Coronado is a peninsula located in San Diego County, California. On its tip is Naval Air Station North Island, so named because it is a naval air station and because the tip was once an island, separated from the peninsula by a shallow bay which was filled in to create a contiguous land mass in the early 1900s. It is not to be confused with the Coronado Islands, which are four small islands just west of San Diego and belong to Mexico.
Although the city of Coronado postures itself as a resort town, there is really very little to do there unless your idea of a resort is to sit and watch time go by. Fact.
Still, Coronado is a pleasant enough place to visit, and that’s what we shall do!
The beach on Coronado is known as Silver Strand. “Strand” is German for “beach”, and the beach is littered with tiny specks of golden flecks. So, “Silver Strand”, right?
The beach is very wide (for California). You can tell it is winter because of the high clouds and the lack of tourists.
And this the beach in summer, full of activities and beach-goers. In the distance is Point Loma, the landing place of the first European expedition to come ashore in present-day California. Together with the Silver Strand / Coronado peninsula, the Point Loma peninsula defines San Diego Bay and separates it from the Pacific Ocean.
The town of Coronado thoughtfully provides fire pits to keep folks warm on those cool, 60 degree evenings. Plus, folks build sand castles and illuminate them, showing what it would be like to live in a castle for ants.
Coronado has an average elevation of 16 feet, 4 inches, so even a mild winter storm might produce waves to inundate the peninsula. The government has thoughtfully put a rock barrier to protect the houses and people who live there. In addition, they have constructed a series of ivy-covered dunes. However, these are not ordinary dunes; they hold a secret!
Hotel del Coronado
Hotel del Coronado, literally “Hotel of Coronado“, is one of the few surviving examples of an American architectural genre: the wooden Victorian beach resort. When it opened in 1888, it was the single largest resort hotel in the world. It is the second largest wooden structure in the United States (after the Tillamook Air Museum in Tillamook, Oregon) and was designated a California Historical Landmark in 1970 and a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
“It would be built around a court… a garden of tropical trees, shrubs and flowers,… From the south end, the foyer should open to Glorietta Bay with verandas for rest and promenade. On the ocean corner, there should be a pavilion tower, and northward along the ocean, a colonnade, terraced in grass to the beach. The dining wing should project at an angle from the southeast corner of the court and be almost detached, to give full value to the view of the ocean, bay and city.”
The hotel works hard to preserve the charm of the Victorian architecture while still providing some of the facilities expected in a resort hotel.
The rotunda is just a normal-sized structure. Those windows and lookout tower are just for show.
The hotel has the advantage of being located in San Diego county, so the plants are green year-round. There are a few small, secluded areas where one can find solitude, even when all 757 rooms are occupied by guests.
The hotel was built with a large interior courtyard. The courtyard provides a useful shortcut between different parts of the building, and is pretty to look at.
At the Hotel del Coronado, there are gardeners and landscapers working every day. The result is shown above. Nice, eh?
A winter favorite is to sip a plastic cup of beer and enjoy the afternoon sun. (You can tell it’s winter because of the jacket. Sometimes, it gets no warmer than 65 degrees!)
The hotel offers a number of restaurants, both inside and outside. They are quite a bit overpriced and under-serviced, but you pay for the view. And it is a pretty nice view.
If you happen to be on a date with five ladies, the hotel is the perfect place to impress. Plus, there is plenty of fire to keep warm; nobody wants cold girls, amirite?
Of course, you don’t need an entourage to enjoy a date at the Hotel del Coronado. These two lovely ladies, errrr, I mean, this lovely lady does the job just fine. 😀
The hotel at night stands as a beacon to the lonely traveler. But what, you ask, are those red lights to the right of the hotel?
Coronado Shores, built in the 1960s and 1970s, brings the elegance of the inner city to this beach community. These nine buildings, affectionately called “Taco Towers” by locals, conspicuously destroy the feeling of elegance that the Hotel del Coronado attempts to preserve. Ah, well. I suppose they bring in a lot of tax revenue. <sigh>
San Diego – Coronado Bridge
The 3,407 meter bridge at one time had a toll, which was to be discontinued when the bridge was paid for. The government kindly continued to collect tolls for 16 years after that, because reasons. It is a mecca for jumpers, with over 400 suicides, trailing only behind San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
There are many interesting views of the bridge.
A decades-old local urban legend claims the center span of the bridge was engineered to float in the event of collapse, allowing Naval ships to push the debris and clear the bay. The myth may have developed as a result of the hollow box design of the 1,880-foot center span, combined with the low-profile barges that made it appear to float on its own during construction. However, Caltrans and the bridge’s principal architect, Robert Mosher, maintain that the legend is false.
Naval Air Station North Island
Coronado is home to Naval Air Station North Island, the “Birthplace of Naval Aviation”. North Island derived its name from the original geography. Up until the early 20th century, it was referred to as North Coronado Island, due to the fact that the Spanish Bight separated it from South Coronado Island until the early 1940s.
The story of NASNI is pretty interesting. Charles Lindbergh’s initial leg of this flight from the US to Paris originated here. The first woman to parachute jump from a plane, Tiny Broadwick, performed that feat here.
Coronado is surrounded on three sides by water, which is convenient if you enjoy sailing.
Seaforth Boat Rentals is the longest established boat rental, charter, and tour company in San Diego, and they have a location on Coronado’s bay side. It is our boat-rental business of choice,
You can rent small boats you drive yourself, jet skis, plus powerboats and sailboats, with or without a captain.
The ship’s captain is a casual fellow. After all, we are not sailing in the high seas. If a pretty girl asks to be your first mate and take the wheel, the only reasonable answer is Yes.
The rule is this: the more maneuverable boat always gives way to the less maneuverable boat. So, as long as these fellows see us, we are okay. Note: US Navy ships ALWAYS have right of way. Don’t mess with them; they have guys with guns on board.
The USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41) is an aircraft carrier, formerly of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class. Commissioned a week after the end of World War II, Midway was the largest ship in the world until 1955, as well as the first U.S. aircraft carrier too big to transit the Panama Canal. She operated for 47 years, during which time she saw action in the Vietnam War and served as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, she is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego, California, and is the only remaining inactive U.S. aircraft carrier that is not an Essex-class aircraft carrier.
Ship-shape and Bristol fashion in Coronado bay. 😎
Yes, boats are the perfect place for photoshoots. Let’s look at a few!
Pretty nice, eh? But wait, there’s more!
Yes, there’s nothing like being on a boat with pretty girls.
Two things that Gilligan’s Island got wrong: (1) Ginger and Mary Ann would have been pregnant within the first few weeks (we’re looking at you, Professor…) and (2) the Professor would have figured out how to brew beer within the first few days (see #1).
Without beer, it’s not sailing.
“Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.” Attributed to every man in the world.
Lifeguard towers are important, as they provide lifeguards with a place to perch while they keep vigil over those frolicking in the ocean’s waves. But when unoccupied, they provide excellent photoshoot opportunities.
So, without further ado, behold the photoshoot. (There are many photographs displayed in this article. If it reads, “no images were found”, your computer or internet has timed out. Please refresh.)
You might have noticed the umbrella. Did you know that umbrellas lend themselves to photoshoots?
Yes, I know. This article has quite a few photoshoots. Well, I warned you: there is not a lot to do in Coronado.
We hope you have enjoyed our lighthearted look at Coronado. If you are ever in the San Diego area, it’s worth a few hours of your time.