Where Main Street Meets Bare Feet
Voted the #1 beach in the United States for 2012 by Dr. Beach, the leading beach expert, Coronado offers pristine sand, gentle surf and a charming community with a small-town feel.
Situated just across the Big Bay from downtown San Diego, Coronado is most notably known for two famous structures, the historic Hotel del Coronado and the distinctive San Diego-Coronado Bridge. But beyond these architectural marvels, the quaint island community of Coronado offers visitors an experience that is a world apart. Coronado's coastline offers gentle surf and sparkling sand beaches (courtesy of the mineral Mica) that draw in visitors from around the world. Add to this a charming small-town quaintness, with elegant gardens, old-world mansions, unique shopping experiences, and dining options with spectacular ocean views, no wonder it's been dubbed as "The Crown City" (Coronado is Spanish for "the crowned one").
Spend the day relaxing on the beach or rent a bike and tour the Island via Coronado's beachfront boardwalk. Take a stroll down Orange Avenue, Coronado's main street, which is lined with shops, restaurants, galleries, theaters and the Coronado Historical Museum. At the other end of the island, Coronado's Ferry Landing offers a collection of over 20 shops, art galleries and restaurants boasting stunning views of San Diego's downtown skyline. Flagship Cruises also offers low cost Ferry service from the landing across the bay to Seaport Village on the edge of downtown.
And no trip to Coronado would be complete without a visit to the Hotel del Coronado. Built in 1888 and designated a National Historic Landmark, the hotel has a fascinating and colorful past which includes royalty, politicians, scandals, ghosts and celebrities. It's also widely believed to have been the inspiration for the Emerald City in L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz.
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What to Love
- Coronado's famous beaches are known for their fine white sand that sparkles in the sun thanks to the mineral mica
- In 2011, Parents Magazine named Coronado Beach the #4 Best Beach in the U.S. for Families
- A Golf Digest writer called Coronado's Public Golf Course "a gem I consider the best value in the United States"
- The popular Coronado Flower Show has been held annually since 1925!
- When viewed from the air, the sand dunes along Coronado Beach spell Coronado
- A stroll through the historic Hotel del Coronado, a truly enchanting experience.
What To Know
- Traffic on the San Diego-Coronado Bridge can get a little congested during morning/late afternoon rush hours and weekends, but there is no longer a toll for the bridge.
- A 15-minute ferry or water taxi ride is avialable from Downtown San Diego - a great alternative to driving.
- The speed limit is 25 mph on the island to ensure safety with cyclists who also share the roads.
- Friendly beach lifeguards are on duty daily from 9:00 am to dusk year-round.
- Smoking is banned on all of Coronado's beaches and parks.
Find the perfect place to stay in Coronado
The serenity of the San Diego Bay, coupled with Coronado's old-world charm creates an idyllic setting for your next vacation, business trip, meeting or conference. Home to three luxurious, world-class resorts, as well as an array of large and small hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts and inns, Coronado's accommodation choices range from the seaside-chic to extravagant elegance.
Browse the list of hotels below and plan your visit to Coronado, California.
Restaurants, Bars and Places to Eat in Coronado
California's Coronado Island offers an array of dining options, from exquisite restaurants with gorgeous oceanfront views to family friendly pizzerias, authentic Mexican, fresh seafood to savory steaks, there are no limits to the types of cuisine you can find in Coronado. And with San Diego's year-around idyllic weather, you’ll have plenty of options for alfresco dining in one of Coronado's many outdoor patios.
With a little exploration, visitors to this unique California island city will no doubt find just the right place to eat.
5 to Try in Coronado Throughout the Year
Indoor and outdoor activities are abundant in California year-round, and finding things to do in Coronado is no exception. There's something for everyone to do, explore and discover. The following are just a few of the many activities that can be enjoyed in this tranquil San Diego Island community:
- Along the Water
The beaches of Coronado are pristine, with white sand accentuated by the mineral Mica. Lifeguards are on duty year-round and the sand is wide and the surf gentle. Boogie boards and surfboards are available for rental. On Coronado's bay shore, 16-miles of bike paths hug the island, providing cyclists, inline skaters and walkers a picture-perfect route with views of the Big Bay, Pacific Ocean, the downtown San Diego skyline and scenic parks of Coronado. Dogs are allowed off-leash year round at North Beach located in Coronado at 100 Ocean Blvd., located at the northern most end of the beach next to the Naval Air Station.
- Spreckels Park
Spreckels Park sits right in the heart of Coronado, making it a great place to picnic, play and people watch. Coronado's mild summer temperatures make a perfect venue for the free outdoor concert performances, held annually as part of the Coronado Promenade Concerts in Spreckels Park, from June through September. The park also hosts "Art-in-the-Park," an art show held on the first and third Sunday of every month.
- Walking, Shopping and Luxury
Stroll along Orange Avenue, winner of the Great American Main Street title in 2000, and shop for latest fashions in the quaint boutiques. Or stop in an art gallery and pick up locally produced artwork by San Diego artists and photographers. You can also enjoy wine and olive oil tastings at local specialty shops, or enjoy the panoramic views of downtown San Diego as you shop and dine at the Coronado Ferry Landing. And if you're looking to be pampered head to a local resort or day spa for a sumptuous spa service experience.
- Coronado History
History lovers can enjoy a tour through Coronado's famous sights including the Hotel Del Coronado, and learn about the island's rich and fascinating past at the Coronado Museum of History and Art.
- Golf's Hidden Gem
With green fees limited contractually for residents and visitors alike, the Coronado Golf Course is one of California's hidden values!
Follow this link and discover 7 more fun things to do in Coronado!
Upcoming Events on Coronado Island
Thanks to San Diego's idyllic weather, Coronado is bustling with community events throughout the year. Signature events include:
March through June
- Grunion Runs
Visitors can observe this unique Southern California phenomenon as these silvery fish spawn on Coronado's beaches during spring nights after the new and full moon.
- Annual Coronado Flower Show
The largest tented flower show in the West takes place in Spreckels Park. Flower exhibits are displayed inside tents surrounding a central gazebo, which becomes the stage for live entertainment and trophy presentations. There are also flower sales and food vendors.
- Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition
The nation's original surfing competition for dogs, this popular event features dozens of dogs taking to the waves in the small, large and tandem (dog and owner on the same surfboard) categories. It draws thousands of spectators each year, plus expert surfers who participate in the tandem event and perform radical tricks in the waves.
- Fourth of July Celebration
San Diego's most popular Independence Day celebration includes a 15K run/walk, rough-water swim at North Beach, two-hour parade down Orange Avenue, Art-in-the-Park and afternoon concert in Spreckels Park and spectacular fireworks display over Glorietta Bay Inn.
- Coronado Art Walk
The city's annual celebration of the arts features exhibits of paintings, hand-crafted jewelry, photography, ceramics and other mediums, as well as entertainment at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Free shuttle service carries visitors along Orange Avenue, with a stop at Spreckels Park's Art-in-the-Park.
- Skating by the Sea
Guests enjoy an annual outdoor ice-skating rink at the Hotel del Coronado overlooking Coronado Beach and the Pacific Ocean. The Del’s Windsor Lawn is transformed into a seaside winter wonderland, benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
This colorfully unique San Diego holiday tradition features more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights, sailing along the waters of San Diego Bay. Prime viewing is from the shoreline of the Coronado Ferry Landing.
- Coronado Christmas Open House & Parade
Guests can get in the holiday spirit with Santa Claus arriving by ferry across San Diego Bay and a Snow Mountain play area at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Afterwards, a colorful holiday parade and Merchants Open House takes place along Orange Avenue, followed by the traditional tree lighting of a 50-foot Christmas tree and free community concert in Rotary Park.
- Festival of Christmas
One of Coronado’s favorite annual holiday traditions presented by Lamb’s Players Theatre on its resident stage on Orange Avenue. This family-friendly musical production is sure to put guests in a holiday mood with its festive tunes.
- An American Christmas
During this holiday dinner performance at the Hotel del Coronado, guests step inside the hotel’s gorgeous ballroom and are transported back to 1910 for a memorable Christmas celebration where 30 performers fill the evening with music, dance and song during an interactive, five-course yuletide feast.
Browse through the articles and listings below to help plan the perfect Coronado vacation!
Getting to Coronado
From the North:
Coronado is just a bridge away. The San Diego-Coronado Bridge (California route 75) can be accessed from Interstate 5. Once across the bridge, Orange Avenue is the main thoroughfare on the Island.
Walking to Coronado from San Diego is not an option. The bridge is for vehicles only: pedestrians, bicycles, skateboards and skates are not permitted. The only exception is during the Navy's Original Bay Bridge Run/Walk when participants can cross the bridge.
From the South:
Coronado is connected to the mainland by the Silver Strand. Silver Strand Boulevard (California route 75) begins off of Palm Avenue in San Diego's South Bay and becomes Orange Avenue once you hit the central area of Coronado.
Visitors can also get to the island via a 15-minute ferry boat or water taxi ride from downtown San Diego.
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