Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Coronado Island, CA

  • Published 2022/05/21

Surrounded by the shores of San Diego Bay, Coronado is an island city in California well-known for its beaches and water-related attractions.

Explorer Sebastian Vizcaino drew the island’s first map in 1602 and named it “Coronado,” a Spanish term for a crown, cementing the island’s nickname as “the Crown City.”

But the island’s first appearance as a legitimate town happened only in 1890, when its founders saw the island’s potential to become a resort community.

From there, they constructed hotels and buildings to attract travelers and gain commercial success in tourism.

Now, Coronado is home to more than just aquatic recreations, having acquired diverse types of attractions such as museums, historical sites, and land-locked ventures.

Try the Activities in Hotel del Coronado

Exterior of Hotel Del Coronado

edithpifpaf /

Hotel del Coronado, situated along Orange Avenue, is one of the places you must visit if you’re ever on the island.

It’s a luxurious establishment—from its outdoor Victorian-inspired architecture and lush palm trees to indoor furnishings that feature grand chandeliers, modern amenities, and classic wooden carvings.

From its first day of opening in 1988, this stunning hotel had already captured mass attention and admiration as an architectural masterpiece with gorgeous seaside views and top-tier amenities.

A pool at Hotel Del Coronado

CO Leong /

Even better, there are plenty of activities available!

You can go on a historical tour, lounge at their modern pools, and enjoy a beach bonfire at night.

Hotel del Coronado is more than just a beautiful hotel; it can also be a fun experience filled with learning, relaxation, and excitement.

People riding surrey bikes in front of Hotel Del Coronado

Sherry V Smith /

Skate at the City of Coronado Skatepark

If you want to have some fun and release some stress, then this skatepark might be your next go-to!

At Tidelands Park, there lies a skatepark that has all the necessities for long hours of fun skating.

With a length reaching up to 16,000 square feet, this skating area has a large variety of exhibition spots—such as bowls, ramps, jumps, and grinds—that can challenge skaters of every level.

It also features a smooth, cemented pavement that’s perfect for the wheels of your skateboard.

All of those features you can experience while admiring a view of the ocean!

Don’t miss out, get your boards, and head to the City of Coronado Skatepark.

Climb aboard the USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum docked at navy pier

Andrei Medvedev /

Climb aboard the USS Midway Museum, a former aircraft carrier from the 20th Century turned historical museum in 2004.

You can get glimpses of a US Navy soldier’s lifestyle, roaming around their rooms, mess halls, galley, hospital ward, and even engine rooms.

There are aircraft exhibits containing all kinds of planes, especially those built in California.

People admiring the aircrafts at USS Midway Museum

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There are also interactive activities—go inside an original cockpit, play around with some of their designated displays, or watch a riveting film about the turning point of a battle during World War 2.

In the USS Midway Museum, you’ll see fascinating sights and learn more about aircraft and its importance during the wars.

All you need to do is head towards N Harbor Drive and find this gem of a museum.

Aircrafts at USS Midway Museum

f11photo /

Ride the Waves with Coronado Surfing Academy

Since 2005, the Coronado Surfing Academy has provided guests with a fun, thrilling experience involving water and the outdoors.

This surfing academy will handle all your needs, from surfing equipment—wetsuit and surfboard—to professional instructors.

The instructors are friendly, knowledgeable, and formally trained in first aid and CPR.

It’s located along Avenida Lunar, close to Coronado Shores Beach.

It’s time to try something new, so book a session if you’re ever in Coronado.

Play a Game at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course

Golf Digest rated this public golf course, located along Visalia Row, as 5th national best in delivering golf value.

Established in 1957, the Coronado Municipal Golf Course has since become a premium destination for golf enthusiasts and beginners.

This par-72 course features vast, grassy plains and a panoramic view of the bay.

Plus, they offer instructional golf programs, regardless of whether you’re a beginner, average, or expert.

Head towards Coronado Municipal Golf Course and enjoy a classic game of golf while also indulging in the scenic combination of land, sea, and sky.

Admire the SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck

Daytime view of SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck

Jamie Lantzy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Along the shores of Coronado Beach lies this rare and interesting piece of history—the SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck.

With its first voyage in 1921, this ship went through incredible changes from being an oil tanker to a gambling and prostitution ship in 1932, before its inevitable destruction in 1937.

The SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck on Coronado's water

Jamie Lantzy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Impressively, the ship was moved naturally by storms to its current location near Hotel del Coronado and El Camino Tower, where no one has bothered to claim the remains.

It’s a peculiar sight to behold, especially during low tides, when the waters fall and makes the ship more visible.

Much of the ship has turned to rust with evidence of decayed metal in every nook and corner, while green moss has spread out in some parts of its deck.

Pay a Visit to Lamb’s Players Theatre

If you’re looking for entertainment but want to remain indoors, then the Lamb’s Players Theatre can be your haven.

Located on Orange Avenue, this theater holds diverse performances such as musicals, dramas, and comedies.

Opened in 1971, the venue has been a hidden gem for locals, even though it’s not as modern and grand as other destination spots in Coronado.

Rather, the rare, small space in the theater makes it perfect for an intimate setting, which allows the audience to have a straightforward view of the performance and a clear hearing of the dialogue and music throughout the whole ensemble.

A memorable performance doesn’t always have to happen at a grand location.

Head towards Lamb’s Players Theatre and give this place a try!

Sunbathe at the Coronado Beach

Sunbathing chairs at Coronado Beach

Benny Marty /

With Coronado’s geographic location close to waters, it’s no surprise that Coronado is home to an array of fresh and beautiful beaches.

Coronado Beach is one of the most popular because of its proximity to the famous Hotel del Coronado.

Guests of the hotel are likely to get a peek at this scenic beach.

Lifeguard station of Coronado Beach

Lowe Llaguno /

From the feel of pale, soft sand to the soothing smell of ocean waters, Coronado Beach is the perfect go-to for travelers who want to relax and unwind.

Travelers are also free to surf, but it depends on whether the current strength and movement of the waves are enough to do so.

Drive towards Ocean Boulevard and get a feel of this calming beach!

Silhouette of a surfer at Coronado Beach during sunset

Bill Chizek /

Try Local Specialties at Coronado Main Street

Originally, Coronado Main Street was a declining downtown, as locals moved to different areas and tourism dwindled around the area in 1988.

Tourism success wasn’t achieved until the “Four Point Approach” program, which aimed to reenergize the premises with active community participation.

It’s an inspiring tale of how locals gathered and voluntarily worked to beautify their community.

Now, Coronado Main Street is a thriving destination where tourists can admire the sights, shop at local stores, and dine at restaurants that highlight local cuisines and flavors.

Head towards B Avenue and enjoy all the things that Coronado’s downtown area has to offer!

Visit the Coronado Historical Association

Flash back to the past of Coronado as you walk the halls of this historical museum.

Nestled along Orange Avenue since 1969, this museum displays an assortment of ancient items and artifacts related to Coronado.

From Navy items, rare cars, and collections of old pictures—the Coronado Historical Association curates and rotates their exhibits based on historical themes about Coronado.

Some past examples included an exhibit on long-time Coronado natives, their Golden Age of Films, and Coronado’s yachting history.

They also hold historical walking tours where you go outdoors, roam around Coronado, and meet some of their residents who will tell you tales and stories of their life as a resident.

Feast in the Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill

Exterior of Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill

Leonard Zhukovsky /

Along Strand Way, this seafood grill combines delicious food with gorgeous sights and a unique location.

Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill situates itself on water instead of land, with only a strongly built floor foundation to keep it upwards instead of falling into the sea.

Inside, the restaurant is adorned with classic white walls and tablecloths, wooden chairs, and slow ceiling fans to give it a simple yet charming atmosphere.

Generally, the restaurant’s specialties are dishes with seafood, but they also have alternatives for those who may be allergic.

Established in 2014, the Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill continues to thrive and service its customers with delicious meals until today.

Meet New People at the Coronado Boathouse and Clubroom

Coronado Boathouse and Clubroom is your next go-to place for recreational activities involving Glorietta Bay.

It’s a modern, rustic building that features gray bricks, oversized roofs, and huge windows with a direct, picturesque view of the Glorietta Bay.

Activities held in this structure involve educational classes on kayaking, paddle-boarding, rowing, boating safety, and many others.

Sometimes, there are special events—movie premiers, music concerts, community paddling, and the like—which is a great place to meet new people while enjoying your trip.

If these have made you interested, the Coronado Boathouse and Clubroom can be found along Strand Way.

Spend Your Day at Coronado Ferry Landing

Entryway of Coronado Ferry Landing

Benny Marty /

It’s possible to spend your whole day at Coronado Ferry Landing because they offer a myriad of things to do!

For a casual stroll, there are lots of restaurants and shops that you can explore and roam around in.

People waiting to board a ferry at Coronado Ferry Landing

Apostolis Giontzis /

But for those looking into exciting activities, you can try biking, kayaking, and riding a ferry to see the sights in Coronado—from manmade attractions like the Coronado Bridge and Petco Park to natural wonders like the Glorietta Bay.

If you partake in those activities, then a visit to Coronado Ferry Landing is like a peek into all the top spots in Coronado!

Don’t miss out on the Coronado Ferry Landing, located at 1st Street along B Avenue.

Scenic view of the Coronado Ferry Landing

Benny Marty /

Hit the Bullseye at Coronado Axe Throwing

This recreation center offers a unique but satisfying way to release all your stress—ax-throwing.

Located along Orange Avenue, this place lets you throw real axes towards a paper target for one full hour.

Get a brief tutorial from one of their staff and learn how to safely throw before challenging yourself to hit that bullseye.

What are you waiting for?

Try out this unique, thrilling experience at Coronado Axe Throwing!

Eat and Enjoy the View at Feast and Fareway

Hungry and looking for a place to eat?

Try Feast and Fareway, located at Visalia Row near the Coronado Municipal Golf Course.

It’s a restaurant that embodies a cool island lifestyle with tropical trees, pastel blue chairs, and beach umbrellas decorating the outdoors.

Inside, the restaurant offers an array of simple, wooden decor of chairs, tables, and shiny floorings.

What makes the place special is the fact that its location lets its diners eat while watching a peaceful view of Downtown San Diego.

It’s also been featured in Marie Claire as a perfect spot to take pictures for Instagram!

Satisfy your cravings and try out Feast and Fareway.

Final Thoughts

Coronado may be famous for being an island city with gorgeous ocean views and miles of beaches, but there’s so much more to this place.

They have plenty of interesting attractions—from tiring ventures such as ax-throwing and surfing to unique places such as their aircraft carrier museum and shipwreck.

It’s diverse enough to entertain you and keep you interested in looking for the next venture available on the island.

So don’t miss out, book your ticket, and enjoy an adventure to Coronado Island in California!

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