& SOUTH BAY
South Bay is San Diego’s destination
for exploring the wonders of nature
On this “island” (truly a peninsula) you’ll find
mansions, San Diego’s most famous beach
and the historic Hotel del Coronado. Called
“The Del” by locals, the Victorian-era resort
has hosted heads of state and celebrities, like
Marilyn Monroe, who filmed Some Like it Hot
there. The wide, sandy beach fronting the hotel
stretches north for more than a mile, ending
at a dog-friendly beach park. During low tide
south of the hotel, you can see the remains of
the SS Monte Carlo, a gambling ship that sunk
in 1937. Head to Orange Avenue, Coronado’s
main street, for a post-beach meal or drink.
Lobster West has Maine-style lobster rolls in a
casual setting; try the truffle fries and bloody
marys at Leroy’s Kitchen and Lounge, or get a
pizza and beer flight at Coronado Brewing Co.
To get to Coronado, take the ferry from Broadway Pier downtown, or drive along the scenic
Coronado Bridge, which curves over the bay.
These communities between downtown and the
US-Mexico border offer several ways to enjoy the
area’s natural beauty. Silver Strand State Beach is
great for picnics and camping, and Imperial Beach
hosts a professional sand castle competition each
summer during its Sun and Sea Festival. Bring
the kids to the Living Coast Discovery Center
in Chula Vista, where they can get up close with
turtles and sharks, or see where potential future
Olympians get ready for competition at the Elite
Athlete Training Center. Tijuana River Estuary
is the largest saltwater marsh in Southern California, and has hiking trails for wildlife viewing.
Feeling adventurous? Bike along the palm-tree-lined Bayshore Bikeway, 15 miles of paths that
start in Coronado and circle the bay. Or, go for a
sunset horseback ride on the beach with Happy
Trails. For authentic Mexican food, try Tacos el
Gordo, lamb barbacoa at Aqui es Texcoco and
traditional breakfasts at Talavera Azul.
The Sandcastle Man
You can usually see the artistic talent of Bill Pavlacka, aka
“The Sandcastle Man,” in front of the Hotel del Coronado.
His intricate, large-scale sand sculptures have been wowing
beachgoers for years and can take all day to build.
The former home
of a railroad
magnate is now
a boutique hotel
with views of the
bay. Guests enjoy a
and selfie sticks.
Situated on 15
acres across from
State Beach, this
has three pools, a
hot tub spa and a
marina where you
can rent a Jet Ski,
kayak or boat.