Best Things to Do on Coronado Island | Travel by Brit

Looking for the perfect beachy escape in Southern California? Look no further than Coronado Island—just a short seven-mile drive from Downtown San Diego!  

Coronado Island is home to some of my favorite beaches on the West Coast. It’s the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, day trip from San Diego, or quick trip to the beach! The atmosphere the ideal mix of laid-back and luxurious, and there are so many awesome things to do on Coronado Island.

Since I’ve lived in Phoenix, Arizona, my entire life, I’ve spent plenty of weekends in San Diego. Needless to say, I’m so excited to share all my favorite things to do with you on this beautiful island! 

Here’s a list of my personal favorite things to do on Coronado Island that you can squeeze into a weekend trip or enjoy over an extended stay on the island!

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Best Places to Stay on Coronado Island 

Even though it’s a small island, Coronado Island has tons of great places to stay. Here are a few hotel recommendations for close access to the best things to do on Coronado Island! 

You can also stay in Downtown San Diego and drive across the Coronado Bay Bridge to reach the island. It’s only a short 15-minute drive, and there’s plenty of free parking on the island. 

How to Get to Coronado Island 

As I just mentioned, you can drive across the Coronado Bay Bridge for a quick, scenic drive to Coronado Island if you’re traveling from San Diego.  

However, if you’re looking for a more memorable experience, you can also take the Coronado Ferry to Coronado Ferry Landing from the San Diego Waterfront. The ferry departs from Broadway Pier, near the USS Midway Museum or Convention Center Pier, near the San Diego Convention Center.  

Once you arrive at the Coronado Ferry Landing, you can check out the shops, restaurants, and waterfront parks in the area. You can also start walking along Orange Avenue or rent a bike to cycle down to the beach for closer access to the best things to do on Coronado Island. 

6 Best Things to Do on Coronado Island 

1. Relax on Coronado Central Beach 

One of the best things to do on Coronado Island is relaxing at one of the spacious, sandy beaches.  

My favorite beach on Coronado Island is Coronado Central Beach. It’s located just west of the Hotel del Coronado, and it’s immaculate and rarely ever crowded. Even on warm summer days, there is plenty of space to spread out!  

Since San Diego is a highly dog-friendly city, it’s not surprising that Coronado Island has a dog beach located just west of Coronado Central Beach. It’s a great spot to bring your furry friend to splash around in the ocean! We’re excited to bring Sedona, our golden retriever, here one day. 

Things to Do on Coronado Island - Coronado Central Beach - Travel by Brit

2. Visit the Hotel del Coronado 

You can’t visit Coronado Island without exploring the historic Hotel del Coronado—it’s undoubtedly one of the best things to do on Coronado Island!  

The Hotel del Coronado was built in 1888 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1977. This famous hotel has hosted dozens of celebrities, public figures, and U.S. presidents and even was the filming set for “Some Like it Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe. 

Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can still explore the hotel grounds. I would recommend walking through the hotel lobby and the garden courtyard near the center of the hotel. There are also dozens of upscale shops surrounding the perimeter of the hotel that are fun to explore. 

If you’re looking for a place to book a romantic weekend getaway, I’d highly recommend reserving a room at the Hotel del Coronado. Staying at this beautiful location is on my bucket list! 

Things to Do on Coronado Island - Hotel del Coronado
Things to Do on Coronado Island - Hotel del Coronado - Travel by Brit

3. Stroll Down Orange Street 

Orange Avenue is Coronado Island’s main street and the hub of all the action! You can’t miss the chance to explore Orange Avenue during a trip to Coronado.  

Shopping along Orange Avenue is one of my favorite things to do on Coronado Island. There are tons of charming shops, including clothing boutiques, local bookstores, souvenir stores, home décor, trinkets, and more.  

Some of my favorite shops to stop in are Bay Books and Seaside Papery. Don’t miss the chance to support local businesses while you’re visiting Coronado Island! 

4. Stop for Gelato at Bottega Italiana 

Some people say that Moo Time Creamery serves up the best dessert in Coronado, but I beg to differ. Coronado Island is home to one of my favorite gelato shops ever—Nado Gelato in Bottega Italiana! 

With dozens of flavors of fresh-made gelatos served in-store, it’s hard to narrow down your options to just a few. However, I highly recommend trying the Speciale—a salted crème gelato with chocolate chips. 

Maybe I’m just an ice cream connoisseur, but I totally think that stopping at Nado Gelato is one of the best things to do on Coronado Island. Try it and see for yourself! 

Things to Do on Coronado Island - Nado Gelato
Things to Do on Coronado Island - Nado Gelato

5. Bike Around Coronado Island 

Biking is one of my favorite things to do on Coronado Island. Although you can’t bike on Orange Avenue, there are tons of beautiful neighborhoods, flat streets, and beachfront sidewalks to peddle through. 

Wheel Fun Rentals is a great place to rent bikes on Coronado Island. They usually have surrey bikes, deuce coupe bikes, electric bikes, beach cruiser bikes, tandem bikes, and kids bikes available. 

Once you rent your bike, I’d recommend walking it down to the nine-mile bicycle path along the Silver Strand, which starts near Hotel del Coronado and stretches to Imperial Beach, just south of San Diego. 

Things to Do on Coronado Island - Biking on the Silver Strand - Travel by Brit

6. Eat Dinner at The Henry 

After a busy day of walking, biking, and explore, you’ll probably be ready for a great spot to grab dinner. I’d highly recommend The Henry! 

The Henry offers a warm, inviting atmosphere with an assorted menu of delicious food and cocktails. They also are open in the mornings—they have a full-service espresso bar, tasty pastries, and a weekend brunch menu! 

Whether you come to The Henry for weekend brunch, a hearty dinner, or a cocktail, you’ll love your experience here. 

Things to Do on Coronado Island - The Henry
Things to Do on Coronado Island - The Henry

Best Restaurants on Coronado Island 

If you’re visiting Coronado for several days, here are some other restaurant recommendations: 

  • Rosemary Trattoria 
  • Miguel’s Cocina 
  • Burger Lounge 

The Perfect Trip to Coronado Island 

Whether you’re staying for days on Coronado Island or taking a quick day trip from San Diego, you’re bound to have a fantastic time!

Which of these awesome things to do on Coronado Island sounds most fun to you? Let me know in the comments below! 

Travel by Brit

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Brit! I'm a writer from Phoenix, AZ who loves coffee, golden retriever puppies, and obviously, travel! I help ordinary women (like me!) dream, plan, and do extraordinary travel experiences.

  • We did a day trip once to Coronado Island from San Diego. But were tempted to book a return visit and stay a few days. I would be tempted by the iconic Hotel del Coronado. Renting a bike to explore the island would be at the top of my things to do. And of course, stop for that great gelato at Bottega Italiana.

  • I haven’t come across this island before! It looks like a beautiful place to spend a day or two, and the beach looks amazing to chill on for a while.

  • I knew (and have visited) about Catalina Island, but how have I not heard of Coranado?? This looks amazing and it’s officially on my list now! What a gorgeous place

  • Coronado Island looks like a great place to explore! I’d definitely try some of the gelato! Hotel del Coronado looks beautiful too! I’d definitely like to see the gardens. Thanks for the great guide!

  • I must go back here after seeing these wonderful things to see & do! Visited many years ago and drove around the island. Lovely photos 🙂

  • I was in Sanfransisco for a month but never heard of this Island. Looks like an awesome place. Will surely visit next time

  • I agree – Coronado Island is the best! Whenever I petsit my say to San Diego, I try to visit Coronado beach because I always see the most amazing sand sculptures! I didn’t know the Del was a HIlton hotel. I hope that’s a good thing… it’s so iconic!

  • As a SoCal local, I can say, this is SUCH a beautiful spot for a recharge weekend! the little town that is around Coronado feels like you are stepping into another world where everyone is relaxing and enjoying a slower pace.

  • Coronado Island sounds like the perfect, relaxing place to spend a weekend! I can 100% imagine biking around to see it all and then stopping for a refreshing gelato!

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