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San Diego Travel Guide

Tours

Bike Tours

Biking is very popular in San Diego. You can find trails along the beach, in Mission Bay, and throughout the mountains. Pedal your way around San Diego with the Bike Revolution. Secret San Diego, by Where You Want To Be Tours, offers walking tours as well as tours on bike and Segway.

Contacts

Secret San Diego. Taking in spectacular views of the beach, bay, and skyline, these bike rides, offered by Where You Want to Be Tours, cover everything from historic neighborhoods to historic Highway 101. The walking tours and Rent-a-Local custom tours are popular options as well. 611 K St., #B224, San Diego, CA, 92101. 619/917–6037. www.wheretours.com. From $45.

Boat Tours

Flagship Cruises and Events and Hornblower Cruises & Events both operate one- and two-hour harbor cruises departing from the Broadway Pier. No reservations are necessary for the tours, which cost $20-$25; both companies also do dinner cruises ($55-$70) and brunch cruises. These companies also operate during whale-watching season, from December to March. Other fishing boats that do whale watches in season include H&M Landing and Seaforth Boat Rentals.

Contacts

Flagship Cruises and Events. One- and two-hour tours of the San Diego harbor loop north or south from the Broadway Pier throughout the day. Other offerings include dinner and dance cruises, brunch cruises, and winter whale-watching tours. 990 N. Harbor Dr., Embarcadero, San Diego, CA, 92132. 619/234–4111. www.flagshipsd.com. From $23.

H&M Landing. From mid-December to March, this outfitter offers three-hour tours to spot migrating gray whales just off the San Diego coast. From June to October, six-hour cruises search for the gigantic blue whales that visit the California coast in summer. Winter gray whale cruises are offered daily; summer blue whale tours are available Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. 2803 Emerson St., San Diego, CA, 92106. 619/222–1144. www.hmlanding.com. From $45.

Hornblower Cruises & Events. One- and two-hour cruises around San Diego harbor depart from the Embarcadero several times a day and alternate between the northern and southern portion of the bay. If you're hoping to spot some sea lions, take the North Bay route. Dinner and brunch cruises are also offered, as well as whale-watching tours in winter. 970 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA, 92101. 619/234–8687 or 800/668–4322. www.hornblower.com. From $23.

San Diego Seal Tours. This amphibious tour drives along the Embarcadero before splashing into the San Diego Harbor for a cruise. The 90-minute tours depart from Seaport Village year-round, and from outside the Maritime Museum seasonally. Call for daily departure times and locations. 500 Kettner Blvd., Embarcadero, San Diego, CA, 92101. 619/298–8687. www.sealtours.com. $39.

Seaforth Boat Rentals. For those seeking a private tour on the water, this company can provide a skipper along with your boat rental. Options include harbor cruises, whale-watching, and sunset sails. Seaforth has five locations and a diverse fleet of sail and motorboats to choose from. 1641 Quivira Rd., Mission Bay, San Diego, CA, 92109. 888/834–2628. www.seaforthboatrental.com. From $225.

Bus and Trolley Tours

Old Town Trolley Tours takes you to 11 sites, including Old Town, Seaport Village, Horton Plaza and the Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado, Little Italy, and El Prado in Balboa Park. The tour is narrated, and for the price of the ticket ($36 for adults, $18 for children 4-12; under 4, free) you can get on and off as you please at any stop. The trolley leaves every 30 minutes, operates daily, and takes two hours to make a full loop.

DayTripper, San Diego Scenic Tours, and Five Star Tours do one-day or multiple-day bus tours of attractions in Southern California.

Contacts

DayTripper. Single- and multiday trips throughout Southern California, the Southwest, and Baja depart from San Diego year-round. Popular day trips include the Getty Museum, and theater performances in Los Angeles. Call or check website for pickup locations. 619/299–5777 or 800/679–8747. www.daytripper.com. From $75.

Five Star Tours. Private and group sightseeing bus tour options around San Diego and beyond include everything from the San Diego Zoo to Brewery tours and trips to Baja, Mexico. 1050 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92101. 619/232–5040. www.fivestartours.com. From $48.

Old Town Trolley Tours. Combining points of interest with local history, trivia, and fun anecdotes, this hop-on, hop-off trolley tour provides an entertaining overview of the city and offers easy access to all the highlights. The tour is narrated, and you can get on and off as you please. Stops include Old Town, Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado, Little Italy, and Balboa Park. The trolley leaves every 30 minutes, operates daily, and takes two hours to make a full loop. San Diego, CA. 619/298–8687. www.trolleytours.com/san-diego. From $35.10.

San Diego Scenic Tours. Half- and full-day bus tours of San Diego and Tijuana depart daily, and some include a harbor cruise. Tours depart from several hotels around town. San Diego, CA. 858/273–8687. www.sandiegoscenictours.com. From $38.

Go Car Tours

These miniature talking cars offer the benefits of a guided tour, but taken at your own pace. Tour the city in a bright yellow three-seater, equipped with GPS navigation and accompanying narration. Go Cars Tours offers two routes: choose from Downtown, Balboa Park, Uptown, and Old Town or Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument, and Ocean Beach. The tours can be driven straight through, or visitors can park and explore any of the sights en-route. Rentals are $49 for the first hour, $39 for the second hour, and $29 for the third through fifth hours. There is a maximum daily charge of five hours if you want to keep the car for the entire day.

Contacts

Go Car Tours (2100 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92101. 800/914–6227. www.gocartours.com.)

Walking Tours

Several fine walking tours are available on weekdays or weekends; upcoming walks are usually listed in the San Diego Reader.

Coronado Walking Tours offers an easy 90-minute stroll ($12; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at 11 am) through Coronado's historic district, with departures from the Glorietta Bay Inn. Make reservations.

On Saturday at 10 am and 11:30 am, Offshoot Tours conducts free, hour-long walks starting at the Visitor Center through Balboa Park that focus on history, palm trees, and desert vegetation.

Urban Safaris, led by longtime San Diego resident Patty Fares, are two-hour-long Saturday walks ($10) through interesting neighborhoods such as Hillcrest, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma. The tours, which always depart from a neighborhood coffeehouse, focus on art, history, and ethnic eateries. Reservations are required.

The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation leads two-hour historical walking tours of the downtown historic district from the William Heath Davis House on Saturday at 11 am ($15).

Contacts

Coronado Walking Tours. Departing from the Glorietta Bay Inn at 11 am Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, this 90-minute stroll through Coronado's historic district takes in the island’s mansions, old Tent City, the Hotel del Coronado, and the castles and cottages that line the beautiful beach. Reservations are recommended. 1630 Glorietta Blvd., San Diego, CA. 619/435–5993. coronadowalkingtour.com. $12.

Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. Two-hour walking tours of the downtown historic district depart from the William Heath Davis House at 11 am Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. 410 Island Ave., San Diego, CA, 92101. 619/233–4692. www.gaslampquarter.org. $15.

Balboa Park Offshoot Tours. On Saturday at 10 am, free, hour-long walks start from the Balboa Park Visitor Center. The tour's focus rotates weekly, covering topics such as the park's history, palm trees, and desert vegetation. Reservations are not required, but no tours are scheduled between Thanksgiving and the New Year. 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, 92101. 619/239–0512. www.balboapark.org. Free.

Urban Safaris. Led by longtime San Diego resident Patty Fares, these two-hour Saturday walks through diverse neighborhoods like Hillcrest, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma are popular with tourists and locals alike. The tours, which always depart from a neighborhood coffeehouse, focus on art, history, and ethnic eateries, among other topics. Reservations are required, and private walks can be arranged during the week. 619/944–9255. www.walkingtoursofsandiego.com. $10.

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