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

Philip Robertson
AU
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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family_travel66
Pennsylvania
"Many ships to see"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed May 24, 2018 NEW
With the same price the guest can visit 6 ships. There is the highly praised Star of India (must see!), two submarines (one Russian with a nice story to tell, and an American), the ship that is featured in the movie Master and Commander, a replica ship of the Columbus era, and a yacht. Note that the Russian submarine has some passages that can be difficult if you are bigger in size or you carry backpack or similar items.
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JBinengland
London, United Kingdom
"Superb Maritime Museum"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed May 16, 2018 NEW
This is an excellent museum with many boats to tour. It is easy enough to go online and find out which boats are there. Of special interest was the Russian submarine. It was really something to see if you have not been in a sub. The museum is large, and you should allow at least 2 hours to get around it. Very much worth your time if you have interest in all things maritime ! They did not seem to have guided tours. Maybe other times of the year, or upon request. But, everything is well sign-posted and there are some volunteers that point out things of interest (Star of India had a very good man to answer questions).
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riaona
San Diego, California
"Arrr matey, a sure way of enjoying unique ship voyages"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed May 13, 2018 NEW
We went during for a special event Chocolate Festival at the Maritime Museum. While I would stress that the festival should be named a tasting instead of a festive since we were on the hunt for a chocolate fountain and strawberries and found neither. There were a couple of stations and not much on the full chocolate experience. Although, exploring the various water vessels was a ton of fun. The submarine was a tight fit, but we managed to work our way through the experience. The Star of India was amazing. I did not realize its size until we were three levels down.
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Bobby S
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
"Want Inside A Submarine or On The Deck Of A Pirate Ship?"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed May 09, 2018 NEW
This is a museum of ships and boats. The main museum is on the ferry boat Berkely which is full of artifacts and history. Once you finish that you are just beginning. You still have the Pilot Boat, PCF 816 Swift Boat, The Yacht America, which won the historic Royal Yacht Squadron’s “100 Guinea Cup” race around the Isle of Wight. That trophy was donated to the New York Yacht Club to be held as a challenge cup for the now renowned America's Cup. While maybe not a pirate ship with a little imagination it can become one as you walk the decks of the sailing vessel San Salvador, the H.M.S. Surprise the Californian the elegant Star of India. We also enjoyed the submarines, the U.S.S. Dolphin-the deepest diving sub of more than 3,000 feet (actual depth is still classified) or the B-39 Soviet Sub. A lot to see so take your time and enjoy. Entrance fee is very nominal and discounts for children and seniors.
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Jonathan C
Egham, United Kingdom
"Interesting if you're in the area"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed May 04, 2018 NEW
Strange one this. I had an hour to kill so went and had a wander round the boats and submarines they have. What an ecclectic mix of things. It's worth a look around if you're in the area. The submarines are cool, and it makes you realise how small they are inside. Not sure I would travel specifically to go and see it though.
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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