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Coronado Island is a world away from skyscrapers, freeways and malls, yet it’s only a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

White sandy beach on Coronado Island, San Diego area

Miles of white sand beach on Coronado Island

Blue skies and warm sun keep watch on 70 miles of beaches in the San Diego area where a gentle Mediterranean climate tempts you to go to the beach.

Coronado’s wide, white sand beaches are consistently rated among the best of the world. By afternoon they’re dotted with sandcastles and bright umbrellas. Early in the morning you may see the Navy SEALS working out on the beach and in the evening watch stunning sunsets as sailboats return and cruise ships depart from San Diego Bay.

Dolphins jumped and splashed in the waves while stand-up paddlers, surfers and swimmers punctuated the sparkling ocean when I jogged down the beach in early October.  There’s no shortage of beaches in and around Coronado. Nearby Silver Strand State Beach is reputed to be one of the best kiteboarding areas in Southern California, due to the relatively calm bay waters and the ocean surf. Located 4.5 mils south of Coronado, this beach has fire rings, lifeguards, restrooms and showers. South of the developed area, there are another 3.5 miles of ocean and natural preserve.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean in Southern California

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean in Southern California

The small village of Coronado, (30,000 residents), has tree-lined streets, picnics in the parks, mom-and-pop shops,  and weekend parades.  Explore the small neighborhoods on foot or by bicycle to see the historically preserved Victorian and Craftsman-style bungalows, cozy beach cottages and Spanish villas.

If the views from the renowned beaches aren’t enough, just cross to the other side of the island to eat at one of the numerous  bay-side restaurants with stunning vistas of the downtown San Diego across the water. For a superb dinner and one of the best views of the illuminated skyline check out Candelas on the Bay located at the Ferry Landing. Specializing in authentic upscale Mexico City-style cuisine you can dine on one of the two open-air terraces or in the indoor dining room.  Creative fresh fish dishes and steaks with Burgundy sauce are local favorites.

Also on the bay side of the island, don’t miss Tartine, a charming European-style bistro and bakery.  It is a favorite haunt of locals who bring their dogs and bikes and never pass up the scrumptious desserts and pastries (like lemon chiffon cheesecake and chocolate  bread pudding). After an amazing dinner of mussels, French skirt-steak and frites, I returned two days later for breakfast of quiche and sticky buns at the outdoor terrace.

Coronado is also home to a National Historic Landmark: the impressive Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian masterpiece, built in 188 and still the largest wood hotel in the country A beautiful property bustling with tour buses and convention groups, it’s well worth a visit and a sunset drink at the pool bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Glorietta Bay Inn – A Boutique Hotel with Old World Charm

Directly across the street lies the hundred-year-old mansion of sugar baron John Spreckels.  The mansion, designed with the classic lines of the Italian Renaissance, is a Coronado Historic Landmark. It has been lovingly resorted and today offers accommodation in the original home and additional contemporary guestrooms. The mansion boasts a marble entryway and grand staircase leading to mansion suites and bedrooms, nine French doors, music room with a grand piano and a breakfast patio overlooking the yachts harbored in Glorietta Bay.

How to Get the Most our of Your Visit

  • Visit the official San Diego – Coronado website
  • Before you go,  buy the APP San Diego Essential Guide for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Written by a native San Diegan, award-winning journalist, you’ll discover what insiders love most about San Diego from secret speakeasies to 99-cent fish taco trucks. 
  • Take a guided walking tour with Coronado Touring,  for insight on the historic homes that give the “Crown City” its unique character, including the cottage of the Duchess of Windsor and the home where the “Wizard of Oz” was created.

When to visit?

Coastal San Diego’s weather is among the best in the country with tons of sun and moderate temperatures year-round  and low humidity). Locals will tell you that in May and June mornings can start out with a cloud cover, but you can usually expect sunshine by noon.

From July through November the average Coronado high temperatures are from 72-78 degrees. Very low rainfall (about 10″ a year) translates into a lot of warm, sunny days.

From Memorial Day to mid-September there are free concerts in the park and at the Ferry Landing. Swim and sun on the beach all day then bring a picnic for the Summer Pop series every weekend afternoon at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

Watch a flotilla of decorated yachts cruise by with the San Diego Skyline in the distance

In December decorated yachts cruise by Coronado Island with the San Diego skyline in the distance.

The holiday season in Coronado begins the first Friday of December and throughout the month, the Hotel del Coronado offers outdoor ice-skating overlooking the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Don’t miss the decorated boats that circle the bay on Sunday nights during the San Diego Parade of Lights.

Another option for accommodations is El Cordova, a  family friendly boutique hotel well located in the heart of the village and one block from the beach.

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