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 is 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!
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!
- Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton — Famous historic hotel that offers beachfront access and beautiful ocean views
- Glorietta Bay Inn — Romantic boutique hotel located in a mansion near the beach
- El Cordova — Classic Spanish village-style hotel with a charming courtyard, shops, and restaurants on-site.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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You hit on some of my favorite things to do in Coronado! I love renting bikes and Miguels!! Need to check out that Gelato next time tho, yum :))
That’s so awesome! Yes, definitely check out the gelato next time. The sea salt one with chocolate chips is seriously amazing!
Coronado Island sounds amazing. Love exploring on bike. I think we stayed on Coronado Island 10 years ago, but didn’t explore it back then.
You’ll definitely have to go back! It’s such an amazing spot 🙂
Coronado Island sounds like the perfect weekend getaway and looks absolutely beautiful! Thanks for putting it on my radar.
You’re welcome, Portia! I hope you can visit soon! 🙂
Sounds like a fun time. I love how happy you look in all of these photos.
Thank you so much! 🙂
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.
It’s such an amazing spot! I’m so glad you had fun when you visited 🙂
Taking a stroll along the orange street is something I would love to do.
It’s so much fun! There are so many awesome shops there! 🙂
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.
It’s a great spot to visit! Thanks for reading, Krista! 🙂
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
Yes, Coronado Island is even more accessible than Catalina Island because you can drive there! I hope you get the chance to visit soon! 🙂
Never even heard of this island, but it looks so cute! Hopefully I’ll be able to make it there when I’m in California next month 🙂
Yay, I hope you have fun in California! You should definitely make a stop here if you’ll be in San Diego! 🙂
This place has been on my bucket list for years. Thank you for the great post! I can’t wait to visit one day.
It’s a beautiful spot to visit! I hope this guide is helpful when you get the chance to go 🙂 Thanks for reading, Trea!
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!
Oh my gosh, the gelato is amazing! And the gardens are absolutely lovely. Thanks for reading, Hannah! 🙂
I must go back here after seeing these wonderful things to see & do! Visited many years ago and drove around the island. Lovely photos 🙂
Thank you so much, Richa! I hope you get the chance to explore even more the next time you visit 🙂
I was in Sanfransisco for a month but never heard of this Island. Looks like an awesome place. Will surely visit next time
Yes, it’s quite a way from San Francisco but totally worth the visit. I hope you get the chance to visit soon! 🙂
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!
Yes, I agree, it’s an awesome spot! Also, I didn’t realize it was a Hilton either until I started writing this post! I guess you learn something new every day! 🙂
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.
I totally agree, it’s a much different vibe than San Diego in the best way! Thanks so much for reading 🙂
I was sold from point one but then you got to gelato and I was mentally booking my trip to Coronado!
Haha, gelato is a great incentive! Thanks for reading, Nina!
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!
That sounds like the perfect weekend right there! Thanks for reading, Cris! 🙂
Coronado Island looks amazing! I can’t wait to travel there one day!
It’s such a wonderful place to travel to! I hope you enjoy it when you visit soon! 🙂
So glad I found your blog Brit! Such vibrant photos and I love your suggestions! I’m a huge fan of gelato AND Coronado so I’ll have to try that Speciale asap!
Thank you so much, Melrose! That means a lot 🙂 Gelato is my fav too, let me know what you think when you try the Speciale!
Coronado Island looks so fun! We are all about the beaches. We’ll add this place to our life bucket list. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading, Ashlee! If you love the beach, I’m sure you’d love it 🙂
I didn’t know about Coronado Island before but it sure looks amazing! Thank you for the gelato recommendation. 😋
It’s a beautiful destination! I hope you love the gelato when you go! 🙂
Coronado Island seems like an amazing place to visit in summer. Beautiful pictures too! Definitely adding it to my bucketlist!
It’s definitely a bucketlist destination! I hope you enjoy it when you have the chance to visit 🙂
Biking around an Island is undoubtedly exotic. I remember biking around Seychelles, and I still have not fallen out of love with the Island country.
I agree… biking is such a fun way to explore a new destination. Thank you for reading! 🙂
Coronado Island looks awesome and my mouth is watering at all of these foodie spots! That hotel is also so beautiful!
It’s a beautiful spot, Elena! And yes, there are totally some great places to eat there. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Wow what a lovely place and such awesome activities. Hope to visit soon
You’ll love it! 🙂
your pictures are always sooo cute Brit!! Love them so much!
Thank you so much, Lisa! I appreciate that! 🙂
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