10 Hidden Gems and Crown Jewels that Shine on Harbor Island
Harbor Island is actually a man-made peninsula, just across from the San Diego International Airport. Its convenient location combined with the beauty of San Diego Bay, make it a fun treasure trove of attractions to discover. Visit some of this destination’s most renowned attractions and explore a few of its hidden gems along the way.
1. A Harbor Island Gem
Start exploring with the classic and surprisingly popular attraction, Harbor Island Park, with many amenities for all visitors to enjoy. Take a brisk morning jog on the walkway accompanied by the sounds of the ocean, enjoy a bike ride on the scenic bike route or simply sit on the grass and take in the stunning views of San Diego Bay. This park is a favorite for yoga, an ideal viewing point the Big Bay Boom Fourth or Parade of Lights, or just a simple Sunday afternoon picnic.
2. San Diego’s Secret Beach
If you’re looking to escape the crowd, this secret beach, located just across from the Hilton on Harbor Island, might be the perfect spot for you. Park at Spanish Landing Park, off Harbor Dr., then walk along the shoreline path, and you’ll discover this small, sandy beach overlooking the marina. Bring a blanket, some food and your special someone and you’re set for a romantic picnic by the water. Feeling more adventurous? It is the perfect place to launch a kayak or paddleboard without the crowds!
3. 360-Views Paired with Delicious Food
You may have already tried some of the innovative dishes at Coasterra, but have you walked on their wrap-around path? Not many restaurant-goers know this, but if you exit through the front entrance and turn left toward the water, you’ll find a public path that leads you around the entire restaurant giving you a 360-degree view of San Diego Bay. So after having a delicious meal and cocktail, take a stroll to see the San Diego skyline, the twinkling yachts of the marina and the famous Coronado Bay Bridge as you’ve never seen them before.
4. Whale Watching in a Flash
In the mood for adventure? Step aboard a US Navy SEAL Team Rigid Inflatable Boat and set sail with Adventure R.I.B. Rides for the experience of a lifetime! Adventure R.I.B. Rides, located at the Sheraton Marina, offer year-round public and private whale watching tours. Catch a glimpse of the majestic Humpback Whales, frolicking dolphins, eager sea lions and the many other creatures thriving in the San Diego Bay in a fraction of the time of your typical whale watching tour!
5. Cruising with the Hilton on Harbor Island
Discover Harbor Island at your own pace with a peaceful bike ride along San Diego’s vibrant waterfront. Aside from the pristine pool, quality dining options and spectacular harbor views, the Hilton on Harbor Island also offers bike rentals for guests to enjoy. Conveniently located at the front entrance of the hotel, simply fill out a form and let the journey begin!
6. Soak in the Fun with SD Adventures
Need a change of pace from dining and lounging around? Make a visit to SD Adventures to enjoy some of the many water recreation activities they offer! Whether you’re looking to zip through the air on a fly board or experience a relaxing sunset paddle board session on the bay, SD Adventures is equipped for all your water recreation needs.
7. Meet the Protectors of the Waterfront
Situated on Harbor Island is the headquarters for the safekeepers of San Diego’s waterfront: the Port of San Diego Harbor Police. This dynamic force is the primary police presence on San Diego Bay, the San Diego International Airport and the surrounding waterfront. They are trained to handle a wide range of situations from drug detection to underwater dive investigations to maritime fires and much more. So, you can enjoy your stay on Harbor Island knowing your safety is in good hands.
8. A Park with Purpose
Take some time to appreciate life at San Diego’s Cancer Survivors Park. Dedicated in 2002, this park is one of many across the country that aim to deter the misconceptions about cancer and inspire those who have and haven’t been diagnosed to live life to the fullest. The park is designed to provide inspiration with life-sized sculptures, a colorful mosaic tile dome and the “Positive Mental Attitude Walk,” a cloth-covered path lined with encouraging plaques.
9. Prime Dining Destinations
A lot of restaurants in San Diego offer great views of the Bay, but only a few let you experience the Bay quite this close. Island Prime and C Level gives guests the unique opportunity to dine not just on the waterfront, but over the water. Hear the soothing sounds of waves crashing on the shore and feel the cool ocean breeze as you enjoy a bowl of the famous Island Prime Sherried Lobster Bisque at C Level’s outdoor lounge or step inside to Island Prime for delicious cocktails before an elegant dinner. Regardless of the occasion, you’re guaranteed superb dining with arguably the best skyline view in San Diego.
10. The Local’s Short Cut
San Diego is full of secret local spots for visitors to discover. Among these is a secret walking path leading from Liberty Station to Harbor Island. Located at the northern end of Spanish Landing Park underneath the North Harbor Drive bridge is a small path called Halsey Road that is frequented by local joggers and cyclists. After a day of visiting the little shops of Liberty Station take a short walk across the water to enjoy the many attractions Harbor Island has to offer from fine dining to water recreation to pristine ocean views.
Have you visited any of the above? Do you have any other favorite Harbor Island spots? Share your favorites on social media and tag @portofsandiego #wonderfront. Learn more at portofsandiego.org/wonderfront.