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San Diego offers a number of attractions that are not located within the traditional tourist hot spots but are within a very short drive or trolley ride from the major vacation hotels in downtown San Diego, Hotel Circle, Old Town, and Mission Bay.
One nearby attraction that is often missed by travelers is Cabrillo National Monument, where the Spanish Conquistadors first discovered San Diego Bay in 1542. (San Francisco Bay was not discovered for another 227 years!) This is one of the more picturesque National Monuments in the United States as visitors get to enjoy 360 degree views looking out over the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, Coronado, and downtown San Diego. Inside the National Park Visitor Center, guests can view displays and watch films about the early explorers of California’s coastline.
Visitors will find more history at Mission de Alcala, which is where California’s first Spanish Mission was moved to in search of fertile ground for the growing community of Spanish pioneers and native Indians.
The Marine Corps Command Museum is another excellent attraction that often goes unnoticed because it is located on a military base. Just show the guard a valid driver’s license and proof of car insurance and you will soon find yourself spending a few hours browsing through the exhibits detailing life as a Marine Corp Recruit and the history of the wars in which the Marines have played a major role.
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