Located in the middle of the San Diego Bay, the northwestern half of Coronado is the busy North Island naval base, which includes a large Navy Air facility and the West Coast's active fleet. South of Coronado is the Silver Strand, a narrow strip of land connecting Coronado to the mainland and home to various Navy training facilities, including beach areas used by Navy SEALs and amphibious assault groups. As can be expected, the military plays a major function in the day-to-day life of Coronado, with many old military families making their home here, but the affluence of the town has also drawn many celebrities to make their home here over the years, and scores of tourists fill in during the summer months.
The Coronado Bridge sweeps across the bay
Coronado is a peninsula, and there are two routes in and out: the Coronado Bay Bridge, from I-5 just south of downtown San Diego, or the Silver Strand, a narrow spit of land running up the coast from Imperial Beach. The Bay Bridge is worth driving over just for the panorama.
The Coronado Ferry, a pedestrian/bicycle ferry, launches from the Broadway Pier in Downtown San Diego to the Ferry Landing Marketplace in Coronado. Departures from downtown occur every hour on the hour, from 9AM-9PM (10PM on Fridays and Saturdays). It costs $3 one-way ($3.50 if you're taking a bicycle with you).
You can also take a Water Taxi, +1 619 235-8294,  to Coronado from several different spots around the bay (not just Downtown), making them more flexible and faster than the ferry service. They run from 3PM-10PM daily and cost $7 each way.
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) operates bus service throughout the San Diego area. Route 901  serves Coronado, connecting it to Downtown San Diego across the Bay Bridge and Imperial Beach south down the Silver Strand.
Map of Coronado
Coronado is small and dense enough that one can easily walk around and take in the sites the area has to offer. One of the better ways to get around Coronado is by bicycle; bike paths and quiet streets (along with beautiful weather) make biking easy. A number of bicycle/pedestrian trails straddle the coastline.
The MTS runs a small circulator bus line, Route 904 , from the ferry landing down past Hotel del Coronado. If you're not up to walking it's an option, but it does not run very often.
Hotel del Coronado's architecture is a must-see, with its brightly colored wooden Victorian style exterior and its slightly dated art deco interior. Built by hand in 1888 by two railroad engineers, it is today a National Historic Landmark and has been a favorite location for films (including classics like Some Like it Hot) and weddings. Many presidents and celebrities like Babe Ruth and Marilyn Monroe have stayed here. You can view it from the beach or Orange Avenue.
Coronado Museum of History & Art, 1100 Orange Avenue, +1 619 435-7242, . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. A small museum operated by the Coronado Historical Association, dedicated to preserving the art, history, and architecture of Coronado. The museum also holds walking tours of Coronado, which feature some of the island's historic buildings include the house where Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz. $4 adults, $3 seniors/military, $2 children (tours require separate admission).
There are a couple of performance art spaces in Coronado:
Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way (just south of the Hotel Del Coronado), +1 619 435-4856, . Where Coronado's community theater group plays. $20-$25.
Lamb’s Players Theater, 1142 Orange Avenue, +1 619 437-0600, . Home to the region's third largest professional theatre company. Located in Coronado's historic Spreckel's Building, this ensemble based theatre presents a wide variety of productions throughout the year. $20-$56.
Silver Strand Bikeway. A 8.48-mile bike path running from Coronado down to Imperial Beach. This is one of the area's most popular due to its scenery and the fact that the path does not run through any car traffic. The bike path ends at Pomona Avenue and Glorietta Boulevard and runs along the San Diego Bay. There are restrooms and a drinking fountain at Silver State Beach (see below).
Glorietta Bay, at the southeastern corner of Coronado, offers facilities for boaters on the San Diego Bay. There is a launching ramp and a small anchorage, where boats are allowed a maximum stay of up to 72 hours during a seven-day period.
The gleaming white sands of Coronado's Central Beach
The entire west side of Coronado (facing the Pacific Ocean) is essentially one long beach, although parts of it are a little more accessible than others.
Central Beach, along Ocean Blvd on the south side of the island. Coronado has one of the best beaches in the world measuring over a mile long. The beach is made up of beautiful white sand and the crowd is mostly families enjoying the day. If you look closely you can read the name Coronado in the sand dunes close to the Hotel del Coronado. A small tidepool area in front of the Hotel Del gives you a chance to explore a bit. There's plenty of free parking along Ocean Blvd, but it fills up quickly during the summer. At the north end of the beach, up by Sunset Park, the beach is open to dogs as well as bonfire pits and surfing. Surfing is also allowed in-front of the "Shores" just south of the Hotel Del. Lifeguards on duty seasonally. Restrooms and showers available.
Centennial Park, At the bottom of Orange Avenue, at the bay. Visitors can walk several different paths with views of downtown San Diego. Bike rentals are also available, with a bike path that runs all the way to Imperial Beach. Boat rentals are also available for sailing around the bay.
Ferry Landing Marketplace. Next to the shops and restaurants of the marketplace are some small grassy lawns and a sandy little beach, with views of Downtown San Diego across the bay.
Glorietta Bay Park. Just south of the Hotel Del on the bayside of Coronado, this small park offers shady trees, big grassy lawns, and a small beach with views of the Coronado Bay Bridge.
Silver Strand State Beach, +1 619 435-5184, . Daily 8AM-7PM. Located about 5 miles south of Coronado on the Silver Strand, this is an excellent beach to swim or surf at. RV camping and fishing are allowed here.
Spreckels Park. In the heart of Coronado, on Orange Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets, this shady park has a gazebo, a playground, and is the site of local events such as a summer concert series and other community events and shows.
Sunset Park. Near the north end of the beach is this small park with an expansive lawn.
Tidelands Park, 2000 Mullinex Drive. Just north of the Coronado Bay Bridge, this large park offers lovely views of the bridge (a bayside trail leads you right under the bridge), a large children's playground, a skate park, and big grassy lawns perfect for sports.
Downtown San Diego as viewed from the Ferry Landing
Ferry Landing Marketplace, 1201 1st Street (on the northern side of the island), +1 619 435-8895. A themed shopping area home to some lovely little shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The ferry to Downtown San Diego launches from here. In addition, a Farmers' Market takes place here every Tuesday from 2:30-6PM.
Coronado Boathouse, 1701 Strand Way (just south of the Hotel Del), +1 619 435-0155, . A former boathouse overlooking the southern San Diego bay.
Chez Loma, 1132 Loma Avenue, +1 619 435-0661, .
Clayton's Coffee Shop, 959 Orange Ave ( cross street is 10th ), +1 619 435-5425, Old style coffee shop, good food, mostly breakfast and lunch, very affordable -- around $8 per person.
Hotel del Coronado offers a Sunday Brunch; go for the atmosphere.
Loews Coronado, on the Silver Strand, also has a Sunday Brunch; go for the food.
Miguel's Cocina, . Delicious, authentic, Mexican cuisine ranging from enchiladas to chimichangas to their rather unique fish taco. Seating is on a heated open-air patio.
Tartines, A European style cafe open for breakfast lunch dinner and desert. They have hose made ice-cream as well as a large assortment of European deserts. It is located just off of the main road Orange Ave on first street.1106 1st Street Coronado, CA 92118(619) 435-4323
Village Pizza, In the ferry landing right by where the Coronado bay Ferry docks. Its a local Favorite. 1206 Orange Avenue Coronado, CA 92118 (619) 522-0449
You can also bike or drive south along the Silver Strand to Imperial Beach at the southern end of the bay.
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