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The Best Places to Dock and Dine in San Diego (and How to Get There)

Leave the car at the marina and sail right up to San Diego’s best waterfront eateries


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Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill

When Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542, he clearly realized this: It’s a lovely place to drop anchor and have a bite to eat. All these years later, it still is!

Arguably it’s even better now given that you can dock a boat steps from dozens of restaurants around San Diego Bay—and 60 if you include Mission Bay.

The point is this: Sunning yourself on the deck of a boat beats sweating in traffic. Throwing a line over a cleat beats scrapping for a parking spot. If you don’t have a boat, make a friend who does. Or take some of our other advice below, where you’ll also find everything you need to know about showing up dockside for a meal and sailing off into the sunset.

 

How it Works:

This page and this page have comprehensive listings of every eatery that boasts a dock for a parking lot, listed by area where you’ll be sailing, whether it’s the Bay, Coronado Island, Shelter Island, Mission Bay, South Bay, and so on. Many but not all restaurant docks are first-come, first-served, and prices vary; call the restaurant or marina ahead of time to find out.

 

Where to Go:

Dock-and-dine options include notable spots like Bali Hai, Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill, Joe’s Crab Shack, Quarterdeck, Humphreys, Pizza Nova, and Island Prime. Too many to name them all. Pick your pleasure and cast off.

 

Get Creative:

If you don’t have a boat, these are your best options:

  1. Throw down for fractional ownership of a boat, or a membership to Freedom Boat Club, which gives you access to a big fleet of pleasure craft.   
  2. Download Airbnb-style apps for boats like GetMyBoat.
  3. It would be nice if water taxis crisscrossed the San Diego Bay on demand. Alas, they do not. The boat-less should consider a stand up paddleboard. Or a pair of swim fins. Or one of those inflatable donuts that are all the rage on Instagram.
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