Aerial view of Shelter Island with hotels, boats in a marina, and San Diego in the distance

What To Do On Shelter Island

There are an endless number of beautiful spots in our home of sunny San Diego. Stunning sunsets, breathtaking beaches, and impressive architecture are nearly everywhere you look. That said, we’ll admit to a bit of personal bias in opining that our home of Shelter Island may just be the loveliest of them all. Shelter Island is marked by tranquil skyline, ample green space, and very little of the bustle that’s found in other parts of the city. Read on for our take on the best things to do here on Shelter Island in Point Loma, San Diego


Bike The Shelter Island Loop

(Photo: @freetotravelmama)

Cycling has proven to be one of the most popular activities on Shelter Island, and for good reason. The island’s circumference-circling bike trail — Shelter Island Loop — is perfect for visitors looking to get in some physical activity while sightseeing. If you’re feeling extra ambitious and follow the path continuously, you can find yourself biking to our downtown embarcadero and back with ease. San Diego is a very easy city to navigate on two wheels, and the weather is always perfect for doing exactly that.



(Photo: @amusingrhapsody)

The path that runs the length of Shelter Island and back isn’t just open to cyclists. Those wishing to traverse the route on foot are also welcome to do so, and at their own pace. Whether making the trip for fitness reasons or simply as a relaxing sightseeing trek, visitors will be welcomed by ideal weather, idyllic marina views, and endless sunshine. In fact, our own marina walkway located right next to the hotel is the perfect place for a sunset stroll.



(Photo: @unfiltered_mjd)

Looking to get a little angling in? Shelter Island has just the place for you. The Shelter Island Pier is a scenic point to take in the view and drop your hook for a variety of catches, including bonito, barracuda, calico bass, and halibut. The pier opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 10:30 p.m., and no fees or licensing are required. Finding yourself a little light in the tacklebox? No problem! Just stop by Fathom Bistro, Bait and Tackle and load up on food for yourself, and the fish. 


Plan a Picnic at Shoreline Park


A serene swath of green space complete with a playground, Shoreline Park is always a great option for families with kids. In addition to lush picnic areas and abundant space to stretch, visitors can enjoy several slides, a swing set, and a climbing structure, plus the views of the water. Take it easy while the kids play, and don’t forget to bring your sunscreen! Our friends at Pop Up Picnic are happy to help you plan the perfect al fresco  adventure.



(Photo: @nxtlevelsailing)

Shelter Island is home to one of San Diego’s top marinas, so there are always amazing watercraft coming and going. As the point of departure for many short and long-range sportfishing trips — plus the constant presence of cruise liners — Shelter Island visitors have a lot of maritime activity to check out on the horizon. And if you’re interested in getting out on the water yourself, we recommend a short walk over to our friends at Next Level Sailing. They offer sightseeing treks, meal cruises and more on the stunning yacht America. 


Public Art

(Photo: @noahu)

Thanks to its scenic location, Shelter Island is home to quite a few captivating pieces of art for visitors to enjoy. At the south end of the island, you’ll discover several beautiful and moving works, including the Yokohama Friendship Bell (gifted to the city in 1958), the Tunaman’s Memorial, and the Pacific Rim Park mosaic — including the Pearl of the Pacific. Learn about their history and enjoy your journey.


Water Sports

(Photo: @dennyking8355)

Thanks to the abundant amount of shoreline here (and the calmer inland waters), Shelter Island is a great place to partake in your favorite water sports. Kayaking, surfing, parasailing, swimming, kiteboarding, and sport boating are all extremely popular thanks to the warm, sapphire-blue waters of San Diego Bay. There are also many locations up and down the island where equipment is available for purchase or rental. So get out there and enjoy a day on the water!


Live Music

(Photo: @humphreysshows)

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of an energetic concert featuring your favorite artists, and Shelter Island is one of the best places in San Diego to see them live. Our sister property Humphreys Half Moon Inn hosts one of the best concert venues in all of “America’s Finest City” — Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. Their stage will once again be welcoming world-class bands back starting this spring, so you won’t want to miss dropping in and rocking out!


Whale Watching

(Photo: @birchaquarium)

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 Shelter Island visitors can also charter tour boats that get them up close to our marine neighbors. Once again, our friends (and neighbors!) at Next Level Sailing are the go-to go-getters for this.   



(Photo: @libertypublicmarket)

When visiting Shelter Island, stopping into Liberty Station is a must. Located on the site of the former Naval Training Station, Liberty Station is a public-market-style shopping center where locals and visitors alike convene to meet, shop, dine, and enjoy entertainment. It’s a “town square” of sorts for the area, drawing millions of visitors every year. Drop in to discover dining, produce, fresh fish, meats, desserts, baked goods, wine, beer, liquor, art, and much more. 


Delicious Dining

Shelter Island is a great place to be if it’s time to grab a bite to eat. There are several excellent restaurants within walking distance of our front door at Island Palms — including our very own Blue Wave Bar & Grill, serving classic SoCal cuisine in a comfortably casual atmosphere. While you’re here, be sure to visit these excellent eateries as well: 

Island Palms is Your Shelter Island Stay

Best Western Plus Island Palms is the perfect bayside hideaway for your visit to Shelter Island. We’ve got great rates, the ideal location, and guest-first amenities. The best part? It’s all just steps from the water! Be sure to check out our special offers and packages, and pick the experience that’s right for you.