Interested in where to go water skiing in San Diego? Water skiing is one of the most enjoyable summertime activities. It’s challenging, exciting, and a whole bunch of fun, especially because you get to spend time out on your boat! The sun, the sea, and the smell of the ocean all add to the enjoyment. Then, of course, there’s spending time with friends and family. Many people make an entire day of it, spending as much time out on the water as possible!
The nice thing about living in San Diego is that it’s pretty much water-ski weather all year. The days are sunny and bright, the Pacific is warm and inviting, and the vibe is laid-back and relaxing. That only leaves one question; where are the best locations for water skiing, San Diego? If that’s a question going through your head because you just moved here, welcome! We’ve got seven answers for you that will help make your choice much more comfortable! So if you’re looking for the best place to slalom and show off your water skiing skills, read on!
Water Skiing in San Deigo Location #1: El Capitan Lake
In San Diego, you have your choice of many unique locations to water ski, that’s for sure! Some are saltwater and some fresh, but all are simply fantastic. One of the best for freshwater skiing is El Capitan Lake. That’s because El Capitán reservoir, out of all the lakes in the city of San Diego system, has the largest capacity. El Capitan Lake is also close, only 30 miles from downtown, making it easy to get in some skiing! One thing to keep in mind is that El Capitan Reservoir is only open to personal watercraft from Thursday through Sunday. Plus, during the winter months, the lake is only available to personal watercraft on Sunday. Interestingly, many people store their ski gear and boats locally in storage units. That way, everything is nearby when they come to ski.
Location #2: San Vicente Reservoir
If you head up to the Cuyamaca Mountains, you’ll find the lovely San Vicente Reservoir. A massive reservoir created by the San Vicente Dam, the water skiing here is fantastic! (And it’s only 25 miles north of San Diego!) The Reservoir reopened in 2016. During the closure time, the city raised the dam 117 vertical feet! That qualifies it as the tallest dam rise in the history of the United States! Now it’s the largest reservoir in all of San Diego County in terms of water volume, nearly twice as much as El Capitan! In short, it’s a great place to ski with lots of space for everyone!
Location #3: San Diego Mission Bay
Back in the 1940s, a massive dredging operation began converting marshland into Mission Bay Park. Over 75 million cubic feet of sand and silt moved (which you have to admit is incredible). Even more astonishing is that Mission Bay Park gives you access to San Diego’s Mission Bay.! Mission Bay is truly a fantastic place to water ski. It’s beautiful, wide open and the water is so refreshing! More specifically, East Mission Bay and West Mission Bay (a.k.a. Sail Bay) are available for water skiing seven days a week. Locals who love waterskiing say that it’s the best place to water ski in all of San Diego county!
Location #4: Imperial Lakes Waterski Club
Have you ever lived in a waterski community? If not, Imperial Lakes might be one of the most impressive waterski locations you’ve ever seen. It’s a private, gated community near the town of El Centro. What’s remarkable is that it has a tournament slalom course and even a ramp for jumping. The entire area is perfect for water skiers, and about 20 homes dot its shoreline. One thing to note is that, since it is private, you need to make reservations in advance. Also, there are no locations to rent water skiing gear, so you’ll have to bring your own. If you do, you’ll find mirror glass water that’s the best you’ve ever skied on!
Location #5: Lake Miramar
If you haven’t already noticed, San Diego County has plenty of reservoirs. One of them is Lake Miramar, which is in the Scripps Miramar Ranch community. One of the best reasons to ski here is that there are also picnic sites available. Plus, there’s a 5-mile long trail around the lake to go hiking. After you’ve had your fill of water skiing, you can have a family picnic or take a nice, leisurely walk. Lake Miramar is open for water skiing seven days a week. However, (and this is so weird) vehicles are only allowed on the perimeter road Sunday through Tuesday. Renting a storage unit nearby is a great way to keep your skiing gear handy. Some people also store their boats at self-storage locations in San Diego near Lake Miramar.
Location #6: Lake Hodges
Located just south of Escondido, Ca, Lake Hodges is another San Diego’s best places to water ski. It’s got nearly 30 miles of shoreline and a depth of 115 feet, which is plenty of space! There’s also a recreation area around the lake. (You can use self-contained gas barbecues if you want to have a cook-out!) At this time, Lake Hodges is open for water skiing on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from sunrise to sunset. Like most lakes and reservoirs in San Diego, there is a small charge to launch your boat. (As of this writing, it was $7.)
Where To Find Water Ski Rental, San Diego
Mission Bay and El Capitan Lake are both huge areas with several different water ski rental locations. Most rent ski boats and gear, while some also give lessons on the fine art of water skiing. Some even rent a captain with your ski boat so that you can leave the driving to an expert. (Plus, if you imbibe an adult beverage or two, you’ll still be perfectly legal.)
Adventure Water Sports
Adventure Water Sports has three different locations on Mission Bay. They rent several different sizes of ski boats at all three locations, with the largest being 24 feet. Their prices are in line with most of the other ski boat rental locations in the area. (Although, renting a ski boat is not cheap.) One of the advantages Adventure Water Sports has is they’re very close to the full-speed zone. That means you’ll be out and water skiing much faster and won’t waste your valuable rental time. By the way, you’ll need to bring your water ski equipment as Adventure Water Sports doesn’t rent any.
Adventure Water Sports / Campland on the Bay
2211 Pacific Beach Dr.,
San Diego, CA 9210
Adventure Water Sports / The Dana Hotel
1710 W. Mission Bay Dr.
San Diego, CA 92100
Where To Find Water Ski Lessons, San Diego
If you’ve never waterskied before, taking a lesson or two is an excellent idea. That way, you’ll be taught by someone with both experience and patience. (Unlike, say, your crazy Uncle Louis who just yells ‘bend your knees!” and offers no other advice,) Lessons are also a great way to get over your fear of falling while water skiing, which will happen. Once you’ve done it a few times, it’s no big deal. It can even be fun!
Mission Bay Aquatic Center
There are a few places for water ski lessons in San Diego better run than Mission Valley Aquatic Center. It’s one of the most extensive instructional waterfront facilities in the entire world! In most years, between 30 and 50,000 people learn how to water ski, surf, wakeboard, stand-up paddleboard, and windsurf there. Amazingly, they’re also recognized as the regional boating safety center for the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. In other words, they know what they’re doing very well.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center
1001 Santa Clara Pl.,
San Diego, CA 9210
Where To Find Water Ski Equipment, San Diego
There are many different stores selling water ski equipment around San Diego, no doubt. Since you rent most ski boats without gear, having your own is vital. That includes water skis, of course, but also a tow rope, ski vests, and safety equipment too.
With a vast selection of waterskiing gear, Wakesports Unlimited has everything you need to ski the day away. From top brand water skis to ski vests, tow ropes, and more, they have it all. Plus, the folks running the place are extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. They’ll steer you towards something that makes sense for your experience level and your budget. By the way, if wakeboarding is more your thing, they have those also. Plus all sorts of other gear for having fun out on the water.
8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite G
San Diego, CA 92111
Where To Store Your Boat and Water Ski Gear
If you own water skiing gear, you know it can take up quite a bit of space at home. If you have a ski boat, that can take up even more space. That’s why many people rent a storage unit to store their water ski gear and ski boat. (Plus, most HOAs in San Diego won’t let you park them in your driveway.) A storage unit, or parking space in a storage facility, is a safe location to store everything. With 24/7 video monitoring and on-site managers, it’s also very secure. That way, when you’re ready for a day on the water, everything will be ready!
Time to Have Water Skiing in San Deigo Adventures!
We certainly hope this article has given you the answers you were seeking about water skiing in San Diego! We hope you have a blast and wish you all the best on your next water ski adventure! (Jump some waves for us!)