Road trips from Southern California: San Diego
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( Christopher Reynolds )
San Diego area
Distance: 123 miles one-way
A moment of reverence, please, for Juan Cabrillo, the European explorer who landed at Point Loma in September 1542 and claimed the coast for Spain. By many measures, he was a failure: He didn't find gold, didn't find an easy route to Asia, didn't find a passage to the Atlantic and didn't complete his mission. He died three months later.
But the six days he spent here made him California's first documented tourist, godfather to us all. Though nobody knows what he looked like, a sculptor's imaginary Cabrillo stands atop the hill, gazing heroically out toward all the top-secret Navy submarine stuff at the foot of the point.
-- Christopher Reynolds
Read more: Driving California's coast in 10 days