Iconic beach where the sand literally sparkles
Home to the iconic Hotel del Coronado (whose turrets likely inspired the castle in Wizard of Oz, as L. Frank Baum lived right around the corner), Coronado Beach is magical -- and not just because of the whole Oz thing. It also boasts white sand beaches that sparkle like gold thanks to an abundance of mica, a mineral that’s rarely found in beach sand. There’s also warm water for swimming, a flat beach for skimboarding, (attractive) seasonal lifeguards, restrooms, showers, volleyball, fire rings, an area for off-leash dogs, and did we mention the hot lifeguards? Well, whatever. They’re worth mentioning twice.
Know before you go: The volleyball courts and fire rings are first-come, first-served. There is free parking, but it can be challenging, so be patient. If you have your pup, head to the north end where there’s a dog-friendly beach, and if you want to surf between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you’ll have to try to catch waves in the designated “Surfing Only” zones at the north and south ends.
Where to eat/drink: “The Del” has seven dining options. If you’re coming from the beach, you’ll likely want to stay casual and opt for the taco shack, the pizza spot, or the beachfront sun deck. If you’d prefer to skip the famous hotel altogether, downtown Coronado is about a five minute walk away. Check out the High Tide Bottle Shop & Kitchen for fresh salads, pizza, and local craft beers, or the Coronado Brewpub for pizzas, burgers, tacos, and 25 beers on tap. Whatever you do, definitely go to the MooTime Creamery for a scoop or three and a photo with the Elvis statue outside.