San Diego Bay Cruises

#16 in Best Things To Do in San Diego
San Diego Bay Cruises picture1 of 2
San Diego Bay Cruises2 of 2
Flagship Cruises & Events

Key Info

N Harbor Dr

Price & Hours

Vary by tour company
Vary by tour company

Details

Beaches, Sightseeing, Tours Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.8

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

San Diego is known for its beaches and beach activities, and one of the best ways to experience the city is from the ocean. Along the city's Embarcadero, you'll find many cruise options, each offering a different experience. Finding the right experience and type of trip depends on your interests and time constraints. There are many one- to two-hour cruises available for people of all ages. Some are whale watching focused, as San Diego is one of the top places for whale watching in the country. Others, such as Flagship Cruises and Events' San Diego Harbor Tour, are sightseeing cruises which visitors enjoy thanks to the engaging tour guides who narrate as the boat passes notable San Diego landmarks. Families with young children may appreciate the city's SEAL tours which are narrated by guides on an amphibious vehicle; the tour consists of a 30-minute ride on land coupled with an hourlong ride on the water where riders often see seals and other wildlife. Older crowds may be more interested in fine dining cruises, which provide guests with meals or drinks as they float along the city's coast. Options include a luxury dinner cruise from Hornblower or the brunch cruise from Flagship Cruises and Events. Then, there are cruises for thrill-seekers: Complete with whipping winds and splashing water for a 30-minute ride, boat adventures like the high-speed Patriot Jet Boat ride are not for the faint-hearted. 

Cruises depart from various ports within the harbor. Other attractions like Seaport Village, the USS Midway Museum and the Maritime Museum of San Diego are also nearby, so there are plenty of activities to keep you busy before or after your cruise.

Prices vary based on the cruise company, the length of the trip, the amenities included in each trip and more, so you'll want to check each company's website for additional details. Most adult tickets for basic sightseeing cruises hover around $25 to $35. There are numerous parking garages around the Embarcadero area, but most lots will require a fee. You can also access the waterfront area by bus or trolley.

See also: The Best San Diego Boat Tours »

See all Hotels in San Diego »

More Best Things To Do in San Diego

Balboa Park1 of 20
Mission Beach and Pacific Beach2 of 20
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Balboa Park

Home to the renowned San Diego Zoo. this 1,200-acre park is the city's cultural hub. Located in downtown San Diego (about 2 miles north of the city center), Balboa Park is a great place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic. Wander around the park's many gardens while admiring the intricate Spanish-Renaissance architecture that permeates the grounds (the best examples are the California Building and the House of Hospitality). The Botanical Building is a great starting point in Balboa Park. The building is one of the most photographed places in Balboa Park and is one of the largest lath structures in the world. But don't just look at it. The famous botanical building features more than 2,100 permanent plants, including striking collections of tropical plants and orchids. The park also features a cactus garden, rose garden, a Japanese-style garden as well as a palm tree canyon, among many others.

But if you find yourself growing antsy just walking around and smelling the roses, there are plenty of attractions located here (many of them free). Take in a show at the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre, visit the Spreckels Organ Pavilion to see one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs, or the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater if you got the kiddos in tow. Museums are just as aplenty, with enough to suit all types of interests. Art lovers will enjoy the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts and Mingei International Museum while science enthusiasts will enjoy the Fleet Science Center and the Museum of Man. If you're traveling as a family, take some time to check out the San Diego Air and Space Museum or the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the world's largest operating model railroad museum. There's also an automotive museum and the San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum, dedicated entirely to San Diego's sports history.

Read more
f11photo/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in San Diego »

Explore More of San Diego

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 12 Best Puerto Rico Tours

Experience island living at its best on one of these guided trips.

I Went On a Cruise During the Coronavirus Pandemic. This Is What Happened.

Coronavirus concerns, itinerary changes and uncertainty lead to an unusual vacation.

5 Travel-Themed Activities to Do at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Use these suggestions to fill the travel void amid the pandemic.

Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know

If you are rescheduling a vacation or booking a future trip, consider purchasing an insurance policy with the CFAR benefit.

The 21 Best Costa Rica Tours

Dive into this natural paradise on these exceptional excursions.

Social Distancing Outside: 8 Safe Places to Go and Things to Do

Here are some creative ways to enjoy the outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak.

14 Things to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled or Delayed

Know your options when flight delays or cancellations threaten to ruin your vacation.

What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points Because of the Coronavirus?

Limited travel due to the coronavirus prompts airline and hotel rewards programs to make policy changes.

Can You Cancel Your Flight Because of the Coronavirus?

Tips, info and more on cancellations due to the pandemic.

Virtual Tours: 35 Destinations, Museums and Attractions You Can Experience Online

Stuck at home amid the coronavirus outbreak? Enjoy museums, performances and nature from the comfort of your couch.