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Sail San Diego Bay

San Diego is the ultimate playground for boating of every kind. A mild climate and steady winds mean that everything from sabots to super yachts, cruise ships to catamarans are aplenty for recreation and racing. San Diego is the place to get out on the water, even if you are a land lover. Adding sailing and boating to your vacation itinerary is a must and with a host of charter, rental and instructional services, plus dinner cruises, sports fishing, scuba diving excursions, seasonal whale watching and other ocean-going outings, you certainly will not find short of activities. 


With such a huge variety of activities and sights to take in, San Diego is a city to be visited with time in mind. This is not a two or three day stopover destination. A little proactive planning for whale watching or deep sea fishing and sailing can yield amazing memories. For those who are interested in history, San Diego does not disappoint. With one of the richest historical cultures in the United State, residence of the Bay are not shy in sharing the information to anyone who will listen. San Diego is the ultimate destination for those wanting to learn how to sail, experienced sailors and lazing cruise boaters alike. 



San Diego’s three harbors are Oceanside, Mission Bay and The Big Bay which includes Point Loma Peninsula, Coronado, the Downtown Waterfront and Chula Vista. All of these harbours offer marina facilities, boat rentals, private charters, boat tours, scheduled excursions and boating classes. La Jolla Shores is a favourite stopover for yacht cruisers. As one of San Diego’s best beaches, La Jolla is referred to as the “jewel of San Diego.” Be sure to make use of the many guided tours for both out of water and in water activities to take full advantage of this gem. If you would prefer to stay away from motor boats or guided activities, small boats and kayaks can also be rented along the coast and at some of San Diego’s inland lakes. Boat owners will find ample locations to launch, moor or repair their vessels, whether they’re taking a spin around the bay. There is a reason that San Diego is a much loved stopover spot for those embarking on an around the world tour.  


Tour Boats and Ferries

Probably one of the best ways to see San Diego’s Big Bay is on a narrated boat tour. San Diego has a number of tour operators including Hornblower and Flagship, two of the largest which we covered in one of our previous articles. A tour boat means that you get to see the beautiful San Diego skyline and local landmarks, plus get up close and personal with marine animals, including whales, seals, sea lions and dolphins, and all you need to do is kick back, relax and take in the information given to you while you cruise the waters. Most operators also offer dinner, brunch, champagne cruises, sunrise and sunset cruises and some speciality holiday cruises. Downtown is easily accessible with one of the Water Taxis which move up and down the coast frequently. From downtown, you can also hop aboard the Coronado Ferry at Broadway Pier for a scenic ride across the bay to Coronado Ferry Landing. The quaint island offers sightseeing tours of the area. Whether strolling on the beach or riding a rental bike around the island, visitors can partake of the charm of this community, home to the Coronado Museum of History and Art, the shops and art galleries at Ferry Landing, and views of San Diego across the bay. Tours all include a stop at the Hotel del Coronado, which is said to be the inspiration for the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. A must for any sightseer.


The Open Ocean

For those wanting to see a little more or who are more adventurous boaters, the open ocean awaits. Long range sportfishermen often head 100 miles or more offshore in the more predictable season of Summer and Autumn (Fall). The Catalina Island is a firm favorite destination for coastal sailing enthusiasts with steady predictable winds creating sailing heaven. Most local cruise ships offer short routes between San Diego to Mexico, with some extending the cruise distance beyond Mexico. As stated Summer and Autumn (Fall) are the most predictable seasons to go to sea in San Diego, but if you’re manning your own vessel it is always a good idea to check the weather or better yet, consult the San Diego Lifeguard Service for the most current news and predictions.


San Diego’s Rich History

San Diego’s love affair with the sea and for boating has a long history, extending back to early Pacific explorers like Juan Cabrillo who stepped into history as the first European to set foot in California in San Diego bay in 1542. Located at the tip of Point Loma, the Cabrillo National Monument honors Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. The National Monument offers plenty of activities for visitors who enjoy the great outdoors. Activities range from watching for Pacific Gray whales that swim by during the winter months to a guided hike along the two-mile Bayside Trail with its stunning views of the city and bay. An excellent natural harbor and important stop on the California Mission circuit, San Diego’s marine traffic grew rapidly during the colonial period and into the early 20th Century. The USS Midway Museum, located on the Embarcadero’s Navy Pier, pays homage to this and visitors get a chance to explore, from stem to stern, one of the longest-serving aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy. The guided tour gives in depth detail on the nearly quarter-million sailors who have served on the Midway between 1945 to 1992, when it was retired. If you prefer


Sail San Diego Bay in style on the America’s cup sailing charter

The Stars and Stripes-USA11 is a famous San Diego Boat Tour; conveniently located 2 miles from downtown San Diego, just across from the airport on shelter island drive. The small privately held company in San Diego, California which specializes in public and private personalized yacht charter for small groups was started back in 2011. “This is not something you can do just anywhere,” says Lynn Hanna, captain of the vessel, which is called Stars and Stripes.