While living in San Diego we took many day trips to the Hotel del Coronado, swimming, collecting sand dollars, eating ice cream and exploring the resort. Coronado is a resort city located on an island right off of San Diego. It is most widely recognized by the high end Hotel del Coronado resort on the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The Hotel del Coronado, also called The Del, was built in 1888. It is spectacular and sprawling and the grounds are open to the public. We visited the beaches, boardwalks and hotel several times while living in San Diego.
When the hotel opened it was the largest resort in the world and has had many notable guests including multiple presidents, celebrities and athletes. One of the times that we visited we spotted what may have been a professional soccer team’s bus parked in front of the hotel. It is also the second largest wooden structure in the United States.
A sign on the beach lets beach goers know that when the hotel was first built the beach was envisioned to be and continues to be open to the public. This is what I liked most about the hotel. It was completely open, the beach, the grounds, the gardens, access to the restaurants. It all felt very welcoming even though we were not guests. It is a luxury resort that can be enjoyed almost as if you are staying there.
We visited Coronado at least 5 times in the 4 months that we lived in San Diego, if not more. Each time, I loved taking it all in, admiring all of the beautifully kept grounds and facilities. It was easy to access the shops and lobby inside the hotel too.
On our first day trip to Hotel del Coronado, we went during the day and enjoyed the beach. We went for a brief swim, played in the sand, and ate a picnic lunch. The sand at the beach has beautiful golden flecks in the sand from the mineral mica. The whole beach is shiny and golden, reflecting light from the sun. We also saw dozens of sand dollars along the beach, something I had never seen before on a beach, just souvenir shops. We loved it. It was also fun to watch the military planes from the Coronado Naval Base fly low right over the beach.
After our time down at the beach we wondered around the hotel property again, and enjoyed some ice cream from Sundae’s at the Del. We also ran around the green in front of the hotel, all five of us shrieking and laughing, playing tag and having the absolute BEST time.
We had such a great time on our first trip, that we returned several times. Aside from our little beach in La Jolla down the street from our Airbnb, it was by far my favorite place in San Diego. Many of the times that we returned we came in the late afternoon to watch the sunset and bring a picnic dinner. It is a magical place with a stunning coastline and such attention to detail at the resort.
One of the things that I have learned on our travels is that it just takes one person with a vision. Just one person to set things in motion, to make something beautiful. I think about how incredible the grounds are at Hotel del Coronado, but also at the Airbnb that we stayed at. Our Airbnb was not large, but it had incredible landscaping and small gardens and it was such a pleasure to sit outside. I felt the same way at the hotel. It just felt good to be there.
At the Del, of course, it has taken an enormous group of people with various specialties well over 100 years and a lot of money to build and maintain the resort.
But, I like to think that I can take inspiration from the hotel and our Airbnb and the city of San Diego and bring that back to our own home. To make our home and yard a place that is such a pleasure to be in, beyond being a comfortable and safe home.
If you’re in San Diego or planning a trip with or without kids, I highly, highly recommend a day at Coronado, including staying to watch the sunset and walk along the well-lit boardwalk and hotel grounds during the day and at night.
To Do: Day Trip to Hotel del Coronado
- Swim at the Beach
- Collect Sand dollars
- Walk along the boardwalk
- Enjoy the grounds
- Shops at The Del
- Visit the hotel lobby to see the beautiful architecture.
Where to Eat:
- Bring a picnic lunch/dinner (there are lots of restaurants but they are very pricey)
- Ice Cream at Sundae’s at the Del