Note: Some companies on this list may have limited operations due to COVID-19. Check with operators about availability before you book.
To truly see San Diego, you’ll have to view it from both land and sea. The following companies offer opportunities to see the city’s aquatic sights for yourself or take part in a guided tour from aboard a personal watercraft like a Jet Ski or WaveRunner. Cruise through San Diego Bay to enjoy views of the city skyline, or take a thrilling ride through beautiful Mission Bay or along the La Jolla coast in the Pacific Ocean. U.S. News reviewed both expert input and traveler opinion to compile this list of the best Jet Ski rental companies and tour operators in San Diego.
To rent a personal watercraft, most companies require that you are at least 18 years old and have a valid photo ID. You can also choose to get a California Boater Card, a certification that proves the holder has taken a boater safety course. While the card is optional for operating a rental, the course could be helpful if you’ve never operated a Jet Ski or WaveRunner.
Discover San Diego Bay aboard a personal watercraft with a rental from San Diego Bay Adventures. The company provides a WaveRunner, a life jacket and a wetsuit, if you’d like one. Before you ride, you’ll receive operating instructions. There is a maximum of two riders per craft. The company recommends you wear swimwear for your ride. During your adventure, you may spot sea lions. You can also cruise past top sights like the USS Midway, the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, the Star of India ship and the Hotel del Coronado. Rental rates (which include fuel) start at $99 for 75 minutes, while two-hour rentals start at $169. You are not accompanied by a guide during your rental period. Rentals are available every day except Wednesday at 9 and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; there are also additional slots at 1 and 5 p.m. for the 75-minute rental. Reviewers say the staff are friendly and informative, adding that they provide top-notch service. San Diego Bay Adventures also rents paddleboards and kayaks.
At Mission Bay Sportcenter, you can rent a personal watercraft on your own or take one of the company’s guided tours. Aboard the WaveRunner, you can cruise through Mission Bay, going past attractions like SeaWorld San Diego, Mission Bay Aquatic Center and numerous hotels and resorts. Alternately, you can take a guided personal watercraft tour of Mission Bay to San Diego Bay (or vice versa) to view the San Diego waterfront, drive past the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and zip along the shores of La Jolla. The two-hour guided tours start at $199 per person and require a minimum of four participants. Riders say staff are informative and provide good instructions about operating the personal watercraft. Reviewers also advise that you may want to make a reservation in advance, especially during busy times. Rentals are available daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each WaveRunner can accommodate up to two people, and rental rates start at $95 for one hour. The company requests you arrive 30 minutes prior to your start time to complete the rental agreement and training. Know that parking is limited. Mission Bay Sportcenter also rents pontoon boats, sailboats, kayaks and paddleboards.
Enjoy a WaveRunner outing in either San Diego Bay or Mission Bay with Action Sport Rentals. The company offers one- and two-hour Yamaha WaveRunner rentals for $110 and $200, respectively. Fees include use of wetsuits and life jackets. Three riders can ride a WaveRunner at a time; however, they must be at least 3 feet tall and cannot exceed a combined weight of 450 pounds. Action Sport Rentals has four locations: Paradise Point Resort & Spa, Kona Kai Resort & Spa, San Diego Mission Bay Resort and Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Rentals are available daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Riders describe the company’s employees as friendly, helpful and focused on safety. They also say that the experience is fun. Action Sport Rentals offers kayak, surfboard, FunCat and boat rentals as well.
Located at Harbor Island in downtown San Diego, Luxury Jet Ski Rentals offers Sea-Doo models for up to two riders that start at $69 per hour. Drivers must be 18 or older, while riders need to be at least 10 years old. Rentals are available daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and no security deposit is required. Riders can explore San Diego Bay and some of its sights, including Shelter Island, the San Diego Navy Base, Seaport Village and Coronado Island, though there is no accompanying tour guide. Reviewers recommend Luxury Jet Ski Rentals, noting the company’s quality service and equipment. The company also rents boats, paddleboards and kayaks, among other equipment.
Hop aboard a Yamaha WaveRunner and explore San Diego Bay on your own or with one other person as your passenger. The company offers 75-minute rentals that start at $99 per hour and are available Friday through Monday from about 9 a.m. to about 3 p.m. Wetsuits are available for an additional fee. The company recommends arriving around 30 minutes before your scheduled departure. In San Diego Bay, you can see seals, sea lions and dolphins, among other wildlife, as well as sights like the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Point Loma and Shelter Island. Renters recommend SD Adventures, noting great watercraft and fantastic views. Others say they encountered poor customer service. SD Adventures also offers boat, kayak and paddleboard rentals.
Rent a personal watercraft from Coronado Island, Mission Bay or downtown San Diego with Seaforth Boat Rentals. Their watercrafts can hold up to two passengers and start at $75 for one hour and $115 for two hours. Renters must be at least 21 years old, while drivers must be 18 or older. Passengers need to be able to sit behind the driver with their feet touching the deck. Reviewers recommend this company, saying they have quality equipment and good service. You can also rent powerboats, sailboats and fishing boats from Seaforth Boat Rentals.