Having Fun With San Diego Water Activities

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 San Diego water activities you’re sure to enjoy during your visit. 


(Photo: @wordofmouthsandiego)

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.  



(Photo: @sandiegoparasailing)

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: Island Palms General Manager Barbara Thompson)

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 partners at Next Level Sailing and chartering a trip on the yacht America. They offer tours, whale watching treks, and other adventures. If you’d like to know more about Next Level, take a look at this recent chat we had with them that goes more in-depth about who they are, and what they offer.  


Whale Watching

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 our friends at 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!


Start Your Journey at Best Western Plus Island Palms

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!