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18 Best Things to Do in Coronado, California

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For those looking for 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.

It is home to the famous Hotel del Coronado. Visitors can drive to Coronado Island, just 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!

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Hotel del Coronado
  • Park to visit – Centennial Park
  • Free activity – Bayview Park
  • Activity for kids – New Children’s Museum
  • Activity for adults – Gaslamp Quarter
  • Place to eat – Little Frenchie
  • Nightlife – Orange Avenue
  • Place to stay – El Cordova Hotel

Things to Do in Coronado, California

1. Visit the Iconic Hotel del Coronado

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 fabulous, historic, and iconic hotel has been featured in many movies, TV shows, and highlights, capturing the best of San Diego and Coronado Island. The Hotel del Coronado was founded in 1888 and has been host to U.S. presidents, celebrities, and tycoons alike since then.

Today, you can enjoy the breathtaking beach views from the Hotel del Coronado, as well as Coronado Beach, from the comfort of your luxury room or the cabanas that dot the outside of the hotel. They also have movies on the beach if you’re ready for a comfy and luxurious date night!

You can book your ticket in advance to enjoy a fun week, watching the best movies available while taking in the fresh ocean air surrounding Coronado Beach.

Visit their website for 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 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 at this hotel. Visit their website for more on their services and the latest deals.

2. Cruise Down Orange Avenue

Orange Avenue San Diego
Image by nick hoke/ CC BY 3.0

Address: 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

If you want to experience the best of downtown Coronado, 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 who serve in 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: Things to Do in Roseville

3. Go Bar Hopping in Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter

Address: Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA 92101

If you want to explore San Diego a little more, 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 many eateries, bars, and nightclubs to entertain you, your date, and your friends! Free music shows also abound, with a new performance scheduled almost daily. If you’re eager to know more about the music playing at Gaslamp, visit their website for all the happenings in Gaslamp Quarter.

In addition, you can also get your fill at some of the many bars 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

Frenchie for Parisian Eats
Image source: TripAdvisor

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-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 delicious charcuterie board filled with meats and cheeses.

You can also enjoy some of the city’s best pastries, dessert options, and high-quality and locally sourced ingredients from local fishermen. Prices are also budget-friendly, considering the number of high-quality ingredients!

See Related: Things to Do in Redding, California

5. Visit the USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum

Address: 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

For those who 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 open seven days a week for tours! You can get a doctor to teach you about the museum’s history or enjoy a self-guided tour with your family.

Exhibits on the flight deck, bottom deck, and remembrance wall pay homage to military members. There is also an overnight stay available for youth on the aircraft carrier!

The USS Midway Museum pays homage to the men and women who served in the Naval forces and is home to dozens of aircraft also made in Southern California!

The USS Midway Museum is 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

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 you can be deep in the ocean within 10 minutes. Whale-watching tours are sometimes as little as 1 hour, but to get the 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 see one of these magnificent creatures up close and personal.

See Related: Things to Do in Santa Barbara, California

7. Visit Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace

Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace
Image source: Tripadvisor

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 safely transport you and your family 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, both excellent spots to unwind after a long day of shopping!

Visit their website to learn more about the history of this ferry landing, visiting hours, and any closures occurring on the ferry landing (which are rare but can still happen).

8. Take your pup to the Coronado Dog Beach

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 area allows you 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 available year-round, so you can let your puppy get their energy out and prepare for the upcoming tour!

Coronado Dog Beach is part of Coronado Beach, so check their website for any updates on water safety, tsunami and high tide warnings, and other information.

Once you’re ready 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 walk around with smaller children while your dog expels all of that fun energy!

Remember to keep your dog on a leash until you reach the park. Parking is free all around. Are you 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 island’s history as they are in awe of its beauty!

See Related: Things to Do in Fallbrook, California

9. Get stunning Views at Bayview Park

Bayview Park

Address: 413 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118

If you’re looking for a bike path that offers stunning views of the San Diego skyline and San Diego Bay, then Bayview Park on 1st Street and I Avenue is your go-to!

This is one of the best places in 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, to get the best photos to take home after your trip!

If you want to rest and relax, you can lie on the grass or choose one of the many nearby benches to sit down, meditate, and take in the views. Visit their website for updated information!

10. Visit the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument

Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument
Image source: TripAdvisor

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 who lost their lives during the Vietnam War. The wall consists of names of U.S. Navy Sailors and Coast Guard Sailors who 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 heading to downtown Coronado, stop by the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument! It’s a great way to learn about the Vietnam War’s past and pay homage to the sailors and coastguardmen who fought overseas.

In addition, three restored boats are located on the site. These restored boats are known as riverine boats, 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 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: Things to Do in Santa Ana, California

11. Take a Trip to the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

The San Diego Zoo is one of the best places 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. New exhibits and animals are always being displayed to the public.

If you’re with children, the San Diego Zoo is one of the best places to visit for people who want to educate their kids and help them get out all that energy and excitement! There’s even a sky tour to view San Diego, Coronado, and the San Diego harbor.

If you’re staying in Coronado, visit the Coronado ferry landing pier to cross into San Diego and the zoo! You can also pay for parking or book a rideshare to 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

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.

See Related: Things to Do in Oceanside, California

13. Catch a Show at the Coronado Playhouse or Lamb’s Players Theatre

Lamb's Players Theatre
Image source: TripAdvisor

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.

Established in 1946, the Coronado Players have 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 who 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 tickets.

14. Go Camping at Silver Strand State Beach

Silver Strand State Beach Park

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 perfect beach 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. Check out their website for the latest information on closures at Coronado Beach. You can also reserve your campground site to prepare for your next summer outing!

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15. View the Tide Pools at Coronado Beach

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 book a room at the Hotel del Coronado and 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 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 light up a bonfire at one of the many fire pits 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

Centennial Park, one of the best things to do in Coronado
Image source: TripAdvisor

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, right next to Bayview Park and considered one of the best parks in Coronado.

Centennial Park is located at the very end of Ocean Avenue. You can take in the surrounding San Diego Bay and capture images of the downtown San Diego skyline.

At Tidelands Park, you can enjoy waterfront views 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 and home to picnic tables for enjoyable outings.

Those who want to explore downtown Coronado can visit Spreckels Park in the heart of Coronado. A central pavilion 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.

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17. Golf at The Coronado Municipal Golf Course

Coronado Municipal Golf Course
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 2000 Visalia Row, Coronado, CA 92118

According to Golf Digest, the Coronado Municipal Golf Course has been rated one of the best. It was Ranked #5 nationally by Golf Digest for delivering the best golf value to its customers.

There are ample tee time offerings and 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.

Professionals staff the golf course, 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 for more information and reserve a spot 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 for children in Coronado. It is located in San Diego, just 15 minutes from Coronado Island. The museum has interactive art installations like giant fruit statues that can be climbed, 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 six 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 who 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.

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How to Get Around Coronado, California

When visiting San Diego, Coronado Island, or Southern California, you might be wondering what some of the best ways to get around and experience the full beauty of Coronado, California, are.

Below are some of the best ways to get around, either as a solo traveler or traveling with friends, on a date, or even with children.

Walk Around Coronado

If you want to explore the very best Coronado offers and 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.

Car Rentals

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 available on Coronado Island and mainland San Diego. Use Uber or Lyft for options.

Use Public Transportation

If you’re a solo traveler on a budget, we recommend visiting Coronado, California, using public transportation. The MTS line runs through Coronado and is our top pick for exploring Ocean Avenue in Coronado. View their schedule of operations.

Places to Stay in Coronado

1. Chaparral Motor Inn Top Recommendation

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.

2. Super 8 by Wyndham Fruita

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

3. Hyatt Place Denver-South/Park Meadows

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.

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