San Diego, California is home to a year-round temperate climate, ocean waves and delicious eats. With its welcoming attitude, this southern California gem, known as America’s Finest City, invites visitors 365 days a year. From land, sea and air, visitors head to San Diego for fish tacos, fun outdoor activities and friendly encounters with both humans and animals. Whether you’re staying for a few hours, a few days or have fully decided to plant roots here, the city and her surrounding neighborhoods will entice, entertain and ease you into her laid back lifestyle.
Many visitors arrive by sea. As each of the various cruise liners makes their way into San Diego Harbor, hundreds of guests disembark onto the shores of San Diego. While the journey onboard these floating cities has taken visitors across oceans and up and down coastlines, America’s Finest City shines most in the adventures off the boat. Hit the docks and your adventure continues. You can book aboard the ship, use one of the many third-party vendors in town, grab one of our sensational city tours, or plan your own excursion. No matter where you choose to spend your time, San Diego, California doesn’t disappoint.
1. San Diego SEAL Tour
San Diego SEAL Tour is a blue, amphibious vessel that takes to the streets as easily as it does water. By navigating both land and sea, this one-of-a-kind journey takes visitors through the streets and waterways of San Diego. Grabbing a bird’s-eye view, visitors aboard the SEAL Tour hear about San Diego’s history on and off the water. The vessel departs from both the Embarcadero and Seaport Village. Guests hop aboard, meet the captain and first mate, and sit back for an adventure through San Diego’s military history, and relationship with San Diego sea lions. They even get to learn about the city’s airport and its one and only runway. With phenomenal views from every angle, the SEAL Tour is a family-friendly way to see America’s Finest City.
2. Old Town Trolley Tours
Hop aboard the Old Town Trolley for a memorable hop-on-hop-off tour around the city of San Diego. Running from morning to late afternoon, the tour is designed so you can jump off whenever you choose and get back on again when you’re finished exploring that spot. The iconic green and orange trolleys ride through the city sharing the history of San Diego as they journey through various neighborhoods, beaches and the city’s downtown. For almost thirty years, this trolley tour has been transporting visitors around America’s Finest City. Providing transportation, trivia and tried and true entertainment, your time aboard the San Diego Old Town Trolley will be filled with fun, fantastic scenery and family-friendly enjoyment.
3. USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway sits only steps away from the cruise line pier. Disembark, grab your tickets and walk the plank to San Diego’s world-renowned floating city. The USS Midway is one of the country’s longest-serving aircraft carriers and serves as a floating museum permanently docked in San Diego Harbor. Your exploration can take you as long as you choose. Grab one of the headsets and listen as you are guided throughout the ship. You’ll see the mess, the aircraft, and countless exhibits and even be able to head on up to the very top of the ship. The upper deck is filled with aircraft from fighter jets to helicopters and everything in between. Try your hand at the many simulators, chat with the veterans and volunteers aboard the decks and wind your way through military history aboard a venue unlike any other.
4. San Diego GO Card
Grab a San Diego GO Card to explore much of the city’s places of entertainment. This multi-attraction pass covers more than 40 San Diego attractions for one overall price. Whether you’re interested in a card for one, seven or any number of days in between, the San Diego GO Card provides admission for all included attractions for the number of days you purchased. It is instantaneous and activation takes place upon the visit to your first attraction. There’s even a mobile option. Your San Diego Go card gives you a detailed guide with descriptions, operation hours and a map of attractions. Included in your package is also information on dining, shopping and entertainment discounts you can use during your stay. This non-transferable card allows you to visit as many attractions as you can muster between 9am and 5:30pm daily.
5. San Diego Zoo
The world-renowned San Diego Zoo is situated on over 100 acres in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Housing polar bears, orangutans, koalas and all of their friends, the zoo offers family-friendly entertainment and fun for all ages. Spend a few hours, a day or become a member for countless visits over the course of the year and you’ll constantly be amazed by the offerings available at the zoo. Watch the giraffes eat their lunch, the elephants bathe, the orangutans swing and the koalas sleep. Whether you’re 10, 40 or 80, as long as you’re in the welcoming environment with your animal friends, your eyes will sparkle with delight and your face will have a constant smile.
6. Electric Bike Tour of La Jolla/Pacific Beach
Many visitors to San Diego are looking for an action-packed adventure and a different way to take in the sights of some of our varied neighborhoods. Grab one of the electric bike tours and ride your way around the boardwalk of Pacific Beach or along the neighboring cliffs of La Jolla. The bicycles, each equipped with a quiet, small, electric motor, are environmentally friendly and provide a great way to spend the day in the sunny, warm air of America’s Finest City. Gear up in casual clothing, an extra layer or two, closed-toed shoes and be sure to grab a helmet before you head out for your journey. For under $100, each rider will get a fun experience on two wheels.
7. Kayaking in La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is an inviting neighborhood filled with wonder. As you hit the road alongside the sea you’re met with spectacular cliffs, an ever-changing landscape of all sorts of azure blues, crashing waves and a friendly seal and sea lion community awaiting your arrival. Between the friendly mammals and the ecological marine life, kayaking in La Jolla Cove is a special opportunity. Typically lasting one to two hours, your tour will paddle into caves, through ecological reserves and kelp beds, and past pods of wildlife. Rock formations will be to one side of your kayak and if you’re lucky, you might even get dolphins or orcas on the other. Exploring the coastal scenery of La Jolla Cove from the water is even more spectacular than from the view above. You’ll be treated to nature’s underwater wonders amidst the caves and welcomed at every turn by nature’s animal guides. The young and young at heart will have an adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime.
San Diego’s SeaWorld is waiting for you. Get up close and personal with friends of the deep blue sea. Whether you’re looking to meet a trainer, talk to a sea lion, learn about penguins or feel the outside of a turtle’s shell – SeaWorld is the place. Open most days of the year, visitors can learn about environmental conservation, wildlife care and animal rescue along with watching shows, interacting with animals and spending the day in a family-friendly environment. Whether you choose to purchase a one-day pass or a year-long one, one visit to SeaWorld San Diego will have you hooked for another.
Remember playing with Lego®, building new-fangled construction, trying to follow instructions to create the look-alike plane on the cover of the box or doing your best to avoid stepping on that one piece that always seems to be in the middle of the floor? Southern California’s LEGOLAND is for Lego® lovers of all ages. The resort itself is home to LEGOLAND, Sea Life® Aquarium and LEGOLAND Waterpark along with the renowned LEGOLAND Hotel. If you’ve ever watched, experimented, built or dreamt of creating with those colorful pieces that fit together to create the coolest of connections, LEGOLAND is for you! Spend a fun and educational day building, riding, interacting, creating, dreaming, meeting characters and making memories with your entire family.
10. Segway Tours
Ever dream of what it would be like to almost float along the sidewalk? If you’re interested in touring the city of San Diego but don’t want your little feet to get too tired, then Segway riding is for you. For less than $150, you can take a tour of various neighborhoods (including downtown) of San Diego while riding on your very own Segway. Young teenagers and young at heart riders can join in the fun. Watch a video, grab a helmet, practice your balance, starts and stops, and you’re ready for action. A small bag on each Segway is available to hold your belongings. Traversing over hills, bumps and roads like a professional, you’ll wind your way along the streets and boardwalks of San Diego and be ready to put on your dancing shoes as soon as you’re back aboard your ship.