Mission Bay Boating And Water Guide

By Vanessa Howard

Mission Bay is one of San Diego’s prime attractions and it’s easy to see why! You can enjoy fun, water-based activities and the bay is perfect for a day on the water. This man-made saltwater bay is at the entrance of the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego River. At over 4,000 acres, it is considered the largest aquatic park of its kind and it’s the ideal place to explore while staying at one of Arrivls Mission Beach properties! 

Where To Stay

While visiting Mission Bay, you can’t do better on location, convenience, and design than Arrivls The Rockaway House and Makai. Both are located just steps from Mission Beach, making them the perfect home base for all of your San Diego adventures, including a day on the water. In fact, these Arrivls properties are only a 5-minute walk from Mission Bay Sports Center and the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. 

​​The Rockaway House

This Mission Beach duplex can be rented as individual units (Rockaway North with 1 bedroom/1 bathroom, and Rockaway South with 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom) or in combination to sleep up to 8 guests, making it perfect for larger families. While staying at The Rockaway House you’ll be just steps away from the Mission Beach boardwalk. Rockaway South – a 1930s beach cottage – is full of charm and is perfect for your next beach getaway. Upstairs, Rockaway North is thoughtfully designed and inviting. Whichever space you choose you’ll love the bright interior and the coastal boho vibes that The Rockaway House offers. The Rockaway House is located on the ocean side of Mission Boulevard, just 4 houses from the sand!

Makai Mission Beach

Makai is the Hawaiian word for “towards the sea,” and is a fantastic choice for your North Park trip to San Diego! You’ll love the 2nd-floor patio and ocean view from this beachy duplex home. With its laid-back charm, thoughtful amenities, and absolutely unbeatable location, you won’t regret staying at Makai. Makai North is a spacious one-bedroom, and Makai South is a two-bedroom. The home comfortably sleeps 8 if you rent the entire duplex making this a great option for a trip to San Diego. Makai offers garage parking and all of your beach essentials – towels, an umbrella, chairs, and sand toys. We look forward to hosting you soon at Makai!

Did you know that Makai and The Rockaway House are next-door neighbors? This makes them perfect for groups traveling with up to 16 guests.  You can rent out both duplexes – perfect for multiple groups or families traveling together, as you’ll be close by but everyone still has their own space to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

Mission Bay Boating And Water Guide

There are so many different ways to enjoy the water on Mission Bay that you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry we’ve got you! Here are a few of the most popular water activities on Mission Bay…

Bay Cruises

There are a lot of short cruise opportunities in Mission Bay, one of the larger cruises is Cruise San Diego. Other popular cruises include the smaller wine and party cruises such as the Paddle Pub, and the Bahia Belle, a steamboat that crosses the west end of the bay between the Bahia and Catamaran Hotels. 

Whale Watching and Sport Fishing

Whale watching is great in this area and tours leave from Quivira Basin at San Diego Whale Watch.  

The basin is also home to several sports fishing companies that go out into the Pacific Ocean. You can also do some shoreline fishing from almost all areas of Mission Bay.  You’ll need a fishing license if you are over the age of 16,  you can easily get one here. If you’re interested in sport fishing check out Seaforth Sportfishing, where you can choose from a plethora of fishing options! 

Jet Ski/Personal Watercraft On Mission Bay

Jet Skis are by far the most popular form of watercraft on Mission Bay, and for good reason, they are so much fun! If you’re interested in renting a Jet Ski on your visit to Mission Bay it generally costs about $100/hour. And most jet skiing is done on the eastern side of Mission Bay near Fiesta Island.

Popular places to rent jet skis include:

Seaforth Boat Rentals on the southwest side of the bay

Adventure Water Sports on both the north and south end of the bay

Mission Bay Sportscenter  also features a unique activity – jetpacking

Keep in mind that there are many regulations around jet skiing, including the need for permits. If you rent a jet ski or other PWC they will tell you the rules and include permits.


The calm waters and light breeze on Mission Bay make it a popular spot for sailing!  Keep in mind that some of the rental places will require certification to make sure renters know how to sail properly. 

Some options to rent sailboats include:

Mission Bay Aquatic Center on the west end at Santa Clara Point

Mission Bay Sportscenter on the west side of the bay

Action Sports Rentals is located in all the major resorts

If you’re interested in sailing lessons you can take them at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center as well. 

Water Skiing/Wakeboarding

There are three takeoff/landing areas for water skiing on Mission Bay; these include Vacation Isle Ski Beach, Crown Point, and Santa Clara Point on Sail Bay. Most water skiing is done in Fiesta Bay on the eastern end of Mission Bay.  Keep in mind that skiing must be done in the direction indicated.  

Some places to rent water skis: 

Adventure Water Sports on the northeast side of the bay 

Mission Bay Aquatic Center on the west end of the bay, both wakeboarding and waterski boat rentals

Mission Bay Aquatic Center

This center offers classes and lessons in many of the most popular water sports in the area. You can take sailing, surfing, introduction to kayaking, and windsurfing lessons. You can also rent all of the water crafts you’ll need here.

The Aquatic Center offers great activities for kids! Their youth programs include the Watersport Camp, and Youth Classes, and they even offer fun Birthday Party Packages! If you’re interested in a Summer Camp option for the kids there are several week-long full-day and half-day camps for campers to choose from. 

Mission Bay Aquatic Center| 1001 SANTA CLARA PLACE, SAN DIEGO, CA 92109| (858) 488-1000

There are so many great ways to enjoy Mission Bay in San Diego, and you’ll have an amazing place to relax in The Rockaway House or Maikai. Whether you take sailing or surf lessons or rent a jet ski for some high-speed fun, you’ll have an amazing time on Mission Bay. 

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