San Diego does boats. Not only is it home to third largest harbor on the West Coast, it claims the largest man-made aquatic park in the U.S. With that acreage of bay and ocean on offer, there’s no shortage of opportunities to get out there. Commune with whales. Charter a romantic sunset cruise. Relive history. Eat dinner on the water. Cast your line and fish until night. Whatever your pleasure, there’s a saltwater adventure for you.
Photo By Chris Swezdo
America’s Cup Sailing San Diego
Stars and Stripes USA-11 is no pleasure craft. Unless, of course, you find pleasure—and probably some exhilaration, too—from winding winches and steering the yacht that took a stab at the 1992 America’s Cup. Groups up to 24 can take turns helming the ship (or just hanging out) on three-hour tours of San Diego Bay, her home since 2006, with free pictures of you looking like a total pro provided by the Stars and Stripes team.
Established in 1935, H&M Landing has led the way for exciting and adventurous offshore sportfishing, whale watching and nature cruises. With San Diego’s largest fleet of boats, H&M offers unique experiences including deep sea fishing for scheduled group trips and private charters too. And for the experienced fishing enthusiasts, they offer overnight tuna excursions from 2 to 21 days which includes accommodations and food.
San Diego Bay Tours
Step aboard inflatable boats used by Navy SEALs for three-hour recon missions of marine mammals in their natural habitat aboard Adventure RIB Rides. Seals and dolphins? You bet. And depending on the season, you can get up close and personal with Gray, Fin, Humpback whales, and the granddaddy of them all, Blue whales. Remember to look up from the water’s surface to see San Diego’s natural habitat with its skyline and hills under azure skies. Departs from the Sheraton Hotel and Marina.
Have your druthers and take in Mission Bay—Mississippi style. You’ll reckon that’s the vibe of the three-story Bahia Belle sternwheeler boat that unhurriedly motors between Bahia Resort Hotel and Catamaran Hotel and Spa. She’s Instagram-worthy, day or night. Jump on board for a family sunset cruise, nighttime parties, and even New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s just like being in the South, without the dialect.
San Diego Sailing Tours
Is sailing in style your thing? Well, lace up your topsiders for a jaunt on a classic yacht for an outing of your choosing with San Diego Sailing Tours. Book romantic sails for two or pack the boat with friends and family. Either way, you can opt for a day sail, sunset cruise, or whale watching around San Diego Bay on one of three well-appointed watercraft.
San Salvador Sailing Adventure
Ever wonder what it was like for Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo to sail in to San Diego Bay in 1542? Wonder no more. You could hardly get a more realistic experience than boarding the San Salvador, a replica of Cabrillo’s four-masted, 100-foot galleon. The four-hour sail includes admission to the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Hornblower Harbor Cruise
Dining cruises on San Diego Bay, whale watching tours, corporate events—Hornblower Cruises offers them all on San Diego Bay in their fleet of seven boats, holding from 100 to 1,200 guests. Whether you board a yacht built as a companion to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential yacht, or the largest charter yacht operating in Southern California, you’ll be making some memories to keep.
Bonus: Patriot Jet Boat
At 50 miles per hour, this isn’t your standard scenic tour. Sure, you’ll get to take in the skyline and the sights of the bay. But when this super-charged jet boat hits full throttle, you’ll also experience some G-force by way of 360-degree spins, hairpin turns, and other tricks aboard the Patriot Jet Boat.
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