Maxim Gorin shares 11 of the best things to see and do in Coronado

When you think of California, San Diego County likely pops into your mind. Maxim Gorin loves everything from the beaches to the San Diego Zoo to SeaWorld. There are so many great things to see and do in the city. 

Despite its proximity to so much action, just over the bridge from San Diego is a small, tree-lined beach haven known as Coronado. The “island,” as many locals call it, is actually a peninsula connected to the mainland by a neck of land named the Silver Strand.

There is no other place in San Diego with such sweeping views of the coast, the bay, and downtown than on this small piece of land jutting out into the sea. From the moment you step off the ferry, you can feel a sense of nostalgia wash over you. After exploring the town’s many shops, restaurants, and beaches, it’s easy to understand why so many families choose to call Coronado home.

Coronado stands alone as the destination of choice for many tourists. Here are 11 things Coronado has to offer that will make you want to come and never leave.

1) Hotel del Coronado

This historic seaside hotel is one of the most photographed buildings in California. Filled with charming details, it has hosted numerous Presidents and dignitaries over its 120+ year history. The Hotel del Coronado often hosts special events, says Maxim Gorin, including cooking demonstrations and wine tastings that allow visitors to enjoy cuisine which stimulates all the senses.

If you’re on a budget but want to get a look at the hotel’s interior architecture, take advantage of daily tours that happen hourly, featuring an up-close view of the public spaces and exterior grounds.

2) Coronado beaches

“One of Coronado’s most popular attractions is its beautiful beaches. With wide expanses of sand and swimmable water year-round,” says Maxim Gorin, “it makes the perfect place to spend sunny California afternoons.”

Sandy Beach is the perfect place to enjoy the sunset and play beach volleyball, while Dog Beach allows your best friend to run free and swim in a fenced-off area. Throughout the year, you’ll find many special events taking place on Coronado’s beaches, including triathlons and full moon parties.

3) Wizard of Oz history

The island of Coronado has a long history in Hollywood productions. The Wizard of Oz, one of the most iconic movies of the last century, was shot on the peninsula. The yellow brick road was originally painted on city streets before being moved to its permanent location at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Each year, you can visit one site related to the film’s history during the annual Wizard of Oz Festival.

4) Biking Coronado

The beautiful weather and flat roads make Coronado perfect for biking. The city is completely closed off to cars every Sunday from 7 a.m. until about 1 p.m., giving bikers free rein to see everything this charming town has to offer at their own pace.

5) Tidelands Park

Coronado’s crown jewel is often the site of many special events and festivals. This park, located on a peninsula hugging the entrance to San Diego Bay, boasts incredible views from its pier and grassy areas. Tidelands Park hosts everything from concerts to parades throughout the year. “And don’t forget to bring your picnic basket and enjoy a meal at one of the park’s many shady picnic tables,” says Gorim

6) Downtown Coronado

Coronado has a rich history as a vacation destination with a downtown full of boutique shops, restaurants, and bars. You can enjoy drinks on the waterfront at Señor Frogs or join the locals for happy hour at Coronado Brewing Company’s tasting room.

With many art galleries and antique stores to visit, you’re sure to uncover unexpected treasures when you while exploring Coronad’s diverse downtown community.

7) Coronado ferry

If you’re looking for a way to get out of the car and stretch your legs, hop on the ferry from San Diego to enjoy a relaxing ride across the bay to see “the Jewel of the Crown” of the county. The 15-minute trip saves you the hassle of driving across the bridge while giving you a beautiful view of downtown San Diego, Point Loma, and North Island.

8) Coronado Cays

A trip to Coronado wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Coronado Cays, a neighborhood located on 70 artificial islets in Newport Bay. This exclusive enclave is filled with beautiful mansions, stunning views, and a boatyard. These picturesque cays were featured in several films, including “Diamonds are Forever” and “True Lies.”

9) MooTime Creamery

Just a few minutes from downtown Coronado, you can enjoy one of the best ice cream treats around. MooTime Creamery offers premium flavors of ice cream made with locally sourced ingredients. Choose from a wide variety of flavors that rotate daily. Don’t forget to try their seasonal specialties like pumpkin spice in the fall or peppermint in winter.

10) Coronado Brewing Company

Coronado Brewing Company is the ideal spot to catch a game, have some good food and enjoy a delicious beer brewed on-site. This large restaurant has several different dining rooms with flat-screen TVs to watch your favorite team. With their in-house brews like Orange Avenue Wit and Idiot IPA available in bottles or on tap and a concise but tasty food menu, you’re sure to find something that satisfies your tastes.

11) Centennial Park

This public park is a beautiful place to spend your afternoon, no matter what the weather.

Centennial Park offers tennis courts, picnic tables, and grills, an amphitheater for concerts or movies in the park, along with large lawn areas that are great for picnics or just laying out in the sun. If you’re looking for a spot to relax, unwind and enjoy the sunshine, Centennial Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

What will you do in Coronado?

Visiting Coronado is like visiting a small piece of heaven on earth. From the nearly perfect weather and pristine beaches to the cities easily bike-accessible streets and world-renown cuisine, spending a day (or a weekend) in Coronado is the self-care activity we could all use this year.

Photo by Marius Christensen