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Have a Weekend to Getaway? Make Plans for San Diego or Mission Bay

San Diego is a great place to enjoy a vacation on the water, with watersports, restaurants and bistros in both Mission Bay and San Diego Bay waiting to make your weekend or extended vacation a memorable experience. Whether you arrive by land or water, you will find abundant accommodations to make your visit a memorable experience.

For boaters coming from points north, you will find the approaches to both bays fairly easy to negotiate, though the much larger San Diego Bay has multiple marinas and two anchorages to accommodate you.

The entrance to Mission Bay lies only 6.5 miles north of Point Loma, the entrance to San Diego Bay, but this inlet is much smaller and more challenging to navigate than the much larger San Diego Bay. If you are arriving by sailboat, the only place you might find anchorage space is in North Mariner’s Basin, which lies just north of the mooring field immediately west of Mission Point Park about half way up the channel. Most motor vessels are able to pass under the bridges of West Mission Bay Drive and Ingraham Street, allowing them room for a leisurely day cruise and perhaps some day anchoring, but there are no overnight anchorages beyond North Mariner’s Basin.

When approaching the entrance to Mission Bay from the south, stay at least a mile, perhaps more, off Point Loma to avoid getting tangled up in kelp. An intense heat wave in 2014-2015 wiped out 90% of the kelp bed, which used to extend some five miles off the point. However, that long forest could gradually grow back, so proceed with caution.

Inside San Diego Bay, you have access to two anchorages: Glorietta Bay, which is southwest of the Coronado Bridge (200 feet clearance) and La Playa Cove, located near the San Diego Yacht Club in the northern reaches of the bay. An advantage of La Playa Cove is its close access to chandleries, boat services and other shore-side amenities.

Anchoring in both Mission Bay and San Diego Bay is permitted for only 72 hours at a time. Making a reservation a few days before arriving at either anchorage is highly recommended in order to ensure availability. Apply for anchoring at either La Playa Cove or Glorietta Bay online through reservations.portofsandiego.org/boating.

Whether you arrive by sea or land, a weekend in San Diego promises lots of fun with plenty of sites to see and mild, Mediterranean weather to keep you comfortable. Restaurants and interesting sites line the bay, offering spectacular views of yachts and U.S. Navy vessels underway.

The Kona Kai San Diego Resort, nestled on the southern tip of Shelter Island, is a great place to watch boats under sail on the bay while you lie next to the pool sipping a margarita. Take a long walk or rent a bicycle to get some exercise in the fresh ocean air while exploring the peninsula.

Also make time to visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo and observe chimpanzees, gorillas, armadillos, giant pandas and jaguars – the list goes on. Plan to dine at the zoo and enjoy “chef-inspired plates, a patio with a private waterfall and a full-service bar.” While you’re at it, stop by Shop Zoo and pick out a T-shirt and few curious keepsakes to remember your fun day!

If you want to take in the sights in San Diego Bay from the water, book a harbor sightseeing cruise to see yachts crisscrossing the bay and ships moored in Naval Base San Diego. Prices and trip durations vary, so search the internet to find the best package and purchase tickets before you arrive.

One sight you won’t want to miss is the World War II aircraft carrier USS Midway. Named for the Battle of Midway, the ship’s name honors American service members who won the first major World War II victory in the early months of the war. Nearly a quarter million enlisted members and officers served aboard the carrier before it was finally retired in 1992, nearly half a century after she entered service.

As you ascend the main ramp of Midway, taking in the myriad side decks and radio antennas big and small, you will marvel not only at the sheer size of the top deck but at the variety of historic fighter jets and other aircraft, all looking as if they are prepared to spring back to life and engage in aerial combat right before your eyes.

You then arrive at the Battle of Midway Theater to view “Voices of Midway,” a history of the brief conflict that inspired the name of the carrier launched in 1946. The film follows the main events of the Battle of Midway, where American losses included nearly 400 troops, one carrier, one destroyer and 144 aircraft.

Midway has a small but well-stocked souvenir concession, the Jetshop, where you can pick out a T-shirt and maybe a shot glass to remember your visit. If you want a bite to eat, try out the short order menu of Café 41, which offers a variety of short order meals and soft drinks.

The sheer number and variety of things to do on and around Mission Bay and San Diego boggle the imagination. Set aside a weekend to sail, drive or fly to San Diego and enjoy an unforgettable vacation!

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