Across the way from Downtown San Diego you will find one of my favorite places- Coronado. This gem of a town has a magical island feel with the friendliest residents, great food, beautiful beaches and gorgeous views. It is one of those places you always want to be and never want to leave. Check out my favorite things to do and see while you are there.
The ULTIMATE Guide to Coronado
Coronado is incredibly easy to reach via car as it is located right off the 5 freeway. You simply take the Coronado Bridge (75) right over and you are there in a hop skip & a jump. Easy peasy!
Once in Coronado there are variety of transportation options. The city is incredibly easy to walk due to its over-sized sidewalks and walking trails. It is also very accessible to bike as there are plenty of paths throughout town. Don’t feel like walking or biking? How about hopping on one of the ferry boats? You can check out their schedule here.
Buses are also available in Coronado, the MTS Bus 901 travels off the Island and the MTS Bus 904 travels along Orange Ave, to the Community Center, City Hall and the Bayfront and Ferry Landing. More info on their routes and rates here.
If you visit during the height of the summer season there is a free summer shuttle that runs mid June- September too! Check out more about that here.
Where to Stay
There are quite a few options in regards to accommodations in Coronado. Of course there is the famous Hotel Del Coronado but I feel like its a bit run down and overpriced personally. There are also a bunch of smaller boutique hotels and vacation rental properties. You can view those options here.
I recommend staying at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. It is the perfect choice for families or people traveling with their pets as Loews perfectly caters to both. They have a gorgeous location on the bay with a view of the Coronado Bridge, the friendliest staff, awesome pools and delicious food! You can read more about Loews in my detailed review here.
Things to Do
You will find Coronado has quite the variety when it comes to activities. Everything from beaches, to surf lessons, great shopping, a happening food scene and more!
1. Take a Gondola Ride
I bet you didn’t know you could hop on a gondola while visiting the San Diego area. The Gondola Company offers romantic gondola rides in the marina. The route takes you through the canals of the Coronado Cays and along the bay which happens to be dotted with million dollar homes. The ride lasts 50 minutes and can accommodate up to 6 guests. More info here.
2. Visit Fuzziwig’s Candy Shop
My daughter would tell you that a visit to Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory is a MUST when visiting Coronado. This fun candy shop is sure to appeal to the kid in all of us. The store is filled with nostalgic candy sure to bring back happy childhood memories. Just make sure to save room for their homemade chocolates and fudge too! Check out more info here.
3. Go Boutique Shopping on Orange Ave.
Coronado frowns upon chains so you will find quaint mom and pop shops full of adorable and unique finds as you stroll down Orange Ave. The buildings are older and filled with so much character. I especially love walking around at night when the white lights strung upon the buildings are lit. Its a beautiful sight. Find out more about Orange Ave. here.
4. Learn to Surf
What’s more Californian than a surfer? Not much so grab a board and hop in the water with a professional instructor from Coronado Surfing Academy. You will be up and riding waves in no time! More info here.
5. Take the Ferry to Downtown San Diego
Another fun adventure is to take the ferry boat across to Downtown San Diego. Its less than $5 each way and kids 3 and under ride FREE! The ferry departs every hour on the half hour starting at 9:30am. The last departure is at 9:30pm (10:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays) for details check their website here.
6. Rent a Bike
My kids love to go for a bike ride and they especially love to ride surrey bikes both of which are available in Coronado. We typically rent through Wheel Fun Rentals. You can view their pricing and info here.
7. Check out the Tide-pools
Head over to the Hotel Del and check out their public beach. If you walk to the far left of the hotel you will find the tide-pools. Kids are entertained for hours mesmerized by the small crabs and fish they find in there.
*Right now you may also see the sunken ship that has unearthed with the recent weather. The casino ship crashed onto the Coronado shore about 80 years ago. Just keep walking past the tide-pools to find it.
8. Go Ghost Hunting
Have you heard that the Hotel Del Coronado is haunted? Yup… people believe that Kate Morgan checked into room #3327 but never checked out! They say her ghost still haunts the Victorian halls and rooms in this historic hotel playing pranks on unsuspecting guests. I’ve been told there is a crazy long wait to stay in that specific room. Read more about the history behind the ghost story here.
9. Have Brunch in the Crown Room
If you are like me a lavish Sunday brunch at the Crown Room may be the most enjoyable way to experience the historic Hotel Del Coronado. Their Crown Room Sunday Brunch has become quite famous continually being named the BEST BRUNCH in San Diego. Make sure to get a reservation. More info here.
10. Take your pup to the Dog Beach
One of our favorite spots is Coronado’s dog beach. Stay at the pet friendly Loews Coronado Bay Resort and you can chill with your pup on this stunning strip of beach just down from the Hotel Del Coronado. Find out more here.
11. Visit Spreckels Park
My kids LOVE hanging out and playing at all the different parks and playgrounds they find while we travel. Spreckels Park was one we came across that really stuck out. It is a very large park with a ton of open grass area, playground, swings and restrooms. Its a great place to let the kids burn some energy.
12. Hop on a Segway Tour
Looking for another way to get around Coronado? How about checking out the sites on a segway. Segway of Coronado offers several guided tour options for riders 14+ years of age. Find out more about their pricing and package details here.
13. See a Play
There are several options you can check out if you enjoy seeing a play while you are in Coronado. The is Lamb’s Players Theatre has big theatrical productions and the Coronado Playhouse boasts more of a community atmosphere. You can find more info on both of these options on Tripadvisor by clicking here.
14. Check out the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument
From their website, “[The] Memorial Monument was funded by private contributions and was built by veterans to honor those Navy and Coast Guard sailors who died in Vietnam, in the air, at sea, on inland waters, ashore and in POW camps.” What a fantastic place to pay homage to our wonderful Navy men and women. You can find more info here.
15. Take a Food Tour
Are you a foodie? Then you will love strolling along the beach with your personal tour guide as you are introduced to some amazing Coronado cuisine. You will even learn a bit of history in the process. There are several companies that offer tours. Check out more info here or here.
16. Visit a Spa
You deserve some pampering while you are relaxing in a town where movie stars once vacationed right? Well thank goodness there are several amazing spas in the area. Find them all on Tripadvisor here.
17. Try SUP
Have you tried stand up paddle-board yet? If you haven’t you are totally missing out. There is a reason Jen Aniston seems to be the perfect picture of health. Paddle-boarding is a fantastic workout plus very zen like at the same time. You can take lessons and become a pro in no time (its not very difficult). Check out more info at SUP Coronado here.
Places to Eat
I [heart] a good bakery and Tartine is an excellent one. The wait staff is super friendly and everything comes out fresh and delicious. It’s not the cheapest but it won’t break the bank either. I love their quiche with a side salad anytime of day and their desserts will make you drool just by looking at them. Check out their website here.
Fabrison’s French Creperie
I love a good crepe so I always squeeze in a breakfast or lunch at Fabrison’s French Creperie. You MUST try their savory Fabrice’s breakfast crepe. Of course you’ll have to order a dessert crepe too and share with someone. But, trust me you won’t regret it! Feel like learning how to make a crepe? Fabrison’s also offers several cooking classes. Learn more on their website here.
Clayton’s Coffee Shop
If you love that vintage diner feel than you will love Clayton’s. This one is a hit and miss for people. They always have the doors open so it can get drafty and there is usually a long wait. But, people claim that their food is scrumptious and their coffee is smooth. If you feel more like a grab and go coffee/ meal then you can hit up their walk up counter on the side of the building. Check them out on Yelp here.
Another restaurant I love is The Marketplace at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. This resort cafe has indoor and outdoor seating, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is both kid and dog friendly (on the patio). And, the BEST part is that their food is SOOOO good! Check out the gorgeous trio of fresh pressed juices to kick off your morning! The wait staff is uber friendly and the food always comes out hot, fresh & delicious. Check out more info here.
A family favorite in Coronado is always the Village Pizzeria (bayside location). Its a classic pizza joint with a gorgeous view of the bay. It is nestled in a cute shopping center and the pizza dough is made with imported New York water- yes for reals!! Check out their website here.
Leroy’s is another favorite… its a hipster kitchen + lounge serving up unique and eclectic dishes. Everything is fresh, local & sustainable and their menu is always changing. They offer a kids menu and dogs are welcome to join you on their patio as well. Their hand crafted drinks are super tasty and they offer a great happy hour which they call social hour (because they’re cool like that). Check out all of the details on their website here.
Mootown is a must do in Coronado… especially when you are visiting with kids. They are always making fresh waffle cones and you can smell them from down the street. Its pretty hard to resist that amazing scent. You can fill those delicious cones with their tasty homemade ice cream. They have plenty of flavors to choose from. Plus, every kid loves the big cow they have out front. MooTime Creamery is also owned by Blue Bridge Hospitality (the restaurant group also owns Leroy’s and Village Pizzeria). Check out more on Yelp here.
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