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(Photo by Bob Yarbrough)

The Monument boasts some of the most spectacular views of San Diego and its bay, particularly from the 422-foot (128-meter) crest where the Old Point Loma Lighthouse stands. The lighthouse, open daily for tourists, was operational for only 36 years after being completed in 1855 -- its high position too often put it above the fog, useless to guide ships into the harbor.

Point Loma is also a prime location for observing one of the Pacific Coast's great spectacles -- the annual migration of gray whales from the Arctic Ocean to Baja California. From late December to late February, the massive mammals make the 5,000-mile (8,050-kilometer) journey so the females can bear their calves in warmer waters.

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