Sometimes, in order to see the best of San Diego, you have to leave the driving to someone else.
The first time I remember hearing about driving was when our family was driving home to Brigham City, Utah, from Salt Lake City one snowy, dark, winter night. Dad was tired and mom offered to drive. After pulling over and switching seats, mom proceeded to take us on down the highway. I don’t remember how long it was, but mom was driving when we skidded on some ice and spun around, coming to a stop at the edge of the road, which happened to be a cliff with a long drop-off to the canyon below. Fortunately, the guardrail, while damaged, did its job. Dad said something about how things go bad when you leave the driving to someone else. He might have said something about women drivers, but I’m not going there……………….
I’m here to tell you, though, that you should make a Splash on the SEAL and leave the driving to someone else.
SEAL tours are unique in that they start on land, either at Seaport Village or the Star of India, drive around to Shelter Island and then into the water. Going into the water is a unique experience itself; it just doesn’t seem right. They will motor around San Diego Bay for a while and take you out to see Mother and Father Nature’s seals and the submarine base before driving up and out of the ocean and back to your starting point.
The whole narrated trip takes about 90 minutes and costs only $36 for adults, $19 for children age 4-12, and free for children under age 4.
If you buy your tickets online, there is a discount.
Reservations are required but you cannot make reservations online. You’ll have to go to Seaport Village or the Star of India to make your reservations. The Star of India stop is seasonal — “seasonal” usually means during tourist season, about Memorial Day through Labor Day — so I’d recommend making Seaport Village your point of origination. Besides, if your ride is more than 30 minutes in the future, there is megastuff to do at Seaport Village and Marina Park.
A walk around Marina Park or through Seaport Village provides you with beautiful views of the Bay, the Coronado Bridge, Coronado, and downtown San Diego, as well as shopping and dining.
Some of what I saw when I made a Splash on the SEAL:
Most of the kites are demonstration kites from the coolest kite store ever, located at Seaport Village just steps away from the flying kites. Except when the kite store is closed, there are always kites flying to keep the children (and your inner child) entertained.
San Diego County has the free world’s largest concentration of military personnel, so it’s highly likely that you’ll see military helicopters, planes, and ships when you make a Splash on the SEAL. By the way, SEAL stands for “SE And Land” tour.
USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)
I got that submarine picture with my 300 mm lens; the tours are only allowed to get within a certain distance of military vessels.
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