Coronado Island

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Martí Micolau

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  • Curiosities about Coronado Island
  • What to see in Coronado Island
  • How to travel to Coronado Island

San Diego is one of California's most popular tourist spots and is a must-see for anyone visiting this state. Crowded with tourists and full of beaches and parks, the city has a favorable climate all year round and is ideal for enjoying a relaxing and fun holiday.

One of the points of greatest interest is its own Coronado Island. Don't be fooled by the name as it is not an island, but rather a peninsula connected to the mainland.

In fact, it is this strip of land that then composes the splendid one Baia in San Diego. So let's get to know this area better, the main attractions and how to reach it.

Curiosities about Coronado Island

Technically Coronado Island is not part of the municipality of San Diego, but it is an independent town with about 20.000 inhabitants.

It is connected to the mainland through a small isthmus called Silver Strand and it is very easy to reach from San Diego via a long bridge that offers wonderful views.

It was Founded in 1880 and it seems that the first conquistadors' settlement on the west coast of the United States was built here. Not surprisingly, Coronado Island offered natural protection for ships in transit, making this area perfect for a landing port.

The name was given to it by the explorer Sebastian Vizcaino who inserted it on his map in 1602. The word Coronado in Spanish means "crowned" and for this reason the place is called The Crown City.

Few people know, but Coronado is also known for inspiring The Wizard of Oz. Who doesn't remember Dorothy looking for the mighty wizard in her glittering red slippers? The famous film, however, is based on the novel by L Frank Baum The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

It seems that the writer stopped for a long time on Coronado Island to compose his masterpiece. The house he used to stay in is right in Star Park Circle and today it is a private residence.

It is said that Baum to describe the City of Emerald took inspiration from the Hotel Del Coronado, one of the most famous buildings in the area. Indeed, the illustrations in the first edition of the book are vaguely reminiscent of the structure of the hotel.

Guided tour by scooter and round trip ferry

What to see in Coronado Island

Coronado Island allows you to enjoy spectacular sunsets and sunrises and is an absolutely unmissable place for those who love the sea and want to have fun on the beach. Here are the most important things to admire on Coronado Island.

Coronado Bridge

Those who are in the center of San Diego will not fail to notice a very long suspension bridge over the water, the Coronado Bridge, which connected the Californian metropolis to the Coronado Island peninsula.

It's one of America's many works of high engineering, and while it's not as famous as San Francisco's Golden Gate, it still offers a breathtaking view for some spectacular photographs, especially in the evening.

More than 3,4 kilometers long, it was opened in 1969 and has a wide five-lane carriageway. The bridge has several fairly high and wide spans that allow the passage of any ship, including aircraft carriers.

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach is one of the best known beaches on Coronado Island and stretches for approximately 2,5 kilometers. Is considered one of the most beautiful and unspoiled coastlines in the United States and is distinguished by its fine golden sand.

On this beach it is possible to walk all year round and in summer it is always full of bathers. This is the ideal place for families with children and sports lovers who can surf.

At sunset the show of colors is magnificent, especially when the reflection of the sun on the water creates very suggestive pink and orange shades.

Coronado Beach is equipped with showers and toilets near the lifeguard cabins and the northern part of the beach has an area open to dogs. The southern area, on the other hand, is the one in front of the Hotel Del Coronado and is reserved exclusively for guests staying at the hotel.

Coronado Hotel

Hotel Del Coronado is undoubtedly the most eye-catching building on Coronado Island and certainly does not go unnoticed. The Americans renamed it The Del and overlooks Coronado Beach.

It opened way back in 1888 and is easily recognizable by its distinctive red roofs and a one-of-a-kind architectural style. It is about a Victorian-style wooden beach resort, one of the few remaining specimens.

At its opening, the hotel was one of the largest in the world and was at the forefront of the services offered. Today it has increased in size compared to the past and other wings and houses have been added that surround the main body.

The Hotel Del Coronado currently belongs to the catena Hilton and very famous people have stopped here, including Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Thomas Edison and 16 American presidents. In addition, it was the location of the film Some Like It Hot and television series such as Baywatch and Ghost Story.

Guests have the opportunity to take Legendary Tours, thanks to which they have the opportunity to learn more about the history and legends born around the structure.

Orange Avenue

This is the main street of Coronado Island and runs through it from one end to the other. The boulevard of Orange Avenue is full of restaurants and shops to go shopping and buy many souvenirs.

There are two lanes divided by a strip of green and more or less in the middle of the street there is it Spreckels Park, a very nice little public park. On Orange Avenue you will find another very interesting building like the Village Theater.

It was a cinema hall for 63 years, before being closed in 2000, and then reopened in 2011. In particular, films and works of independent cinema are shown.

Silver Strand State Beach

Silver Strand State Beach is certainly one of the best beaches in San Diego and stands out above the rest for being a state park.

Very well maintained, it has many services, including various areas for camping where you can park with caravans and campers. Water sports equipment such as canoes, surfboards and kayaks can also be hired.

This beach follows the thin strip of land that joins Coronado Island to the mainland and access is absolutely free.

It actually consists of two parallel beaches. One faces the ocean and gives its name to the park of the same name, while the other is located on the San Diego Bay and is called Crowne Cove. The latter is characterized by a very calm sea and is recommended for children.

Nearby there are paid parking spaces for those arriving by car and therefore, there is a little something to pay for. The average parking ticket varies from 10 to 15 dollars, depending on the day of the week.

Silver Strand State Beach opens at 7am, but closing times may change depending on the season of the year. For more details, it is good to consult the official page of the natural park.

Coronado Island Walking Tour

How to travel to Coronado Island

To get to Coronado Island there will be no major difficulties, both by car and by public transport. If it is decided to rent a car, there are two possibilities.

Those coming from downtown San Diego should take the Coronado Bridge which leads directly to the residential area of ​​Coronado Island, from which you can easily reach the beaches and other places of interest.

The second option is to follow the profile of the bay by car up to Imperial beach, then go up and skirt Silver Strand State Beach. In any case, you can use the bridge on the outward journey and return following the bay to have a different view of the sea.

By public transport, however, you can move in two ways:

  • Ferry: this is the fastest way to get to Coronado Island. There are altogether two ferry lines that you can take. A part to the South Embarcadero on Fifth Avenue Landing. It takes about 5 minutes to travel and the ticket costs around $ 5. The other line starts from Broadway Pier and takes 15 minutes. However, the ferries drop you off at a dock near Centennial Park which is about 20-30 minutes from Coronado Beach. To avoid walking on foot, it is advisable to take buses 904 or 901.
  • Bus: Those departing from downtown San Diego have the option of taking the 901 bus that runs across Coronado Island to Silver Strand State Beach. The departure terminus in San Diego is Front St. & B St. When you get off at Orange Av. & 7th St, you will find yourself in the middle of Orange Avenue and close to the most important attractions. Continuing to Orange Av. & Park Pl, you can admire the house of Baum, the Hotel Del Coronado and Coronado Beach. Finally, it is useful to specify that bus 901 runs the route also in the winter direction, but with one stop less and with the arrival terminus in Broadway & 1st Av.

For more information and to stay up to date on the latest news, we suggest you visit the Coronado Island official portal, where, among other things, you will find directions on where to eat and stay overnight in the area.

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