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.”

Reserve 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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Kalamazoo, Michigan
"Expected More"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed March 19, 2018 NEW
This is a museum made up of old boats mainly. They do have a building with a bit of mishmosh history in regard to San Diego's development through time in regard to steam and boating, etc.. It is an interesting read but far from comprehensive. There is a bit of history scattered throughout in regard to the various boats and submarines they have moored there as well. Considering the type of boats they have, most are what you think of with pirate ships, and a couple of submarines, you can see why the history lessons are all over the map. That being said, I have been to a half dozen submarines around the country, and many different maritime museums. While I was not particular impressed myself, I can see there is a decent value here assuming you get admission for the right price. I had a bundle or value pass where I had gained admission with a discount. Since I was already in the area it was a short walk down the pier from the Midway to this attraction. I had parked in the lot between this place and Midway which cost me $16.00 for the day. The attraction, including climbing in and out of the subs which is tricky if you are a tall, much less a bigger person. Especially these older subs. I am 6' and 240. I can do it, but you have been warned. ;-) They offer a number of those old schooners or what most people think of as pirate ships. If you appreciate those kind of things, and some volunteers dressed in ye Olde English garb giving you bits of history, you will love this. They do offer a PT boat and some other kind of ride in the harbor, but we did not take those. It might have stretched this time out a bit longer at the museum as we managed to get through it in roughly 2 hours between reading, talking with staff, and going through the various ships taking pictures. While this museum has it's merits, I simply have visited better around the country with a better presentation. That being said, if you can get a discount pass and are in the area, this is still worth checking out should this kind of attraction amuse you.
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Wausau, Wisconsin
"Fascinating and be sure to do the Swift Boat Harbor Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2018 NEW
This was my second time at the maritime museum. Take your time and study each ship. I prefer working my way from oldest to newest. The Star of India is a sailing vessel with many artifacts as is the HMS Surprise. The soviet submarine and USS Dolphin submarine are very educational (definitely NOT for the claustrophobic though), again lots of information here from the Cuban Missile crisis to the scientific uses. The steam ferry Berkley has more 'museum type' exhibits. While you are here be sure to take the Swift Boat Tour of the harbor. It is a bargain at $7.00 with museum admission and is a MUCH better tour then the huge harbor tour boats. There were 6 people on the boat and the captain and first mate provided a lot of information. Visibility to all sides of the bay was great and it was easy to hear the information (again unlike the big harbor tour boats).
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Roger I
The Woodlands, Texas
" Best Museums - Floating History"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2018 NEW
I’m not one who likes museums, so this is entirely out of character. BUT, this was a great experience, and frankly I could have toured the Star of India for several more hours. There are an incredible variety of ships to see including a 1960’s vintage Soviet sub similar to those involved at the Bay of Pigs (with a fascinating narrative to go with the walk through tour). Two thumbs and 5 stars way up.
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Sudbury, Canada
"Lots to see!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 15, 2018 NEW
Enjoyed the museum very much, lots to see and it was quite interesting to see the school kids participating.
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San Diego, California
"Well worth the visit"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed March 13, 2018 NEW
Took my sons (age 7 and 11 to this attraction...we had a great time. There was many interesting things to see .The Star of India was alot of fun.My boys also liked the submarines. I would go back again.
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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
  • Steering Small
  • Charting The Sea
  • Age of Sail
  • Age Of Steam
  • Harvesting The Ocean
  • San Diego's Navy
  • To The Brink Of War
  • And more