Maritime Museum of San Diego in San Diego, CA

1492 North Harbor DriveSan Diego, CA 92101
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One of the finest collections of historic ships across the globe, Maritime Museum of San Diego offers exceptional exhibits, daily public tours, cultural events, educational programs and more for the whole family to enjoy. The museum is located on the North Embarcadero in downtown San Diego and is also home to the world’s oldest active ship—Star of India.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our San Diego Travel Experts
  • Parking fees apply.
  • Self-guided tour.
  • Tour duration: approx. 2 hours.
  • Home to the world’s oldest active ship, the Star of India.


from Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum of San Diego enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels. The museum has one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship the Star of India.

The Museum displays permanent and temporary exhibits on maritime history, commerce and exploration and stages popular public events such as “The Chocolate Festival”, “Pirate Buccaneer Birthday Bash”, “Festival of Sail each Labor Day weekend”, and family sleepovers on the Star of India.

The MacMullen Library and Research Archives is a resource for members as well as scholars and researchers from around the world. Along with our peer-reviewed quarterly, Mains'l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History, they encourage and enhance the study of maritime history.

Founded in 1948, the museum grew out of the earlier efforts of a group of local historians and maritime enthusiasts who acquired the sailing ship Star of India in 1927. Now fully restored, the Star of India is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers and skilled craftsmen and sailed at least once a year.

The museum’s collection also includes the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley, the 1904 steam yacht Medea, the 1914 Pilot, the state’s official tall ship Californian -a replica of a mid 19th century revenue cutter, and the H.M.S Surprise, a magnificent replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate featured in the award-winning film “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”

Tripster Customer Reviews

Philip Robertson
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Great seafaring museum"
February 2018
This was a great museum exploring the sailing ship era as well as submarines, patrol boats and other ships
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Tip: Give plenty of time to see it all

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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"Amazing and don't miss the rusian submarine and the 555"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 11, 2020 NEW
So much history in all of the different ships and the Star of India is so full of info be sure to take a hour or to dont rush through the musem
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
"Always Fun"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed March 22, 2020
We were scheduled for a Californian Cruise. We were a little early for the Cruise so decided to do a mini-tour of the Museum. It's always fun. We love reliving the days of sail driven boats, particularly the Star of India, HMS Surprise and San Salvador. And the exhibits on the Burkeley are great. An excellent way to spend some time. Tip: our sister-in-law worked downtown San Diego and pointed us to the parking garage under the City Administration Building just across the street. This was a real find. Less than a block's walk to the ships.
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Lake Forest, California
"Good for rainy day"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 14, 2020
We went in a drizzle. Most of the time you will be inside the ships. When the rain eases up you can go on the decks or go to the next ship. I passed this site many times. I did not realize how many ships were there. If you look at all the exhibits you can easily spend over two hours here. Two sailing ships; one a merchant ship; the other a war ship used in a movie. There are two submarines. I only went in the Russian one. It had an interesting story associated with Cuban missile crisis. There was a steam boat, a recreation of a ship used around Columbus’ time and a modern sail boat available for rides on weekends. There may have been more. You can leave, get lunch and continue your tour. However note that the closest parking goes from like 10 to 5. It does not appear to allow you to buy beyond that without buying a separate one that would go from 5 to 11pm. Sorry get there before 2pm to get the most out of it.
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Richland, Washington
"Take the Pilot boat tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 10, 2020
This is a wonderful maritime museum with multiple types of ships to tour. We took the 45 minute Pilot boat tour of the harbor and it was great. Our guide was friendly and very knowledgeable about the harbor and city. Highly recommend it.
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james h
Yorkville, Illinois
"San Diego History"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 05, 2020
These “museums” are a collection of historic ships and submarines dating from 1500 to the 1960’s. They include The Star if India, The H.M.S. Surprise, and a Soviet B-39 submarine in the collection. Allow abou 2 hours to view all of the vessels. Admission is around $15.
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Maritime Museum of San Diego is located at 1492 North Harbor DriveSan Diego, CA 92101
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Frequently Asked Questions about Maritime Museum of San Diego

What are the hours of operation?
Summer hours for the museum are 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. After Labor Day, hours of operation are from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Hours of operation are subject to change and may vary with special events.

Is museum parking available onsite? 
No. However, there are multiple parking spaces and lots located around the museum:

Metered Port Parking Spaces:
The lot directly in front of the Maritime Museum has Port of San Diego metered spaces. They are enforced 10:00 am – 8:00 pm from Monday – Sunday and are good for up to 3 hours. Port does routinely check if a car has been parked for longer than 3 hours and will ticket. The 3-hour time limit applies to Sundays on Port parking. These spaces are not available during some special events and during Festival of Sail.

Day Lots:
There are also several day lots (pay to park) within a few blocks of the museum including:
County garage across the street holds about 257 cars, pricing varies $10~$20 per car.
The Midway lot is open to the public.
Take the trolley. Trolley stations have lots at El Cajon, Amaya, Grossmont, Qualcom, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley and Old Town.

Is the museum appropriate for all ages?

What exhibits are at the museum?
While the museum does include traveling and rotating exhibits, exhibits include:

  • Swift Boats At War In Vietnam
  • Charting The Sea
  • Age of Sail
  • Age Of Steam
  • Harvesting The Ocean
  • San Diego's Navy
  • To The Brink Of War
  • And more