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.”

Reserve San Diego Customer Reviews

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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SJax33
Eagan, Minnesota
"Fun but a lot of work going on"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed January 17, 2018 NEW
We decided to hit this museum before heading to the airport. We spent about 1 1/2 hours here. The Star of Idea is awesome to walk through and the staff were very knowledgeable. One of the submarines was closed as were several areas of other ships due to restoration work being done. In one we couldn't even be below deck for long because the fumes were so bad... but we understood it's an ongoing process to maintain these boats. A lot to see and you could either zip through or read all about various aspects of maritime. Reasonable ticket price as well.
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CyndyandByron
Bridgeton, New Jersey
"Under appreciated museum."
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 11, 2018 NEW
We were the only visitors for most of the afternoon we were there. It is a multiship museum that used dedicated docents to add a little extra historical flavor to the exhibits of seafaring.The Star of India is the big draw, but the B39 Russia sub made quite an impression on us in light of the political situation today. The swift boats from the Vietnam War era also brought back memories. There are also replica ships such as the San Salvador, the first large ship to land in San Diego. Another impressive ship was The Berkley, the first Ferry in the San Francisco Bay area. She is moored in the museum after spending her working lif e ferrying people in the San Francisco Bay area. Stained glass windows and Victorian furniture remind us of her elegance when she was in her heyday. save yourself three hours for this museum .
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GMTPLANO
Branson, Missouri
"Visit San Diego's Maritime past"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 07, 2018 NEW
We arrived just as the museum opened and spent over an hour walking through the various ships. The Star of India is very impressive, as is the submarine and other ships. If you like history, you'll like this attraction. It is kept up nicely and the stories abound.
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Paris1952
Santa Rosa, California
"Take Your Time to Visit Here"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 05, 2018 NEW
I went here with my husband a afew years back. Every evening we went down and went on one or two ships since the ticket was for more than one day. The evenings were best. I love these old ships and the work they put into taking care of them. Go here when you are in San Diego!
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Powderburner
Bismarck, North Dakota
"What a blast, just imagine what it was like back then. "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 04, 2018 NEW
Give yourself some time to complete this. This tour is self guided and way more information than you can soak in. Between the old sail boats and submarines. WOW, just put yourself in their shoes back in those days. Hats off to everyone that made those trips. A must do for anybody.
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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
  • 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