San Diego’s hot and sunny summers attract travelers from all over the world and Californians from all over the state. Coronado Island, just across San Diego Bay, connected by the isthmus known as “the Silver Strand” is a great place to go on one of these overwhelmingly hot summer days. The wind wisping off the cool ocean water creates a consistent sea breeze that leaves you feeling refreshed and provides a wonderful escape from the warmth of the city pavement of downtown San Diego.  The island is just a bridge away by car, but I prefer taking the ferry for a little bit of adventure.

How To Get There

There are multiple locations to take a ferry over to Coronado Island. Broadway Pier tends to be the most popular as it sits just across the Pacific Highway in between Little Italy and the Marina districts of San Diego’s downtown. You can buy a ticket at Port Pavilion next to the Pier and you’ll be sure to see the long line of tourists and bikers in line for the ferry. These ferries are large which enables larger groups to ride their own bikes on and off the ship. 

I choose to take the road (or boat!) less traveled. The San Diego Convention Center location is another option to take a smaller ferry. The Convention Center is also nestled in the Marina district, however, closer to San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. The motorboat is situated on the “5th Avenue Ferry Landing” right next to Joe’s crab shack. You can purchase your ticket at the ferry landing, keeping in mind that the boat leaves every 30 minutes on the weekends. The short, but sweet, 10 minute boat ride over to the Island has you passing jet skis, sailboats, and some yacht parties as you take in the scenic San Diego bay and skyline. 

Where To Go 

Once you arrive, hop off the ferry and you are in the heart of Coronado’s quaint shopping area. You will quickly see the Bike and Kayak Tours shop where you and your family can beat the heat and rent beach cruisers for all ages for $30/day. This is the best way to get to see the island without killing your feet, and you get a nice summer breeze while you do it.   Plus, you will get a little exercise in for the day, but not to worry, the island is completely flat.

There is a 6-mile loop around the island that starts you on 1st avenue, Northwest along the Bay toward the Naval Station. Coronado’s beautiful homes will impress you and you can even peek inside through the gates of the Naval Station to look at the ships and planes that are currently stationed there. As you continue to pedal West on Alameda Blvd, you will hit Coronado Beach and Dog Park. This is a beautiful family beach with fine white sand and Lifeguards stationed year-round. 

Tidelands park statue

On the most Southern end of the beach, sits the distinguished Hotel Del. I like to spend some time walking through the hotel, admiring its stunning architecture and grass lawns right on the beach. After enjoying some time on the beach and the urge for food hits, the Beach and Taco Shack is right on the sand, so you don’t even have to pull your clothes back on over your bathing suit. You can easily just walk up and order a drink or a snack and take it right back to your beach towel, or grab one of the tables nestled in the sand out front. There’s also live music right out in front of the Shack in the evenings on Tuesday & Friday-Sunday. Even if you’re a San Diego local like myself, this will launch you right back into vacation mode and have you thinking about your next trip to Hawaii! 

As you continue to ride your way around the Island, you can hop over to Glorietta Blvd for a longer route that weaves you through the Coronado Municipal Golf Course. Even if you’re not a golfer, this course is rated one of the best public golf courses in the nation and is worth the peddle power just to see the landscape itself. 

Getting Home

If you feel like cutting your ride a bit short and seeing the downtown life of Coronado, you’ll want to take Orange Avenue. This is where your ride can take as many or as little hours as you’d like. There are many places to stop and get a drink, shop, or grab a bite to eat. My personal favorite for Lunch or Dinner is Serrano’s. Go here if you’re craving some authentic Mexican food, mostly known for its seafood burritos and King size margaritas. 

Serrano’s takes you right back to near where you started, and hopefully, you’ll have timed it right to take the ferry back to catch a wonderful sunset with the San Diego skyline in the background.

San Diego skyline at sunset

Comment below which are your favorite Coronado restaurants!

Lily Gack

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1 Comment
  • Holly Rickett

    Bikes are always such a good way to go! This article very helpful for a realistic time line and some excellent off-the- bike suggestions. Nice!

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