The iconic Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton is certainly one of San Diego’s most family-friendly hotels, but you don’t necessarily have to check-in to enjoy it. Between the stunning public Coronado beach, spa, restaurants and more, this luxury hotel is a great place to spend the day.
Things to do at the Hotel del Coronado with kids (and without) include the following.
Go to the Beach
Publications like Travel + Leisure have repeatedly named this stretch of Coronado beach as one of the best in the nation. The soft, flat sand actually has gold specks in it — a mineral called mica — that sparkles in the ocean.
The waves here usually break fairly gently and there is so much available space on the sand that it doesn’t always feel crowded even on a summer weekend.
Day rentals for hotel guests and San Diego residents are available at Del Beach including cabanettes, sturdy umbrellas, and lounge chairs.
This area has waitstaff who can bring snacks, sandwiches, margaritas, bottles of champagne and more to your spot on the sand. For more details, read about our day at Del Beach.
Cruise the beachside boardwalk in front of The Del by renting a number of at Wheel Fun Rentals. They’ve temporarily located behind Hotel del Coronado until the renovation is complete.
Opt for standard 2-wheel bikes on up to bikes seating 6 people. Two-wheel bikes are a much easier way to explore the boutiques and restaurants on Orange Avenue during peak season anyway because you can avoid the hassle of street parking. Helmets are available as are kids’ bikes.
Low tide exposes a variety of sea life in the tide pools on Coronado beach in front of the Hotel del Coronado. You can see starfish, tons of anemones, sea slugs, small fish, hermit, and larger crabs, barnacles, mussels and more creatures. It’s one of San Diego’s best tide pools.
The City of Coronado encourages people to explore the tide pools with care and sometimes staffs them with a volunteer to answer questions. The small seawall here is a very popular place for photographs in the early evening.
Arrive early in the morning to collect pristine shells. It was sand dollar heaven on one morning we were there and you could see people walking on the beach for morning exercise constantly bending over to pick up treasures lying in the sand.
Look for the Sandcastle Man
The Sandcastle Man leaves beautiful creations on the beach, with his business card displayed (talk about great marketing).
He creates these masterpieces with an extraordinary amount of detail for beach parties and events.
This sandcastle must have been built at the crack of dawn because we saw it shortly after our early breakfast at Sheerwater.
Burn Calories While Beach Spinning
Hotel guests and day visitors can book beach spinning for 50 minutes of exercise outdoors with a view. Pay per class or buy a Frequent Spinner pass.
The other thing that both guests and day visitors can book is a beach bonfire. Choose from a robust menu of gourmet s’more and other bonfire-friendly options and spend a lovely evening on the sand. We’ve done this and highly recommend it.
Go Ghost Hunting
The ghost of Kate Morgan is thought to haunt the Hotel del Coronado. She died at the hotel in 1882 from what is thought to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
One theory is that she was jilted by a lover who was supposed to meet her at the hotel.
The bellman during our last stay told us the room number and it has since slipped my mind. Access to rooms is supposed to be limited to hotel guests anyway.
Books that tell her story can be purchased in the gift shops. I flipped through one while waiting for my spa treatment.
The resort’s gift shop is reported to be the most haunted as they say glassware occasionally flies off the shelves! Apparently, it’s usually memorabilia related to Marilyn Monroe who filmed Some Like it Hot at the hotel. Apparently, Kate doesn’t like sharing the spotlight.
Book Spa Treatments
The Spa at the Hotel del Coronado has a private adults-only pool, pictured above. My daughter and I were treated to manicures and pedicures in the salon downstairs but the upstairs has treatment rooms and lounging facilities for facials, massages and the like.
Take a Photo
Hop into this old-school photo booth for a fun souvenir. It’s located right next to MooTime Creamery.
Have San Diego’s Best Brunch
Sunday brunch in the stunning Crown Room is quite a treat. Come hungry because the lavish event features not only bottomless champagne and a gourmet Bloody Mary bar, but carving stations, seafood and sushi, housemade charcuterie, salads, impressive desserts and so much more are up for the taking.
Go Boutique Shopping
Most resorts have a store or two that are worthy of a quick look. Well, shopping at the Hotel del Coronado is different. I’ve been browsing Babcock and Story for well over a decade and buy something almost every time. These boutiques are well done.
Your kids will love Spreckels Sweets and Treats for vintage candy (jawbreakers!), fudge and other vintage treats you remember from childhood.
Forget your bathing suit? No problem. Need extra luggage? There’s a travel store, too.
Mark Where You Came From
Stick a pin in the map inside the gift shop, Est. 1888, indicating where you’ve traveled from. Don’t forget to sign the guest book. Pick up hotel souvenirs here, too.
Ice Skate in the Winter
The annual Skating by the Sea event at the Hotel del Coronado is a quintessential Southern California experience.
The hotel’s Windsor lawn is transformed into an ice skating rink, just steps from the sand. In fact, the holiday decor throughout the hotel is simply gorgeous.
A portion of the skating proceeds goes to the Make a Wish Foundation. This is only one of many things to do at Hotel del Coronado during the holidays.
Spend the Night at the Hotel del Coronado
Spend the night to enjoy the activities on this list. For residents, this is a fantastic staycation with no plane ticket is required.
Tips: Exciting updates are happening across Hotel del Coronado through late 2021. Between now and May 2020, the main pool and California Cabanas building will be closed for refurbishment. Please book Victorian Building rooms for minimal disruption (we have plenty of people checking in and have a great time while the renovations are happening).
You can book in as a Virtuoso guest to enjoy complimentary breakfast for two, $100 spa credit, upgrade at check-in subject to availability and more.
*You’ll need to activate the desktop version of Virtuoso.com if using a mobile device. To do this on a mobile device, scroll down to the black footer and click “Full Site.” Enter only the number of adults traveling as kids may be priced as adults. I’ll add in your kids when I receive the booking.
What is your favorite thing to do at the Hotel del Coronado?