Travel Destinations

San Diego - By Sea or By Land

West Coast
|
April 2017
|
By
Tom
McFadden

There's just something about California. It's the land of dreams that beckons the dreamers, the great frontier promising glamour and glory. It's the height of American beauty the majestic purple mountains and the shining sea. And San Diego, the state's second-largest and undeniably most pleasant city, is its crowning jewel.San Diego's reputation for weather, of course, precedes it. With an average daily temperature of 70 degrees (which includes the chilly winter months, when the daytime temps can average as low as 65 degrees), it's no mystery why San Diego is called America's Finest City. Days bathed in constant brilliant sunshine give way to cool, clear, sea breeze-kissed nights.Today's San Diego is an amalgamation of its storied past “ diverse in culture, cuisine and community. It can feel cozy, metropolitan and wild in the span of a single day. San Diego has something for everyone. A city filled with common sensibilities but uncommon paths, one can live in the area for decades and still discoversomething new every day. So, where, you might ask, does a visitor start? The answer anywhere.

FROM THE SEA

Chase tuna along the nine-mile bank, stretching from Point Loma to Mexican waters. Maneuver your vessel around 40-ton migrating grey whales as they breach and spout. Watch pods of dolphins at recess, and curious seals search massive kelp beds for an afternoon snack all before you enter the harbor. Approach San Diego south of Point Loma, and encounter Navy SEALS training off of Coronado Island. Enter San Diego Bay and cruise along tranquil waters adjacent to a stunning city skyline. Pass underneath one of America's great warships the USS Midway and look up at its impressive hull from an entirely unique vantage point. Enter San Diego from the north at Mission Bay, and sail right into the heart of the city's coastal culture, where surf, sun and fun stretch from the eclectic Ocean Beach through Mission and Pacific beach, where young revelers and old surf legends mix and mingle.

ON LAND

San Diego's geography is as diverse as its people. Stretching from its pristine coast through its valleys, mountains and deserts, there is truly something for everyone. San Diego's craggy coastline features long sandy beaches, stunning cliffs and hidden gems like LaJolla's Marine Street beach. After working up an appetite surfing world-class waves, hit one of the coast's hundreds of taco shops for a fish taco the city's signature dish. If surfing's not your thing, play a round of golf at Torrey Pines, the oceanfront, city-owned, world class course that hosts an annual PGA tournament. Of course, no trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to the zoo, widely considered the country's finest. The city's bustling downtown including the famed Gaslamp District offers endless options for entertainment. Catch a Padres game and enjoy a craft beer at PETCO Park, visit the USS Midway Museum and take a stroll along the Embarcadero.San Diego offers an adventure for every explorer. You never know what you'll discover. The only guarantee is that you'll be planning your next trip to America's Finest City the moment you leave port.

WHERE TO DOCK

  • Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina situated on Mission Bay, the upscale marina offers dockage for vessels up to 80 feet along with free WiFi, bathroom and shower facilities, and resort room service to your slip.
  • Kona Kai Marina located on the tip of Shelter Island, the marina offers 500 slips for vessels up to 250 feet in length and is only 10 minutes from downtown.

WHERE TO DINE

  • Barefoot Bar & Grill Pull your boat right up to this Mission Bay classic, where it's not uncommon to sit next to an English Bulldog at the bar. Enjoy a well-curated craft beer list and coastal-inspired fare. (1404 Vacation Rd.)
  • Jimmy's Famous American Tavern J-FAT is a can't miss for lovers of traditional, hearty American food. With some of the region's most inventive burger combinations, J-FAT is not for the faint of stomach. Located in the Point Loma Marina, the restaurant offers a dock and dine option for visiting vessels. (4990 N Harbor Dr.)
  • Bertrand at Mr. A's Located 12 stories up on the top of a downtown high rise, this San Diego legend offers 360-degree views of the city and the bay. The constantly changing menu offers everything from mac and cheese to pan sautéed line-caught swordfish. (2550 Fifth Ave.)
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Added bonus: Sensitivity to the environment was not overlooked in construction. Engineers took a sustainable approach when they elevated all structures above the flood plain, installed LED lights and upgraded all systems to today’s energy-efficient levels.

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Camden, Maine
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True boaters say the real Maine coast doesn’t start until you reach Penobscot Bay. This is “Down East” from Kennebunkport and Portland. The dramatic stretch of coastline from Camden to Mount Desert Island sparkles with granite shores, dotted with archipelagos of pine-tree covered islands and mountains cascading into the sea. This region offers some of the best cruising ground in the world.

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You can hike, bike or drive the toll road up Mount Battie in Camden Hill State Park, which encompasses 5,500 acres and 30 miles of trails. Your reward is spectacular panoramic views of the harbor and Penobscot Bay below.

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WHERE TO DOCK

Camden Public Landing
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207-691-4314

Contact the harbormaster for overnight slips, limited but in town, and moorings throughout the harbor.

Lyman-Morse at
Wayfarer Marine
207-236-7108

Across the harbor on Camden’s east shores, this revamped marina is a half-mile walk to town, with new docks and a marina facility, home of Lyman-Morse Boatyard and 30 slips plus moorings.

WHERE TO DINE

40 Paper
207-230-0111

Relish artful cuisine locally sourced from farmers, fishermen and “foragers.” In an historic wool mill in downtown Camden, it’s comfy but chic. Savor octopus, lamb, mussels, salmon and more with fresh produce and creative sides. Save room for dessert made from scratch.

Peter Otts on the Water
207-236-4032

Get your chowder and Maine lobster fix from Chef Peter. This classic setting overlooking the harbor is a Camden staple you “ott” not miss. Open for lunch or dinner.

Franny’s Bistro
207-230-8199

With a neighborhood feel, Franny’s serves up lobster fritters, crab cakes, shrimp dumplings and land-lubber faves, too. A fun menu in a cozy setting.

Bagel Café
207-236–2661

For fresh-brewed morning coffee and daily “boiled then baked” bagels or breakfast sammies served all day.

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Jamestown, Rhode Island
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Located on Conanicut Island, Gould Island and Dutch Island, Jamestown welcomes boaters to Narragansett Bay.  Its southernmost point is on Gould Island and marked by Beavertail Lighthouse and State Park. The northernmost point is marked by Conanicut Island Lighthouse.  While Conanicut Island is the second largest island on Narragansett Bay, it is near the western mainland in Kingston, and Newport lies to the east on Aquidneck Island.  Hop on the Jamestown Newport Ferry to get the lay of the land and sea.

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WHERE TO DOCK

Conanicut Marina
401-423-5820

This full-service marina has a ships store/chandlery, gift shop, extensive dockage and a large mooring field.  It’s located in the heart of town overlooking Newport and the Pell Bridge, but bring your fishing poles for the kids.

Dutch Harbor Boat Yard
401-423-0630

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Safe Harbor Jamestown Boatyard
401-423-0600

Jamestown Boatyard is renowned for excellent workmanship on all types of boats.  It also has a large mooring field and is in a beautiful location on the East Passage.

WHERE TO DINE

Slice of Heaven
401-423-9866

This family-owned café and bakery with an outdoor patio is an ideal spot for breakfast and lunch, especially if you’re looking for tasty gluten-free and vegetarian options.

J22 Tap & Table
401-423-3709

This lively, year-round restaurant specializes in classic American cuisine and local seafood dishes such as New England clam chowder, lobster tail and seared yellowfin tuna while accommodating meat eaters with wings, burgers and steak tacos.

Village Hearth Bakery & Café
401-423-9282

Take a seat inside this rustic eatery or outside on the patio to enjoy wood-fired bread, pizzas and pastries with a cool beer or wine.  To start your day with a smile, order a cup of the eco-friendly coffee.

Bay Voyage Restaurant
401-560-7979

Inside the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn, this casual dining establishment presents a seasonal menu of American cuisine standards and seafood with fresh ingredients and a stellar view of Narragansett Bay.

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