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.”

San Diego 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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Rochelle J
Saint Francis, Minnesota
"Great museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 07, 2019 NEW
We toured the museum and loved it. The ships are amazing and the access to the submarines was awesome!! I highly recommend the Swift Boat Excursion. It is &10 per person in addition to the entrance fee but it is worth every penny. It was a great tour of the harbor and you were able to get so close to naval ships in port and dry dock. A definite must do!!
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Lindsey Z
"Interesting histories"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed July 03, 2019 NEW
The boats were very cool, but could have used some more information. Many parts of the ships were tight, which is something to think about if you have any claustrophobia.
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Mike O
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
"So much amazing history. Needs more kiosks to describe interesting facts"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed July 02, 2019 NEW
All self guided tours. It was all interesting and I love boats and ships but wish there had been more people to explain what interesting things on the vessels. THe Russian sub is listing badly and is rusting away at the pier. It was no less interesting though. THey had a great video playing throughout the sub talking about the Cuban missle crisis and how subs of ths class were involved. We did the yacht America whale watching cruise. LOVED it!!! Saw two blue whales. ship is very stable. Star of India was very educational.
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Anthony W
Phoenix, Arizona
"It's a bargain"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 02, 2019 NEW
Best value for the money you can find. From the Star of India to a Russian sub and lot in between. Expect to spend 3 hours. The Midway, although not part of this museum is an easy walk. Every time I'm in San Diego I always try to take another walk on deck.
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San Diego, California
"Great half day activity with kids"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 26, 2019 NEW
We purchased the discounted family pass ($47 for 2 adults, 2 kids) plus 2 seniors, and added the Swift Boat ride for $10 each. It was $130 well spent. Kids (9, 11, 14) enjoyed roaming the several ships and boats located within a small area of the dock area. There is something for everybody: husband loved the USS Dolphin submarine, a vessel he worked on earlier in his career. 14-year-old is enamored of British history, so he especially liked the HMS Surprise (used for filming some popular movies.) 11-year-old wandered all the decks of the steam ferry Berkeley and was thrilled with the Russian submarine. We bought lunch from the vendor located at the front gate (sandwiches & chips) and ate at the tables in the ferry. The Swift Boat tour was the highlight. The captain actually gets paid for having so much fun! The guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, engaging with everyone and she even offered to take pictures. The 75 minutes took us around the bay, beneath the Coronado Bridge and then we experienced the “swift” with several minutes of speed including fun twists and turns. We saw at least 40 ships and large boats, many as part of our very own United States Navy. We were back to our hotel by 2. Highly recommend this adventure, and do bring a light jacket for the boat ride.
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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