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Maritime Museum of San Diego, San Diego

4.6
#2 of 42 in Museums in San Diego
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Ship
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See and visit historical sailing ships, steamboats and submarines at Maritime Museum of San Diego, and even sail on some of them. Established in 1948, this open-air museum hosts one of the largest collections of historical sea vessels in the United States. Take a self-guided tour through the ships and mind your head--it can be quite cramped inside. See the oldest ship in the world still able to sail--the 1863 Star of India, which used to sail the seas for up to a year at a time--and a 1,814 metric ton (2,000 ton) diesel-electric Soviet submarine, among others. Visit the archives and exhibits to learn more about that mystical connection that people and sea have always shared. Arrange your visit to Maritime Museum of San Diego and discover more family-friendly attractions in San Diego using our San Diego travel route tool.
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Maritime Museum of San Diego reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,784 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The museum features some interesting exhibits, especially if you're into sailing. The submarine was interesting to walk through. However, the collection of ships in the harbor felt somewhat random... 
    The museum features some interesting exhibits, especially if you're into sailing. The submarine was interesting to walk through. However, the collection of ships in the harbor felt somewhat random...  more »
  • Good signage for explaining each ship. We were able to board a couple ships and the sub! There were many ship models with details about where and when it was sailed. It's next to the Midway and is....  more
    Good signage for explaining each ship. We were able to board a couple ships and the sub! There were many ship models with details about where and when it was sailed. It's next to the Midway and is....  more »
Google
  • Very cool place. You could spend 4 or 5 hours there. Definitely get a boat tour. Check ahead to see if the gift shop is open. It was closed when we were there. Parking can be tough, but it's San Diego, so be patient. The museum is mostly on the ferry and the other boats you are free to explore. Well worth it if you're in the area.
  • One of the most amazing museums you could ask for - I loved it!! Talking with the WWII vet volunteer (Mr. Allen) on the Berkeley was a blast, he had so many interesting stories to share. Crawling all through the Star of India was nothing but incredible, can't recommend it enough. And of you can, ABSOLUTELY do the military Swift Boat bay tour - and for the most fun, sit at the front of the boat!! Now to be fair, my only complaint, if you can call it that, is that the on-site parking maxes out at 3 hours, And the system they use isn't so great. I really wish they used a system like Park Mobile where if you are not there, you can manage it from your phone and add more time, and there is a daily cap out... But it's way more than 3 hours. Reason why I say this is because 3 hours was not enough time for me to see everything I wanted to see. Let's be honest, I could practically spend 3 hours on the Star of India alone! Plus if you do any of the boat tours, they can last anywhere from one and a half hours to 4 hours - If you do one of the tall ship tours, you simply wouldn't be able to park there anyway. And I see that as being a little bit unfair. So that's my only real complaint - however, I was smart enough to ask the guy at the ticket counter what his recommendation for parking would be because I was probably going to be there for 5 hours at least, and he recommended that I park across the street in the underground parking. This was a fantastic recommendation because it was close enough where walking wasn't too painful (I do have physical limitations) and the price was reasonable. And they allow you to park there all day if needed. So just keep that in mind. Also, as just a side note to anybody who is like me and loves to buy souvenirs, the gift shop will close about 2 hours before the museum itself closes. I was really really not a fan of that, I didn't get to buy something. But I do plan on coming back next year so I will visit the gift shop before I tour the place. Other than those complaints though, everything else was so wonderful I can't even knock off a star. It was a wonderful museum, so much history, so much wonderful people to talk to and historical things to enjoy. I'm blown away by how amazing everything was, I love the people who volunteer here and I love the work they do. A thousand times recommend going here and being ready to spend a whole day, you won't regret it.

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