11 Reasons to Visit Coronado Beach California
Looking for a beautiful beach to visit in the sunny state of California? While there are many beaches in the southern part of the state, Coronado is one of the finest. In this article, you'll learn all about why you should make Coronado beach your next visit.
Last updated: February 19, 2024
7 min read
Coronado Beach, nestled on the idyllic San Diego island of Coronado, has rightly earned its reputation as one of the finest beaches in the United States. I’ve been to this beach many times during my nearly four decades of living in Arizona as it’s only a quick six hour drive away.
Hailed as the “The Crown City”, this beach is a family favorite not just because of its golden miles-long shoreline, striking natural surroundings, and diverse range of outdoor attractions, but also because of its plentiful family-oriented amenities!
It’s not just families that come here though — surfers and nature enthusiasts alike flock here by the thousands. And, with the beach hosting some of the best surf schools in the whole of San Diego, it’s a must-visit destination for all.
So, if you’re looking to visit or perhaps even live in the wider Bay region, keep reading! There isn’t just one reason to visit Coronado Beach — how about 11 instead?
Beautiful and Clean Sandy Beaches
Late Spring to Early Fall (May to September)
Beach Lovers, Water Sports Enthusiasts, Families Seeking a Seaside Retreat
It isn’t just the clean water and meticulously preserved dunes that make Coronado one of the best. Many visitors to the beach will find themselves questioning if the sand itself isn’t laced with fine, shining gold!
The sand’s shimmer is actually courtesy of mica, a silicate mineral, gathering amongst the particles.
Mica has been mined in the wider San Diego region since its founding days thanks to the unique geological make-up of southern California.
And while many of these mines have now closed, this history comes back to life whenever the sun catches on the sands of Coronado’s many beautiful beaches.
If you’re stuck on which beach to enjoy, many locals swear by Silver Strand Straight Beach. The Coronado beach is actually divided into two parts, and you’ll find Silver Strand beach located on a spit of land that connects Coronado to the mainland.
Just 4.5 miles south of Coronado Village, this camping and swimming spot offers access to both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Learn more about the campground including fees and closure dates here!
Ideal for Family Outings
Picnic Enthusiasts, Families Enjoying Outdoor Recreation, Nature Lovers
Coronado Beach is the perfect choice for families of all ages. It has miles of bike paths, clean beaches, and a variety of recreational choices. This open space is suitable for all sorts of activities, such as rollerblading, exercising, and playing sports.
Many families class Tidelands, the biggest of the parks on offer, as a top pick. Nestled along Mullinex Dr, this park is a great place for families wanting somewhere to burn off some energy or simply to enjoy one of its many picnic spots.
It even has its own small beach, restrooms, and stunning bay scenery to match! As a plus, those who want to admire the Coronado Bridge will get an unobstructed view of the two-mile structure.
For more about the facilities Tidelands has and its opening hours, you’ll find everything you need to know here.
Visiting the Historic Hotel Del Coronado
Beach Lovers, Luxury Seekers, History Enthusiasts, Family Vacationers
Designed and built by nationally famed architects W. Reid and Warren Davis, this Victorian-styled beauty – easily identifiable by its staple red roof and white wooden cladding – was once one of the largest beach resorts in the world.
While it still offers family-friendly, luxury accommodation, many who visit Coronado simply enjoy marveling at its breathtaking sight.
Even if you aren’t a guest, the hotel welcomes you to explore the picturesque grounds. You can also relax in its elegant lobby, and enjoy one of its many sun-drenched courtyards.
And given it’s such a large piece of Coronado’s founding history, you don’t want to miss it on your must-see list! To make the most of your stay, why not book a night or two at this historic building?
If the Hotel Del is too expensive, try the Glorietta Bay Inn, which is on the bay side. It’s right across from the Hotel Del. My wife and I stayed here in college when it was all we could afford. I actually proposed during an evening stroll on Coronado beach.
Excellent Place for Beach Activities
Beachgoers, Sunbathers, Water Sports Enthusiasts, Outdoor Lovers, Picnickers
Coronado Island has some of the most stunning beaches in the whole United States.
With miles of long, golden-hued shoreline and consistent clean surf that attracts people by the thousands, it isn’t hard to see why this historic peninsula is a hot spot for many.
But it isn’t just swimming and surfing that Coronado is known for. Coronado Central Beach, located at the heart of the city, is a great place for volleyball players because of how many public courts there are to choose from.
And if you’re just looking to read a book or catch some rays, don’t despair — you have miles of picturesque shoreline to pick as your ideal sunbathing spot!
Of course, Coronado’s a prime location for a huge variety of water activities. Whether you’re in the mood to wade in the water, catch some fresh fish, or even dive below the surface, Coronado Central Beach is about to become your best friend.
Dog-Friendly Play Areas
Dog Owners, Pet Lovers, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Families With Furry Friends
Coronado prides itself not just in being a stunning beach haven near San Diego but also in being a dog paradise as well.
While your four-legged companion isn’t allowed along the main stretch of Coronado Central Beach, you’ll find a leash-free beach to the north with all-year-round access – aptly known as “Dog Beach”!
Directly opposite Sunset Park, this shoreline is a great place for your dog to socialize while you enjoy some of that world-famous Californian sun.
It goes without saying: dog owners looking to take their canines here are responsible for the clean-up and disposal of any mess. You’re also expected to have your canine under control at all times.
For more information on Dog Beach’s off-limit zones and conditions of use, check it out here.
Easy Access and Ample Parking
Beachgoers, Sun-Seekers, Families With Beach Gear, Outdoor Enthusiasts
Coronado Beach is access-friendly with a number of access points located down its coastline. All of these main points are located along Ocean Boulevard and are wheelchair-friendly, with both ramps and stairs available.
Parking is generally free on Coronado, and you’ll also find a number of parking lots with both metered and unmetered options available.
However, it’s worth noting that unmetered parking quickly fills up along the boulevard in the summer months. There are also some areas that aren’t suitable for RV or trailer parking.
Before heading to Coronado, it’s first important to visit the island’s visitor information center to learn all the important information you need to know – including where to park!
Some of California’s Most Breathtaking Sunsets
Sunset Admirers, Photography Enthusiasts, Romantic Couples, Nature Lovers
San Diego boasts 70 miles of coastline. While each offers the chance to catch one of the southwest’s breathtaking sunsets, nothing quite beats the alluring beauty of Coronado.
Whether you’re enjoying the blazing sun from the tranquil beachfront ambiance or while experiencing a scenic drive along Coronado Bridge at dusk, you won’t be disappointed.
Even better, the Coronado sunset can be enjoyed practically anywhere on the island from a boulevard stroll to the many bars dotting the city’s avenues.
For the best places to watch the sunset, you’ll find a comprehensive, tried-and-tested list courtesy of the Coronado Visitor Center here.
Many Different Dining Options
Beach Lovers, Luxury Seekers, Families Looking for a Coastal Retreat
Long before the now staple palm trees arrived along Orange Avenue, it got its name from the many orange trees that once lined the street.
Nowadays, you won’t find an orange tree anywhere in sight. But you’ll find a famous Californian culinary paradise running right through the center of Coronado.
With some of the finest restaurants in San Diego, Orange Avenue offers a huge variety of options to choose from!
Whether you fancy diving into some classic local cuisine or having a taste of the mouth-watering international flavors on offer, you’re sure to find something to satisfy any craving (even if your tastebuds are quite finicky)!
Safety Focused and Lifeguard-Patrolled
Safety at Coronado is paramount, and the whole beach is patrolled regularly by the Coronado Fire Department and Lifeguard Services.
While you’ll find the main lifeguard tower at Central Beach, the beach itself is constantly patrolled by lifeguards via automobiles or from lifeguard towers scattered throughout.
It’s still important to remain informed about the ocean conditions before attempting any water activity. There may be instances of rough surf, presence of jellyfish, and other hazards to be wary of.
For more information about the current tide schedule, surf conditions, and more about keeping you and your family safe at Coronado, check out the city’s official website.
Coronado Island’s Boutiques and Shops
Shopaholics, Fashion Enthusiasts, Outdoor Strollers, Cultural Explorers
Although it’s some distance from the heart of San Diego, Coronado still enjoys an unmatched reputation for being one of the most popular shopping districts in the area.
The best part? Coronado’s stunning beach is just a short walk away from it all!
In a matter of minutes, you can find yourself on Coronado’s historically preserved and pedestrian-friendly main street filled with over a hundred unique shops, art galleries, and eateries.
There are all sorts of things to buy! Be sure to check out luxury womenswear, vintage apparel, handmade jewelry, water sports rentals, artisan pieces, fresh oils, and more in Coronado!
Drenched in History
Luxury Cruise Aficionados, History Enthusiasts, Maritime Lovers
Those who visit Coronado have the opportunity to see some of America’s rich history up close.
We’ve already talked about the Hotel del Coronado, a resort hotel built in 1887. It enjoys a history entwined with the rest of the city.
Let your feet take you to the South “Shores” Beach where you’ll come across the final resting place of the SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck. This ship was abandoned after it came free from its anchor during a storm in 1937.
What was once the “world’s greatest pleasure ship” that hosted thousands each week on gambling endeavors. It’s now a piece of history visible to beach visitors during the low tide.
All these stories make Coronado a worthwhile place to visit not just for its great views and wonderful activities, but also for its rich past.
Whether you’re local to the wider San Diego area or just visiting, Coronado Beach is the perfect destination for a relaxed getaway.
With its combination of stunning scenery, numerous recreational possibilities, and attractions that are suitable for the whole family, this highly sought-after beach is one that everyone should experience at least once!