If you are tired of another snow storm, yet another sidewalk to shovel, heavy coats and boots to don, fly west young man! San Diego, with its Mediterranean climate and average temperature of 75 degrees is a perfect respite from the wintertime cold. But, shh, it’s a secret.
Landing in San Diego is a thrilling experience with Lindbergh Field nestled in the heart of the city, next to high rise buildings, sparkling white harbors and the Point Loma Peninsula. If you are on the left side of the airplane you can enjoy the panoramic view of the iconic Coronado Bridge as you’re descending. Just a short ride across this sleek bridge will bring you to the quaint island of Coronado for a relaxing getaway. Quiet, but not too quiet, this island is filled with lovely homes, inviting parks, sumptuous restaurants, theaters and the historic Hotel del Coronado.
Made famous by Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like it Hot”,
the Hotel del Coronado, is a luxury resort that was built in the early 1900s in the Queen Anne Revival style. With whimsical turrets and asymmetrical design, the goal of the original builders was to be the “talk of the Western World”. Today it has evolved into a world-class resort. If you enjoy history, the lower level of the hotel offers a historic overview of the creation of the hotel with its genesis as a tent city with 1,000 tents along the Coronado Strand.
“The Del”, as it is known to locals, is an oceanfront property with a new addition of luxury beach cottages and villas with valet parking and breakfast. Enjoy a private pool with poolside dining and bar, private Jacuzzis and patios with fire pits facing the Pacific Ocean. A perfect way to experience the sunset is on a patio with a fire and a glass of wine, watching Mr. Sandman build a sand castle.
With the many dining options at The Del, you might never venture off the property but if you have an adventurous streak explore the many shops and restaurants along Orange Avenue, scenic harbors and bay front golf clubs and miles of exercise paths.
Theater is robust on the island with two playhouses to enjoy productions: Lambs Players Theater and the Coronado Playhouse are a short walk from the hotel.
As if The Del isn’t enough, there is also the beach, but Coronado Beach is not just any beach. It stretches for over a mile along Ocean Boulevard in front of historic and glamorous houses. It was voted in the top 10 beaches in the USA by the Travel Channel. This long and wide beach is perfect for walks, runs, beach volleyball or sandcastle building. Surfing, paddle boarding and boogie boarding are among the favorite water sports. If you bring your dog traveling with you, there is a leash-free dog zone at the far end of the beach where dogs frolic chase soggy green tennis balls and other dogs in the waves.
The opposite end of the island features The Coronado Ferry Landing, a restaurant and shopping complex where you can catch a ferry over to the mainland, or browse, take a Segway tour or dine at world-class restaurants. Peohe’s Restaurant offers Bayfront indoor and outdoor dining. You will think you’ve gone to Hawaii when you enter this restaurant. Tropical décor and tropical cuisine calm and relax you. Try their signature dish Halibut Mai’a. Next door, the elegant Il Fornaio, offers unique Italian dining and is consistently voted best Italian Restaurant of San Diego. Every month they explore a different region of Italy with their Festa Regionale. You never know what will be on the menu.
If you choose to venture off the island, January through March is the perfect time for whale watching. Whales migrate south to the warmer waters off Mexico to give birth to their calves. Hornblower Cruises offer morning and afternoon excursions a few miles off the coast to watch whales and undoubtedly some playful dolphins, who act as groupies to the migrating whales.
You can take the ferry from Coronado Island to Seaport Village, walk or take a bicycle shuttle over to the pier. In fact, make a day out of it.
In the unlikely event that you see all of the island, San Diego is a short bridge crossing away. If you don’t get off the island, this journey will be the beginning of many trips to this paradise. Winter or summer, San Diego will capture your heart, and you’ll find yourself returning over and over again. After all, they don’t call it America’s Finest City for nothing.
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