For a more affordable stay near the bay and the town center, try El Rancho Motel, a charming motel situated just three blocks from the bay and one mile from the beach on Coronado’s main drag: Orange Avenue. Here you will find the heart of the city, including boutique shops, restaurants, craft breweries, grocery and convenience stores, and the centrally located Spreckels Park, a popular outdoor venue for concerts and festivals.
If you’d prefer to camp seaside, drive 4.5 miles south of the city on State Route 75 to Silver Strand State Beach. Boasting enviable beach and water views, this park offers hiking and biking trails, water activities, fishing, guided tours and more.
What to Do:
Enjoy the Beach
Behind the great mansions on Ocean Avenue, families will find Coronado Central Beach, which is free and open to the public. Park for free on Ocean Avenue and then walk over to the beach to swim, bodyboard, bodysurf or simply relax. If you’re traveling with man’s best friend, head to the north end of the sandy sprawl where dogs can run wild and free on Dog Beach.
Take in the View
Next, check out the tranquil and serene Bayview Park. Hidden from street view, locals consider the park one of the best-kept secrets in the city and it offers incredible skyline views of downtown San Diego. Rent a surrey — a four-wheeled bike that allows you and your family to cruise at your own pace while taking in the sights — from Wheel Fun Rentals on the peninsula’s south end or Ray’s Rentals on the north.
Explore the World of Oz
The author of The Wizard of Oz may not be from Coronado, but he spent many winters there and discovered much of his inspiration for Oz in the Crown City. So if you need a break from the sun, follow the yellow brick road to the Coronado Public Library, where you can see L. Frank Baum’s vision come to life at the Wizard of Oz glass art exhibit featuring nine large glass panels that depict scenes from the beloved storybook. Afterwards, drive half a mile south on Orange Avenue to the Coronado Museum of History and Art. The museum offers families a chance to view three first edition Oz books and several exhibits depicting the unique history and culture of the city.
Shop and Eat
After you’ve worked up an appetite, drive north on Orange Avenue to the scenic Coronado Ferry Landing, where you will find a bevy of restaurants and boutique shops. Check out island-style seafood offerings at the elegant, tropical-inspired Peohe’s. For a more casual meal head over to the Village Pizzeria, where you can find an extensive list of local craft beers on tap and both traditional Italian fare as well as unique pizzas with toppings like Brussels sprouts, goat cheese or a soft egg.
Go to the Green
If you fancy a round of golf, you can’t beat the Coronado Golf Course’s sweeping bay views, pristine grounds and reasonable greens fee. With its clubhouse less than a mile southwest of Spreckles Park, this is one of the most popular golf courses in the region, so make sure to book your tee times in advance online.