San Diego's what's known as a late adopter. Sometimes, it takes awhile for That Cool Thing They're Doing Somewhere Else to arrive here. Like Duffy boats, for instance. When Bill and Kathy Gonzalez and their two kids moved to San Diego from Orange County last year, one of the first things they wanted to do was rent a Duffy, like they'd frequently done in Newport Beach. But, what they found is that San Diego is kind of a Duffy desert. So, Bill, who works in real estate, and Kathy, a flight attendant, saw an opportunity. "We'd love to bring [Duffy] to San Diego," Kathy recalls.
A Duffy is a small, electric (and, therefore, eco-friendly), covered watercraft. Think Disneyland Small World boat meets cozy living room.
The couple purchased three new Duffys and started Duffy of San Diego (Bill's also now an authorized Duffy dealer). The boats are docked in Mission Bay (1548 Quivara Way), and available to rent for one to three hours. Bill and the couple's son, Alec, run the business, and Kathy joins them when she's not flying.
You can pilot your own boat—which holds up to 10 people and includes a table and cooler for drinks—or you can hire Bill or Alec to captain your boat. If you can drive a golf cart, you can drive a Duffy. A detailed map of Mission Bay shows you where you can and can't go and includes stops for food, cocktails and restrooms. But, the way to do it is to bring a spread of food, drinks (and ice for the built-in cooler) and explore. The boats include zip-up windows for chillier days. "My favorite is when there's a little mist, a little rain," Kathy says.