Have you ever been going about your day and, out of the blue, a simple, perfect childhood memory pops into your head? The kind of nostalgic flashback that fills you with “all the feelings” — making your mouth smile and eyes tear up at the same time? Memories like the sound of Dad’s laugh as he watched you chase tadpoles on the lakeshore while camping. Or the texture of mom’s favorite sweater as she squeezed you goodbye before school. Or maybe the awesome way that sherbet ice cream would taste right after swimming lessons. Perfect. Just, perfect. And while these wonderful memories hold a special place in your heart, there’s a special place just over a bridge in San Diego that will pull at the heartstrings. Because it’s just as pure. Just as charming. Just as perfect. And it has pretty good ice cream as well. Welcome to Coronado Island.
Some would say that Coronado Island is the crown jewel of San Diego. And with good reason. Not only do the velveteen soft beaches actually sparkle, due to the mineral Mica found in the sand, but the small resort town has been dubbed “The Crown City” — as Coronado means “the crowned one” in Spanish. Add to that emerald waters, elegant gardens, charming shops, old-world mansions and an enchanting cultural heritage, and you’ve got a fairytale destination in the making. There’s even a hotel that is so spectacular and legendary, not even the ghosts want to leave. Coronado island itself is actually a peninsula that houses a massive naval base on one-half, and a quaint town with world class beaches on the other. You connect from the mainland by crossing the iconic Coronado Bridge. This 2.1 mile concrete engineering work of art rises 200 feet above the San Diego bay, high enough for an empty aircraft carrier to pass underneath. You can also take in the views and the breeze as you approach on a ferry or drive in from the south on a low, narrow, sandy isthmus called “The Silver Strand.” Coronado’s properties are distinctive, diverse and can be absolutely show-stopping. Sure, the beaches and ocean views draw in crowds, but so do the homes. “Property gazing” is a real thing, and this is the best place to do it. You’ll see a wide range of architectural styles on the island that vary from Craftsman homes, to bungalows, to Tudor-Style, to downright contemporary. Coronado boasts mainly single-family residences with a sprinkle of townhomes and condominiums. Many people live here year-round, but it’s also a thriving location for lush vacation homes. You’ll find anything from condos priced as low at 500K to sprawling waterfront estates for $ 10 million plus.
Coronado is the upper echelon of beach living, plain and simple. Tourists flock and residents flourish in the island atmosphere brought on by beaches that’ve been voted the best in the world. Coronado is where you get away without going far away — to surf, swim, sail, ride, run, rollerblade and find romance along the picture perfect shores and miles of path along the coast. A stroll down the boardwalk takes you along the fabled and highly photogenic Hotel Del Coronado. The historic, Victorian wooden beach resort has been a beacon of Coronado’s character and rich history for over 130 years, during which time everyone who is anyone has graced the halls. From Hollywood royalty, to British royalty, to an infamous ghost that is rumored to still appear today, Hotel Del seems to cast a spell on any soul that steps foot inside. Away from the beach you’ll find Orange Ave, the lifeblood of this community, where you’ll feel like you’re strolling back in time with every casual step. Full of character and community, Orange Avenue is lined with quaint shops, great neighborhood restaurants, galleries and theaters that make the island appealing to more than just the eye.
Here are a few things I recommend to make your Coronado experience even more memorable.