Sights &  Landmarks

San Diego Bay Cruise Guide

The Best Sights & Landmarks in San Diego Bay

Here's the long version of the top 10 list of the best sights to see while one of our bay cruises.

The Best Sights & Landmarks in San Diego Bay

Glorietta Bay

Coronado Bridge

Seals at the Bait Barge

Point Loma

Military Ships

Harbor Island

Shelter Island

Downtown San Diego Skyline

Final Thoughts

Glorietta Bay

Enjoy the picturesque views of Glorietta Bay as you cruise along the coastline of Coronado Island. As a passenger on one of our VIP yachts, your journey through Glorietta Bay and under the Coronado Bridge will be a truly remarkable experience.  As you swing to starboard into Glorietta Bay, you'll be greeted by the serene and picturesque surroundings. The bay is known for its calm waters, providing a tranquil setting for your yacht excursion.  The bay provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for swimming, relaxing, and enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. Whether you want to take a refreshing dip in the water or simply bask in the sun on the deck of your private charter, Glorietta Bay offers the perfect conditions for a leisurely and enjoyable experience.

Optional Swimming

Anchoring and Swimming: Our experienced crew will anchor the yacht, allowing you to take a refreshing dip in the inviting waters of Glorietta Bay. Dive into the crystal-clear sea, swim alongside the yacht, or simply float and soak up the sun. It's a perfect opportunity to cool off and enjoy some leisurely water activities.


Sunbathing and Relaxation: If swimming isn't your preference, you can choose to relax and sunbathe on the spacious deck of the yacht. Lounge on comfortable seating areas, bask in the warm sunshine, and take in the breathtaking views surrounding you. The passing luxury yachts will also keep you entertained.

Another enticing feature of Glorietta Bay is its anchorage. Here, you will find a haven surrounded by luxury yachts engaged in similar activities. This creates a vibrant and elegant ambiance, adding to the allure of your yacht party or special event. Imagine being in the midst of a picturesque inlet, with the sparkling waters reflecting the sunlight and the sight of luxurious yachts enhancing the overall atmosphere of sophistication and celebration.

When you choose Glorietta Bay as your charter destination, you have the flexibility to anchor for some or all of your allotted time. This means you can fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the bay and enjoy the amenities and entertainment on your private charter without any rush. Whether it's a yacht party, a wedding reception, or any other special event, Glorietta Bay offers a serene and exclusive location to create unforgettable memories.

In summary, Glorietta Bay is a highly popular charter destination due to its calm waters, anchorage for swimming, and its ability to provide an idyllic setting for yacht parties, wedding events, and other special occasions. We invite you to experience the tranquility and luxury of Glorietta Bay on your private charter, where you can anchor up and enjoy the serene surroundings and the company of your guests.

Coronado Bridge

Marvel at the iconic Coronado Bridge, a stunning architectural masterpiece that connects San Diego to Coronado Island. The Coronado Bridge in San Diego is an iconic structure that holds a rich history and serves as a significant landmark for the city. The Coronado Bridge, officially known as the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, was constructed between 1967 and 1969. It was built to connect the city of San Diego with the resort city of Coronado, spanning over the San Diego Bay.The bridge was designed by Robert Mosher and John F. Gilligan, renowned architects of their time.

Its unique and elegant design features a graceful curve and a soaring height that complements the surrounding natural beauty.The bridge stands as a testament to engineering ingenuity, with its impressive length of 2.12 miles (3.4 kilometers) and a height of approximately 200 feet (61 meters) at its highest point. It is a suspension bridge, supported by massive concrete towers and steel cables.The Coronado Bridge opened to the public on August 3, 1969. It provided a vital transportation link, enhancing connectivity between San Diego and Coronado, and significantly reducing travel time. The bridge quickly became an iconic symbol of the city, admired for its architectural beauty and engineering marvel.

Passing underneath the Coronado Bridge is a moment that evokes a mix of awe, admiration, and a sense of the bridge's significance. It's an opportunity to appreciate the architectural beauty, marvel at the engineering achievement, and feel a deep connection to the history and identity of San Diego.

Seals at the Bait Barge

Get a chance to witness adorable seals lounging and playing near the bait barge. It's a delightful sight that animal lovers will appreciate. Prepare for an extraordinary experience aboard our private or open party charters as we venture into the world of seals, sea lions, and a diverse array of marine life. Imagine pulling up just a few yards away from a bustling group of adult and juvenile seals and sea lions, who have made the bait barge their home. Discover their remarkable lifestyle, from the ease of devouring small fish beneath the barge to their mischievous habits as thieves and beggars. Additionally, immerse yourself in the vibrant ecosystem that surrounds the bait barge, teeming with fascinating birds and marine creatures. 

While we revel in this immersive experience, it is crucial to prioritize the welfare of the wildlife and maintain a respectful distance. By promoting responsible wildlife viewing, we ensure the continued preservation of these delicate ecosystems. Together, we can foster a deeper appreciation for the natural world and contribute to the conservation efforts that protect these remarkable creatures.

Point Loma

imagine the awe-inspiring experience of taking in the breathtaking panoramic views while venturing out to the tip of Point Loma.

Panoramic Views

As our charter boat glides through the San Diego Bay, you'll be treated to mesmerizing panoramic views of the city skyline. Admire the towering skyscrapers and architectural marvels that dot the shoreline, creating a stunning backdrop against the glistening waters. Cast your gaze further, and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean unfolds, offering a sense of boundless freedom and tranquility.

Historic Point Loma Lighthouse

 As we reach the tip of Point Loma, marvel at the historic Point Loma Lighthouse standing proudly atop the cliffs. This iconic landmark holds a significant place in maritime history. The Point Loma Lighthouse, also known as the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, was constructed in 1854. Its purpose was to guide ships safely into the San Diego Bay. The lighthouse served faithfully for 36 years until it was decommissioned in 1891 due to its location being frequently shrouded in fog, making it difficult for ships to see the light. Today, the lighthouse stands as a symbol of maritime heritage, allowing visitors to step back in time and explore its fascinating history.

Join us on our charter, where you can soak in the stunning views of the San Diego Bay skyline, catch glimpses of dolphins and sea lions, and explore the rich history of Point Loma and the legendary Ballast Point. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and captivating tales that surround this remarkable destination, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Military Ships

Get ready for an awe-inspiring bay cruise where you'll have the opportunity to witness an impressive array of military ships and planes. San Diego, with its notable naval presence, offers a unique vantage point to observe various military assets up close. Here's what you can expect:

Military Ships:

Aircraft Carriers: Marvel at the sheer size and power of aircraft carriers, the crown jewels of naval fleets. These colossal vessels serve as mobile airfields, capable of launching and recovering numerous aircraft.

Destroyers: Witness sleek and agile destroyers, designed for multi-mission capabilities. These vessels are equipped with advanced weaponry and systems to protect naval forces and engage in various operations.

Submarines: Experience the intrigue of spotting submarines as they navigate the depths of the bay. These stealthy vessels play a vital role in reconnaissance, surveillance, and defense.

Military Aircraft:

F-22 Raptor: Look to the skies in awe as the F-22 Raptor, a cutting-edge stealth fighter jet, showcases its unmatched speed and agility. This advanced aircraft represents the pinnacle of aerial technology. You can also spot these planes hanging out on carrier decks as well!

F-18 Hornet/Super Hornet: Admire the versatility of the F-18 Hornet and its successor, the F-18 Super Hornet. These fighter jets provide air superiority and support missions, demonstrating their impressive capabilities.

Osprey: Witness the unique V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. Its distinctive appearance makes it a standout in the sky.

Coast Guard Helicopters: Spot the Coast Guard helicopters as they conduct search and rescue operations and enforce maritime law. These versatile aircraft play a crucial role in safeguarding coastal areas.

San Diego Bay has been a strategic naval base since the early 1900s. Today, it houses the largest concentration of naval forces on the West Coast, serving as a vital hub for military operations and training. Historically, San Diego Bay was home to "Battleship Row," a term coined during World War II when a substantial number of battleships were stationed there. The bay served as a critical anchorage for these formidable vessels. Established in 1922, Naval Station San Diego remains an essential facility for the U.S. Navy. It provides logistical support, maintenance, and training for ships and submarines, contributing to the operational readiness of the fleet.

USS Midway Museum

Admire the impressive USS Midway aircraft carrier, which has been transformed into a fascinating museum showcasing naval aviation history. As a customer on our bay charter, get ready for an extraordinary experience as we approach the impressive USS Midway aircraft carrier. While our charter only allows viewing from the outside, this vantage point offers a unique and unforgettable perspective that cannot be replicated elsewhere. 

As we approach the carrier, you'll feel a sense of awe and admiration for this colossal vessel that once served as an active aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. The sheer size and presence of the USS Midway become apparent as we draw nearer, showcasing the power and grandeur of naval aviation.

Our experienced captain will navigate a small inlet next to the carrier, allowing us to get remarkably close to its port side. This proximity provides an unparalleled view of the USS Midway, from stern to bow. The slow-motion spin around the carrier allows for a leisurely and comprehensive viewing experience, ensuring you don't miss any details or remarkable features. As we exit the small viewing inlet, prepare for an extraordinary moment as we pass right underneath the flight deck. This close proximity offers a perfect view of the vintage aircraft displayed on the carrier's deck. You'll have the opportunity to see the historic planes up close, appreciating their significance in naval aviation history.

While our charter only allows for an external view, it's worth mentioning that the USS Midway has been transformed into a captivating museum. Visitors can explore the interior of the carrier, immersing themselves in the rich history of naval aviation through interactive exhibits and displays.

Witnessing the USS Midway aircraft carrier from the unique perspective of our charter boat is an exceptional experience. As we drive right up to and along the port side of the carrier, you'll be enthralled by its size, history, and the vintage aircraft on display. Although we can't enter the museum itself, our close-up and slow-motion viewing will provide lasting memories of this iconic symbol of naval aviation. Prepare to be amazed as you take in the grandeur of the USS Midway while enjoying a one-of-a-kind bay charter experience.

Maritime Museum

As a customer on one of our luxury yachts, you're in for a treat as we cruise past the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Whether you choose a daytime or sunset cruise, the experience will be memorable. As we approach the Maritime Museum of San Diego, you'll have a prime view of this unique and historical attraction from the comfort of our luxury yacht. The museum is located on the scenic waterfront and showcases an impressive collection of historic vessels that have played significant roles in maritime history.

Notable Vessels at the Maritime Museum:

Star of India:

The Star of India is the museum's crown jewel and the world's oldest active sailing ship. It was built in 1863 and has a rich history of voyages around the globe. This iron-hulled ship stands as a testament to the age of sail and offers a fascinating glimpse into maritime trade and exploration.

HMS Surprise:

Known for its role in the film "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," HMS Surprise is a replica of an 18th-century Royal Navy frigate. This majestic vessel brings to life the era of naval warfare and offers visitors a chance to step back in time to the Age of Sail.

USS Dolphin:

The USS Dolphin is a submarine rescue vessel that served in the U.S. Navy. It played a crucial role in the recovery of lost submarines and their crews. This unique vessel provides insight into the specialized operations and technology involved in submarine rescue and recovery.

B-39 Soviet Submarine:

As we pass by, you'll catch sight of the B-39 Soviet Submarine, a Soviet-era diesel-electric submarine. It offers a glimpse into the Cold War era and the technological advancements of submarine warfare. Other vessels at the museum include the Berkeley ferryboat, the Californian, and the Medea. Each vessel has its own fascinating history and significance in maritime heritage. During your cruise, you'll have an excellent view of these remarkable vessels as we sail past the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Soak in the ambiance, marvel at the historical significance, and capture memorable moments as we cruise along the waterfront.  

This is also a great activity to return to on land, as then you can go on the vessels you just saw.

Harbor Island

Get ready for an unforgettable experience as we drive past Harbor Island. Whether you choose a warm sunny day cruise or a mesmerizing sunset cruise, the views will be breathtaking. Let's explore the different lighting and ambiance you can expect:

Warm Sunny Day Cruise:

During a warm sunny day cruise, Harbor Island comes alive with vibrant colors and a lively atmosphere. The clear blue sky acts as the perfect backdrop to this picturesque island, creating a serene and idyllic scene. The sunlight dances and reflects off the shimmering waters of the bay, adding a touch of sparkling beauty to the surroundings. As we drive past Harbor Island, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the marinas, sailboats, and yachts, creating a lively and energetic ambiance.

Magnificent Sunset Cruise:

On a sunset cruise, Harbor Island transforms into a magical world of enchanting lights and captivating colors. The fading sunlight casts a warm golden glow over the island, creating a romantic and ethereal atmosphere. As the sun sets below the horizon, the city skyline and the surrounding buildings begin to illuminate, casting beautiful reflections on the water. The city lights and the twinkling harbor lights create a magnificent backdrop, setting the stage for a truly memorable experience. The combination of the vibrant colors in the sky, the glimmering lights, and the serene waters creates a sense of tranquility and awe.

Whether you choose a warm sunny day cruise or a sunset cruise, driving past Harbor Island will leave you in awe of its beauty and charm. The island's picturesque views, combined with the perfect lighting, provide a feast for the eyes and create an atmosphere of relaxation and wonder. So, sit back, relax, and soak in the magical experience as we sail past Harbor Island on our marvelous bay cruise excursion.

Shelter Island

Enjoy the scenic views of Shelter Island, lined with palm trees, marinas, and waterfront restaurants. It's the perfect spot to relax and take in the surroundings. This scenic destination offers a delightful experience, whether you choose a bright sunny summer day cruise or a warm and sultry sunset charter. Let's dive into what you can expect during each:

Bright Sunny Summer Day Cruise

On a bright sunny summer day cruise, Shelter Island comes alive in all its glory. The palm trees sway gently in the breeze, creating a tropical and relaxing ambiance.The marinas are bustling with activity, with sailboats and yachts dotting the waterfront. You'll witness the vibrant colors of the boats contrasting against the deep blue waters of the bay.

As we cruise along, you'll have the opportunity to admire the waterfront restaurants, where people dine al fresco, enjoying delicious meals with a picturesque view.The sunlight sparkles on the water, creating a mesmerizing play of light and reflections. The overall scene is vibrant, lively, and perfect for those looking to soak up the sun and enjoy a carefree day on the water.

Warm and Sultry Sunset Charter

As the day transitions into evening, a warm and sultry sunset charter to Shelter Island offers a completely different experience.The palm trees take on a golden hue, casting long shadows along the waterfront. The atmosphere becomes more relaxed and romantic, setting the stage for a memorable evening.The marinas and waterfront restaurants take on a charming glow as the soft light of the setting sun bathes the area in warm colors.You may witness the beauty of boats gently swaying in the evening breeze, creating a tranquil and soothing sight.The sunset paints the sky with brilliant hues of orange, pink, and purple, providing a breathtaking backdrop to your cruise. It's a time to savor the moment, unwind, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Whether you choose a bright sunny summer day cruise or a warm and sultry sunset charter, a bay cruise to Shelter Island offers a delightful experience. From palm trees and marinas to waterfront restaurants and stunning views, you'll be immersed in the beauty of the surroundings. So, sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey that will leave you with lasting memories of Shelter Island's scenic charm.

Downtown San Diego Skyline 

Finally, don't miss the stunning skyline of downtown San Diego as you cruise back to the harbor. The modern high-rise buildings and waterfront architecture create a picturesque backdrop. As a customer on our San Diego Yacht Charters, you're in for a breathtaking experience as you cruise back to the harbor and witness the stunning skyline of downtown San Diego. The modern high-rise buildings and waterfront architecture create a picturesque backdrop, providing an unforgettable sight. Let's explore some of the various landmark skyscrapers you can expect to see, along with their distinctive features.

One America Plaza:

One America Plaza is an iconic skyscraper that stands tall and proud in the downtown skyline. Its sleek and modern design features a triangular pinnacle, making it easily recognizable. During the daylight charter, the building's silver facade shines brightly, catching the sunlight and adding to its allure.

Coronado Bridge:

The Coronado Bridge is an architectural marvel that spans the San Diego Bay, connecting downtown San Diego with Coronado Island. This iconic bridge's graceful curve and towering height make it a prominent feature in the skyline. During the daylight charter, you'll have a clear view of the bridge, showcasing its elegant design against the backdrop of the bay. 

Manchester Grand Hyatt:

The Manchester Grand Hyatt is a striking hotel and office complex that adds grandeur to the skyline.

Its twin towers dominate the downtown area, with a stepped design that catches the eye. During the sunset charter, the glass exterior of the towers reflects the golden sunlight, creating a warm and enchanting glow.

Symphony Towers:

Symphony Towers is an architectural gem that stands out with its unique design. The building features a distinctive curved facade, setting it apart from others in the skyline. As the sun sets, the towers may be illuminated, casting a soft glow that complements the surrounding buildings.

Emerald Plaza:

Emerald Plaza is a notable presence in the skyline, thanks to its pyramid-shaped top. The building showcases a combination of glass and stone, adding to its visual appeal. During the sunset charter, the building may be bathed in warm hues as the sunlight reflects off its surfaces. 

As you cruise back to the harbor, the sight of these landmark skyscrapers, along with the Coronado Bridge, will captivate your senses. During the daylight charter, you can clearly observe the downtown area and the bridge, while on the sunset charter, the golden sunlight reflecting off the buildings creates a magical atmosphere. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the stunning skyline of downtown San Diego on our San Diego Yacht Charters, as it offers a truly remarkable and memorable experience.

As the sun begins to set and the sky transitions into twilight, the Coronado Bridge comes alive with lights. The bridge is adorned with an array of vibrant and colorful lights that accentuate its architectural beauty. These lights create a mesmerizing glow that reflects on the shimmering waters of the bay, adding to the magical ambiance. During twilight, as the sky transitions from day to night, the silhouette of the Coronado Bridge becomes prominent. The bridge's elegant curves and towering height stand out against the backdrop of the darkening sky. The contrast between the illuminated structure and the surrounding darkness creates a captivating visual spectacle.  

The lights from the Coronado Bridge are reflected on the calm waters of the bay, casting a shimmering trail of light. This reflection creates a beautiful mirror-like effect, enhancing the overall allure of the scene. The combination of the bridge's lights and their reflection on the water forms a stunning display of colors and patterns. As you approach the Coronado Bridge on your luxury charter, you'll have an excellent vantage point to admire the cityscape. The bright lights of downtown San Diego and the surrounding areas illuminate the skyline, creating a captivating panorama. The bridge acts as a gateway, framing the view of the city and enhancing its charm. 

Experiencing the Coronado Bridge at twilight or night from the perspective of a luxury charter boat provides a unique and unforgettable experience. The illuminated structure, the silhouette against the sky, the reflections on the water, and the captivating cityscape views combine to create a magical and picturesque scene. It's a sight that truly showcases the beauty and splendor of the Coronado Bridge in the evening hours.

Final Thoughts

These are just some of the highlights you can experience during a bay cruise in San Diego. Each cruise may offer a slightly different route and additional points of interest, but these sights are often included. Enjoy your adventure on the beautiful San Diego Bay!