Coronado Island's Hidden Gems: The 10 Best Things to Do

Discover the top 10 attractions of Coronado Island, San Diego. From the historic Hotel Del Coronado to the pristine beaches and vibrant downtown, explore the rich history, scenic beauty, and diverse activities that make Coronado a must-visit destination.


3/3/20243 min read

Coronado Island, a stunning gem in San Diego, California, is a destination that deserves a spot on every traveler's itinerary. Known for its pristine beaches, historic landmarks, and vibrant local scene, Coronado offers a variety of attractions that cater to every interest. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or simply in search of a peaceful getaway, this beautiful peninsula promises an unforgettable experience. Here are the top 10 attractions that you must explore on your visit to Coronado Island.

1. Hotel Del Coronado: A Historic Landmark

The Hotel Del Coronado, fondly known as 'The Del', is a cornerstone of Coronado's history. Built in 1888, it was a marvel of its time, with advanced amenities like indoor plumbing and electrical lighting. The hotel gained fame under John D. Spreckels' ownership, attracting Hollywood celebrities and U.S. presidents. The Del is known for its grand architecture and for its intriguing ghost stories, particularly surrounding the mysterious death of Kate Morgan in 1892. Visitors can explore this historic hotel and perhaps even encounter its legendary ghosts.

2. Coronado Beach: A Coastal Paradise

Spanning 1.75 miles, Coronado Beach is known for its soft sands and scenic views. Ideal for sunbathing, beach volleyball, and sandcastle building, it's a family-friendly destination. The beach offers a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, Point Loma, and the Coronado Islands. For dog lovers, the North End features a leash-free beach, while history enthusiasts will be intrigued by the sunken USS Monte Carlo visible during low tide.

3. Coronado Ferry Landing: A Gateway to San Diego Bay

The Coronado Ferry Landing is a lively hub, originally opened in 1886. It ceased operation with the opening of the Coronado Bay Bridge in 1969 but was reopened in 1986. Today, it's a lively spot offering live music, shopping, and various water activities. The Ferry Landing is an excellent vantage point for holiday events like the 4th of July fireworks and the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights.

4. Parks and Scenic Views: Tidelands and Centennial Park

Tidelands Park, located near the Coronado Bridge, offers versatile outdoor spaces, while Centennial Park, a historic spot with stunning San Diego skyline views, is perfect for sunrise watchers and photographers. These parks provide a tranquil escape and a chance to appreciate Coronado's natural beauty.

5. Downtown Coronado: A Blend of History and Modernity

The heart of Coronado, Downtown is a lively area filled with historic sites, shopping districts, and entertainment venues. Notable landmarks include the Spreckels Building, home to the Lamb's Players Theatre, and the Coronado Museum of History and Art. Orange Avenue, the main street is lined with unique shops and eateries, making it a must-visit for any traveler.

6. Glorietta Bay: A Glimpse into Coronado’s Past

Once the site of the famous Tent City, Glorietta Bay is now a modern area with parks, a playhouse, and a municipal pool. This bay area holds historical significance and showcases the evolution of Coronado from a camping destination to a luxurious resort town.

7. Silver Strand: A Coastal Stretch of Beauty

The Silver Strand, connecting Coronado to Imperial Beach, is a haven for outdoor activities. It features the Silver Strand State Beach, ideal for camping and water sports, and the Coronado Cays, a neighborhood known for its waterfront homes.

8. Adventure and Recreation: Endless Possibilities

Coronado is a hub for various recreational activities. Rent bikes, surfboards, or even a golf cart to explore the island. The Coronado Golf Course offers an exceptional golfing experience, while the Bayshore Bikeway is perfect for cycling enthusiasts.

9. Architectural Marvels: Historic Homes

Coronado is home to several historic residences, including the L. Frank Baum House, the Stevens House, and the Spreckels Mansion. These architectural treasures offer a glimpse into the island's rich cultural heritage.

10. Naval Base Coronado: A Military Legacy

Though restricted to authorized personnel, the Naval Base Coronado is an integral part of the island’s identity. It is a significant military installation and plays a vital role in the local community.

Dining in Coronado: A Culinary Adventure
Coronado boasts a diverse culinary scene, ranging from authentic Italian at Il Fornaio to classic seafood at Blue Water Boathouse Seafood Grill. Whether you crave Mexican cuisine at Miguel's Cocina or Irish fare at McP's Irish Pub, Coronado's restaurants cater to all tastes.


Coronado Island is a place where history, culture, and natural beauty converge. Each of these top 10 attractions contributes to Coronado's unique charm, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the San Diego area. So, pack your bags, set out on this journey, and discover the many wonders of Coronado Island.