more than one day to see and enjoy it all. But here are some of the photos I took while walking on this grand park.

Now, let’s take a look at the jewel of Southern California that sparkles in vacation sunshine year-round, La Jolla! The community’s border starts at Pacific Beach to the south and extends along the Pacific Ocean shoreline north to include Torrey Pines State Reserve ending at Del Mar, California. Shimmering ocean views to timeless landmarks. Beach culture to high culture. I enjoyed the beauty of the place, my favorite area in SD.

Another must-see is the Maritime Museum of San Diego, established in 1948. It has one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship Star of India.

Across San Diego Bay is an affluent resort city, the Coronado Island. Coronado is Spanish for “the crowned one”, and thus it is nicknamed The Crown City. The modern history of Coronado began in 1886 with the formation of the Coronado Beach Company, which for many years was the driving force behind the development of the peninsula as a town and resort destination. Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888, has been a beacon of grandeur and refinement among vacation destinations in Southern California.

Panoramic view of the Coronado Bridge.

Last but not the least, was the hike to Garnet Peak where it crosses the Pacific Crest Trail. Located at the Northern end of the Laguna Mountains, Garnet Peak marks the boundary between the alpine mountains and the Borrego Desert below. Upon reaching the summit of Garnet Peak an incredible view in all directions beholds you.

Panoramic view of the desert in the east seen from the summit.

Panoramic view of the pine-clad in the west from the summit.

Enjoy some photos I took around San Diego! 😉