Taking to the water from Coronado Island
Romantic getaways, adventure-fuelled breaks and cultural tours – Coronado Island has it all. With mica-sand beaches that literally shimmer in the California sun, and a palm-lined central boulevard, this is what Hollywood dreams are made of. Spend the daytimes catching waves and seeing sights, and the evenings sipping wine under blankets as you cruise along on a gondola through the Coronado Cays.
WHERE TO STAY
The historic 1906 Lodge is a quiet step away from the bustling main street of the Island – but close enough to walk back after a night out in town. And situated two blocks from the beach, it's a great base to explore both town and coast. Make the most of bottomless breakfast mimosas and complementary fresh cookies before stepping into the sunshine that SoCal is so famous for.
SURF, SKATE OR CYCLE
Awash with 70 miles of open coastline, Coronado is the place to go for beach life and board sports. While the island boasts a rich naval history, you're more likely nowadays to see speedboats and surfboards than amphibious assault vehicles. You can surf, paddleboard, kayak, or even skate the full distance of the beaches, with a variety of start and finish points dotted along the coast.
If board sports aren't your thing, you can try your hand at sailing, or let your guide do the hard work with a gondola cruise along the canals. Whale watching boats leave from the mainland just north of the island, and give you a fair chance of seeing humpbacks, grey whales, dolphins and sea lions.
Bike hire is available from 1906 Lodge – especially useful if you plan on venturing a little further for a secluded stretch of beach for the day. For a safe and scenic route that runs all the way to Imperial Beach, take the Silver Strand bikeway. This 10-mile long, smooth asphalt path runs parallel with the coast, safely taking skaters, boarders and cyclists from Orange Avenue across to mainland San Diego.
CALLING ALL SEA DOGS
One of the island's more unusual attractions is the annual Loews Dog Surfing Competition. (Yes, actual dogs on actual surfboards.) This year's event takes place on August 3rd at Linda Mar Beach – and features three hours of man's best friend hanging ten, as well as a frisbee competition, water fetch and a canine costume contest.
COVES AND CLIFFTOPS
La Jolla Cove is a 25-minute taxi (or La Jolla Trolley) ride from the centre of the island, and includes an Underwater Park and an Ecological Reserve. Here you can snorkel, dive and swim among sea turtles, leopard sharks and barracuda, as well as enjoy the elegant restaurants and laidback lifestyle of the cove.
Similarly beautiful, with buckets of rugged coastal charm, is Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Here you'll find dramatic cliffs, sweeping ocean vistas and – as the name suggests – spectacular sunsets.
BACK ON DRY LAND
Orange Avenue is the island's main street, peppered with galleries, boutiques and casual eateries, as well as theatres and museums. Continuing Northwest along the Avenue brings you to Coronado Ferry Landing, where shopping comes with a spectacular view over the San Diego skyline.
A ten-minute taxi ride from the hotel brings you to Downtown San Diego, and the cultural Balboa Park. Among the museums and gardens, sits the world-famous San Diego Zoo, home to 650 different species including giant pandas and koalas.
If you'd rather take the road less travelled, hop on a brightly coloured trolley car and visit the various districts – from Little Italy to the Gaslamp Quarter – home to some of the best restaurants, bars and nightlife in the area.