Once upon a time in, inside the inviting turquoise waters of San Diego Bay, a Kumeyaay Indian scout noticed a silty shoal that was only visible only at low tide. The scout noticed a little island gradually forming formed through deposits of soil and sand from what would later be named the San Diego River. Over the years, as the Bay was dredged to allow access for deeper ships, sands were piled on the shoal and it became an island.

It was built up during World War II when the US Navy required a deepening of the harbor channel. Dredged material was used to connect Shelter Island with Point Loma, and to further raise the island a total of 7 feet above the high tide line. Ultimately, that little shoal became a 1.2-mile island, which is not so wide.

Zoning laws require all buildings on Shelter Island to follow a “Polynesian” or “tiki” theme, which makes Shelter Island feel like Bali, USA. When Shelter Island was introduced to the public in the late ‘50s, the media praised Shelter Island as building “something from nothing,” “a testimonial to human ingenuity” and “a manmade wonderland of sub-tropical splendor.”

The seven pieces of art on Shelter Island are connected by a single street, Shelter Island Drive. With delightful views of the bay, marinas and North Island Naval Base, Shelter Island is a fine place to walk / run / bicycle / skate / skateboard as you enjoy this whimsical and thoughtful collection of island artworks enhancing the paradise of Shelter Island.


PACIFIC PORTAL – concrete & mosaic gazebo structure

by James T. Hubbell, 2006

32°43’00.6″N 117°13’20.4″W


BUBBLE BATH –  bronze sculpture

by Dan Hill, 2000

32°42’39.2″N 117°13’46.5″W


TUNAMAN’S MEMORIAL – bronze sculpture

by Franco Vianello, 1986

32°42’38.1″N 117°13’47.9″W


GIRL IN RED SHOES – bronze sculpture

by Munehiro Komeno

32°42’30.2″N 117°14’01.6″W



by Masahiko Katori, 1958

32°42’30.5″N 117°14’01.4″W



PACIFIC SPIRIT – bronze sculpture

by James T. Hubbell, 2002

32°42’29.0″N 117°14’03.5″W



PEARL OF THE PACIFIC – concrete and mosaic artwork & fountain

by James T. Hubbell, 1998

32°42’29.6″N 117°14’04.7″W



Shelter Island is one of the few harbors deep enough to accommodate superyachts.