I know what you’re thinking, “Geez Ashley do you ever do anything in the cities you visit besides wine tasting?” and the answer is a huge NO! Just kidding, we do mange to do other sight seeing when we’re traveling, but when we hear that there’s a great wine region near a city that we’re visiting, we obviously want to try and go there if we can.
The number one wine region in the United States that everybody knows about, even if you don’t drink wine, is Napa Valley which is located about an hour and a half north of San Francisco, but there are multiple wine regions located all over the country and even in California that have just as stellar of wine as Napa Valley.
If you know about California wine, one of the other more prominent wine regions in the state is Temecula which is about an hour outside of San Diego, but there are a lot of fabulous wineries in all of the surrounding areas. Our friends had been wine tasting to several of those wineries, so after we spent the morning exploring Cabrillo National Monument, we headed to one of their favorite wineries Cordiano Winery.
Just a short 30 minute drive from San Diego, Cordiano Winery is located in San Pasqual Valley in Escondido. The drive to the winery has quite a few twists and turns, so you definitely want to make sure that you designate a driver before heading to the winery. If you’re prone to car sickness, let me tell you that the drive is totally worth it for the amazing views that you’ll get during your tasting!
Cordiano Winery is a beautiful winery with stunning 360 degree views of the whole valley and a huge patio to help you enjoy the views. We sat down at a table right near the edge of the patio and enjoyed our views of the valley while we did our tasting and ate some delicious pizza and garlic bread too!
While you can buy wine by the glass or the bottle, we opted for the 7 tastings for $12/person. We tried a variety of wines and even their house made sangria, which was fantastic! We spent a few hours just enjoying ourselves, the views, and of course some amazing wine!
If you haven’t been wine tasting in the area surrounding San Diego, I can’t recommend it enough! The wine is fantastic, the views are spectacular and very different than Napa Valley, and you can’t beat the company if you’re with great friends.
I still look back at our time in San Diego and marvel at what all we managed to do in one day- a beach morning at Pacific Beach, kayaking in La Jolla, and then getting to take in all the sea lions at La Jolla Cove. I really wondered if we’d be able to outdo all of that for our second full day in San Diego, and if you can believe it, our friends managed to blow us out of the water with another day of fun in the sun which started off at Cabrillo National Monument!
Located on a western peninsula of San Diego, Cabrillo National Monument pays homage to the very first European to set foot on Western United States soil in 1545, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Besides the obvious history that is located on this little peninsula of San Diego, the main thing of interest to do at Cabrillo National Monument is to visit the tide pools, which just happens to be one of our friends favorite things to do when they visit Cabrillo National Monument.
For those of you who don’t know, tide pools are little pools of water that get captured in the rocks during low tide that provide a place for a wide variety of fish, plants, and invertebrates to live. The tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument are actually one of the easily accessible and best protected in Southern California which makes Cabrillo National Monument a must do for your trip to San Diego.
We had timed it just right during our trip, and were there for low tide and before it got too crowded which meant that we got to explore the tide pools. It was amazing to see sea urchins in the tide pools, and also multiple types of fish and cute little crabs scurrying around the pools. It’s crazy to think that these tide pools maybe weren’t even there hundreds of years ago since they’re formed over time!
It seemed no matter where I turned during our time at the tide pools that I found something else that I wanted to take a picture. From the sheer cliffs dropping off into the water that I love so much, to the big boulders randomly spread all over the coast, to the little crabs scurrying around, to the caves that are formed from all of those years of the waves crashing against the rock, this part of Cabrillo National Monument was nothing short of breathtaking!
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
Once we had got our fill of the tide pools, which it was more like once it started to get more crowded, we made our way back to the car and drove over to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. One of the very real dangers when living on the coast even a hundred years ago was that ships wouldn’t know where land was and potentially could run aground without the help of lighthouses. The light keepers at Old Point Loma were responsible for making sure that the light was on and working appropriately to let those ships know that they were coming upon San Diego Bay.
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse was only functional for about 40 years before the lightkeeper was moved to a different lighthouse closer to the water. Although it wasn’t in service for that long, the lighthouse is still located at Cabrillo National Monument and is pretty cool to go and look through. It gives you the opportunity to see how the lightkeeper and his family would have lived and to see what a fully functional lighthouse looks like. Although I ended up reading The Light Between Oceans after our trip to San Diego, this is what I imagine life must have been like for Tom and Isabel, except maybe a little more isolated for them!
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
And of course, there wouldn’t be a Cabrillo National Monument with Cabrillo himself! Like I stated earlier, Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on the Western coast of the United States, and he actually led his crew north from Mexico and landed in what is now known as the San Diego Bay 3 months after they set sail. The crew sailed as far North as Point Reyes (just north of San Francisco), but due to weather they had to sail back south. Funny enough, they completely missed the San Francisco Bay itself! Maybe Karl was in full force that day!
Although Cabrillo died before he was able to make it back to Mexico with his crew (he died from injuries from a fall during a skirmish with natives) and his journey was considered a failure from his contemporaries, his journey gives us the first written account of the coast of the Western United States and helped his future successors to further colonize this part of the United States for the Spanish Empire.
You can check out his statue and more history today at Cabrillo National Monument!
Tips For Visiting Cabrillo National Monument
So in case you couldn’t tell, we loved our time at Cabrillo National Monument! Not only was it absolutely gorgeous, but we also got to learn a little bit more about the history of California. If you’re interested in going here are a few little tips and tricks before you go!
Entrance Fee- Cabrillo National Monument charges by the car load to get into the park instead of by person. All four of us were able to get in for $10, but you can also order a park permit for $20 which will get you in for the rest of the year.
Arrive early- We got there around 9:30 in the morning and almost had this area to ourselves. But it was starting to get a lot busier once we were getting ready to head out around lunchtime.
Check the tide before you go- For me, one of the coolest things about Cabrillo National Monument was getting to see all of the tidepools and the animals that live in them. If you want to see the tidepools, double check when low tide occurs the day before your trip. If you visit during high tide you won’t be able to check them out!
Wear close-toed shoes- If you plan on seeing the tide pools, make sure to wear close-toed shoes. It’s slick walking down into the tide pools and kind of steep, so the last thing you should be wearing are flip flops which don’t have good traction or support!
Enjoy your time- The views and the landscape at Cabrillo National Monument are absolutely stunning, so enjoy your time there! It’s a definite must do during your time in San Diego!
I feel like our last trip to San Diego was pretty much a bucket list check off of things that we didn’t have the chance to do last time we were there. We started off our trip with a beautiful morning in Pacific Beach and then spent the afternoon kayaking in La Jolla, and the one thing that I knew that we had to do before we left La Jolla was to visit the famous La Jolla Cove where all of the sea lions and seals hang out!
We realized that we really weren’t that far away, about a mile and a half to be exact, from La Jolla Cove so we decided that instead of driving over or even grabbing an Uber that we could just walk. What we didn’t realize was that we had to walk on the side of a very busy road in order to get there. Luckily we made it to La Jolla cove without any incidents, some extra steps, and we enjoyed some amazing views of La Jolla along the way. It’s no secret that one of my favorite things about California is the sharp contrast of the rocky coast against the ocean and I got my fair share of those views during our walk.
Before we knew it, we had reached La Jolla Cove, and the first thing that we noticed was the smell! Our friends had warned us that La Jolla Cove stunk because of all the animals, but I didn’t realize how much it would stink. There were probably 50 or 60 sea lions and seals in the area, so it makes sense that it would be a little bit smelly, because they have to go to the bathroom somewhere, right?
Even though it was smelly, that wasn’t going to stop us from getting up close and personal with those cuties! There’s some stairs that lead down from the street level to the actual cove area so you can get up close and personal with the animals.
It was seriously so crazy to so many sea lions and seals just lounging all over the place and soaking up the sun! There were several that were playing in and around the water, and one big guy that kept on raising up his fin in the area like he was saying “Hey how’s it going?”.
All of the seals and sea lions must be very used to all the people around all the time because we were able to get super close to them for some pretty epic pictures. There are lots of warnings all over the cove area, but I think that it’s worth mentioning that the seals and sea lions are wild animals, even though they seem tame, so you never want to touch the animals. They could attack you, or you could injure the animal. There are also lifeguards in the area to make sure that you follow the rules, and they will come over a loud speaker and tell you to be careful around the animals.
I think that I could have stayed out in La Jolla Cove looking at the seals and sea lions all afternoon because they were so cute! I think that they kind of reminded me of Dart the way that they just lounged around the sun and were just being lazy! And there was also this one guy that kept throwing his head over the guy he was lounging next to which is exactly what Dart does when he wants to cuddle at night! I seriously feel like I see Dart in all the places that we visit, but especially that afternoon!
In short, our trip to La Jolla Cove was perfect, well maybe besides the smell. We got to really enjoy those beautiful animals along with the beautiful scenery! It’s definitely worth a stop during your time in La Jolla and San Diego! I’m linking up with Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for some Wanderful Wednesday!
Have you ever visited La Jolla Cove? Have you ever gotten up close and personal with some marine life?