San Diego Bay

Visit San Diego Bay for its wide range of exciting activities! Go on a whale watching tour & enjoy the sunset. Go sailing, jet skiing, fishing, paddle boarding or visit the local cafés & unique shopping boutiques. Stroll the boardwalk, pier and museums including the USS Midway. Your adventure awaits!
San Diego Bay
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Things to Do
Popular Activities
Where to Stay
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Featured Hotel
Know Before You Go
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San Diego Bay
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Whale Watching & Sailing in San Diego Bay

Sunset of the Coronado Bridge Over San Diego BayKids Love Sailing in San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay is a large, natural harbor that the city is built around. It is one of the focal points of tourism in the area thanks to the beautiful waters, incredible sunsets and many water-based activities.

In addition to San Diego proper, Coronado, National City, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach are also adjacent to the bay. Each of these communities’ benefits from the recreation, tourism and sightseeing associated with the bay.

Coronado is located in the middle of the bay on an isthmus of the same name. Some other notable neighborhoods along the water include Point Loma, Liberty Station and downtown San Diego. Each of these has hotels and other accommodations close to the bay. It is easy to find the perfect launching point for enjoying everything San Diego Bay has to offer.

Unsurprisingly, some of the most popular things to do in the bay are boating and other water-based activities. However, there are also museums such as the USS Midway, parks, beaches and more. In San Diego Harbor, the cruise ship terminal is a major embarkation point for trips in the pacific.

San Diego Bay
Why you'll love San Diego Bay
Enjoy numerous water activities in San Diego Bay! Go whale watching, sailing, jet skiing, paddle boarding, birdwatching, fishing, and visit the USS Midway.

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SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Check out SeaWorld San Diego for exciting rides, marine animal interactions and shows! Admission is included as part of the All-Inclusive Go Pass. Save even more when you bundle with other top attractions like the Birch Aquarium at Scripps!
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Local Tips
Where can you purchase a Go San Diego pass?

It's best to purchase your Go San Diego pass in advance to maximize your savings!

Combine Go Visit San Diego's exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego pass' already great deals and save big! No code needed - simply follow our link above to purchase your pass and begin savin

Things to Do

Beach Fire Pits
Beach Fire Pits
Biking
Biking
Boat Launch
Boat Launch
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Cabrillo Nat. Monument
Convention Center
Convention Center
Fishing
Fishing
Jetskiing
Jetskiing
Museums
Museums
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Petco Park
Petco Park
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Sailing
Sailing
USS Midway
USS Midway

Water Activities and Boating in San Diego Bay

The San Diego Bay is a lively area. The natural bay is why the city was founded in the area. Throughout the history of San Diego, the bay has played a huge role in commerce and daily life. To this day, it is a center of activity for the city. If you are visiting the area, the bay is a must-see part of the experience. These are some of the activities you can enjoy on the water.

Harbor Tours

A short cruise around the harbor may be one of the best ways to see San Diego from a new perspective. There are plenty of great tours available. Some of them are some options focused on sightseeing while others are just about having a relaxing trip out on the water. Depending on the time of day, some tour operators will have dining and drink options available also.

Paddle Boarding and Surfing

For a human-powered experience, consider paddle boarding. There are a number of places around the bay that offer rentals. Consider opting for one of the more sheltered areas such as the landward side of Coronado or Shelter Island.

Local Tips
Did you know?
The San Diego Bay is considered one of the best natural harbors on the west coast of the United States and in North America.

There is some great surfing just outside the bay on the ocean side. There are two surf spots that are boat access only via San Diego; Ralph's Surf Break is located just inside the eastern tip of Point Loma and Donut's Surf Break which is located on the oceanside of Cabrillo National Monument.

Of course, there are also some amazing beaches just up the coast in Point Loma and Ocean Beach.

Whale Watching

San Diego is home to some of the best whale watching in the country. Gray Whales migrate in the late winter and spring not far from the coast. Additionally, you can sometimes see incredible Blue Whales and Humpback Whales in the area.

If you are in the right season, you can be certain of getting at least a few great sightings. During the migration, you may also see mother whales with their babies, a unique sight that is hard to find elsewhere.

Boating Rentals

Consider heading out on the bay yourself. San Diego is a coastal community with plenty of rental businesses for boats, personal watercraft and more. This can be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy all the area’s sights.

Beach Visits

There are some breathtaking beaches in the bay. For example, the Silver Strand State Beach and Glorietta Bay Park & Beach are beautiful places that are as popular with locals as with tourists. Head to one of these spots for a relaxing day of swimming and sunning in the unforgettable San Diego weather. In the evening, find a spot on the beach to enjoy the city’s famous sunsets.

Popular Activities

San Diego Air and Space Museum
San Diego Air and Space Museum
Discounts Available
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San Diego Harbor Cruise
San Diego Harbor Cruise
$28 per person
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GoCar: Downtown & Gaslamp Loop
GoCar: Downtown & Gaslamp Loop
$34 per person
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PETCO Park Tour
PETCO Park Tour
$22 per person
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Where to Stay Near San Diego Bay

While visitors can’t stay in the bay itself, there are plenty of waterfront hotels that are well-situated for anyone who wants to experience San Diego Bay. For example, Coronado is home to some amazing independent and boutique hotels. The most famous in Coronado is the historic Hotel del Coronado.

Liberty Station has several hotels from familiar brands. It is a planned development with shops, restaurants, watering holes and more. It is conveniently located for anyone who wants to enjoy both the waterfront and the many other attractions of the city.

Shelter Island and Harbor Island are also home to several hotels including the famous Kona Kai Resort & Spa and Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Despite their names, these two places are actually peninsulas and not islands that were built upon sand bars. They provide a relaxing staying experience right down on the waterfront.

Downtown San Diego also has many options for accommodations. Visitors to the city will find no shortage of amazing hotels with waterfront locations around San Diego.

Featured Activity

Front of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Located in downtown San Diego, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum provides history of aircraft built in California. The museum includes over 60 exhibits with restored aircraft and tours of the carrier.
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Events and Festivities Around San Diego Bay

There are frequent events happening along the shores of San Diego Harbor. These include food and wine festivals, music concerts and many more. Some of the most notable special events on the bat include the following:

Big Bay Boom

This Independence Day festival is a large, fireworks display over the bay. Several barges and the Imperial Beach Pier serve as launching points. It is viewed by about 500,000 people each year and is one of the largest in the country. This is a must-see attraction if you are in the city on the 4th of July.

Parade of Lights

This parade happens on two weekends every year during the holiday season. Several dozen small boats show off holiday decorations and proceed from Shelter Island around the bay to the Coronado ferry landing.

Featured Hotel
Kona Kai Resort & Spa, A Noble House Resort
Beach function, Kona Kai Resort & Spa, A Noble House Resort
Bayfront
Bayfront
Breweries
Breweries
Families
Families
3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
When you book a room at Kona Kai Resort & Spa, you may forget you are in San Diego and not on a South Pacific Island. It’s perfect for a truly relaxing vacation.
Prices Starting at $189
Check Availability

Know Before You Go & Tips

Amazing Sunsets
Amazing Sunsets
Ballpark
Ballpark
Boardwalk
Boardwalk
Cafes
Cafes
Cruise Ship Terminal
Cruise Ship Terminal
Museums
Museums
Parks
Parks
Pier
Pier
Shopping
Shopping
Trolley Stop
Trolley Stop

Other Things to Do Around San Diego Bay

Museums

San Diego has a great deal of history and some of the most interesting events have centered on the bay. One of the most notable is the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that has been converted to a museum ship. It offers a unique experience of seeing the inner workings of a naval capital ship.

Another popular museum ship is the Star of India. This iron-hulled merchant barque is the world’s oldest active dialing vessel (there are a few older ships that are rarely or never sailed). The bay is home to another eight museum ships. The San Diego Maritime Museum is another popular attraction for people who love the maritime history of the city.

You can save big on visiting museums and other popular San Diego attractions including the USS Midway and the San Diego Zoo with the Go San Diego Card. This card will give you discount admission to many museums and most popular attractions for a fraction of the regular cost. You can even get an additional discount by purchasing the San Diego Go Card through our website.

Harbor Parks, Piers and Promenades

Visitors to the city can enjoy the beautiful views and calming nature of the San Diego Bay from dry land. There are many waterside places that are wonderful to visit. For example, the Liberty Station park sits just next to the bay. Coronado Landing Park on Coronado Island and Embarcadero Marina Park in the Embarcadero are also top choices.

These areas offer a great way to relax and look out over the water while staying safely on the land. With the beautiful weather of San Diego, they are perfect for relaxing in the sun almost year-round.

San Diego Bay
is Famous For:
Boardwalk
Boardwalk
Cruise Ship Terminal
Cruise Ship Terminal
Sailing
Sailing
Whale Watching
Whale Watching
Known For:
Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Fishing
Fishing
Jet Skiing
Jet Skiing
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Parks
Parks
USS Midway
USS Midway
This Month's Forecast
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September
Oct
63℉ / 78℉
Sunny in October
Nov
56℉ / 73℉
Sunny in November
Dec
51℉ / 68℉
Sunny in December

Stay Nearby

InterContinental San Diego
Bayfront
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
InterContinental San Diego
from $188 / night
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Wyndham San Diego Bayside
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Wyndham San Diego Bayside
from $135 / night
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Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Convention Center
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
from $159 / night
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Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
from $109 / night
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