I love beaches. I grew up two blocks from the beach. I have lived less than 1 hour’s drive from a beach most of my life. I have been to beaches up and down the East and West Coast of the United States and to some in Hawaii. And I have never had a better beach day, seen a more beautiful beach, or found such perfection as I found during our beach day at Coronado Beach. We stumbled into Center Beach on Coronado Island and found absolute perfection. See our day and why you need to make Coronado Beach a stop on your next trip to San Diego.
San Diego is known for its beaches and there is a plethora to choose from. But I had heard about Coronado Beach as a lovely family-friendly beach. My husband had stayed in Coronado once for a work conference, and though he never made it to the beach, mentioned that it looked amazing “from a distance”. On our previous trip to San Diego we had been to La Jolla, so we decided to try something new. We used a simple google search to find the directions and drove over the Coronado Bridge and through the picturesque town. We found parking a few blocks from the beach and decided to park and walk the remaining two blocks to the beach. As we walked, we walked past unique and gorgeous grand houses with perfectly manicured lawns. The streets were wide and quiet, and we could see bikers pass by as well as locals walking their dogs. Then we came to the entrance to the beach and each almost dropped our stuff in awe
From the entrance, you can see a breathtakingly long and wide beach filled with the fluffiest white sand I have found in the US. As you walk along the pathway, you can see the Hotel del Coronado in the distance, the luxurious resort famous on the island. When you reach the end of the pathway, there is a lot of space to spread out and still be in view of the water and watch the children swim. There is plenty of room to spread out and get your own space. We set up camp and put our feet in the fluffy sand as the kids checked out the surf.
As you walk closer to the water, you look down and notice the ground is sparkling. On further review you will see that the wet sand has gold flecks that causes the ground to shimmer and shiny all the way up and down the coast. It is simply one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
We found the water not too rough, enough of surf for the kids to enjoy playing in waves and on the boogie board, but not enough that I was concerned about them being pulled away. The surf conditions on the lifeguard tower were listed as moderate. I would let a strong swimmer play in it, but if you are with a youngster or a younger swimmer, I would stay with them close to the water’s edge.
The beach is free to the public, and with plenty of amenities. The beach has several lifeguards on site. We entered near the main lifeguard tower and stayed close to that area. Right there we were able to see a bulletin board with announcements as well as the temperature and surf conditions for the day. Right at the entrance was bathroom with plenty of stalls, sinks, showers, and changing areas. It was free to use and quite clean.
While we did not do this, many have suggested setting up near the Hotel del Coronado. Besides having a lifeguard tower nearby, they have seats and umbrellas for rent. The other nice feature is that they have a restaurant with takeout accessible from the beach. Coronado beach does not have food or businesses set up right near the beach, so it is the only place to really walk quickly from the beach and buy food. We brought food with us, but if that is not an option, setting up near the hotel is a nice alternative.
Around the Beach
Orange Avenue is just a few blocks from the beach. It is one of the main thoroughfares on the Island and has a Starbucks, a Panera, and several other local take-out and restaurants. Before or after the beach, it is a fun street to walk up and down and check out the shops or grab a bite of food. We had some gelato from Gelato Paradiso, and it was superb. Plus, they have a fun window where you can watch them making the ice cream!
One of the nice things about the beach is that being so large, it was easy to socially distance. At the time of our trip, there was a mask mandate in place. However, you could generally spend time on the beach without needing to be masked and keep your distance from others. Masks were required to go into the bathrooms, at the Hotel Del Coronado, and any of the businesses on Orange Ave. The bathrooms seemed clean, but I did not see any notification of enhanced cleaning. We made sure to wash our hands thoroughly and sanitize when it was not available. We did not have get sick, but at the time both my husband and I were partially vaccinated.
I walked into Coronado Beach with no expectations. But at the end of the day, I found I did not want to leave the beautiful shimmery beach with the soft sand. We had the perfect beach day. The sun was out, but it was not too hot. The surf was perfect for our children. The water was not too cold (I mean, it was cold, but not as cold as I have felt in Northern California). We even got to see some Navy jets fly over on their way to the local base. It was a fantastic, relaxing day on a beautiful beach. And really, can you ask for anything else on a vacation?