Tips for a perfect stay in Coronado with kids: why we love this family-friendly beach destination in California.
Coronado Island is a wonderful beach destination for families and one of our favorite places in Southern California for kids.
Blessed with a wonderful sandy beach perfect for small kids, it is easy to reach, full of things to do and it is also home to the famous Hotel Del Coronado, the iconic hotel many parents will recognize from ‘Some Like it Hot!’
Coronado is a beautiful, pleasant and well served community and you can easily spend an afternoon here, or even call it home for a weekend or more.
The beach is so perfect for small kids, Coronado is one of our favorite places for a beach vacation with toddlers in the US and, at the end of this article, we believe you will feel the same!
This is what you need to know to plan a trip to Coronado with kids.
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Why Coronado is simply perfect for kids
The best way to explain what makes Coronado such a wonderful place for a family vacation is to give a short description of the place.
First and foremost, Coronado is easy to reach. Coronado is a resort city immediately in front of San Diego and connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land called Silver Strand and a land bridge.
This location means that you don’t need a ferry to get to Coronado Island but you can easily and swiftly drive there using the wonderful bridge connecting it to mainland San Diego.
You get on the bridge directly from Highway 5 and it leads you to the island in a matter of minutes, stretching over San Diego Bay.
The bridge is very scenic and the fastest and easiest way to get to the island.
This is priceless if you are traveling with kids as it means you don’t have to worry about ferry crossing schedules to lug bags and strollers in and out of the car: once your trunk is packed, you are ready to go!
As you arrive, you find that Coronado Island has a speed limit of 25mph, which is another reason why this place is so fabulous for families.
The side roads here are safe, pretty and walkable, you can easily push a stroller here.
The whole town is perfect to slow down although you ate never far from shops and all conveniences, which you find in Orange Avenue that is large and very well equipped with shops, eateries etc.
Things to do in Coronado with kids
Enjoy toddler-friendly Coronado Beach
A list of the best things to do in Coronado with beach can only start with the wonderful Coronado Beach, one of the most beautiful and child-friendly beaches in California we have ever seen.
The beach in Coronado is vast, clean and super soft and it degrades gently towards the ocean.
Kids have lots of space to run around and play and with over 4 miles of sandy beaches, you are sure to find a place they will love!
The most popular area and the one we loved the most is right in front of the Hotel Del Mar.
You can easily park the car along the waterfront and you have several services including restrooms, showers and of course access to several food options on the grounds of the hotel itself.
Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding
If your kids love to be active in the water, then they can try their hand at kayaking, paddleboarding or even motorized watersports.
There are several providers in several locations along the beachfront that offer kayaks, paddleboards, life jackets and all the support you need to enter the water safely – double kayaks for parents with your kids are available and they are a great way to enjoy this wonderful island!
Coronado is rather flat and that, plus the low speed limit for cars, means it is a wonderful place for a family cycle!
You can get bikes for adults and kids on the island and there are 15 miles of lanes just for cyclists, both in the historical part of the island and along the coast.
Cycling helmets required, several types of bikes available to suit all ages.
If you have older teenagers, they may like a motorized version of this and book a GPS-guided scooter tour of the island such as >>> this one <<<
Get a golf cart
Another fun means of transport in Coronado is the golf cart, perfect on this island with a relaxed pace and safe roads!
Getting one is super fun for kids (to ride on one, not to drive!) and they are a great way to cover longer distances on the island when little legs get tired of walking. You can rent them by the hour or by the day.
Take a gondola ride
If you think you can only get a gondola in Venice or Las Vegas, Coronado will have you think again as you can book a gondola ride here too!
The gondola tour will make the most of the quiet waters of Coronado Quays and is a fun way to explore the area with the kids: the gondola has you close to the water so it is most suited to primary school-age children or slightly older kids who don’t mind sitting for the duration of the ride.
Get a children surfing lesson
Coronado island is also a great place for kids who love surfing! here you can take classes with the Surfing Academy that offers both private and multi-person classes
Have Frozen Yogurt
If you have a frozen yogurt parlous near you, you may not appreciate what an amazing treat it is for kids!
In Coronado, we found delicious frozen yogurt with all kinds of toppings: you choose and the pay depending on weight – the only limit is how much your stomach (and wallet!) can take.
If you or your kids prefer ice cream, there is plenty of that too and let’s not forget candy!
The Candy factory in coronado ha over 400 variety of candy to choose from!
Play on Coronado Parks and Playgrounds
Coronado has lovely arks and playgrounds and one of the biggest is Tidelands park. The park offers a lovely view of the Coronado bridge, lots of space, sports fields and a playground – a wonderful place in Coronado for toddlers
Visit, east or stay at Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado is one of the most iconic hotels in the country and a must-see when visiting Coronado with kids (or without!).
The hotel is right on the beach and has a distinctive appearance, with a large red pointy roof that is distinctive and unique (you are sure to recognize it!).
The hotel is a wonderful place to stay in Coronado and a fantastic resort for families on Coronado Beach.
If you can stay here, you can enjoy the hotel family friendly rooms and the special family offers that include anything from beach daybeds to roasting s’mores on the beach with a private beach bonfire!
If you don’t stay the night, you can anyway enjoy the hotel’s wonderful restaurants and bar that are fabulous for ambiance, quality of food and beach views.
Take a guided tour of Coronado
I like to start my family vacations with a guided tour of the place as this is a great way to find my feet and jot down places to go back to and explore better.
This is also the case in Coronado, where you can get a tour like:
- Coronado history and highlights tour (stroller friendly)
- Segway Tour of Coronado (age 8 and up)
- The Famous Coronado Tour (kids under 5 go free)
If you want to see Coronado as part of a San Diego Tour, that is possible too. Have a look at:
- San Diego Trolley Tour (hop on, hop off, cool to explore at your own pace)
- San Diego Highlights Tour, which also includes Balboa Park, wonderful for kids
- Coronado Segway Tour from San Diego (age 12 and up)
Where to stay in Coronado: family-friendly hotels and rentals
Coronado has beautiful, upscale family friendly hotels such as:
Hotel del Coronado (Curio Collection by Hilton) – iconic, beautiful, right on the beach and equipped with all the comfort for a perfect family stay. Find info and prices here
Best Western Plus Suites Coronado Island: family-friendly hotel with family rooms, swimming pool, wifi and free parking, some rooms have refrigerator and microwave too. Find info and prices here.
If you prefer your won rental, our go-to website for properties is VRBO, on which you can find several apartments/homes at different price points.
How to get to Coronado with kids in tow
As mentioned above, the best way to get to Coronado with kids in tow is the car, via the Coronado Scenic Bridge.
As an alternative, you can come to Coronado by boat or water – the ferry to Coronado from downtown San Diego at the Broadway Pier. You can find official arrival info here
What to pack for Coronado: packing list
Coronado is a wonderful beach vacation destination and your Coronado packing list should have all your essentials for a beach holiday, some nice outfits for the restaurants and to fit into the upscale feel of the island and kids travel essentials.
Useful researches when packing for Coronado:
- Full beach vacation packing list for families with kids
- Best beach bags for moms
- Water shoes for kids for the beach/ocean/watersports
- Best rash guards for kids, to protect them from the strong sun
- Beach essentials for toddlers
- Tips for a first beach trip with baby
I hope you found thing quick family guide to visiting Coronado with kids useful. Safe travel planning!
What to see nearby
Staying in Coronado, you are close to all the family attractions San Diego has to offer and also close to wonderful La Jolla and one of your favorite kid-friendly places in Southern California: relaxed and charming Carlsbad.