How to Have Fun On the Water in San Diego

There’s just something about the ocean that captivates the heart, and fuels the imagination. Here in San Diego, we’re fortunate to enjoy more than 70 miles of coastline, all hugging the Pacific — meaning that we’ve come up with countless ways to enjoy the vast expanse of deep blue just next door. If you’re looking to get out and explore, but aren’t sure where to start? Here’s a primer of some of the best ways to enjoy the water in San Diego. 



Feel like getting a little angling in? San Diego is the place for you. Shelter Island Pier is just a short walk from us. It’s a scenic spot great for taking in amazing downtown views, as well as dropping your hook for bonito, barracuda, calico bass, halibut and others. The pier opens at 6 am and closes at 10:30 pm, and fishing there is free. Finding yourself a little light in the tacklebox? Just stop by Fathom Bistro, Bait and Tackle and load up. You’ll not only find fishing gear here, they’re also well-known for great food and a deep craft beer selection.  



You’ve always wanted to try it, right? Good thing this is the perfect place to give it a go. When you’re ready to join the ranks of the daredevils, head over to San Diego Parasail Adventures. Their crew of pros will get you up to speed, then get you up in the air over beautiful Mission Bay. Not only is parasailing safe, fun, and an amazing experience, but it’s great for back-home bragging rights. Not to mention that the view is fantastic from up there in the sky!   


Kayaking & Paddleboarding 

(Photo: @halfmooninn)

Kayaking is a fun, safe, and easy-to-learn hobby for just about anyone. Even better, the slim, compact body of a kayak is the absolute perfect way to explore the rockier areas of San Diego’s coastline. Disco Paddle Surf offers rentals of kayaks, as well as paddleboards, hydrobikes, and more human-powered watercraft, all perfect for exploring. When you go, expect stunning views of both the natural formations and the local sea life!



San Diego is home to dozens of marinas, so there are always amazing watercraft coming and going. Since we’re the point of departure for many sportfishing trips, cruise liners and other maritime activity, visitors always have a lot of opportunity to take part. We recommend heading over to our friends at Next Level Sailing (pictured above), which launches from the marina at our sister property, Best Western Plus Island Palms (just a five-minute walk away!) and chartering a trip on the yacht America. They offer tours, whale watching treks, and other adventures. 


Whale Watching

(Photo: @nxtlevelsailing)

Speaking of whale watching, San Diego is one of the best spots along the West Coast to spot pods of gray whales as they make their annual 10,000-mile migration to cooler northern waters. December is the beginning of the season, but the migratory patterns of these majestic ocean behemoths can last for months. Spotting whales from shore is not uncommon, but the good folks at the aforementioned Next Level Sailing offer trips that get you up close.


Water Sports 

Thanks to the abundant amount of shoreline here, San Diego is a great place to partake in your favorite water sports. Surfing, swimming, kiteboarding, and sport boating are all extremely popular thanks to the warm, sapphire-blue waters that surround us. There are also lots of local businesses that are happy to make water sporting equipment available for purchase or rental. So you have every reason to get out there and soak up some sun!


Hot Tub Cruises

(Photo: @hottubcruisin)

What could be better than soaking in a bubbly hot tub spa? Well, how about doing it while you skim across the waves on a boat? The undeniable geniuses at Hot Tub Cruisin’ have combined the sublime joy of the pleasure cruise with the resplendent relaxation of a hot tub. While you enjoy the experience, you can play your own curated soundtrack over the on-board stereo, cook up a hot lunch on their propane grill, and even bring your own favorite beverages along to enjoy from a pair of coolers.


San Diego Seal Tours

If you’re looking for one of the most unique experiences “America’s Finest City” has to offer, then take a look at San Diego SEAL Tours — which offers an experience you simply can’t have anywhere else. A “seal” is the term used to refer to an amphibious vehicle that’s half bus, half boat, and 100% fun! During a Seal tour, the whole crew can climb aboard, drive directly into the water, and see the city sights. It’s truly one of the best times you can have on land and sea. 


Tiki Time Bay Tours

(Photo: @tikitimebaytours)

Tiki Time Bay Tours offers an unforgettable adventure exploring the city’s stunning coastline aboard a custom-built tiki boat. Step aboard the vibrant, Polynesian-inspired vessel and embark on a journey filled with tropical vibes, scenic views, and laid-back fun. With a knowledgeable captain at the helm, guests can relax, sip on tropical drinks, and enjoy the warm ocean breeze while immersing themselves in the ultimate island-style experience. 


Start Your Journey at Humphreys Half Moon Inn

We’re your “base camp” for enjoying all of the best ocean adventures San Diego has to offer. Our location on Shelter Island puts us right in the heart of all the best water activities, and our exquisite accommodations, stellar service, guest-first amenities and unbeatable rates are second-to-none. Take a look at our Special Offers page, select the travel deal that’s right for you, and we’ll see you out on the water!