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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

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
"8 Ships to Climb Aboard....allow yourself a few hours! Very fun"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 19, 2017 NEW
After touring the USS Midway last week, we decided to make a day of it and tour the Maritime Museum, since it was something I/we always wanted to do. It cost us $18/per person, for two adults, so $36. We spent about 3 hours here. The Star of India ship is boarded separately and is just a few steps away from the Steam Ferry Berkeley, which is the ship that you board to access the other 6 ships, the cafe and store, and all of the exhibits. My favorites were the story of the Russian sub (watch the videos, I never knew that this situation occurred), and the San Salvador, which is a highly accurate representation of a 1542 European ship (Spanish maybe?) that looks like a pirate ship. It was very fun! I suggest comfortable walking shoes for sure, as you have to walk narrow metal stairs, some over water, narrow planks to access the ships, walk down narrow wooden stairs (and up) on the ships, and practically crawl in the subs (I'm slightly exaggerating but you will see what I mean!) As a tip, the cafe is more of a stand that sells chips and bottled drinks. It was hot in the subs, so I am glad a brought a bottle of water, and I wish we had not been starving, because we left to head to dinner or we would have stayed longer.
TripAdvisor user image
"Interesting history"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed August 18, 2017 NEW
I spent a couple of hours exploring the ships moored here. It was fortunately very quiet so was enjoyable absorbing the interesting information displayed. The vessels are varied ranging from The Star of India Clipper to both Russian and US subs. As a fan of the movie "Master and Commander" I was rather taken with be able to board HMS Surprise which featured in the film.
TripAdvisor user image
"Plenty to see"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 18, 2017 NEW
A couple of pirate ships and two submarines plus a museum inside another ship rounded out this tour. The Soviet sub was my favorite because it was so unique. Small spaces had to be navigated (be sure to pay attention to the display outside with a large "O" that you should try going through before entering), but very interesting. Video tells the story and history. The pirate ships have displays of period relics to give visitors an idea of how people lived. Be sure to visit the museum (two levels of displays) before leaving. Tickets are $18, which is high.
TripAdvisor user image
"Kids loved it"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed August 17, 2017 NEW
The museum offers several ships to board including one of the pirate boats featured on the movie: Pirates of the Caribbean and also a submarine. The submarine does require climbing steep stairs and entering through smaller entries so good to keep in mind. We had a baby with us and it was too difficult to walk her through the submarine. The staff seemed a little on the stern side the day we visited making unnecessary comments. Other than that, everything about this place was fun. My kids who were 10 and 11 really got a kick out of touring the boats.
TripAdvisor user image
Mesa, Arizona
"Well worth the visit!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 16, 2017 NEW
Very cool to tour the different ships and see everything up close! It was like taking a step back in time. We got there at 7:45 pm and they close at 9 pm, and it was perfect timing because we had the place to ourselves, no one slowing us down and had just enough time to see everything.
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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