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Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument and the subsequent protected land all around provides an interesting microcosm for California wildlife. Regardless of the season you decide to visit, a large amount of coastal and landlocked creatures will be there to greet you.

The monument itself commemorates Juan Cabrillo, the explorer from Spain who claimed what is now California for Spain fifty years after Columbus hit the mainland. A heroic statue looks toward the sea, presenting Castillo as a defiant, proud revolutionary. The visitor center furthers the Cabrillo education, thoroughly outlining his life, legacy, and importance.

The coastline here is quite rocky, but some well-positioned trails can lead you close to California’s windy shore. There is plenty of wildlife in every season as well. When the tide is pushed back, the beaches boast tons of strange species and in the early winter, you can watch the gray whales charge slowly southward.