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La Jolla Mom

8 Best Coronado Island Hotels

Where to stay in the most requested part of San Diego

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I help people plan San Diego vacations so I can tell you that Coronado Island hotels are the most frequently requested accommodations. Why? Coronado delivers what most visitors are looking for.

There are gorgeous white sand beaches that are perfect for a quintessential California beach day filled with sunshine, swimming, boogie boarding, surfing and more. It’s also convenient — Coronado is easily accessible to and from the airport via Uber, a quick ferry ride to downtown, and within a (usually) easy drive to popular attractions like Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. And, of course, there are fantastic Coronado hotels to choose from.

The question of where to stay in Coronado can be answered with the right information. Truthfully, most people ask for Hotel del Coronado and there’s a good reason for it. But if a larger, busy resort doesn’t suit you or if you’d like a lower price point, you can find alternatives.

Keep in mind that during peak season, especially if you book last-minute, any of the Coronado Island hotels will price at a premium — including the hotels that are more budget-friendly. It is always best, especially if you need a family room, to book as far in advance as possible.

Where to Stay in Coronado, CA

FAQs About Planning Your Coronado Island Trip

Why Should I Stay in Coronado?

Coronado is one of the most popular San Diego tourist neighborhoods for romantic holidays, family vacations, and staycations. People like that the affluent city has a small-town feel with its well-manicured homes and Orange Avenue main street. It’s also close to the airport, downtown, and other major attractions.

In addition, the beaches here are a huge draw partially due to the mineral mica in the sand that causes it to shimmer with gold. Coronado Central Beach is consistently rated as one of America’s best beaches. Many Coronado beach hotels provide paid parking and access to the beach, should you want to visit for the day.

Does the Location of a Coronado Hotel Really Matter?

Some make the mistake of assuming that since Coronado is small that it doesn’t matter what part of the island you stay on. This is true in the sense that you’ll have a great time no matter your location. However, when choosing between Coronado Island hotels it’s important to understand how far (or not) they are to the Coronado Central Beach and the heart of Orange Avenue.

For example, Loews Coronado Bay is located on gorgeous Silver Strand State Beach, but 4 miles south of Orange Avenue. Coronado Island Marriott is located near the Ferry Landing Marketplace so you’d drive, ride bikes or take a long walk to Coronado Central Beach. Hotel del Coronado is right on Coronado Central Beach and several boutique hotels on this list are within a block or two of it.

What Are the Best Resorts in Coronado?

The two best resorts are Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay. Both offer easy access to stunning beaches, full-service spas, multiple dining outlets, swimming pools, and water sports. Coronado Island Marriott is also a popular resort but most guests ride bikes across the island to Coronado Central Beach for beachgoing.

Which Coronado Hotels Are Best for Families?

Any of these Coronado hotels will suit families. However, when visiting San Diego with kids most families prefer to stay in Coronado beach hotels like Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay. These two also provide access to family activities like beach s’mores (Hotel del Coronado) and family movies.

Larger families should take a look at the usually reasonably-priced one and two bedroom suites at El Cordova Hotel.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Coronado?

There isn’t a bad time to visit Coronado, but it is most popular in the summertime, thanks to the gorgeous sunshine and lack of humidity. It’s during this time of the year, that people sunbathe and enjoy the ocean most on area beaches.

If you prefer smaller crowds, try visiting in the offseason which is early spring, fall, and winter outside of major holidays. Speaking of holidays, the historic Hotel del Coronado is the place check into between roughly Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day with all of its holiday activities including an oceanside ice rink.

People use still use the beach, albeit a bit differently, in non-summer months. You can still swim and sunbathe if weather permits but the ocean temperatures might be a little chilly.

You can enjoy the shopping and beautiful architecture of Orange Avenue year-round. Learn more about the best time of year to visit San Diego.

How Do I Get to Coronado Island Hotels from the Airport?

Most people take an Uber or car service from San Diego International Airport to Coronado. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the San Diego skyline as you cross the famous Coronado Bridge. Without traffic, the drive should take about 20 minutes, shorter if staying at Coronado Island Marriott which located at the base of the bridge.

Should I Take the Coronado Ferry?

Yes! Plan to take the Coronado Ferry at least once. It is easy and recommended when going between downtown San Diego and Coronado for sightseeing. It’s particularly pretty at golden hour or after sunset when the nighttime skyline reflects on the bay.

A ticket is just $5 each way and it’s the oldest working wood ferry in the country. Keep in mind that it’s not usually a practical solution for an airport transfer considering you’d need to take an Uber or taxi to the ferry, ride across the bay on the ferry, and then likely catch another Uber to your Coronado hotel with luggage in tow.

Do I Need to Rent a Car?

Coronado is one of the best places to base yourself in San Diego if you don’t want to rent a car. Not only do you save on parking — it’s difficult to park on Coronado to begin with and most hotels charge handsomely for the privilege. Biking and use of golf carts to get around are highly encouraged.

The San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park museums are reached in about 15 minutes. If you’d like to sightsee in North County, you may want to consider a car rental.

Things to Do on Coronado Island

Most Coronado hotels put you within walking distance of the action. Coronado Central Beach’s usually mild waves and sparkling sands make it probably the area’s most famous attraction, but there a lot to do on Coronado Island.

The historic Hotel del Coronado is also a popular attraction. The Coronado Historical Association offers tours of this 130-year-old landmark, and you can enjoy its dining, shopping, and Del Beach rentals, even if you’re not an overnight guest of the hotel.

If you crave more fun on the water than you can get from the beach, you can enjoy kayaking, sailing, jet-skiing, and boating on the bay. You also might even see a dolphin or a sea lion while you are out having fun on the water.

If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, you can explore the island by taking a walking tour or renting a beach cruiser to explore the 15 miles of bike paths. The miles of trails and flat terrain makes Coronado Island a great place to ride bikes.

Ferry Landing Marketplace is where you’ll catch or disembark from the ferry. It’s a small waterside entertainment area with a small beach, shops, and great dining.

Where to Eat in Coronado

Coronado is also an excellent spot for foodies. Most of the best Coronado restaurants are casual in nature but there are a few fine dining experiences sprinkled in. All are easy to access from Coronado Island hotels.

Consider starting your day with breakfast at the iconic Clayton’s coffee shop whether you opt for Mexican food or diner classics or grab some coffee and donuts from the takeout window. Lil Piggy’s has some of the region’s best pulled pork, brisket, sausage, ribs, and chicken. There’s plenty of great seafood to choose from, including Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill, Lobster West Coronado, and Saiko Sushi. If seafood isn’t your thing, you can also get hand-cut Waygu steaks at the Stake Chophouse and Bar or delicious Asian cuisine at the Westpac Noodle Bar.

Finally, stop into MooTime Creamery, a 50s inspired ice cream shop that has been named one of Travel Channel’s “Best Ice Cream Parlors To Vist” and has been serving up handcrafted ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt in homemade waffle cones since 1998.

What are your favorite Coronado Island hotels?

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