Southern California is full of fantastic beaches that offer great fun both on the shores and in the waters, but even so, San Diego stands out above the rest as a fantastic vacation destination! San Diego is a city full of fun, but it can be overwhelming to someone who hasn’t visited here before. When you are planning to travel with your boat, you’ll need to know all the ins and outs of the best marinas, restaurants, and fishing spots in the San Diego area. Don’t spend time on lackluster destinations in the San Diego area, or worse, miss out on something wonderful! To make the most of your vacation in San Diego, reference our ultimate San Diego boat guide!
Top Marinas – San Diego Boat Guide
When you are planning a boating excursion in beautiful San Diego, one of the most important things is finding a great marina to dock your boat. Although there is no shortage of marinas, some go above and beyond with fantastic service and amenities, while others offer a great location that makes it easy to access all the fun of the ocean. Best of all, there are a select few that offer all of that and more! Don’t settle for docking your boat at a less than stellar marina, consider docking at one of these top-rated marinas in San Diego.
One of the most popular marinas is the Harbor Island West Marina. Located at the west end of Harbor Island, this marina is considered the “Gateway to the Bay.” Here, you’ll have immediate access to the bay and be located just a short boat ride away from the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. In addition to its great location, the Harbor Island West Marina also offers no shortage of great amenities. For its guests, this marina offers free parking, great security with gated access to the docks and night-time security, a pool, spa, and sauna, as well as restroom and laundry facilities. All you could need to help you transition from land to sea! Boat slips are available for rent on a monthly basis, with rates beginning at about $19 per foot per month for smaller vessels and $22.50 per foot per month for vessels over 55 feet. For great location and amenities, you can’t beat Harbor Island West Marina!
Another great marina in San Diego is the Sunroad Resort Marina. As the name would suggest, this marina prides itself on creating a resort atmosphere, with great amenities and some of the friendliest staff you’ll find at any marina in the area. Enjoy perks such as electrical hookups, satellite television, wireless internet, fresh water service, as well as card-controlled docks and parking with great security. For more fun perks, you’ll find a pool and spa, recreational area with barbecues, health club, and deli. As far as slip rates, monthly prices begin at $675 for a 29-foot boat, and up to $2000 or more per month for ships 54 feet or larger. On top of their great perks, the Sunroad Resort Marina has a great location, with great city views and within walking distance to some of the great dining in San Diego. You may like this marina so much you won’t want to leave!
Sun Harbor Marina is yet another fantastic marina in San Diego, but what makes this one unique is their commitment to preserving the environment that makes San Diego such a beautiful destination. Sun Harbor Marina boasts the distinction of being the world’s first LEED certified marina, so you can enjoy all the amenities of the marina, guilt-free. Located near Shelter Island on Point Loma, you have quick access to all the fun of San Diego on both land and sea. Their facilities are well-maintained using ecologically sensitive practices. Despite this commitment to sustainability, they still offer great perks such as a recreation room, kayak and SUP rentals, storage lockers, laundry facilities, restrooms and showers, free Wi-Fi, and a restaurant!
Dock and Dine Restaurants in San Diego
Speaking of restaurants, San Diego offers seemingly endless fantastic dining options. Although you could eat your way around the city on land, for the ultimate boating experience consider making reservations at one of the many dock-and-dine restaurants in the city. Dock-and-dine is a unique experience that allows you to drive your boat straight to the docks of some of the best restaurants San Diego has to offer. Enjoy delicious food along with your fun boating experience in San Diego by docking and dining at some of these local hot spots.
Located in the Point Loma peninsula, Island Prime and C-Level are two sister restaurants that each offer a slightly different take on seafood fine dining in San Diego. C-Level is the more casual of the two restaurants, serving both lunch and dinner with happy hour daily from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. Their menu is filled with fantastic seafood options, although you will find a few vegetarian options and quite a few gluten-free dishes. Island Prime opens at 5pm for dinner service and offers great steaks along with their fresh seafood dishes. Dine at either restaurant at sunset for some of the best sunset views in San Diego!
Like many great restaurants in San Diego, Coasterra offers fantastic and fresh seafood dishes, but with a Mexican twist. Enjoy tortilla soup, ahi tuna tostadas, and chicken enchiladas alongside their menu of over 70 agave spirits. Enjoy happy hour weekday specials from 3:30pm to 5:30pm in their tequila lounge and patio space, with $7 appetizers and $7 cocktails. Part restaurant, part wedding and event venue, Coasterra boasts beautiful sunset views that are sure to wow. Reservations are encouraged for indoor dining, as their dining room is sure to fill up fast!
One of the most unique restaurants in the San Diego area, and a must stop for those looking to dock and dine is Bali Hai Restaurant! Bali Hai first opened its doors in 1954 and quickly established itself as an iconic San Diego destination. Inspired by the Tahitian movie set built for the Clark Gable classic film “The Bounty,” Bali Hai is one of the oldest Tiki establishments that has been in continuous operation. The unique mid-century Polynesian style will catch your eye and makes for great photo ops, but their menu is what truly inspires. Serving both lunch and dinner, their menu is full of island-inspired dishes with a focus on fresh seafood. They also offer happy hour specials from 3-5pm on Mondays-Thursdays. However, what makes Bali Hai truly special is their world-famous Mai Tais, with over two million sold throughout their history! Be sure to order one of these refreshing cocktails during your dock and dine meal at Bali Hai.
Fishing and More
Chances are part of your plans for a dream boating vacation in San Diego includes some time out on the water in search of a great catch. San Diego is widely known as an angler’s paradise and one of the top fishing destinations in America. The good news? You’re never too far away from a fantastic fishing spot! The bad news? It can be overwhelming to remember what is in season, and when, and where are the best hidden spots in the area that won’t be too crowded. Luckily, we have all the info you need for a fun and successful fishing trip in San Diego.
First and foremost, you’ll want to have your bases covered by securing a fishing license. Although you won’t need a license to fish from the pier or if you are under 16 years old, many of the best spots in the water require a fishing license. An annual sport fishing license for residents is $52.66 and $142.06 for non-residents. However, you can secure a 10-day sports fishing license for $52.66 for non-residents, which is a great option to save money and still get plenty of fishing time!
One of the best parts about fishing in San Diego is that there are great catches to be had all year round! Due to the mild weather, the fishing stays relatively consistent all year, meaning that there is no bad time to head to San Diego for a fishing trip. For guaranteed year-round catch, you’ll find rock cod, rockfish, and yellowtail. In the spring season, you also have the chance at blue fin, bonito, calico bass, halibut, wahoo, swordfish, and white sea bass. Summer brings barracuda, dorado, and marlin. Visit San Diego multiple times throughout the year for your chance at all of these fish!
Great fishing in San Diego starts no further than San Diego Bay. With 12 miles of shores, you won’t find a shortage of places to drop a line. Here you’ll find bonefish, spotted bay bass, and halibut. For those looking to head a little further out, consider sailing out to beautiful La Jolla. In addition to some of the prettiest shorelines in the San Diego area, La Jolla also boasts a chance at halibut, yellowtail, barracuda, lingcod, and calico bass. If you are looking for rockfish, head to deeper waters of 150 feet or more, preferably as you might guess, in a rocky area. For a chance to catch an impressive tuna, whether yellowtail or bluefin, head to the islands of San Clemente and Catalina. No matter where you choose to sail and drop your line, you are sure to come home with a great catch!
Why Boat Clubs Are a Great Choice
When it comes to fantastic destinations for boating trips, our San Diego boat guide is a no brainer! Between its great fishing spots, restaurants, and sights and attractions, it’s a great place to spend your next boating adventure. Although you could spend thousands of dollars on your own boat, spend the time and money to tow it to San Diego, spend hundreds of more dollars to dock it in a local marina, and then spend even more money on maintenance and repairs, why not save yourself the money and the hassle and join a boat club instead? With our boat club membership, you get access to dozens of boats in our marina, ranging from great fishing vessels to ships perfect for entertaining and everything in between. Instead of being beholden to the one boat you purchased, you can gain access to any number of ships and choose the perfect one for your day that suits your needs. Reserving your boat is simple enough with our online reservation system, or for last minute trips we also offer walk-in reservations depending on the boats that are available on the fly.
Unlike owning your own boat, you won’t be responsible for the hassle, headache, or costs of surprise repairs and regular maintenance. Our boats are carefully maintained and are guaranteed to be in great shape and any repairs are taken care of by our employees. In addition to reserving your boat, many of our marinas offers additional equipment rentals for anyone looking to fish, waterski, paddle board, or more while out on the water. Best of all, our boat club membership offers reciprocity to our over 90 other boat club locations throughout North America. When comparing a boat club membership to owning your own vessel, the freedom and convenience simply can’t be beat! Consider joining a boat club to make the most of your next boating vacation in San Diego.
Between its beautiful shores, fun city atmosphere, fantastic fishing, and delicious restaurants, San Diego is a great vacation destination for anyone wanting to get out in the water and have tons of fun! Here you’ll find some of the best ocean fishing in all of the United States, and whether you charter a boat or captain your own, you are sure to find a great fishing spot. Also enjoy the ability to dock and dine at many restaurants throughout the city with great food and views. A boat in San Diego is an all-access pass to all the fun! Contact us!