When families think of sunny San Diego their thoughts generally go to places like Sea World, The San Diego Zoo, the Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, or even Old Town. But many don’t think of looking west across San Diego Bay to “the crowned one,” Coronado Island. Coronado is just a short distance across the bay from San Diego and a world away from the bustling city. This charming seaside town with a laid-back atmosphere and near-perfect weather make for an ideal, and underrated, destination for a family getaway.
Coronado’s white sandy beaches are mostly found on the western side of the island and have been consistently rated the, “best family beach” in California and one of the best in the country. If your family is looking to dip their toes into the Pacific Ocean and enjoy the gentle surf, try the western beaches in front of Hotel del Coronado. If you want to explore sea life along the rocks, take in views of downtown San Diego, or watch Navy ships deploying into the Pacific, try the eastern side. Also on the eastern side of the island, you can find a small casual bayside beach and the Coronado Ferry Landing. Enjoy the captivating backdrop of the San Diego skyline with an ice cream cone in hand.
Coronado by Bike
On our trip, the kids’ favorite activity was renting a Surrey bike car. Pedal along the winding tree-lined waterfront Bayshore Bikeway and experience the culture that is unique to the relaxed island lifestyle here.
If your kids are looking for an adventure, climb aboard the Coronado Ferry and sail across the bay. They ferry can drop you off at either the Convention Center and Petco Park, home of the Padres, or the Broadway Pier. We ventured across and hopped off at the Broadway Pier. We spent the morning wandered through Seaport Village. Its quaint shops and themed area offer views of the bay and downtown while offering plenty to do with a wide range of eateries, shops, and a 100-year-old carousel. (Side note: If you have at least half a day to devote, explore the massive and historical Aircraft carrier the USS Midway Museum. A floating museum that grants you access to a machine of war that served and protected the United States for 47 years.)
The island’s main draw — technically it’s a peninsula — is the iconic Hotel del Coronado. Built in 1888, the Victorian-style hotel has hosted famous visitors including numerous presidents and Hollywood actors including Marilyn Monroe. In fact, some never checked out and those haunted rooms are the popular to book. If you can’t afford a room to rub shoulders with the elite, you can at least enjoy the same views as them. Nothing more caps off a great day then watching the sun slip below the horizon of Point Loma from the beaches in front of Hotel del Coronado.
Where to Stay
There is a range of hotel options and the most obvious choice of accommodations would be the iconic Hotel del Coronado. However, the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa, located on the bay with stunning views of the San Diego skyline, has always met our expectations and fits our budget. Another family-friendly is Loews Coronado Bay Resort just south of the bridge; there the kids will be thrilled watching the Navy ships coming in and out of the harbor.
With picky eaters (and one with food allergy concerns), we spend a great deal of time scouting kid-friendly restaurants. Thankfully, Coronado has a bevy of family-friendly options including Village Pizzeria. With two locations (one near Hotel del Coronado and the other at the Ferry Landing Marketplace) it’s always a kid pleaser. Also at the Ferry Landing Marketplace is Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q. With great meat, huge selections of beer and large inviting picnic tables perfect for families, is a great lunch stop. Also near by the Ferry landing and on the main drag of Orange Ave is the Coronado Brewery, while the food is excellent, the beer is the big draw. It’s a local favorite and can get very busy near dinnertime. Don’t forget to treat the kids to MooTime Creamery located inside the Hotel del Hotel or along Orange Avenue.
Have you visited Coronado Island? We love to connect with others, so feel free to leave us a comment and share your experiences! (Disclosure: Burbs2Abroad traveled to the above location as guests and was not compensated for this review. As always, our opinions are our own.)