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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"Many ships to board and very interesting"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 23, 2020 NEW
I did not think I was going to have fun but I did! The ships were so cool to visit, first hand, and the history was fascinating. My favorite part was the boat ride around the bay. Even though it was chilly, it was great.
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David R
Greeley, Colorado
"Great collection of vessels!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 18, 2020 NEW
An old Soviet submarine with lots of history, an American sub with lots of history, great ships including old sailboats and a friendly staff in the museum.
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San Diego
"Fun museum with a large variety of ships to explore"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 13, 2020 NEW
The Maritime Museum gives you the opportunity to learn about and explore several ships, merchant ships, sail boats, submarines and even the old ferry that used to transport passengers between the city and Coronado island. You can also learn about the old tuna canning industry of San Diego. It's a fun experience for all, young and old.
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Onarga, Illinois
"Great deal of History"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 28, 2019
History from the 1800’s all the way up to modern times. If you are a Maritime historian there is plenty to see and do. Easy to reserve through the Go San Diego Select card and the friendly staff at the museum will be helpful in answering questions there and in the local area. We opted to add the Swift boat harbor tour once we got there. You MUST add this to your museum tour. For $10 you get a 70 minute tour of the harbor mainly focusing on the Navy ships moored down on 32nd Street. The Docent was an old Vietnam Swift boat crewman and is well versed on the history of that boat and anything else at the museum. Ran into this guy 3 different times while in the museum and he just kept giving out information like a walking encyclopedia. While there are many boats, ships and sub’s you will not be able to see everything on every one of them. Some have ongoing repairs and some areas of each just aren’t available to tour. The Russian sub is tight to get through so if claustrophobic skip it. Plenty of warnings before you get on there too. Many steps to climb as well and lots of walking so be prepared. Very enjoyable and very reasonable on pricing.
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Geraldine F
"Excellent Maritime Museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 25, 2019
The museum is within an old ship. There are several ships that are open to touring. An excellent way to immerse yourself into the past.
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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