Robert Arends

Resort to Fun with Outdoor Activities in Coronado this Spring!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Spring over to Coronado Beach, the #1 beach in America

Spring is just around the corner (March 20) and with the weather warming up, now is a perfect time to plan your Spring Break and discover the great outdoors of Coronado Island!

With miles of beaches and coastline on the sparkling Pacific and San Diego Bay, there are countless options for fun in the water including surfing, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and more.  On land, the “Crown City” has just as much to offer: bicycling, inline skating, golf, tennis… and the list goes on.

Here are my top picks of things to do at Coronado’s big four fab resorts and hotels where outdoor activities abound:

The Gondola Company near Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The Gondola Company near Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort was made for play and enjoys the best of both watery worlds, situated on a peninsula on San Diego Bay just steps from Silver Strand State Beach and the ocean. Fun ways to soak in the sun include swimming in three pools (including one for adults only), surfing, sailing, kayaking, bicycling, rollerblading, cool interactive nature tours of the Silver Strand (a pristine preserve of rare plants, animals and birds) and tours of the resort’s herb garden.

Did you know: Just down the road from Loews, The Gondola Company offers enchanting cruises on authentic Venetian gondolas!

Flamingos, finches and ducks - oh my! - at the Coronado Island Marriott

Flamingos, finches and ducks – oh my! – at the Coronado Island Marriott

I recently stayed at Coronado Island Marriott Resort where surprising outdoor finds made for quite a memorable visit, especially the aviary of finches, a flock of pink flamingos and families of ducks wading in ponds; photo opps galore! There’s also bicycling along beautiful bay-side paths, tennis and swimming/sunbathing in three pools. The resort even has its own private pier where you can take a water taxi across the bay to downtown San Diego.

Kayak Under the Coronado Bridge

Coronado Kayak Tour

Did you know: At the nearby Coronado Ferry Landing, the new Coronado Kayak Tour is San Diego’s only urban kayaking adventure, and glides under the iconic blue arch of the Coronado Bridge!

The landmark Hotel del Coronado is a grand playground to explore with recreational options that take full advantage of its location on the #1 beach in America.  There’s yoga on the beach, beach volleyball and beach rentals including boogie boards, surfboards and beach cruisers from PeDels (gotta love the name!). At night, s’mores on the beach is a sweet way to end the day.

Did you know: The Del’s tide break of giant boulders is a great spot to explore tidepools teeming with marine life.

Fore! at Coronado Golf Course

Fore! at Coronado Golf Course

The charming Glorietta Bay Inn is in a prime location overlooking Glorietta Bay, home to the Coronado Boathouse where sailboat, speedboat, water ski, jet ski, paddleboat and kayak rentals are available. The Inn is also just down the street from the Coronado Tennis Center (8 courts) and scenic Coronado Golf Course. Golfers will love Glorietta Bay Inn’s new Golf Play & Stay package which includes one round of golf and a golf cart.

Did you know: On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Coronado Touring offers fascinating historic walking tours of downtown Coronado, departing from the Glorietta Bay Inn.

Happy Spring (almost)…See you in Coronado!

Robert Arends

Holiday Cheer, Santa, Snow and more in Coronado!

Ho ho ho from Coronado! Just a bridge or convenient ferryboat ride away from downtown San Diego…

This weekend, the island kicks off its holiday fun with Santa Claus” arrival by ferryboat, snow for the kids to play in (yep!) and a good ol” fashioned parade down Orange Avenue.

Here”s a quick look at the day”s stocking full of fun, festive, free activities:

38th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

Santa Claus

Santa Claus” festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

3:20 PM: Santa Claus and his elves arrive by ferry-boat at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
3:00 to 7:00 PM: Snow Mountain at the Coronado Ferry Landing for sledding and making snowballs and snowmen! There will also be carolers, live entertainment, hot cocoa and photos with Santa.

Snow Mountain fun at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

Snow Mountain fun at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

5:00 to 9:00 PM: Merchants online casino Open House along Orange Ave. to find the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for everyone on your shopping list; there”s also free metered parking!
6:00 to 7:00 PM: Christmas Parade down Orange Ave. with floats, marching bands and Santa on a fire truck.
7:00 PM: Christmas Tree Lighting in Rotary Park with Santa Claus.

Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

Throughout the month there”s also Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado, just steps from Coronado Beach – so wonderfully surreal and magical! 😉

> Find out more about Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

Lamb”s Players Theatre presents its spectacular annual Festival of Christmas show through December 29 (I guarantee you”ll be humming Christmas carols long after the show is over!).

> Find out more about Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

“Buon Natale” Gondola Cruises

Singing Santa gondolier at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

Singing Santa gondolier at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

And at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, “Buon Natale” gondola cruises with a caroling Santa gondolier (cool!) take to the bay December 20-23. Also throughout December, The Gondola Company offers gondola rides to view dozens of boats and yachts in the Coronado Cays decorated with colorful holiday lights.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Crown City”s First Annual “Mistletoe Magic” shopping night on December 11, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, with strolling carolers, visits with Santa, store specials and prize drawings along Orange Ave.

> Check out the new Coronado Holiday Guide PDF

Happy holidays from the sparkling warm sands of Coronado! 🙂

Robert Arends

Family Fun for Free in San Diego’s Coronado!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Family fun in the sun in Coronado! Courtesy Joanne DiBona, SanDiego.org

The Kidvasion has begun! Kids Free in San Diego month is in full swing. As you and your family are in town enjoying the numerous (100+) free deals, be sure to visit sun-kissed Coronado, a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

Kids are sure to get a kick out of these free activities around the island:

The Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America - Coronado Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America – Coronado Beach

Make sandcastles at Coronado Beach – the #1 beach in America – with its expansive stretch of soft white sands. To the north, check out the tail-wagging fun at Dog Beach where friendly fidos splash in the surf and play fetch. Along Ocean Blvd., can you spot the giant sand dunes that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O? Pretty neat!

Coronado Museum of History & Art

US Navy's aircraft carriers at NAS North Island

Mighty aircraft carriers and high-flying jets at NAS North Island

Fly by the Coronado Museum of History & Art (kids under 12 are free with 1 adult paid admission) to check out their new 100+ Years of Yachting exhibition, plus cool U.S. Navy display. To see the real thing, head to Shoreline Park (First St. & I Ave.) for a peek at the Navy’s mighty aircraft carriers. A free air show of sorts can be seen almost daily at Coronado Beach, with Navy jets and helicopters flying overhead on their way to NAS North Island.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz Glass Panels - Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz scenes at the Coronado Public Library

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library to gander at massive glass panels depicting scenes from the Wizard of Oz. Oz author L. Frank Baum lived in Coronado! Join Coronado Touring on a walk back in time through the Hotel del Coronado (Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City) and past the yellow cottage where Baum wrote a few of his fantastical children’s books. Tour is free for kids under three ($12 each for mom and dad).

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

The whimsical "Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" at Stephen Clayton Galleries

The whimsical “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” at Stephen Clayton Galleries

Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat greets kids at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat greets guests at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Another famous children’s author who lived in San Diego was Dr. Seuss. Discover the “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” – including sculptures of magical creatures and other-worldly paintings – at the Stephen Clayton Galleries at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

And don’t forget Coronado’s Kids Free month participants and special deals, including:

Coronado’s fun and free playground of activities awaits! 🙂

Robert Arends

Coronado: Fun for All this Fall!

Coronado 1887 on the Bay Restaurant

Ah, sun-kissed Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego. Fall is one of the best times of year to visit the “Crown City,” as the beach crowds diminish, hotel rates dip ever so slightly and the days continue to be nice and warm, with an average autumn temp of 74!

If you’re headed to Coronado this season, following are some fun new things to see and do around the island:

Fine Dines

1887 on the Bay

Coronado 1887 on the Bay Restaurant

Coronado’s new 1887 on the Bay restaurant

The redesigned 1887 on The Bay – formerly the Coronado Boathouse, an iconic landmark on Glorietta Bay that looks just like the Hotel del Coronado’s main turret – introduces new Chef Jess Le Desma who instills a rich Asian/Hawaiian ethnicity into his Pacific Rim menu.

Mistral

Just down the road, the elegant Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort – featuring spectacular panoramic views of San Diego Bay – introduces an eclectic global-fusion menu by new Chef de Cuisine Adam Cho that highlights his penchant for tapas-style small plates, Mediterranean flavors and passion for seafood.

Joy in the Journey

Kayaking Tour

Kayak Under the Coronado Bridge

Coronado Kayaking Tour, San Diego’s only urban kayaking tour

If you’re ready for adventure, go on a guided Coronado Kayaking Tour around the island – San Diego’s only urban kayaking tour – with the new Bike & Kayak Tours – Coronado, based at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

Beach Buggy Tour

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For landlubbers, hop aboard the new Coronado Beach Buggy for a fun 40-minute tour that uncovers all the treasures that make Coronado so special, including America’s Best Beach, historic homes, the charming Village and Naval Air Station North Island. The buggys makes daily stops at the Glorietta Bay Inn; cost is only $10.

Ahoy!

100+ Years of Coronado Yachting

Sail along with “100+ Years of Coronado yachting”

Set sail for the Coronado Museum of History & Art (1100 Orange Ave.) to check out their popular new exhibit, “100+ Years of Coronado Yachting,” spotlighting the island’s rich nautical past as a yachting hub. Admission is free.

> Discover more of Coronado

Robert Arends

Coronado for Comic-Con Fans – Wizards, Dwarves and Dorothy

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Long before Harry Potter or the Twilight series about vampires and werewolves, an author by the name of L. Frank Baum penned a few – well, 14 to be exact! – incredible fantastical novels about a Kansas girl (and original storm chaser) who hitched a ride on a tornado and found herself over the rainbow.

Yep, I’m talkin’ about The Wizard of Oz.

When Disney added its magic touch to the original movie classic earlier this year with Oz The Great & Powerful, I was in awe at how this timeless story continues to enchant and entertain a whole new generation of viewers.

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Well, for you movie buffs and pop culture fans, there’s a fun surprising San Diego/Coronado connection to the Wizard of Oz. Between 1904 and 1910, Oz author L. Frank Baum frequently vacationed here with his family, staying at the Hotel del Coronado, which if you look very closely at the book cover below, was the inspiration for the Emerald City! Note the red turrets and white awnings in the background. Cool huh!

Hotel del Coronado- Emerald City of Oz

Did you know: In addition to “Crown City,” Coronado is also nicknamed the Emerald City.

If you get a chance to explore the Hotel Del, head to the Crown Room, look up and you’ll spot four regal crown chandeliers that were designed by Baum!

L. Frank Baum's historic Coronado home.

L. Frank Baum’s historic Coronado home.

Down the street from The Del, Baum also rented a humble yellow cottage on Star Park Circle where he wrote three of his famous Oz books: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz and The Road to Oz. You can check out rare first editions of the books at the Coronado Museum of History & Art!

Oz books

At the Coronado Public Library, you’ll not only find the complete Oz book series, but also a spectacular Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit, where  Baum’s storybook jumps off the pages onto nine huge glass panels depicting Dorothy, the cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Glenda the Good Witch, Munchkins and more.

Welcome Comic-Con fans to our fine city and if you get a chance, definitely follow the Yellow Brick Road over the bridge to Coronado to discover the home-away-from-home of one of America’s most beloved authors. One look at our island paradise and you’ll see why Baum was so enamored!

Also, plan to return this fall for Coronado’s premier Wizard of Oz Weekend (September 20-22), celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. There will be exclusive screenings of the first-ever, re-mastered 3D version of the movie at Coronado’s Village Theatre, as well as a Wizard of Oz parade down Orange Ave. – Coronado’s main street – book signings, exhibits, character look-a-like contests and more!

Robert Arends

Valentine’s Day Ideas – Fall in Love with Coronado!

Valentine's Day Idea - Romantic Stroll on Coronado
Valentine's Day Idea - Romantic Stroll on Coronado

Take a romantic sunset stroll on Coronado Beach this Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air! An enchanting Valentine’s Day getaway where couples can find everything their hearts desire is Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, take advantage of beautiful weather and island charms that are sure to sweep your sweetheart off their feet. Following are 5 Fabulous Date Ideas and mini escapes:

Taste buds rejoice…

Eno Wine Bar

Fine wines, cheeses and chocolates at Eno Wine Bar.

Raise your glass and indulge in luscious wines, gourmet cheeses and chocolates at the swanky ENO Wine Bar in the Hotel del Coronado. Afterward, sneak off to Coronado Beach for a moonlit stroll, serenaded by the gentle surf. Equally indulgent is Weincakes Bistro, an intimate new spot in the Village for decadent desserts.

Pack a Picnic…

Gazebo at Spreckels Park - Coronado

Enjoy a picnic for two at Spreckels Park.

In the heart of the island, Spreckels Park welcomes couples to picnic under swaying palm trees or under an ol’ fashioned gazebo. For a secret picnic hideaway {shhh!}, cozy Shoreline Park at First St. & I Ave. offers a magnificent backdrop on San Diego Bay.

Say I Do… Again

Renew your vows in Coronado!

Renew your vows in Coronado!

Renew your vows at the charming new Coronado Wedding Chapel by the Sea, the first-ever wedding chapel on the island! This chic Crown City jewel is located less than a block from Coronado Beach, across the street from the Hotel del Coronado. Two other amazing storybook settings: Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Coronado Island Marriott Resort on San Diego Bay.

Ahoy!

Sailing San Diego Bay

Set sail on San Diego Bay.

Hire a licensed skipper for a romantic sunset sail on San Diego Bay or the Pacific Ocean. Seaforth Boat Rentals on Glorietta Bay and Action Sports Rentals at Loews Coronado Bay Resort promise to make it memorable. Don’t forget the champagne and chocolate covered strawberries!

That’s amore…

Voga Voyage at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Voga Voyage at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

The Gondola Company offers intimate one-hour cruises and a “Voga Voyage” couples massage(!) on San Diego Bay. The authentic Venetian gondolas depart from Loews Coronado’s marina; a truly magical experience that’s made for marriage proposals!

Coronado…gotta love it! 😉

> Browse more Valentine’s Day Ideas and Packages in San Diego

Robert Arends

Find a Unique Holiday Gift While Shopping in Charming Coronado!

Orange Avenue on Coronado
Orange Avenue on Coronado

Coronado’s Orange Avenue, a shopper’s delight!

What, you haven’t finished your holiday shopping?! No worries…Santa’s elves in Coronado, across the bridge from downtown San Diego, have a stocking full of gift ideas you won’t find anywhere else.

Skip the crowded malls and head to Coronado’s charming Christmas tree-lined main street, Orange Avenue, to discover delightful boutique shops and galleries selling all sorts of unique gifts. Following are some of my favorites:

Shorelines Gallery

Shorelines Gallery on Coronado

Shorelines’ one-of-a-kind gifts include colorful Spiritiles.

The new Shorelines Gallery sells handcrafted jewelry, glass art, chic home decor and exclusive art collectibles like the colorfully playful Spiritiles (as in “Spirit” – “tiles”).

Location: 918 Orange Ave (map)
Website: www.slsdgallery.com

Art and Frames by Wood Gallery

Populous Hotel Del by Craig Alan

Craig Alan’s people-pleasing Hotel del Coronado painting.

Art and Frames by Wood Gallery features paintings and sculptures by local and world-renowned artists. I especially love Craig Alan’s fantastical people paintings. His depiction of The Del (see above) is brilliant!

Location: 936 Orange Avenue (map)
Website: www.artcoronado.com

Coronado Taste of Oils

Coronado Taste of Oils

Coronado Taste of Oils – yum!

For the foodie, Coronado Taste of Oils sells delicious gourmet olive oils and fine aged vinegars. Tastings are Free. The Red Apple Balsamic is off the charts!

Location: 954 Orange Avenue (map)
Website: www.coronadotasteofoils.com

Emerald City

Hang ten at Emerald City surf shop. Next Monday, Dec. 17 through Friday, Dec. 21, the entire store is 20% off. Cowabunga!

Location: 1118 Orange Avenue (map)
Website: www.emeraldcitysurf.com

The Latests in Fashion

La Mer Boutique

Lovely La Mer for women’s fashions.

For fashionistas, there’s the hip new Studio 12-20, Pretty Please Fashion and upscale women’s boutique, La Mer.

Jackrabbits

Hop to the new Jackrabbits for home & garden décor, vintage handbags, antique toys and beach-themed items.

Location: 1017 Isabella Avenue (map)
Website: www.coronadofurnitureconsignments.com

Coronado Holiday Guide

2012 Coronado Holiday Guide

While shopping, be sure to pick up the new Coronado Holiday Guide, chock full of gift ideas, holiday happenings, happy hours and more. You can also download it off the Chamber of Commerce’s homepage.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the greatest gift of all: free two-hour metered parking through Dec. 28!

Now that’s the holiday spirit!

Robert Arends

A Sparkling Coronado Christmas Celebration – December 7, 2012!

Seagulls sing, are you listening?
On the beach, sand is glistening
A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight
Walking in Coronado’s winter wonderland!

Charming Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego, is gearing up for its big island-wide holiday bash, the 37th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House, on Friday, December 7. The “Crown City” has a stocking full of fun & festive activities that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House’s Free Festivities

3:30 PM – Santa Claus’ Arrival

Santa Claus’ festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

Don’t miss Santa’s arrival by ferry boat at the Coronado Ferry Landing (fantastic photo opp!). Afterward, meet Santa and his elves, and tell jolly ol’ St. Nick everything you wish for!

3:00 to 8:00 PM – Snow Mountain

Children playing on Snow Mountain at the Coronado Ferry Landing

Let it snow! At the Coronado Ferry Landing shops.

No need to head out to the mountains when there’s snow at the Coronado Ferry Landing for sledding, making snow balls and snowmen (yes Virginia, there IS snow in San Diego!)

5:00 to 9:00 PM – Merchants Open House

The Merchants Open House features unique boutique shops and galleries for one-of-kind gifts for everyone on your shopping list!

6:00 to 7:00 PM – Christmas Parade

A Norman Rockwell-esque Christmas Parade down Orange Avenue, featuring floats, classic cars, marching bands and Santa Claus on a fire truck!

7:00 PM – Lighting of a 50-foot Christmas Tree in Rotary Park

More Coronado Christmas and Holiday Fun

Coronado Holiday Guide is chock full of fun holiday events and shopping ideas!

Hot off the presses is the new Coronado Holiday Guide which you can download off the Chamber of Commerce’s homepage or pick up at the Coronado Visitor Center (1100 Orange Avenue).

Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea Aerial - Hotel del Coronado

Magical Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado!

In addition to Coronado’s popular Christmas spectacular, visitors are invited to skate figure eights at the beachside ice Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado (open through January 5). A portion of the proceeds benefit Make-a-Wish Foundation! (Click here for more outdoor ice skating opportunities in San Diego)

Buon Natale Gondola Cruises

The Gondola Company’s Buon Natale gondola ride at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

At Loews Coronado Bay Resort, check out The Gondola Company’s seasonal Buon Natale gondola cruise, featuring a Santa gondolier serenading guests with Christmas carols through waterways of the Coronado Cays. Oh what fun! 😉

Festival of Christmas – Christmas on my Mind

Festival of Christmas - Christmas on my Mind - Lamb's Players Theatre

A group of travelers snuck in a snowstorm create a holiday celebration during the Lamb’s Players Theatre Festival of Christmas.

And a magical escape to Coronado this winter wouldn’t be complete without enjoying Lamb’s Players Theatre‘s annual Festival of Christmas show on their resident stage (1142 Orange Ave.), November 30 through December 30. Every year my family and I attend this joyful musical and I guarantee it’ll have you humming “jingle all the way” through New Year’s! 🙂

> Discover more holiday fun in San Diego

See you in sparkling Coronado!

Robert Arends

20 Perfect Days to Play in Coronado!

Have you entered Loews Coronado Bay Resort’s 20 Days, Your Way” giveaway yet? If not, time is ticking… Last day for submissions is next Tuesday, October 25. Grand prize: 20 free room nights! It’s all to celebrate the resort’s big 20th Anniversary. Good luck!

So I was thinking, if I was eligible to enter and I WON, what would I do, not only at Loews’ resort, but around the picturesque island of Coronado? Fortunately, there’s a plethora of delightful and exciting activities to enjoy: arts & culture, fine dining, spas, outdoor recreation and much more.

Read on to see Robert’s 20 picks for 20 days on Coronado…

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Summer Events in Coronado

Bay views from Coronado Island Marriott Resort.

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on Coronado.

Things are heating up this summer in Coronado, just a bridge away from downtown San Diego. Visitors with swim towels, beach umbrellas and boogie boards are finding their happy place on the island’s 28 miles of beaches on sparkling San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to fun under the sun, following are Five Summer Events to Try on San Diego’s enchanted island:

Picnic at Promenade Concerts in the Park.

1.  Sure, there’s the soothing sound of palm trees swaying in the breeze, but visitors can also hear the sweet sound of live music in Coronado. A beloved local tradition is the Promenade Concert in the Park Series, which takes place every Sunday at 6:00 pm, through mid-September, in Spreckels Park. A perfect activity for families and picnickers; admission is free.

Bayside concerts at Coronado Ferry Landing.

2.  Also music to your ears: the Summer Concert Series at Coronado Ferry Landing which takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, through September 5, at the Coronado Ferry Landing shops on scenic San Diego Bay. Featured musicians include the Crown Island Jazz Band, Coronado Big Band and Teagan Taylor Trio. Continue reading