For those looking for some fun in the sun, no trip to California is complete without visiting the San Diego Bay at Coronado, California. Coronado Island is home to lots of nature and wildlife and is home to a Navy SEAL training base.
Coronado is Spanish for “crowned” and thus is nicknamed The Crown City. The island is one spot in the greater San Diego area, full of sandy beaches and tons of recreational activities like volleyball, and is home to the famous Hotel del Coronado. Visitors can drive to Coronado Island in just under 10 minutes from mainland San Diego.
You can book a stay at the historic Hotel del Coronado or look for accommodations nearby in downtown San Diego! From boat tours and cruises to bar hopping at the nearby Gaslamp Quarter or visiting Silver Strand State Beach, there’s something for everyone here in Coronado, California.
Conveniently located near Kit Carson County Carousel and Kit Carson County Fairgrounds, the Chaparral is the perfect place to stay when visiting Burlington. The inn features air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TVs, a free breakfast each morning, and a 24-hour front desk. Old Town Museum is just a 15-minute walk from the Chaparral Motor Inn, making it the perfect place to stay when exploring all that Burlington has to offer.
The units in the hotel are equipped with a coffee machine, while some rooms also boast a kitchenette equipped with a microwave and a fridge. Super 8 by Wyndham Fruita offers a continental or buffet breakfast each morning. For guests looking for added relaxation, the hotel offers 2-star accommodation with a hot tub. Grand Junction is just 21 km away, while Palisade is 34 km from the property. T
This 3-star hotel offers free shuttle service and a 24-hour front desk, making it easy and convenient for you to get around town. The property also offers an indoor pool, a business centre, an in-house restaurant and free WiFi - so you'll have everything you need right at your fingertips.
- Most significant landmark – Hotel del Coronado
- Best park – Centennial Park
- Best free activity – Bayview Park
- Best activity for kids – New Children’s Museum
- Best activity for adults – Gaslamp Quarter
- Best food – Little Frenchie
- Best nightlife – Orange Avenue
- Best all-around accommodation – El Cordova Hotel
Fun & Best Things to Do in Coronado, California
1. Visit the Iconic Hotel del Coronado
Address: 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA 92118
The Hotel del Coronado is one of the most historic landmarks on Coronado Island. This is a fabulous, historic, and iconic hotel that has been featured in a plethora of movies, TV shows, and highlights, capturing the very best of San Diego and Coronado Island. The Hotel del Coronado was founded in 1888 and since then has been host to U.S. presidents, celebrities, and tycoons alike.
Today, you can enjoy the breathtaking beach views from the Hotel del Coronado, as well as view Coronado Beach from the comfort of your luxury room or the cabanas that dot the outside of the hotel. If you’re feeling up for a comfy and luxurious date night, they also have movies available on the beach! You can book your ticket in advance, so you can enjoy a fun week filled with watching the best movies available while taking in the fresh ocean air surrounding Coronado Beach.
Visit their website to get more information on booking your reservation, dining options, and tours to get the most out of this magical hotel, bar, and National Historic Landmark! If you don’t want to stay at the Hotel del Coronado, the next best option is El Cordova, located on Coronado Island.
El Cordova offers everything from 24-hour customer service to grocery shopping and stocking before you return to your room. Heated pools and Spanish-style architecture complete the picturesque experience you have at this hotel. Visit their website for more on their services and for the latest deals.
2. Cruise Down Orange Avenue
Address: 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
If you want to experience the very best of downtown Coronado, then look no further than visiting downtown Orange Avenue. Orange Avenue is the name given to the strip in Coronado that extends from Bayside Coronado to the Hotel del Coronado on Ocean Boulevard.
This part of the city is filled to the brim with patriotic flags and a sense of pride for the men and women that serve the military. Coronado Island is home to the Naval Special Warfare Command that trains Navy SEAL candidates, so it’s only fitting that Orange Ave holds such pride and events!
There are also a variety of places to eat and drink and enjoy the nightlife. From oyster bars to barbecue joints and pubs, there’s no shortage of places to spend the night on Orange Avenue.
On top of that, there are also loads of activities and shops to visit, such as Bay Books, Fair Trade Decor, and even beauty shops like Coronado Glow, where you can get a spray tan, sit back, and enjoy being pampered in luxury.
Indeed, there’s no better place to get your fill of all things luxurious, as well as explore the many local artisans and art galleries, than on Orange Avenue. Visit their website for events, new shops, and ideas on where to eat, shop, and visit!
You can also start your trip at the Coronado Visitor Center at 1100 Orange Avenue to get your hands on a brochure that guides you through all there is to do at Coronado Island. For the most adventurous visitors, you can also book a scooter tour to help you get the most out of this part of Coronado without compromising your comfort!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Roseville, California
3. Go Bar Hopping in Gaslamp Quarter
Address: Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA 92101
If you’re willing to get a little adventurous and explore San Diego, cross the Coronado Bridge into the Gaslamp Quarter! Simply known as Gaslamp by locals and tourists alike, this is one of the most fun places to visit for younger crowds and adults in San Diego County.
You can find a wide range of eateries, bars, and nightclubs to entertain you, your date, and your group of friends! Free music shows also abound, with a new performance scheduled almost daily. If you want to know more about the music that will be playing at Gaslamp, visit their website for all the happenings in Gaslamp Quarter.
From the seafood at Chevy Cafe to the delicious Tacos at Tacos El Cabron, there’s virtually something for everyone here at the Gaslamp Quarter. In addition, you can also get your fill at some of the many bars that are located in the Gaslamp Quarter and book a hotel for the night, so you don’t have to worry about crossing the Coronado Bridge again.
Visit this listing of hotels in Downtown San Diego in Gaslamp so you can book your room in advance! While you’re in San Diego, you can also take a trolley tour, so you can tour Gaslamp and other parts of this iconic city with ease.
4. Visit Little Frenchie for Parisian Eats
Address: 1166 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
Want to experience a lavish Sunday brunch with friends and family? There’s no better place to do so than with Little Frenchie! Located on Orange Ave in the heart of Coronado, this is one of the most highly-rated eateries in all of Coronado Island. Customers here love their wide selection of wines, Parisian-inspired dishes, and the wide range of foods for family members of all ages. You can enjoy seafood or keep it simple with a high-quality, delicious charcuterie board filled with meats and cheeses.
You can also enjoy some of the best pastries and dessert options in the city, in addition to high-quality and locally sourced ingredients from local fishermen. This is one of those spots that is approachable, has something for everyone, and is where you can enjoy wine tasting and relax during your stay at Coronado Island.
Prices are also budget-friendly, considering the number of high-quality ingredients! Visit their website today to get more information and details on how to book a table at this delicious restaurant.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Redding, California
5. Visit the USS Midway Museum
Address: 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
For those that want to learn more about the history of California and its role in the military, the USS Midway Museum is the perfect place to visit for friends and family of all ages! The USS Midway was once an aircraft carrier, but now it is a museum that is open 7 days a week for tours! You can get a docent to teach you all about the history of the museum or enjoy a self-guided tour with your family.
There are exhibits located on the flight deck, bottom deck, and the remembrance wall that pays homage to members of the military. There is also an overnight stay available for youth on the aircraft carrier!
The USS Midway Museum pays homage to the men and women that served in the Naval forces and is home to dozens of aircraft that were also made in Southern California! The USS Midway Museum is located on the Navy Pier in Downtown San Diego. When you’re done touring, you can also take a cruise down the San Diego Bay harbor! Visit their website for more information on how to book tickets in advance.
6. Go Whale Watching in San Diego Bay
Address: 1617 Quivira Rd, San Diego, CA 92109
No trip to San Diego is complete without a whale-watching tour! This is one of the best places to interact with wildlife, and what better way to see these magnificent creatures up close than with a whale-watching tour? The warm waters of the Pacific are the perfect grounds for whales migrating back and forth down the Pacific coast.
These whales can be spotted throughout all times of the year, but if you’re unsure, a marine biologist will be onboard to help you spot the whales and provide you with excellent notes on whales and their behaviors!
In addition, this whale tour will leave Mission Bay near the water so that you can be deep in the ocean within just 10 minutes. Whale-watching tours are sometimes as little as 1 hour, but to get the very best experience, look for a whale-watching tour that lasts for 3 hours like the above! The longer the whale-watching tour, the more likely you’ll be to see one of these magnificent creatures up close and personal.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Santa Barbara, California
7. Visit Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace
Address: 1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
The Coronado Ferry Landing Pier and marketplace is one of the best places to fish, wine, dine, and shop for all things on Coronado Island! Some ferries are available for round-trip and one-way trips, which can transport you and your family safe from Coronado Island to the mainland in San Diego.
While you’re waiting for your ferry to arrive or are just getting back from San Diego, there are lots of restaurants, cafes, and shops here at the ferry landing marketplace for you and your family to enjoy. Some of the best spots include the Village Pizzeria Bayside and the Coronado Coffee Company, which are both excellent spots to unwind after a long day of shopping!
Visit their online website to find out more about the history of this ferry landing, visiting hours, and any closures that are occurring on the ferry landing (which are rare but can still happen).
8. Take your pup to the Coronado Dog Beach
Address: Ocean Blvd, Coronado, CA 92118
Just west of Lifeguard Tower 6C is the beautiful Coronado Dog Beach that sits atop the picturesque pristine beaches of Coronado Island! This is an area where you can feel free to set out those beach chairs, sit back, and watch your pup wander around without their leash! The dogs here are known to be friendly, and it is available year-round, so you can let your puppy get their energy out and prepare for the upcoming touring ahead!
Coronado Dog Beach is part of Coronado Beach, so make sure to check their website for any updates on water safety, tsunami and high-tide warnings, and other information. Once you’re good to go, this small beach is one of the best places to let your dog roam free, play a game of volleyball with your friends, and also walk around with smaller children while your dog expels all of that fun energy!
Remember to keep your dog on a leash until you get to the park itself. Parking is free all around. Touring with friends? You’ll be happy to know that the iconic Hotel del Coronado is not too far away, meaning you can brag and tell your friends about the history of the island as they awe of its beauty!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Fallbrook, California
9. Get stunning Views at Bayview Park
Address: 413 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
If you’re looking for a bike path that also offers stunning views of the San Diego skyline and San Diego Bay, then the Bayview Park located on 1st street and I Avenue is your go-to! This is one of the best places in all of Coronado Island to experience breathtaking views, especially at night! This beautiful park is smaller than most, but it is one of the best on the island to get a view of San Diego Bay.
If you want to get some of the best photo opportunities, or even if you want to get some iconic shots of the San Diego skyline, then Bayview Park will be the best area in Coronado, California, for you to get the best photos to take home after your trip! If you want to rest and relax, you can lie down on the grass, or you can choose one of the many benches available nearby to sit down, meditate, and take in the views. Visit their website for updated information!
10. Visit the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument
Address: Coronado, CA 92118
The Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument is a tribute consisting of 30 panels adorned with flags dedicated to the men and women that lost their lives during the Vietnam War. The wall consists of names of U.S. Navy Sailors and Coast Guard Sailors that were in the Vietnam War, as well as recipients of the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor.
If you’re in downtown San Diego or are making your way to downtown Coronado, make sure to stop by the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument! It’s a great way to learn about the past of the Vietnam War, as well as pay homage to the sailors and coastguardsmen that fought overseas.
In addition, three restored boats are located on the site. These restored boats are known as riverine boats, and they are similar to the ones that sailors and coastguardsmen used while traveling through the rivers in Vietnam.
These boats have been restored to their full beauty, so you can feel free to take pictures and marvel at their engineering! Visit their website to find out more about visiting the monument or how you can help when visiting.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Santa Ana, California
11. Take a Trip to the San Diego Zoo
Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
The San Diego Zoo is by far one of the best places to visit for children, adults, and anyone traveling to San Diego, Coronado, or Southern California in general! The San Diego Zoo is home to hundreds of animals you will only get to see up close and personal through the zoo, which includes brown bears, pandas, tigers, giraffes, and so much more! It’s just 10 minutes from Coronado and is open year-round, and new exhibits and animals are always being displayed to the public.
If you’re with children, then the San Diego Zoo is one of the best places to visit for people that want to educate their kids and help them get out all that energy and excitement! There’s even a sky tour where you can view San Diego, Coronado, and the San Diego harbor.
If you’re staying in Coronado, make sure to visit the Coronado ferry landing pier to cross into San Diego and visit the zoo! You can also pay for parking or book rideshare so you can avoid the hassle of parking. Visit the San Diego Zoo website to get your tickets, and look at which exhibits are currently open and which are closed.
12. Take a Trip to Balboa Park
Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
The Balboa Park is a public park that sprawls around 1,200 square acres and is open to the public! It is home to a variety of art museums, including the San Diego Railroad Museum and even a Comic-Con Museum.
Balboa Park is located in the heart of San Diego, just 11 minutes from Coronado. You can take a day trip here with the whole family and enjoy some of the best free public trails and parks. This is a great place for kids, art lovers, and explorers alike. For more information on the park’s many attractions, including tickets to the San Diego Natural History Museum, Mingei Museum, and more, check out their website to plan your trip ahead.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Oceanside, California
13. Catch a Show at the Coronado Playhouse or Lamb’s Players Theatre
Address: Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118
Address: Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
Is there anywhere on Coronado Island where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a show? Absolutely! You can catch a show at the Coronado Playhouse or the Lamb’s Players Theatre.
The Coronado Playhouse is one of the best places on Coronado Island to view the work of local artists and actors. There are always showings going on, with the Playhouse hosting a variety of comedies, dramas, musicals, and everything in between.
It was established in 1946, and the Coronado Players carry a rich history and tradition of acting, playing, and entertaining guests in the small, 100-seat theater. The Coronado Playhouse sits on the shores of Glorietta Bay Beach and is part of the Coronado Community Center.
For people that want to enjoy shows in a bigger theatre, the Lamb’s Players Theatre is another great choice. They are located inside the Spreckels Building in Coronado. They are one of the area’s leading non-profit theaters and host a variety of shows throughout the year as well. Visit their website for the latest showings and for tickets.
14. Go Camping at Silver Strand State Beach
Address: 5000 CA-75, Coronado, CA 92118
Looking for one of the best beaches in Coronado and Southern California that is dog-friendly? Then visit Silver Strand State Beach! This is the perfect beach, and it is fully open to the public without any restrictions! This is the perfect place to not only reserve a campsite and make memories with your little ones but also one of the best places for fishing, water skiing, and other activities such as beach volleyball.
To explore Coronado, we recommend paddle boarding on the sunny waters near the beach or angler fishing, too! There’s virtually no shortage of activities on Silver Strand Nature’s Bridge to Discovery. The name is also fitting since there are lots of wildlife, birds, and different fish such as perch, corbina, and grunion for you to enjoy.
Make sure to check out their website for the latest information on closures at this Coronado beach. You can also reserve your campground site so you can begin to prepare for your next summer outing here!
See Related: Fun & Best Things To Do In Richmond, California
15. View the Tide Pools at Coronado Beach
Address: 919 Ocean Blvd., Coronado, CA 92118
Coronado Central Beach was recently named the Number One beach in America by Dr. Beach and for a good reason! Nothing is more iconic in San Diego, Coronado Island, and Southern California than the flat, beautiful sandy beach at Coronado Central Beach.
The beach itself runs parallel to Ocean Boulevard, where there is ample free parking for you and your family. You can park your car and visit one of the best beaches in Coronado, California, or you can feel free to book a room at the Hotel del Coronado and simply walk to the beach yourself!
This is one of the flattest beaches in Southern California, making it the perfect spot for beachcombers and children. Enjoy a day of building sand castles, having easy access to the showers and restrooms nearby, and experiencing the very best of Coronado, California, at Coronado Central Beach!
For science buffs, you can also explore the tide pools left behind by the low tide, or you can light up a bonfire at one of the many fire pits located on the beach. Visit their website for more information on visiting, where to park, and other nearby attractions.
16. Visit The Many Parks in Coronado
Address: Centennial Park – Spreckels Park – Tidelands Park – Coronado, CA 92118
There are dozens of parks in Coronado that offer great views and activities for the whole family. Just steps away from the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier is Centennial Park, which is considered one of the best parks in Coronado, right next to Bayview Park. Centennial Park is located at the very end of Ocean Avenue. You can take in views of the surrounding San Diego Bay, as well as capture images of the downtown San Diego skyline.
At Tidelands Park, you can also enjoy views of the waterfront while enjoying its many playgrounds, which are considered one of the best for disabled children and adults. It is the largest San Diego Bay park, also home to picnic tables for enjoyable outings.
For those that want to explore downtown Coronado, you can visit Spreckels Park, located in the heart of Coronado. A central gazebo hosts summer concerts and events for the family to enjoy. You can also find a jungle gym and dozens of unique trees to provide ample shade and picnic areas. Check out the Spreckels Park website for more information.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Ramona, California
17. Golf at The Coronado Municipal Golf Course
Address: 2000 Visalia Row, Coronado, CA 92118
The Coronado Municipal Golf Course has been rated one of the best golf courses, according to Golf Digest. In fact, it was Ranked #5 nationally by Golf Digest for delivering the best golf value to its customers.
There are ample tee time offerings, as well as options for juniors and families to golf here. It is one of the most well-established golf clubs in the area, opening its doors in 1955. There are summer junior camps and junior classes to improve your child’s ability to swing and play.
The golf course is staffed by professionals, and it is also available for tournaments. If you’re here on a date, the golf course also has a new dining room open named Feast and Fareway.
You can enjoy a full day of golfing while also taking in the views of the surrounding water. Visit their website to find out more information and reserve a spot or for junior classes for the family.
18. Visit the New Children’s Museum
Address: 200 W. Island Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
The New Children’s Museum is one of the best attractions to visit for children while in Coronado. It is located in San Diego, just 15 minutes from Coronado Island. The museum is filled with interactive art installations like giant fruit statues that can be climbed over, felt, and explored! This is one of the best places for children to get their fill of art and socialization all at once.
The New Children’s Museum is open 6 days a week, with classes hosted throughout the day. In addition to classes, group tours, and art installations, The New Children’s Museum strives to make art accessible to children of all ages.
They have sensory-friendly places for children that need to take a break from the surrounding stimulation. Their public areas and installations are also ADA-compliant, so anyone in the family can have fun while visiting. Visit their website for more information on classes, group tours, tickets, and hours of operation.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Cambria, California
Getting Around Coronado, California
When visiting San Diego, Coronado Island, or Southern California, you might be wondering what are some of the best ways to get around and experience the full beauty of Coronado, California. Below are some of the best ways for you to get around, either as a solo traveler or if you’re traveling with a group of friends, on a date, or even with children.
Walk Around Coronado
If you want to explore the very best Coronado has to offer and want to get stunning views of San Diego, one of the best things to do in Coronado, California, is to walk across the Coronado sandy beaches on foot. If you want to tour downtown Coronado, there are also walking groups to help you explore the highlights of Coronado.
There are care rentals nearby for families and solo travelers alike. Check out these car rental spots so you can have a vehicle for your trip.
Consider Ridesharing Options
If you’re traveling solo or with a date, we recommend utilizing ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. These services are very popular in Southern California and are available on both Coronado Island and mainland San Diego. Use Uber or Lyft for options.
Use Public Transportation
If you’re a solo traveler on a budget, then we recommend visiting the city of Coronado, California, using public transportation. The MTS line runs through Coronado and is our top pick to explore Ocean Avenue in Coronado. View their schedule of operations.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Coronado, California?
The New Children’s Museum is one of the best places to visit for children of all ages. It houses art installations that are interactive, and hosts classes where families and children can socialize. Their website has more information on current events and tickets.
What are some fun things to do in Coronado, California?
By far, one of the most fun things to do in Coronado, California, is to go whale watching and explore the wildlife around the area. These whales are seen maybe once in a lifetime, and if you’re taking a trip to Southern California, nothing is more memorable than taking a long whale-watching tour. This particular tour allows you to get educated and has a marine biologist on hand to help you spot whale activity too!
What are some things to do in Coronado, California, when it’s raining?
When it’s raining, we recommend stopping by some of the many restaurants and cafes located on the strip of Orange Avenue. Orange Avenue restaurants include Little Frenchie, or other similar cafes nearby. You can enjoy lounging and dining on some of your favorite eats while the rain settles down. If you have children with you, one of the best places to visit is Balboa Park, where you can visit a variety of museums and even enjoy some tea indoors with your kids.
What are the best tourist attractions in Coronado, California?
Coronado Island receives many visitors ready to explore the Coronado Central Beach. This beach is home to beautiful sands and tide pools and was voted the Number One beach in the U.S. by Dr. Beach. It is also home to the Hotel del Coronado, which is a sprawling landmark reminiscent of old Hollywood.
- Best Family Travel Hacks You Need to Know
- What is Travel Insurance? Here is the Definition + Examples
- How to Find Cheap Flights [An Actual Step-by-Step Guide]
- Best Pet Travel Insurance Options to Buy Today
Lock In Your Travel Now
Find Cheap Flights
Use Skyscanner to find flight deals. As my personal favorite flight search engine, Skyscanner scours websites and airlines across the globe, leaving no stone unturned to help you find the best deal possible. And if you really want to take your savings to new heights, pair Skyscanner with Going (Formerly Scott's Cheap Flights). With access to exclusive mistake fares delivered straight to your inbox, you'll be packing your bags and jetting off on your next adventure before you know it.
Travel insurance is a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Cover yourself against illness, injury and theft, and protect the arrangements you've made with our flexible travel cancellation insurance. My favorite options for travel insurance are:
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!
Discover the Best Travel Tools
Be sure to visit our page on our favorite travel resources to learn how you too can visit over 10 countries in year.