Exploring Harbor Island

Swing by Harbor Island for Some Sunshine Fun

Photo by Port of San Diego

San Diego's Harbor Island is a must-see, beachside destination. Surrounded by the San Diego Airport, Downtown, and Shelter Island, this peninsula of land was named Harbor Island for its location in the San Diego Bay. Only two miles long, the strip of land may be a small location, but it makes up for it with the immense attractions. 

Numerous marinas, restaurants, and even upscale hotels are located on the peninsula, drawing in an atmosphere of pleasure. On the (perhaps poorly-named) “island,” there are plenty of grassy areas for seaside picnics or simply enjoying the salty air. Recreational joggers, bicyclists, and even dog walkers can also enjoy the skyline views and gorgeous location as they get some exercise. Harbor Island Park is located on the west end of the peninsula and is the main area for recreational activities and events. Green grass and plenty of seating areas encourage visitors to relax and take in the beautiful panoramic scenery, including a great view of Coronado Island. Bring a soccer ball or even a frisbee, and make it a day trip full of fun.

There’s a lot to do on the island; it's almost weird how much they packed into such a limited space. Fishing, picnicking, and taking strolls are among the most common activities at Harbor Island. Water sports and rentals are also a must, considering the proximity to the bay. In the summer, the park celebrates the Fourth of July in a big way. People set up lawn chairs and lay out picnics in order to view the exclusive annual Harbor Island fireworks in a community setting. Some boat owners even get into the spirit and display their boats decorated in lights during the winter Parade of Lights exhibition. Once again, a large turnout is always expected for this event, which is a family friendly affair.

Considering the breathtaking view the peninsula holds of San Diego, it is no surprise that local businesses would clamor for a spot at Harbor Island. There are a few hotels boasting gorgeous panoramic oceanic and cityscape views. The Hilton San Diego Airport Hotel is an incredible resort on Harbor Island. Modern rooms matched with awe-inspiring views have guests checking in constantly.

Accompanied with excellent accommodations, the dining on the island is exquisite. Seafood options as well as fine dining are both on the menu as you watch the Pacific Ocean. Fresh seafood and fine steaks collide at Island Prime, located on the peninsula. You can’t go wrong with their delectable choice of cuisine (and signature drinks!) as you are seated near an ocean-view window.

San Diego Harbor Island

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is another noteworthy restaurant on site, serving up juicy seafood as well as American classics. Similar to the other restaurants, window seats are a must, but this particular location has a rooftop outdoor seating section perfect for soaking up the sun and sea air while taking in those views.

Harbor Island offers several different marinas, so boaters can tether up straight to the peninsula’s shores with ease. Naturally, a yacht club would seem appropriate - given the marinas and the proximity to the ocean - and so the Harbor Island Yacht Club was born. Lessons and rentals are offered, consisting of top quality boats and instruction. Whether you want to renew your love of sailing or learn a new skill, there are many options for all skill levels to enjoy a day out on the water. 

Although the reason for Harbor Island's creation is unclear, this man-made “island” was formed in 1961 through the use of harbor dredgings. Because of its somewhat precarious position near the Pacific, no permanent residents are allowed to call Harbor Island home. So the next time you’re on your way to the airport or even passing through on your way to Downtown San Diego, take a quick detour to Harbor Island and enjoy the views!.