A drive across the 200-foot tall Coronado bridge is the quintessential San Diego postcard experience. Coronado island is easily accessible by car or ferry and is a walker’s paradise! Downtown Coronado is only about 1 mile long and wide and there are ample sidewalks, beautiful gardens and views of the Pacific Ocean all around! The Silver Strand as it’s known connects downtown Coronado along 8 miles of coastline to Imperial Beach. Go for the day and explore or stay at the historic Hotel Del Coronado (The Del) for an experience to remember. If you’d like to have someone show you around, consider booking San Diego Tours to explore the city and make the most of your time! They know the best local places and can give you a plethora of Coronado island history!
Ride The Ferry
There is a foot ferry that departs from two locations in downtown San Diego (Convention Center and Broadway Pier) making it easy to get to Coronado without a car. The crossing takes only about 15 minutes and the views from the boat are abundant! The cost is only $4.75 each way (3 yrs old and under are free) making it one of the least expensive ways to experience San Diego by boat. It lands in Coronado at 1201 First Street, a waterfront marketplace full of over 25 unique shops and restaurants. The ferry is wheelchair accessible and bikes and strollers ride for free! For more information or the daily schedule visit Coronado Ferry.
Explore Coronado by Bike
If you’d prefer to visit the island by bike, you can bring your own or rent a bicycle from one of the many rental shops at the Coronado ferry landing or by The Del. Rentals are available in all sizes and type including beach cruisers, surreys, tandems and children’s taga-longs. There are over 15 miles of flat dedicated bike paths that meander through historic neighborhoods and along the bay and coastline – for a bike map visit Coronado Bike Map. On the eastern side of the Silver Strand, there is an interpretive trail called Nature’s Bridge which features 5 discovery points highlighting the ecology of the strand. The bike trails lead all the way down to the southernmost tip of Coronado where you can visit the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. You should also note that you can’t bike over the Coronado bridge. In order to experience the downtown waterfront area, take a San Diego bike tour to maximize your sightseeing!
Have a Beach Day
Coronado has consistently been ranked as having one of the top beaches in southern California by The Travel Channel and some say it is due to the sparkling golden sand created by mica mineral deposits. There is a small beach at the ferry landing which has picturesque views looking back across the Coronado Bay at downtown San Diego. Central Beach has 1.5 miles of beautiful golden sand stretching from The Del and then along Ocean Avenue where the backdrop is beautiful sand dunes and mansions. Coronado is known for having calm surf that is great for kids but enough that you can body surf or boogie board. There are lifeguard stations and public restrooms with showers if you’d like to bring your own beach equipment. If you’d prefer to rent, you can do so at The Del and they’ll set you up for the day with private cabanas, beach chairs and umbrellas. During low-tide you can see tidepools along the rocks at the southeast end. There are also plenty of public fire pits you can use to BBQ or to make a tasty s’more treat! If you’d like to bring your dog, there is a dog beach to the northwest of central beach where your furry friend can enjoy a dip in the water!
Visit Historic Hotel Del Coronado
A visit wouldn’t be complete without a stop at this beautiful historic red-roofed Victorian Architecture hotel. The Del is celebrating it’s 130th Anniversary this year and the hype is well worth a visit. Stroll through the beautiful gardens, visit the lobby shops, dine at one of the many restaurants or enjoy a cocktail at one of the outdoor bars all with beautiful ocean views! Don’t forget to visit their beach where you can swing in a hammock, watch the “sandcastle man” build his masterpieces or enjoy ice cream from Moo Time Creamery as you walk along the boardwalk.
Get On The Water
If you’d like the opportunity to explore Coronado from it’s waters, you may consider a sunset sail, kayak tour, fishing charter or a Coronado Cays gondola tour. Sometimes the best way to explore a new place is to see if from the outside in – getting out on the water will enable you to see Coronado like you never could from land. There are options for all price points including guided tours like So Diego Tours has to offer – they would be happy to arrange a water excursion for you including food and beverage to complement your experience!
Partake in Outdoor Activities
Coronado has many wonderful parks to choose from within walking distance of the downtown district. Tidelands Park, a 22-acre waterfront park is located on the southeast corner of Coronado and features a baseball field, skateboard park, playground, plenty of grassy area, beach access and a boardwalk that meanders along the bay all the way to the ferry landing. Spreckels Park is centrally located and features a playground, picnic tables, grassy field and a gazebo bandstand where you can listen to free concerts throughout the summer! The Coronado Community Center includes an outdoor aquatic center, a rock climbing wall, fitness areas and the Coronado Playhouse, a small 100-seat cabaret-style theatre that includes a full-service bar! For a fun outdoor sport, consider visiting the Coronado Lawn Bowling Club which hosts Twilight Open Bowling for the public in the summer.
Dine Along Orange Avenue
Orange Avenue is a must see with specialty shops, attractive clothing stores, cute cafés and a great restaurant selection. Many of the buildings feature historic architecture and the rooftops light up at night with white lights. We recommend exploring on foot, so you don’t miss a thing! Grab a drink at Stake Chophouse on the outdoor rooftop patio which features live music on Wednesdays and Sundays! If you’re looking for a farm-to-table approach to dining, Leroy’s is not to be missed! Sit on their outdoor patio and sip a creative cocktail while watching people stroll along Orange Avenue. If you want something more casual, grab pizza and a beer at Coronado Brewing Company or a bite of Irish Food on the patio at McP’s Irish Pub which features live entertainment nightly! If you’d like to visit with a group, So Diego Tours can arrange large group activities for you highlighting favorite food and drinks at not to be missed places!