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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Tonya C
Fall River, Massachusetts, United States
"So Glad I Was Able to Fit this in My Itinerary"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed February 13, 2019 NEW
I had planned my first visit to San Diego carefully and, I have to be honest, after researching things to do in San Diego, the Maritime Museum did not make my list. It wasn’t until I was in San Diego and browsing a travel guide did I even consider the Maritime Museum. I spoke with the two desk clerks at my hotel and they both recommended it. I have to say, for someone who didn’t even consider visiting the Maritime Museum, this was by far one of my favorite excursions in San Diego! I was so very glad that I was given the information about this place because it really is a must-see attraction in San Diego. There were several vessels to explore including the very popular Star of India, which is the world's oldest active sailing ship, and the HMS Surprise, which was featured in "Master and Commander." My favorite was definitely the B-39 Submarine. I will warn you, though, dress comfortably because you will be doing a lot of walking and climbing (I think there were one or two portholes that I had to climb through in the submarine). This was definitely worth the time and so much more than an afterthought.
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E9011KIstephanier
London, United Kingdom
"Must see"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 09, 2019 NEW
Great for walking lots To do wear comfy shoes Lots of steps and tight spaces two submarines and 3 boats to go on well worth the visit we used the trolley tour to get off at this stop price to enter $17 for an adult
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Diana S
Appleton, Wisconsin
"Lots of ships and two subs to explore"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 03, 2019 NEW
We visit this "museum" every time we come to San Diego. They were working on another new exhibit on the Berkeley, showing the history of ships in San Diego and California. Be aware that there aren't ramps or elevators, and you will be walking on floating ramps. The subs are particularly cramped. They are amazing to visit though! Great for older kids.
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robbin67
Melbourne, Australia
"interesting"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed February 02, 2019 NEW
many different types of vesseles to see and enjoy, including the star of India. lots of history to see.
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LGA026
Escondido, California, USA
"A step back in time"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed January 30, 2019 NEW
It was a glorious day for a sail on the replica of the San Salvador, complete with a couple firings of the cannons! Lots to see here: Star of India, a Man o'War, a Russian sub, etc.
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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