Welcome to Harbor Island, San Diego: A Bayside Paradise

Last Updated on July 20, 2023 by Goya

Everything You Need to Know About Harbor Island, San Diego

View from Harbor Island San Diego

Imagine dining at a top-notch restaurant, indulging in fresh seafood while watching the sunset over the water. Picture yourself embarking on an exhilarating bay tour or cycling leisurely with the wind in your hair, all against the backdrop of San Diego Bay and the dynamic downtown skyline. This isn’t a dream – it’s what a typical day looks like on Harbor Island in San Diego.

Just a stone’s throw away from downtown and conveniently located next to San Diego International Airport, Harbor Island is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From its sumptuous culinary offerings to exciting water activities, not to mention the stunning views, this bayside paradise truly has something for everyone.

Whether you’re a foodie, an adventurer, or simply looking for a tranquil escape, Harbor Island promises an unforgettable journey. So buckle up, as we delve into the many charms of this San Diego gem!

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Top Things to Do in Harbor Island, San Diego

These top five activities offer a blend of outdoor adventure, natural beauty, and culinary delights, ensuring a memorable visit to Harbor Island, San Diego.

#1: Take a Stroll along the Waterfront

Harbor Island is home to a beautiful waterfront promenade that beckons visitors for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating bike ride. As you meander along the pathway, you’ll be treated to refreshing sea breezes and stunning vistas of the San Diego skyline, Coronado Island, and the lively marinas. Whether you’re an early riser keen on catching the sunrise or a romantic soul eager to watch the sunset hues, the waterfront promenade offers a picturesque setting for all.

#2: Water Sports and Recreation

If you’re an adventurer at heart, Harbor Island won’t disappoint. A hub for water sports in its own right, the calm waters of San Diego Bay are perfect for exploring on a rented kayak, paddleboard, or jet ski. For those who prefer a more laid-back experience, fishing in the placid waters can be incredibly therapeutic. You can also book a harbour cruise for an unforgettable journey across the vibrant bay, offering a unique perspective of the city’s landmarks and natural beauty.

#3: Picnic and Relax

The charm of Harbor Island lies not just in its waters but also in its verdant park and green spaces. Harbor Island Park San Diego is an idyllic spot that invites you to unwind and savour a relaxing picnic. Pack a delightful meal, spread out a blanket, and let the tranquil ambience wash over you as you feast your eyes on the breathtaking views.

Whether you’re planning a family outing, a romantic date, or some much-needed alone time, the serene picnic spots scattered along Harbor Island are sure to serve as the perfect retreat.

#4: Sunset Watching

Witnessing the breathtaking sunsets from Harbor Island is a must-do activity. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky lights up in vibrant hues, creating a magical ambience. Find a cosy spot along the shoreline and soak in the beauty of nature’s canvas.

#5: Indulge in Waterside Dining

Harbor Island boasts an array of dining options with stunning waterfront views. Treat yourself to a meal at one of the seafood restaurants, where you can savour freshly caught delights. Alternatively, opt for a contemporary bistro offering global cuisine. Combine great food with breathtaking views for an unforgettable dining experience.

Photo by Lon Christensen on Unsplash

Where to Eat in Harbor Island, San Diego

Harbor Island, nestled in the picturesque San Diego Bay, not only offers breathtaking views but also a diverse culinary scene that tantalizes the taste buds of locals and visitors alike. From fresh seafood to international cuisines, there is a wide range of restaurants on Harbor Island that cater to all palates.

Top 3 Restaurants in Harbor Island, San Diego

Food at Coasterra (Harbor Island San Diego)

#1: Coasterra Restaurant

Possibly the most recommended restaurant in Harbor Island, Coasterra Restaurant is an iconic waterfront eatery known for its panoramic views of the bay and modern Mexican cuisine. The restaurant offers a fusion of traditional Mexican flavours with a contemporary twist.

Delight in dishes like fresh ceviche, flavorful tacos, and savoury enchiladas while enjoying the stunning ambience and the impressive tequila selection.

[Pictured: Ahi tuna tostada with garlic & sesame glaze, avocado, lemon agave slaw, Spanish peanut, chipotle crema, and corn tortilla]

Coasterra Address: 880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
Coasterra Hours: 11:30 AM – 9 PM
Coasterra Dress Code: (Smart) Casual

#2: Island Prime

Nestled on the water’s edge, Island Prime offers a refined dining experience with breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline.

The restaurant specializes in prime steaks and fresh seafood, ensuring an unforgettable meal.

From perfectly cooked filet mignon to succulent lobster, the menu boasts an array of dishes made with the finest ingredients, accompanied by impeccable service.

Island Prime Address: 880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
Island Prime Hours: 5-9 PM (Mon-Thu), 4-9:30 PM (Fri-Sat), 4-9 PM (Sun)
Island Prime Dress Code: Smart Casual

#3: Tom Ham’s Lighthouse

Housed in a historic lighthouse, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse is a beloved establishment that offers a unique dining experience.

Enjoy classic American cuisine with a focus on seafood, such as their famous clam chowder or the mouthwatering grilled salmon.

The restaurant’s nautical-themed interior and panoramic views make it a perfect spot for a memorable meal.

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse Address: 2150 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
Tom Ham’s Lighthouse Hours: 11:30 AM –9 PM (Mon-Thu), 11:30 AM – 10  PM (Fri-Sat), 9:30 AM –9 PM (Sun)
Tom Ham’s Lighthouse Dress Code: Casual

Where to Stay in Harbor Island, San Diego

Harbor Island is home to two upscale hotels that offer stunning waterfront views, luxurious amenities, and exceptional service:

#1: Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island

Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island is an elegant hotel situated on Harbor Island’s waterfront, offering picturesque views. It is conveniently located just a 5-minute drive from San Diego International Airport. The hotel provides complimentary airport shuttles, an outdoor pool, and rooms with free Wi-Fi.

The hotel ensures a pleasant stay with amenities such as a 24-hour fitness centre and an on-site sauna. The guestrooms are comfortable and furnished with goose-down duvets and signature Serenity Suite Dreams beds, allowing guests to relax and unwind.

Guests of Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island can easily access nearby freeways, making it a short drive to attractions like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo. The hotel is also in close proximity to a marina, offering sailboat and bicycle rentals right outside its doors.

#2: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina is an eco-friendly hotel that offers a complimentary 24-hour transfer service to San Diego International Airport. The hotel features five restaurants, three outdoor heated pools, and an on-site spa. All rooms are non-smoking and equipped with flat-screen HDTVs, a work desk, and a private patio or balcony. The rooms have a nautical-themed decor and provide amenities such as ironing facilities, a coffee machine with Starbucks coffee, and an en suite bathroom with boutique toiletries and a hairdryer.


Harbor Island is conveniently located near San Diego International Airport, making it easily accessible for both domestic and international travellers. The island is connected to the mainland via a causeway, ensuring hassle-free transportation to and from the destination. Additionally, public transportation options, including buses and trolleys, make it convenient to explore other parts of San Diego from Harbor Island.

FAQ: Harbor Island, San Diego

Is Harbor Island San Diego Man-Made?

Yes, Harbor Island in San Diego is indeed man-made. This peninsula was created in 1961 from harbour dredgings, providing a unique addition to the San Diego Bay area. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, due to its stunning views, great restaurants, and variety of water activities.

When Was Harbor Island San Diego Made?

Harbor Island in San Diego, California, is a man-made peninsula that was created in 1961.

Why Was Harbor Island Built?

Harbor Island in San Diego was constructed as part of a plan to enhance the functionality and appeal of the San Diego Bay area. It was created to provide additional space for harbours, marinas, and tourism development, offering stunning views of the bay and downtown San Diego. Today, Harbor Island is known for its restaurants, hotels, outdoor activities, and marinas.

Harbor Island, San Diego Map

Harbor Island in San Diego is a charming and picturesque destination that offers a tranquil and captivating experience. Despite being a small area, it packs a punch with its serene atmosphere, recreational opportunities, and stunning waterfront views.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation, exciting water activities, or indulgent dining experiences, Harbor Island has something for everyone. With its accessible location and undeniable charm, it’s definitely worth a spot on every traveller’s itinerary.


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  1. Hels wrote:

    Love San Diego. We discovered it for the fist time on a road trip drive though last summer. The surfy vibe was so refreshing. I would definitely look to stay over next time. A handy guide on where to stay and what do when I do. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted 7.15.23 Reply
    • Goya wrote:

      You’re very welcome! Stay tuned for my future San Diego posts for more places to stay and things to do (in other neighbourhoods/areas)! 🙂

      Posted 7.18.23 Reply