Bring your flip-flops and beach towel, your shopping dreams and sunscreen. Coronado is a one-of-a-kind destination with a mashup of fancy surrounds and free-spirited beach vibes.
Coronado Island (FYI, it's technically not an island, but you'll hardly notice) is home to an incredible U.S. Navy past, present and future, including the Navy Seals training center.
Though this history, and the fresh seafood, amazing weather and prime shopping, all are worthy reasons to visit Coronado, the incredible white sand beaches -- renowned for having the softest sand in SoCal and the best for sand castle-building -- are the crown jewel.
The 500-mile drive from San Francisco to Coronado is a day's worth of road trip fun, no doubt. Whether cruising the 5 all the way down or taking the easy hand on the wheel along the coast on iconic US-1, there is a ton to soak up on the way to this stunning beachfront end of the road.
Of course, you can skip the road altogether, if you prefer. Nonstop flights from SFO to San Diego International clock in at 85 minutes, making it a short taxi or rental ride to Coronado -- and the beach.
La Avenida Inn upper village location is only steps from all that's amazing in Coronado: fine dining, intimate cafes, and theaters. Oh yeah, and only one block from the white sand beach. There's an outdoor pool, free WiFi and free continental breakfast, too. The location alone, though, makes this spot well worth the $200 rates.
The Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa offers tremendous proximity and views. Enjoy the outdoor pool next to the bay, not to mention dinner or cocktails. This hotel has all the amenities you'd expect of a Marriott and the location is prime for all Coronado -- and San Diego -- has to offer.
A former Spanish mansion, El Cordova is steeped in history and appeal. The village-style courtyard collects boutiques and four restaurants. The outdoor pool is secluded from any semblance of bustle beyond the hotel, while keeping you as close to all of it as you could hope to be. The white sand beach is only a few minutes' stroll away.
Coronado Brewing Company is noted highly well beyond its craft brews. The food and service also get raves, and the location on Orange Ave. is choice for an after-lunch or -dinner stroll along the avenue or the one block to Centennial Park and the bay. Grab a flight of fresh brews at Coronado Brewing Company and see where the evening leads.
Sheerwater is the place for the upscale lunch or candle-lit dinner, with mouth-watering steak and seafood plates with a water-front experience. And push aside the calorie counter. if there's one spot you need to splurge for dessert, this is it.
Many consider Clayton's Coffee Shop a must-stop for a laid-back lunch. At Clayton's, they know how to take care of you. Great food, great atmosphere. The milkshakes get A+ scores in this old diner-style joint. But, then again, so do the burgers and the all-day breakfast ... among other things.
If long, gorgeous, warm, soft walks on the beach is your thing, Silver Strand State Beach is one of the best places in the world to go for it. Bay on one side, seemingly endless ocean on the other. There is a day-use parking fee, if you use one of the lots. But if you are up for the bike ride or have the time and energy to stroll a few miles each way, Silver Strand is doable from your hotel door.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is only a few miles away, putting one of the world's best zoos practically at your door wherever you stay on Coronado Island. Ride the tram through the park and feel the vibes of an African safari, and see some of the few white rhinos that are left in the world. Needless to say, bring a camera.
The Coronado Ferry Landing serves up shopping and restaurants, boat rides and bicycle rentals, views of the city and the sea. Soak up the sun, play in the sand and sea. It's a favorite spot for a day at the beach while being within easy reach of a burger or ice cream cone.
The U.S.S. Midway Museum is the place to step onto the powerful and amazingly massive deck of an aircraft carrier, and to get the tour. Hear and feel the history. Get a sense for life on a city-sized ship that once crashed the waves of the world and served as a water-bound airport.
Centennial Park is fantastic for city and sea gazing, and for stretching your legs with a sunrise view. Go for a walk or bike ride. Take a picnic lunch, and don't forget your camera. It's a prime spot for grabbing gorgeous photos of the skyline.