The Most Awesome Ocean Activities in San Diego

man on jet ski with sailboat in the background

Whether you’ve been a strong swimmer your whole life, or you’ve always been afraid of dark water, San Diego has so many options for you to get out and explore the Pacific. We are lucky to have tons of small businesses that offer unique ways to get outside in the sun. Here’s 8 of the coolest ocean activities in San Diego you have to try!


2 women on hydrobikes in Mission Bay
2 women on hydrobikes in Mission Bay

One of the most unique additions to Mission Bay is Hydrobikes! This is one of my absolute favorites that you won’t find anywhere else in San Diego. These are the perfect activity for all ages and all water skill levels. Picture a buoyant, speedy, stationary bike. They’re impossible to tip or sink and are perfect for family activities. Ages 8+ can ride their own bicycle, and anyone younger can join an older biker for free. Dogs and cats also ride for free!

Cycle through the canals of Mission Bay’s clearest water and see tons of sea life up close including sea lions, garibaldi fish, and tons of  pelicans. Rides are incredibly affordable at only $25 for 90 minutes of riding. I highly recommend going out early in the morning or around sunset for the best views. Check out my video of the experience on Instagram.


woman on pedal boat in San Diego

Another one of the cool ocean activities in San Diego is pedal boating with EcoBoat rentals. Located on Shelter Island in Point Loma, this activity will take you through the harbor and show you a peek of the downtown San Diego skyline. A super relaxing activity with great views of the city, gigantic yachts docked nearby, and sea lions that will swim up close to you if you’re lucky!

You can bring your own drinks, snacks, and up to 4 people on board and get a 60 minute rental for $45. Dogs and other pets ride free and are given life jackets too.

Sail San Diego

man and woman on sailboat
group of 7 friends on a sailboat

If you’re looking for a unique, small group activity, check out Sail San Diego! Choose from a variety of tours from whale watching, to sunset sails, or private sails where you and your friends get the whole boat to yourselves. One of the best parts is that snacks, drinks, and even beer are all included in the price!

Hop on a cruise with them from Shelter Island and explore the San Diego coast with a talented captain. Tickets are as low as $69 per person for a 2 hour sail, or rent the whole boat for up to 6 people for $550 total (~$90 pp). A truly unique experience that makes you feel so fancy!

Hot Tub Cruisin’

What’s better than a party? A HOT TUB PARTY! Get in a pontoon boat with a hot tub on top with up to 12 of your friends in Mission Bay! My family rents one of these at least twice every summer and bring tons of drinks on board to chill out for the day. This is one of the most perfect ocean activities in San Diego for birthday parties, bachelorettes, or just time to get outside in the sun with your friends!

You can rent the boat from Mission Bay Sports Center Hot Tub Cruisin’ for $500 for 2 hours (~$40 pp). You drive the boat yourself and can bring your own snacks and drinks on board for a self-captained booze cruise on the bay.

Gondola Ride

red gondola seat in Venice

If you’re feeling fancy or want to pretend you’re on vacation in Italy, take a gondola ride through the Coronado Island canals. Make San Diego feel magical and really impress your date with a 50 minute guided cruise, complete with a singing gondolier. Definitely the most romantic of the ocean activities in San Diego.

Each cruise costs $119 – $139 for 2 people ($20 extra for additional passengers). The Coronado Gondola Company also offers a $420 cruise for up to 13 people or proposal packages with a photographer!

Jet Skis

man on jet ski with sailboat in the background

Do you have a need for speed? Rent a jet ski in Mission Bay for just $95 for 2 people! After a quick lesson from the Mission Bay Sports Center, you’ll be able to take the ski out and explore miles of the bay at high speed. (You must be 18+ to rent) Best for sunny days so you can get wet! You can also rent a jet ski from Seaforth Rentals on Coronado Island for $75/hour (must be 21+ to rent) for a really cool view of downtown San Diego.

La Jolla Kayaks

orange kayak on cloudy sea

What makes kayaking in San Diego unique is the sea caves and California Sea Lion population that can be found in La Jolla Cove. There are several companies that run kayaking tours or rentals in the area but my two favorites are Everyday California or La Jolla Kayak. You can usually find discounts for both of these places on Groupon too!

Prices vary between single and double kayaks but are about $45-$90 for a 1 hour tour. OR find the Groupon discounts for prices as low as $25 for a 90 minute rental or $45 for a double kayak 90 minute guided tour.


man and woman on paddleboards

The more adventurous and confident swimmers will enjoy SUPs (Stand Up Paddleboards) at various locations throughout the city from Point Loma, Mission Bay, La Jolla, and even Carlsbad. This is one of the cheapest ocean activities in San Diego and can be even cheaper with Groupon.

If it’s your first time on a paddleboard, I would recommend starting in calmer waters of Mission Bay with Mission Bay Sports Center. You can even take a 90 minute SUP lesson at La Jolla Shores with Everyday California for $70 and learn how to surf on your paddleboard. Most 1 hour rentals are $20 city-wide but you can find prices as low as $12 for a 2 hour rental on Groupon.

America’s Finest City has no shortage of water activities for all ages and skill levels perfect for vacations or just a sunny day residents want to enjoy. If you want to know about more things to do in San Diego, check out this list of brunch spots or the monthly activity lists! These ocean activities in San Diego will keep you and your family busy for days! Enjoy!

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  1. Lisa on April 3, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    I only just today followed all of your social media sites! I live about two hours away from San Diego but still wasn’t aware of all of the awesome locations you mention!

    • Megan on April 4, 2021 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks for checking it out Lisa! Hope this helps you plan future trips! 🙂

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