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Park Permit FAQ and Documents

You'll find answers to frequently asked questions and links to documents you may need to request a park permit.


Frequently Asked Questions

1) Where can I find a list of the Port of San Diego parks?

The Port of San Diego has a total of 22 parks in its jurisdiction. A list of the Port of San Diego parks can be found on our parks page. This page has information on each park, including photos, amenities, and occupancy limits. Click here to visit our parks page.

2) What are the opening and closing hours for Port of San Diego parks?

All Port of San Diego parks are open to the public from 6:00 AM - 10:30PM.

3) Which Port of San Diego parks have playground equipment?

The following Port of San Diego parks have playground equipment: 

  • Bayside Park in Chula Vista
  • Marina View Park in Chula Vista
  • Pepper Park in National City
  • Cesar Chavez Park in San Diego
  • Shelter Island Park South in San Diego
  • Spanish Landing Park West in San Diego

4) Are there any restrictions on dogs in Port of San Diego parks?

Dogs must be leashed at all times in all Port of San Diego parks.
Dogs are not allowed on Port of San Diego beaches. 

While visiting our Port of San Diego parks, please always pick up after your dog. 

At Tidelands park in Coronado, dogs are not allowed on the grass areas. 
The Port of San Diego allows dogs in its parks pursuant to SDCC 62.669 and SDCC 62.670.

5) Are there bike paths in the Port of San Diego's parks?

Bike paths are a part of most Port of San Diego parks. A number of these bike paths are along and adjacent to the Bayshore Bikeway that consists of 24 miles of bike paths and on-street sections surrounding San Diego Bay. For information visit Bayshore Bikeway

6) Is skateboarding or roller skating allowed in Port of San Diego parks?

No, skating and skateboarding are prohibited in Port of San Diego parks, including park walkways. The City of Coronado has a skate park adjacent to Coronado Tidelands Park that is open daily. For information on the skate park in Coronado, please visit the City of Coronado.

7) Can I have alcohol at my event in a Port of San Diego park?

Alcoholic beverages are allowed in most District parks and facilities with an approved District-issued permit except for Tidelands park, Ferry Landing park, and Grand Caribe park in the City of Coronado.

  • For District parks, no glass drinking containers are permitted. Alcohol beverages must be poured from glass containers into paper or plastic cups by a designated server.
  • Kegs of beer are not allowed unless special permission is obtained in the permit.

If you intend to sell alcoholic beverages, or to sell tickets or request donations for admission to an event at which alcoholic beverages are served: 

  • A non-profit organization must sell and/or serve the alcohol. 
  • The non-profit organization must receive 100% of the alcohol proceeds. 
  • The non-profit organization is required to apply for the additional permit from the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). 
  • Please contact ABC at (619) 525-4064 or 
  • Request an ABC letter from District staff thirty (30) days in advance of event, in lieu of a Harbor Police signature. 
  • Fencing or a “moat” is required for public events that are selling and/or serving alcohol.
  • Final security requirements are subject to Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) approval.

For private events, if you intend to serve alcoholic beverages without charge, admission or other consideration, the following conditions must be met: 

  •  All persons serving or otherwise dispensing alcoholic beverages must be at least 21 years of age. 
  • Designated areas for dispensing and consumption of alcohol must be noted on the site plan. Alcohol may not be taken outside of the designated area and must be separated from minors at the event. 

8) Is smoking allowed on Port of San Diego property?

Smoking and vaping are prohibited in all District parks, facilities, piers, and beaches. No person shall dispose of any cigarette, cigar, or tobacco in any place where smoking is prohibited. Additionally, the District abides by the City of San Diego Ordinance (san Diego Municipal Code Section 42.1303 and 43.1002) which forbids the sale and consumption of cannabis products in public parks and facilities. 

10) Can I stake my tent in a Port of San Diego park?

No, staking of any kind is prohibited at Port of San Diego parks. Only weighted tents are allowed.

11) Do Port of San Diego parks have beaches for swimming?

There are beaches on San Diego Bay in Port of San Diego jurisdiction at Chula Vista Bayside Park, Coronado Tidelands Park, Coronado Landing Park, and Shelter Island Central and Spanish Landing West in San Diego. Swimming is allowed at these beaches; however, there are no lifeguards on duty and anyone swimming does so at their own risk.

12) Is fishing allowed in Port of San Diego parks?

Yes, fishing is allowed at all Port of San Diego park fishing piers; a fishing license is not required.

Port of San Diego parks with fishing piers are Bayside Park in Chula Vista, Portwood Pier Plaza in Imperial Beach, Pepper Park in National City, and Shelter Island Central and Embarcadero Marina Park South in San Diego. The pier at Cesar Chavez park is for viewing only, no fishing allowed.

13) Can I moor a boat near any park? Are there facilities for boaters?

San Diego Bay has recreational vessel anchorages and moorings that are listed, along with contact information, in the Port of San Diego’s San Diego Bay Boater's Guide. Click here to go to our boating information page.

14) Does the Port of San Diego have any boat launch ramps?

Yes, there are three Port of San Diego parks with boat launch ramps: Bayfront Park in Chula Vista, Pepper Park in National City, and Shelter Island North in San Diego. Click here to go to our boating information page.

15) Does the Port of San Diego issue permits for all 22 of its parks?

The Port of San Diego issues permits for 14 of the 22 parks. The remaining parks either are not available for event use or are permitted by other entities. 

16) Do I need a permit for my event?

A permit is required for any group of more than 25 people to use a Port of San Diego park. A permit is also required for a party of one or more if you plan to serve alcohol or will hire any outside services included but not limited to an air jump, catering, party rental services, other entertainment or attractions that will be offered or used in the park.

17) What are the permit types?

The following are the types of permits issued by the District Parks & Recreation Department. Each permit type has its own requirements and applicants are strongly encouraged to review guidelines on the District’s website and/or contact Parks & Recreation staff in advance as several types of events are considered complex, multi-jurisdictional permits.

Permit Type Advance Notice Notes
Park Use Permits 30 days 999 or less individuals
Special Event Permits (SEP) 60 days 1,00 or more individuals required to submit a separate SEP Proposal Form
Moving Events 
(Less than 250 participants)
30 – 60 days Required to submit a separate moving event preliminary proposal form
Moving Events
(251 or more participants)
6 months Required to submit a separate moving event preliminary proposal form
Filming     3 days Filming and photography
Unmanned Aircraft Systems 30 days Must comply with Federal Aviation Requirements
Show Cars 60 days Required to submit a preliminary proposal form
Parking Only 10 days N/A
Recreational Activity Permit 30 days Required certificate of insurance and business license
Commercial Activity Permit 30 days Required certificate of insurance and business license
Promotional Activity Permit 30 days Required certificate of insurance and business license

NOTE: Special Event and Moving Event Permits are required to submit a separate Preliminary Proposal Form.  

Please download the form provided below and email the document to: 

For Moving Events email:
If you need assistance, please call Parks & Recreation at (619) 725-6001.

18) How do I obtain a Port of San Diego park permit?

The Port of San Diego uses an automated system to manage the permitting of events in our parks, open spaces and event facilities. 

To request an event date or check availability, please register online and complete an application through our Service Portal:

  • Click the ‘Login’ button to create a new account. This registered account will be used for your current request and any future reservations


19) How much does a permit cost?

Processing Fee 

Each application is subject to a non-refundable $35 processing fee and may be paid via credit card through the District’s online Service Portal; if the processing fee is not received within 72 hours of application submission, your requested date will be released from the calendar. The $35 processing fee will only be refunded if the reservation is cancelled by the District. 

The processing fee is considered separate from the permit fee.

Permit Fees

Permit fees vary and are calculated based on evaluation of scope and scale of the activity and venue. 

20) When do I pay for my permit?

  • Processing fee – Due within 72 hours of submitting a request 
  • All Permit Fees – Due 30 days in advance of event date
  • Security deposit – Due 60 days in advance of event date

21) What is a small private event?

    What is a small private event?

    • An event of 100 or less in attendance that does not utilize hired services such as catering, equipment rental and setup, face painting or attractions. A event may have a jumphouse and still qualify as a small, private event.
    • Common examples of small, private events include birthday celebrations, showers, family picnics and wedding ceremonies. For small, private events, no reservation is required. Instead, complete and submit a Small Private Event Application.
    • If your event does not qualify as a small, private event, then a 30 day advance reservation is required. To request a reservation, complete and submit an online Request for Availability Form.

    If you plan on having a jumphouse at your event, a Certificate of Insurance (10 KB) is required. A list of insured jumphouse providers is available.

    Do not send any permit fees when you submit your application. If the date you are requesting is available, a permitting representative will call you within three business days to advise if park is available and the permit fees that are required.

    If you have an event of any size and intend to hire a company to provide services such as catering, games, musical entertainment or other services, then an advance reservation (250 KB) is required.

    22) Will the Port of San Diego issue me a permit to hold an event on a holiday?

    Permits are not issued on holidays or holiday weekends. As a service to our community, we keep all public parks open to the public to enjoy on holidays and holiday weekends.

    23) Does my Port of San Diego park permit entitle me to a specific area within the park?

    No, a permit grants permission for an activity to be held in a District park; however, a permit does not guarantee a specific footprint within any park. Park areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the event. The permit holder may designate event boundaries if a representative is present at the site. Boundaries may not block walkways, driveways, or parking areas, and the size of the reserved boundaries must be in accordance with the permitted group size. Playgrounds within District parks may not be included in the event boundaries. 

    For District facility permits, the permit will define the specific areas approved for use.

    24) Does the Port of San Diego provide electricity or water for events at its parks?

    The Port of San Diego does not provide water or electricity for private or public events. Electricity at events is usually provided by rented generators, and water must be purchased from a service provider.

    25) Does the park permit include use of tables and chairs, or other event equipment?

    No. An approved permit provides permission to use the property to conduct your proposed event. All items associated with the set-up of your event are handled by the applicant or event organizer. 

    Please refer to "Do I need insurance to host an event on Port of San Diego property?" for details associated with the use of sub-contractors and required proof of insurance.

    26) Is a security deposit required to hold an event in a Port of San Diego park?

    Depending on the scope of the activity, a security deposit may be required. All or any portion of the security deposit shall be available unconditionally to the District for the purpose of cleaning, restoring, or repairing damages to the property after the permitted event. 

    27) Do I need insurance to hold an event in a Port of San Diego park?

    No, you are not required to have insurance to hold an event in a Port of San Diego park. 
    A certificate of insurance (COI) is required of all businesses that provide services onsite for your event.

    Applicant must provide a COI with coverage naming the “San Diego Unified Port District” as an additional insured and listing the District in the certificate holder box. 

    28) If a certificate of insurance (COI) is required, what is the minimum coverage needed?

    Depending on the size and scope of your event, the minimum is $1,000,000 per occurrence with a $2,000,000 for property damage.

    For larger events, the minimum is generally, $2,000,000 per occurrence with a $4,000,000 aggregate. 

    For all activities where alcoholic beverages will be served by a service provider or sold on District property, Liquor Liability coverage in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence is required. Host Liquor Liability is insufficient. See below for additional requirements regarding Alcohol and Beverage Control Board (ABC) licensing. 

    29) How do I know my application has been submitted?

    An email will be sent to your registered email address containing your confirmation number.

    How do I check the status of my application?

    30) What are the consequences of holding an event in a Port of San Diego park without a permit?

    Hosting an event on Port of San Diego property without a permit is a misdemeanor, subject to a citation from the San Diego Harbor Police and or expulsion from the property.