Linked to downtown San Diego by the arching Coronado Island Bay Bridge and to southern San Diego County by a slender, sandy isthmus, Coronado Island is technically not an island, it's a peninsula. It's home to the North Island U. S. Naval Air Station and the U. S. Navy SEALS center, but it's not the military that attract tourists to Coronado Island. It's not Frank Baum's Oz House, Wallis Simpson's home or the Coronado Island Museum, either. It's the white, sandy beaches that have earned it numerous ratings as one of top ten beaches in the U. S.
I also like Coronado Island for its quiet, laid-back simplicity and for its beautiful views of the downtown San Diego skyline.
Scenes from Coronado
Enjoy some of our best shots in this Coronado Photo Tour
Things to Do on Coronado Island
- Ferry Landing/Tidelands Park: Just below the Coronado Bay Bridge's western end lies the Coronado Island Tidelands Park and Ferry Landing Marketplace, with more than 30 shops, restaurants and art galleries. Visitors and locals walk or bicycle along the shoreline path or picnic here, enjoying San Diego skyline views. This is a great place to be at sunset, with views of the bridge and downtown. There's a farmers market here on Tuesdays.
- Take a Tour: One of the best ways to get to know Coronado Island and pick up some fun gossip at the same time is to take the most excellent Coronado Island walking tour which leaves several times a week from the Glorietta Bay Inn. If you'd rather glide than stride, try a very cool Segway human transporter tour with Segway of Coronado.
- Hotel del Coronado: A sprawling, barn-red-and-white, Victorian-style seaside hotel, opened in 1888. The National Historic Landmark has hosted the twentieth century's most famous and infamous, from Marilyn Monroe to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Some say it also has a resident ghost. Even if you're not staying there, you can browse through the historic exhibits and photographs downstairs, or enjoy a meal on the terrace.
- Coronado Beach: Travel Channel named Coronado Beach, north of here the Best Weekend Getaway Beach and one of the Best Beaches for Families, and it's uncrowded even in summer.
- Go Bicycling: With 15 miles of bike paths along the coast, you'll have plenty of places to go. You can rent a bike on Orange Avenue, at the Hotel Del Coronado or at the Ferry Landing.
- Orange Avenue, which runs past the Hotel Del is a popular shopping and dining area.
Where to Stay on Coronado Island
Getting to Coronado Island from San Diego
If you're driving, take the Coronado Bay Bridge exit off I-5. Follow the road as it curves left, then turn left onto Orange Avenue.
By water from San Diego, take the Coronado Ferry that runs Broadway Pier on the San Diego side of the bay and Coronado Ferry Landing. It runs hourly from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., or if you miss it, you can call a water taxi at (619) 235-8294. The walk from the Ferry Landing to the Hotel Del Coronado is about 1.5 miles.
San Diego Trolley Tours stops at the Ferry Landing and downtown near the Hotel Del Coronado as well as other sights, and it's a good way to get around town without driving and parking hassles. Save time. Order your trolley tickets from Viator.com. They guarantee the best price, and you get a print-at-home voucher right away.