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Dive into San Diego Marine Life

While you’re staying seaside at Ocean Park Inn, why not explore the sea? San Diego is known for its beautiful weather, great surfing and natural harbors. We’ve found options for you explore and view marine life or go out to sea! During your stay, spend a day whale watching, set sail on a short day-cruise or lounge on the best local beaches.

Whale Watching Tours

Photo Courtesy of Allison Randolph

Photo Courtesy of Goldstar

According to Explore San Diego, between the months of December and April, gray whales migrate over 20,000 miles from Alaska to Baja, California: the longest mammal migration in the world. In the warmer waters, the female gray whales give birth and the young learn how to swim before they migrate north again in the spring.

San Diego’s location is perfect for spotting the pods of two or three whales breaching the surface of the water on their journey south. Some of the best spots to whale watch are from Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma.

If you’re interested in getting out on the water to see the beautiful animals for yourself, sign up for one of the daily whale watching excursions with Birch Aquarium, Harbor Cruises, or Adventure Rib Rides!

Harbor Cruises

Photo Courtesy of Flagship Cruises and Events

If you want to get out on the bay, a harbor cruise is a perfect way to view the San Diego skyline and enjoy some fresh sea air. Depending on whether you’d like to see a full tour of the bay or a one-hour of the North or South Bay, both Flagship and Hornblower cruises offer daily one to two-hour tours around the San Diego Bay. Boats depart five to six times daily.

Take advantage of the endless photo opportunities and a day to learn about San Diego’s history. Some of the sights you will see include: all kinds of ships, sailing under the Coronado Bridge, passing by Coronado Island and naval base, and seeing the USS Midway. If you’re lucky, you may spot some marine animals along the way!

Sea Lion Tours

Photo Courtesy of Destination Coupon

Photo Courtesy of Kristi Mehes

Seals and sea lions are friends of San Diego and love to come out and play. Join San Diego Seal Tours, which offer 90-minute, narrated cruises of the bay. The ships depart from Seaport Village and Embarcadero, where you can board the ships—about a half hour drive from the Ocean Park Inn. For more information on what San Diego Seal Tours offer, click here.

Local Beaches

Longing for a day in the sun? The locals know the best beaches, so check out the few we’ve marked for you!

Pacific Beach

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Melville

Pacific Beach is a must-visit! You can catch some waves and relax in the sand less than 5 minutes away from OPI! Walk along the 3 miles of boardwalk, try some local cuisine, and embrace the beach atmosphere for the day if that’s your style. For more information on what Pacific Beach has to offer, click here.

Mission Beach Park

Photo Courtesy of John Bahu

Mission Beach, neighbor to Pacific Beach, offers just as much fun and sand for a beach day adventure. Lay close to the water with a packed lunch and beach toys or take a spin on the Belmont Park coaster nearby! There are plenty of free public parking lots within walking distance of downtown and the beach.

South Mission Beach

Photo Courtesy of

Lounge and relax in the sun or pack a lunch and grab a volleyball! South Mission Beach is a popular spot for games of pick-up basketball and volleyball, open fire pits for s’mores or barbecuing, and lunch or dinner at one of the picnic tables.

Here’s a tip: there’s free public parking lot close to the fire pits.

La Jolla Cove

Photo Courtesy of La Jolla Water Sports

At La Jolla Cove, a few furry friends may join you during your swim. Sea lions and other marine life frequent the water, so bring your snorkel gear with you! La Jolla Cove is nestled among the cliffs with beautifully, clear water. Don’t miss your opportunity to relax and have some fun in the sun! Parking on the street could be a bit crowded, so you may have to find a parking garage close-by.

Windansea Beach

Photo Courtesy of Luxury SoCal Reality

Also located in La Jolla, Windansea Beach is known for its clear water and surf breaks that created an underwater reef. If you’re looking for a place to lay out and catch some rays, this is the perfect beach for you. The sandstone rocks create an intimate setting for your beach day. Just a heads up, lifeguard services of San Diego warms swimmers to be cautious when exiting the water because of the reefs.

There’s a small parking lot close to the stairs down to the beach, but it’s more common to park on the street in the neighborhood close by.

Coronado Beach

Photo Courtesy of

According to the Travel Channel, Coronado Beach has been recognized as “one of the 10 best family beaches in North America!” Not only can you lay in the sand, you can add to the fun by renting a bike for one or the whole family! Wheel Fun Rentals at the Hotel Del Coronado rents bikes by hour, half day, or full day starting at $15. You can bike along the boardwalk or along the streets of Coronado Island.

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