Just five miles from San Diego is the beautiful village of Coronado, California. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the area, near scenic ocean views but away from the big city atmosphere, then a Coronado vacation is the right choice for you.

What to Do in Coronado

Outdoor Activities

Great weather conditions year round and a fantastic beach location make Coronado, California a perfect spot to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. Fifteen miles of scenic paths are available for running, jogging or rollerblading. Bike rentals and trails are available throughout the city. Coronado Municipal Golf Course’s 18 holes are open seven days a week throughout the year. For those interested in water sports, there are several locations within Coronado where you can rent powerboats, sailboats, kayaks, kiteboards and jet skis. You can also take sailing lessons, go on a whale watching excursion or participate in a water skiing adventure.

coronado travel guide

San Diego Zoo

Due to Coronado’s close proximity to San Diego, the popular San Diego Zoo is less than a 15 minute drive away. Known worldwide as an extremely progressive zoo, San Diego Zoo has over 4000 animals and 800 species on exhibit. One of its most popular and rare attractions is the giant panda exhibit, which few zoos in the world have. You can take a guided bus tour of the zoo or wander on your own. Get an aerial view of most of the zoo and Balboa Park on the Skyfari gondola lift.

Wild Animal Park

The Wild Animal Park is an extension of the San Diego Zoo for an additional admission cost. It consists of free-range habitat enclosures (rather than small, caged exhibits) showing over 3,000 animals from the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. One of the more popular attractions in the park is the Journey into Africa tram that takes riders on a tour of the very large Africa exhibit.

SeaWorld

Just 15 minutes drive from Coronado is the SeaWorld San Diego animal theme park and oceanarium. The many attractions include the Journey to Atlantis boat ride, the Wild Arctic 3-D simulator ride, Dolphin Cove where you can feed and pet dolphins, the Shipwreck Rapids water ride and the Sesame Street Bay of Play for little ones. Shows include the dolphins, sea lions and, of course the Orca whales, including Shamu. The park is also full of exhibits of water related animals such as turtles, penguins and polar bears.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is home to the San Diego Zoo, but that is not all this 1,400 acre park has to offer. There are several beautiful buildings of the Spanish Colonial Revival style for visitors to explore. The park also contains nearly 20 museums, including the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Fleet Science Center and the Museum of Photographic Arts, to name a few. There are unique shops and dining experiences, as well as beautiful lush gardens such as the Japanese Friendship Garden. If you’re interested in the performing arts, there are a variety of shows and theatrical productions all year long throughout Balboa Park.

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What to See in Coronado

The Hotel de Coronado

Coronado travel would not be complete without visiting the Hotel de Coronado. Located along Orange Avenue and viewable from Central Beach, this architectural structure will take your breath away upon first site. The lower level houses a shopping area and a few restaurants, as well as a spa and salon. The hotel is also a popular wedding venue.

Museum of History and Art

coronado travel

The Museum of History and Art showcases the history of Coronado and its development as a beautiful vacation destination. Among the galleries is the L. Frank Baum exhibit, since history says he stayed in the Hotel de Coronado while writing the Wizard of Oz. Additional exhibits show the contribution of the Navy to the development of Coronado, the history of Hotel de Coronado and Tent City (a precursor to Coronado).

Art-in-the-Park

Year round on every Sunday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, visitors to Spreckels Park (at 6th Street and Orange Avenue) can view an outdoor gallery featuring more than 50 local artists. The art includes everything from oil paintings to drawings, photography to wood working and ceramic to stained glass, to name a few. The only time this event is ever canceled is in the case of rain, in order to protect the artists’ work.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Coronado

Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing offers a variety of shops, galleries and dining facilities along a beautiful beach and scenic view of downtown San Diego. Every Sunday from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM year round patrons can bring a blanket or folding chair and enjoy a beach concert. There is also a summer concert program on Saturdays. The Ferry Landing also has a farmer’s market every Tuesday from 2:30 PM to 6:00 PM, which is perfect for picking up some fresh fruits and vegetables to cook in the private kitchen of your Coronado vacation rental.

Horton Plaza Shopping Center

Just 13 minutes from Coronado is the Horton Plaza Shopping Center in San Diego. The plaza has over 130 stores, many of which are nationally known such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s and The Gap. There are also 25 dining facilities available, much like one would find in a mall courtyard, such as Starbucks, Panda Express and Ben & Jerry’s.

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When to Visit Coronado

Coronado is beautiful all year round, since it doesn’t rain very often and the temperatures often rest in the 70s. This provides an opportunity for many events throughout the year that might intrigue you as you decide when to visit the area.

coronado travel

Spring

In March, the Navy SEAL Superfrog Triathlon begins on Coronado’s Silver Strand Beach. Between the months of March and June, many people flock to the beaches under the light of the New Moon and Full Moon to watch Grunion fish spawn on Coronado beaches. The light of the moon makes the silvery bodies of these fish shimmer, creating a beautiful sight. You can also catch the fish but only by hand and not during the closed season during the months of April and May.

Summer

Summer in Coronado brings a host of activities. Summer concert series are available at both Coronado Ferry Landing and the Promenade Concert in the Park. The Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition, the nation’s original surfing contest for dogs, occurs in June. Coronado also provides a spectacular Fourth of July Celebration. Also during the month of July is the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition.

Autumn

The Coronado Art Walk, an annual free event each September, spans the whole of Coronado with exhibits and entertainment all over town. Check out the Chrysler Classic Speed Festival in September and October, where over 200 vintage automobiles race on a 1.6 mile course. Downtown Coronado gears up for Halloween each October by handing out treats and offering Halloween parties. The J.R. Memorial Longboard Surf Classic, a surfing competition that began in 1983, is held on Coronado’s South Beach each November.

Winter

December is full of holiday celebrations throughout the town. The Hotel de Coronado also provides an outdoor ice skating rink, right along the beach, during the month of December. December also gives you the opportunity to view the Port of San Diego Big Balloon Parade from Coronado beaches. In January the Coronado Arts Ball, complete with entertainment, food and a silent auction, is open to everyone.

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What to Bring to Coronado

While the weather in Coronado is perfect nearly year round, the closeness to the ocean means that evenings and mornings are often a bit chilly. While you can dress for warm weather during the day, be sure to bring pants and a jacket too. Sunscreen is also a must. Even if a day starts out cloudy, the sun is likely to show itself at some point. It doesn’t rain very often, so you probably won’t need an umbrella, and humidity is usually pretty low.

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Local Services in Coronado

Rentals are available for all types of outdoor recreational activities. You can rent biking and roller blading equipment at Ferry Landing or Coronado Village. Businesses such as Action Sports Rentals, Coronado Boat Rental and Cali Kites provide rentals for water sports. The Coronado Municipal Pool provides swimming and diving classes for all ages. It’s also comforting to know that, if there is an emergency during your Coronado vacation, Sharp Coronado Hospital is easily accessible and ready to take care of you. Public safety is a top priority for the Coronado Fire Department and Police Department. There is also a public library available, a golf course for those leisure days and a skate park for your roller blading and skateboarding teenagers to enjoy.

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What to Know About Coronado

Periodically, between the months of September and April, Southern California has a weather condition called a “Santa Ana.” The conditions consist of winds up to 25 miles per hour and temperatures that are much warmer than usual for the season. While these conditions may be a nice break from colder temperatures for a few days, a Santa Ana can have harsh effects on individuals that suffer from asthma or allergies.

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Getting to Coronado

Coronado is just a 20 minute drive from San Diego International Airport, so if you’re flying to the area you are certain to have access from anywhere in the world.

If you obtain a rental car at the San Diego airport, then getting to Coronado is quite simple. Take Interstate 5 South to California Highway 75. You’ll cross the San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge and easily approach Coronado Island. The first traffic light you will encounter on Coronado Island is Orange Avenue, which provides quick access to many Coronado attractions. Turn right to go to Ferry Landing or left to access downtown, drive to the beach or visit Hotel de Coronado.

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Why Coronado Vacation Rentals?

Coronado vacation rentals provide you with a traveling experience like you never expected. Staying in a hotel can be cramped and is sure to make you feel like a tourist. Vacation rentals give you the opportunity to enjoy the comforts of home during Coronado travel, without the stress. Among the many possible amenities are fully-equipped kitchens (allowing you to eat in and save on dining costs), a washer and drier, beach views, private decks and even hot tubs. Many vacation rentals also provide accommodations for several people, making it an ideal choice for travel groups of four or more.

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