Exploring the island on two feet and two wheels

Photos courtesy of Discover Coronado

FEELING THE NEED TO GET AWAY BUT NOT TOO FAR? San Diego’s delightful Coronado Island is so close you can almost reach out and touch it. Yet—with miles of walkable and ridable beaches and neighborhoods, unique boutiques and restaurants, a renowned public golf course, and an historic hotel—it can easily sweep you away for an entire day. What’s more, you can get around without a car when you follow this game plan.

Start your day admiring panoramic views of the stunning city you just left behind: downtown San Diego. The Ferry Landing Marketplace is home to more than 20 shops, including one of the island’s bicycle rental shops. Grab a coffee and drink up the stunning scenery. Then, if you haven’t brought your own bike and would like to have one for the whole day, stop into Holland’s Bike Rentals or Ray’s Rentals behind the Marriott Hotel to rent your ride. If you’d like to start out on foot, Little Sam’s Island & Beach Fun is about 1½ miles ahead.

Shopping along Orange Avenue
Shopping along Orange Avenue
Nighttime at The Ferry Landing | Jesus Lazaro
Nighttime at The Ferry Landing | Jesus Lazaro

When Coronado Island was first developed, an alluring row of orange trees was planted along the main thoroughfare, which was renamed Orange Avenue. Unfortunately, the sweet-scented trees proved to be too alluring to the island’s native jackrabbits and had to be removed, but this beautiful boulevard hasn’t lost its appeal. Stretching a mile from bayside Coronado to the Hotel del Coronado, it’s lined with shops, eateries, galleries, and the Coronado Museum of History and Art. Now is a good time to download the museum’s new Coronado Historical Walking Tour that highlights 15 of the island’s most memorable spots.

Orange Avenue at night
Orange Avenue at night

Affectionately known locally as “The Del,” this majestic seaside hotel has a history dating back to 1888. Through the centuries, The Del has hosted 16 American presidents, countless celebrities, and 12 movie productions. It is a National Historic Landmark and rumored to be haunted. The hotel is undergoing a phased master plan for rejuvenation and preservation to make it more of a treasure than ever. Non-overnight guests are welcome to come inside and browse through the fascinating exhibits and to enjoy a meal.

Paddleboarding near the iconic Hotel del Coronado
Paddleboarding near the iconic Hotel del Coronado

If you’re not already on a bike, now is the time to rent one at Little Sam’s Island & Beach Fun, across the street from The Del. From here, the sparkling isthmus called Silver Strand stretches six glorious miles to Imperial Beach. The flat, well-paved bike path is part of the Bayshore Bikeway. It winds past the award-winning Lowes Coronado Bay Resort, Crown Cove Aquatics Center, and the Coronado Cays. If you’re feeling romantic, you might want to arrange for a gondola ride through the Cays in advance. You can take Silver Strand all the way to Silver Strand State Beach and San Diego National Wildlife Refuge and experience all the joy found in the sea, sand, and fresh air.

Biking on a bike path near Coronado Bay Bridge
Biking on a bike path near Coronado Bay Bridge

No visit to Coronado is complete without a little beach time. Coronado’s beaches provide the perfect vantage point for a breathtaking sunset. As you make your way back through town, stop somewhere along the main expanse of Coronado Beach. If you have a burst of energy or feel like freshening up, there are volleyball nets and shower facilities at the lifeguard tower. Linger at the beach and watch the sun sink into the sea, stop along Orange Avenue for dinner, and poke your head into the shops at Ferry Landing.

It’s time to fumble for the keys but don’t despair. When you feel the need, you can always put your car and cares in park and spend another day on Coronado.

Strolling along Coronado Beach at sunset | John McCauley
Strolling along Coronado Beach at sunset | John McCauley


Whether you arrive by land or by bay, a dramatic entrance is guaranteed!

Coronado–San Diego Bridge
The magnificent two-mile  bridge, completed in 1969, gives you a spectacular preview of the island from the beautiful bay to its sparkling sandspit. Take the MTS Bus 901 to Orange Avenue or drive and ditch the car at a free or metered parking spot. Metered parking is just 25 cents per hour with a two-hour limit and free on Sundays, holidays, and after 6 p.m. Parking lots at the Coronado Ferry Landing, Coronado Plaza, and Hotel del Coronado are more options.

Coronado Ferry Landing
The Coronado Ferry is the world’s oldest working wood ferry in the United States. You can cruise to the island from one of two docks located at Broadway Pier alongside the USS Midway, and the San Diego Convention Center. Tickets are just $5 per person and you can bring your bicycle for free. We suggest purchasing your tickets online in advance at flagshipsd.com.


Holland’s Bikes and Beyond
619.435.7180 |1201 1st St, #122 (Ferry Landing)
619.435.3153 | 977 Orange Ave (Downtown)

Wheel Fun Rentals
805.650.7770 | 1019 C Ave

Little Sam’s Island & Beach Fun
619.435.4068 | 1343 Orange Ave

Coronado Historical Association Museum of History and Art*
619.435.7242 | 1100 Orange Ave
Admission: Free | Open Thu–Fri 11–4

Hotel del Coronado (The Del)
619.435.6611 | 1500 Orange Ave

Orange Avenue guide: coronadovisitorcenter.com/orange-avenue/
Historic walking tour: geotourist.com/tours/3895
Things to do: discovercoronado.com

* Be sure to confirm days and hours of operation