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When it comes to California’s most iconic beach destination, look no further than Coronado Island. With the iconic Hotel del Coronado, pristine beaches, and quaint neighborhood, it’s one of the best family vacations in the state.

I just returned from taking a family weekend trip to Coronado in Southern California. While staying at the Hotel del Coronado, I absolutely fell in love with this part of San Diego County. The beaches were incredible with our toddler, and loved how easy it all was. It was no wonder that the beaches and resort were full of family travelers even in March!

If you’re considering a family vacation to Coronado Island, I can’t recommend it enough. I’m pulling together all my research and Coronado travel tips to help you plan your time. We’re based in Northern California, so this much-needed beach getaway was the ideal destination for us as a family.

And while it’s a charming resort city in San Diego, Coronado is much more. Half of Coronado is actually a Naval Base and the other half is the neighborhood and beaches. You’ll find historic places like Author L. Frank Baum who penned the Wizard of Oz from his Coronado home. There’s a decent amount of things to do so a long weekend is the perfect amount of time.

Let’s get into it — this is everything you need to know about planning a trip to Coronado Island. Find everything you need to know below.

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels on Coronado:

  1. Hotel del Coronado, for the best overall hotel

For more California family travel inspiration, don’t miss these California family getaway ideas!

Travel Guide to Coronado, California


What to Know Before Visiting Coronado

Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

Getting to Coronado Island

Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

To get to Coronado Island from San Diego, you can either drive across the bay from downtown San Diego over the iconic Coronado Bridge. You could take a ferry from downtown San Diego to the Coronado Ferry Landing, or use the Silver Strand, a narrow isthmus connecting Coronado to the mainland to the south. Each option offers a different experience, from scenic views on the bridge to a relaxing boat ride with the ferry.

If you’re flying in, land at San Diego Airport and take an Uber to your resort on the island. You really don’t need a car on the island if you stay centrally located like at the Hotel del Coronado. It’s one of the biggest perks of visiting here.

What We Did: Flew Southwest from Sacramento to San Diego. We checked our travel carseat and got into an Uber with it to the resort. Read here for all of my toddler travel gear.

Getting Around Coronado Island

Do as the locals do, rent a golf cart or use bikes. It’s one of the best ways to get around the island. You can also walk to most places, especially if you stay near the beach and downtown. If you already have a rental car, just plan to pay for parking as most of the island is paid parking.

Best Time to Visit

If you’re looking for the best weather, May through October is truly the best for warm days. The prices are the highest in summer. For lower rates, look at months like March, April, or November. I was there this March and the sun was shining enough to go swim in the heated pools and hang on the beach.


Where to Stay on Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

There is not a more iconic hotel to stay on the west coast than The Del. It’s a National Historic Landmark, and with the recent renovations, has become an elevated, luxury stay on the island. We stayed here in partnership with The Del for the weekend and absolutely loved our time in the Beach Village. The location, amenities, and service really sealed the deal for our stay.

When you book at Hotel del Coronado, there are several “Neighborhoods” of the property to book. We stayed in the private Beach Village (more on that below). To break it down you have:

  • The Cabanas, contemporary section with a pool in the center
  • The Views, renovated guestrooms in two towers
  • Shore House, the newest elevated hotel residence style rooms around a pool
  • The Victorian, currently under renovation
  • The Beach Village, a gated private community of beachfront cottages and villas

Staying in the Beach Village was a highlight of our time on Coronado. The private community is compromised of newly renovated cottages and villas in a section only accessible to those staying there. Within in the village, there are several pools and jacuzzis that are private with the main Oval Pool for Beach Village guests.

Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

When you book into the Beach Village, you get access as well to a dedicated concierge team, complimentary Del Beach sand chairs and umbrellas, and priority dining. I can only describe the Beach Village as having your very own Airbnb but with the perks of a hotel guest.

Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

We stayed in the Beachfront Fireside Cottage, which looked out over the beach. With 834 square feet, the one-bedroom with a terrace set with a table, fire pit, and lounge chairs was stunning. Our toddler had ample room to roam, and having a full kitchen made it very easy for us to travel.

I can’t say good enough things about The Del in general. There is a lot to do at this Coronado hotel, which offers a resort-style experience. Being within walking distance of everything was super convenient. The Beach Village at The Del is exquisite — in my opinion, one of the best luxury hotel experiences I’ve had on the California coast. Book the best rates here.


The Best Restaurants on Coronado

Serẽa Costal Cuisine at The Del

Our collective favorite meals of the trip were both the dinner and breakfast at Serẽa. It’s an elegant, Meditteranean-inspired menu at night. And at breakfast, all of the classics. Dinner here was fantastic — order the mezze plate, the pork chop, and the roasted cauliflower.

Parakeet Cafe

Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

We came in here for a smoothie and coffee one day. You can get a little of everything here, super easygoing and love the interior space. There were acai bowls, sandwiches, fresh juice, coffee, and more.

On the Rocks at The Del

On the Rocks is the beachfront food truck and restaurant right in front of the hotel. It’s the spot to come for a casual bite. We had lunch here, loved the burgers and the caesar salad.

Clayton’s Coffee Shop

Lovely spot for a coffee and homestyle breakfast in the neighborhood, the lines here were busy so plan ahead on this one!

ENO Market & Pizzeria at The Del

ENO Market became our go-to for snacks, a quick coffee, and an easy lunch. They have food all day which is very convenient, so grab a pizza to go for the beach and enjoy.

Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

If I had more time, I had these on my list:


Things to Do on Coronado Island

Hit the Beaches

Coronado really is a beach destination — you’re there for the flat, white sand beaches that are rated the best in the country year after year. The main Coronado Beach in front of The Del is one of the best. There is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy. North Beach (Coronado Dog Beach) is another good one if you’re looking for a spot for your dogs to roam leash-free year-round.

Another beach area I checked out was the Glorietta Bay Park Beach. It’s super family-friendly and there is a small playground right there as well.

Stroll the Neighborhoods and Orange Avenue

The houses and streets of Coronado are great for a stroll in themselves. You have several pockets off of Orange Avenue. If you’re looking to shop, Orange Avenue itself has several local boutiques. Française was my favorite for French-inspired home goods and jewelry. Gepetto’s was a hit for all things toys for kids (our toddler spent an hour here…) and I popped into the iconic Emerald City Surf Shop.

Rent an E-Bike from The Del

Right in front of the property, The Del has MURF E-Bikes for rent on the weekends. I took one out to explore and loved getting out. There are bike trails all over the island, so I took it over to the ferry landing to see views of San Diego.

Do a Beach Roast at The Del

Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

One night while we were there, we booked one of their “Beach Roasts” right in front of the hotel. At sunset, they set up a fire pit with chairs. As part of it, you get everything you need for s’mores. This was a big hit for us as a family.

Other Things to Consider Doing:


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Travel Guide to Visiting Coronado Island

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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