Maritime Museum of San Diego in San Diego, CA

1492 North Harbor DriveSan Diego, CA 92101
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Overview

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.

Description

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
AU
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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antonellaz968
San Diego, California
"Sail the Californian!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed May 19, 2019 NEW
We visited all ships and submarines. I found them all really beautiful and interesting, but sailing the Californian, which I believe only sails on weekends, was the highlight of the day! We were lucky to have wind so we could experience its full glory. I loved it, it wasn’t just fun, it was also great to be able to experience a tall ship and appreciate what a great engendering marvel it is still today.
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Lizzie6219
Boston, Massachusetts
"Take a stroll by this one"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed May 12, 2019 NEW
Spend the day by all means but if you're short on time, stroll by this one. There are so many maritime vessels from different periods. The opportunity to see them up close is great but buy a ticket to see the interiors, which I'm sure is fantastic. I plan on book the America for a whale-watch sail next time I return...and visiting the rest of the vessels as well.
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Vernon E
Litchfield Park, Arizona
"So many ships too little time"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 28, 2019 NEW
Fantastic variety of ships to visit and explore. Each one unique. Covers over 100 years of history. Tour guides on each sip there to answer your questions.
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Pennie727
Davie, Florida
"Easy to get to and a lot of history"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 28, 2019 NEW
My husband is ex-Navy so we had to go here! It is easy to get to and walk around. It is quite informative. Lots of equipment and history to learn about. Worth the trip.
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Laurie R
"Or too busy and a nice museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed April 26, 2019 NEW
The highlight of this museum was the Russian submarine and the US submarine. Good place to go and spend a couple hours while in town.
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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?
Yes.

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