Robert Arends

5 to Try for Big Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego's Big Bay
San Diego's Big Bay

Pick your adventure on San Diego’s Big Bay

Spring is here and there’s no better time to make a splash on San Diego Bay – also called the “Big Bay” –  with its treasure trove of attractions, tours, events and cool points of interest.

Following are my top 5 to Try:

1. The Port of San Diego’s Annual Day at the Docks

Kids fishing at the docks

Spend a day with the kids fishing.

The Port of San Diego’s Day at the Docks celebration in April is the West Coast’s largest public sportfishing celebration – and the official start of Southern California’s popular spring saltwater fishing season. Festivities at American’s Cup Harbor include over 200 maritime exhibits, live entertainment, a casting competition, captains’ dunk tank, free fishing and kids art areas. It’s fun and free!

2. The San Salvador

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Did you know: in 1542 European explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed aboard his ship, the San Salvador, and reached “a very good enclosed port” naming it “San Miguel.” Today we call it San Diego Bay and visitors can step back in time to check out the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s building of a full-sized, fully functional, historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s flagship, the San Salvador. The framing is nearly complete and it’s easy to imagine the ship that she will become. Ahoy!

3. The Living Coast Discovery Center

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

The South Bay city of Chula Vista is home to one of my favorite attractions for up-close animal encounters: the Living Coast Discovery Center. You can see endangered green sea turtles (tip: go during feeding time!), leopard sharks, friendly stingrays (minus the stingers so you can pet them!) and magnificent birds like falcons and burrowing owls. The observation tower and hiking trails afford picturesque views of the surrounding wetlands and bay.

4. Seeing the Big Bay…While on the Big Bay

Flagship Patriot Jet Boat Tour

Speed across San Diego’s Big Bay aboard a jet powered boat like Flagship’s Patriot

Water activities abound on the bay, from the affordable Coronado Ferry ride, to narrated harbor tours (on Flagship and Hornblower), SEAL Tours, whale watching excursions, kayak tours (including San Diego’s only urban kayak adventure), Jetpack America rides (you too can fly like a superhero!) and two new thrilling, turbo-charged boat rides (the Sea Rocket and Flagship Patriot). Let’s make some waves!

5. Headquarters at Seaport District

The Headquarters at Seaport District. on San Diego's Big Bay

The stylish new Headquarters at Seaport District

Foodies and shoppers are in for a treat at the new Headquarters at Seaport District, located in San Diego’s former Spanish-style police headquarters (pose for pix in an actual jail cell). Nosh on gourmet tacos at Puesto or grab a slice at Pizzeria Mozza, Chef Mario Batali’s first foray into San Diego’s dining scene. Shop-portunties include local surf photographer Aaron Chang’s Ocean Art Gallery and Kitson, a celebrity hot spot and go-to fashion boutique dedicated to pop culture.

Pick your own adventure and discover the many wonders of San Diego’s Big Bay this spring! 🙂

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

5 Things I Love about Coronado

Coronado Beach - OrangeandPark.com

Beautiful Coronado Sunset. Photo courtesy of OrangeandPark.com

Oh Coronado, the “Enchanted Isle,” how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

OK, that’s a little sappy, but I can’t help it. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and love is in the air. What better time to talk about five things I really love about the Emerald City.

1. The Restaurants

Fabulous views of San Diego Bay from Mistral

Fabulous views of San Diego Bay from Mistral

I love that Coronado was made for romantic dining, with fabu restaurants from the Pacific to San Diego Bay beckoning couples to gaze into each other’s eyes over a delectable candlelit dinner. Two of my personal favs: Chez Loma, an intimate, authentic French bistro, and Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort with views as phenomenal as the cuisine.

2. The Journey Around Coronado Island

Tweet! Aviary at Coronado Island Marriott Resort

Tweet! Aviary at Coronado Island Marriott Resort

I love the joy in the journey to and around the island. The views by car from the graceful blue arch of the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge are second to none! You can see as far as Mexico and the ‘lil Islas Coronadas (crowned islands) off the coast. Better yet, take a fun ferry ride over from downtown San Diego! Then explore the island by beach cruiser (there are bike rental shops throughout the island), Segway of Coronado or Pedego electric bike.

3. Playing in the Water

Kayak Under the Coronado Bridge

Coronado Kayak Tour adventure!

I love all the ways to play in the ocean and bay. There’s stand-up paddleboarding with SUP Coronado, surfing with Coronado Surfing Academy, the new Coronado Kayak Tour, The Gondola Company’s authentic Venetian gondola rides and San Diego Seaplanes, launching from the bay by the Coronado Ferry Landing!

4. The Island’s Secrets

The "Baby Del" (144 Isabella Ave.)

The “Baby Del” (144 Isabella Ave.)

I love the “secret” sights around the island, from sand dunes on the beach that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O and the flock of flamingos and aviary at Coronado Island Marriot Resort, to Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum’s cottage on Star Park Circle, the ghost of Kate Morgan’s room at the Hotel del Coronado and the “Baby Del” on Isabella Ave.

5. The Sunsets

sunset2

I love the stunning sunsets. I took the photo above just last weekend. No matter how many times I see the sun set in glorious hues of yellow, orange and red over the beach, it’s never ceases to leave me in awe.

Coronado, what’s not to love! 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

Robert Arends

Coronado Kayaking: Make Waves on a Tour to the Coronado Bridge!

Our good friends at the Coronado Visitor Center and Coronado Museum of History and Art recently blogged about a kayaking adventure from Glorietta Bay to the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, and I just had to share it!

The following was written by Coronado Visitor Center intern Chelsey Schmid:

Chelsey Schmid and her mom on a Coronado kayaking adventure!

Chelsey Schmid and her mom on a Coronado kayaking adventure.

Mom and I were looking for something fun – we wanted to make a new memory together, so we decided to try kayaking in Coronado.

Seaforth Boat Rentals boasts one of the largest arrays of rental crafts on the island, with everything from fishing boats to Jet Skis to kayaks. They incidentally also have the perfect location for their line of work. The rental center is not merely on the shore but literally on the water, with a metal gangway leading to the building. Boats, boards, and kayaks are launched directly from their platform into the glorious Glorietta Bay; which is located across Orange Avenue, one block south of the Hotel del Coronado.

The staff generously provided the instructions we needed. Paddlers can make their way around the sheltered waters of the bay or, for the more adventurous, the sweeping expanses of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge which beckoned us in the distance.  They did warn us about the midday; when the winds pick up, that’s not the best time for beginners.

coronado bay bridge kayaking san diego

Kayaking under the immense Coronado Bay Bridge gives you a whole new perspective. (Photo: Brett Shoaf, Artistic Visuals)

My mom and I enjoyed our journey out to the San Diego-Coronado Bridge; it was relaxing and fun, and we made excellent time. After arriving, we floated near the shore for a while, enjoying the warm California sun and the gentle lap of the waves against our kayak. The view was amazing!

We glided triumphantly back into the marina and docked, excited about our accomplishment of trying something new. We felt wonderfully happy and eager to come back again for more. Our round trip took about 2 hours.

The excellent crew at Seaforth really made the pieces fall into place. It’s a ‘must do’ for those who enjoy the water! Seaforth has single, double and triple kayaks. For a 2 hour rental, expect to pay from $18-$45.

Thank you to Chelsey for sharing her story!

Make your own memories by visiting Coronado during the winter holiday season. The city offers plenty of fun festivities coming up, like ice skating by the sea, caroling gondoliers, a holiday parade and much more.

Do you have a San Diego memory you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments below.

 

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

From whale watching to black holes, visitors can find the best events and things to do this weekend!

1. Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists: Starting February 4th and running through April 29, 2012, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s exhibit will allow visitors to learn about the great mystery of Black Holes. The exhibit is designed like a space mission. Visitors are briefed, issued a Black Holes Explorer ID Card, and then sent on a journey to the edge of these strange phenomena to discover how the latest research is turning science fiction into fact, challenging our notions of space and time in the process.

2. Museum Month: During the month of February, visitors can receive 1/2 off their admission to 40 of San Diego’s finest museums. Passes can be picked up at any Macy’s in San Diego County. With a pass, up to four visitors can gain admission to any of the 40 participating museums for half-price. Plus, you can use the pass all month-long!

3. Whale Watching..Kayak Style: Kayak out from La Jolla Shores and see Grey Whales up close during this three-hour kayaking tour. Grey Whales migrate January through April traveling from Alaska south to Baja to breed in the warm, shallow lagoons along the Mexican coast. Trained naturalist guides will accompany you and tell you all about the surrounding area of La Jolla Shores and Cove.

4. Woodies! Woodies!: Head over to the San Diego Automotive Museum starting February 3rd to see some of the finest examples of woodies through the years. From their beginnings as estate cars for the resort owners and transport vehicles, these cars have made a revival and are now once again popular with the surfing crowd. This exhibit features classic designs as well as a few surprises.

5. Tidepooling Adventures: For the kids out there that love to get their hands dirty, head over to The Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla on February 4th. Aquarium naturalists carefully guide participants into fragile tide-pool communities and highlight the inhabitants.

Robert Arends

Lovin’ Loews Coronado Bay Resort – 20th Anniversary

Lovely Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Ah, to be 20 again! Loews Coronado Bay Resort celebrates its big 20th Anniversary this month with a massive giveaway promotion, 20 Days, Your Way – 20 free room nights to use anytime, any way you wish!

Imagine if you were the lucky winner. What would you do during your stay? Luckily, Loews was made for play with its unique, postcard-perfect peninsular location on San Diego Bay and just steps away from Silver Strand State Beach. There’s so much to see and do in and around the resort, it’ll make your head swim – and that’s a good thing!

Follow this link for Robert’s Top 10 picks while staying at Loews…

Suzzanne

Escape To San Diego Sweepstakes: Perfect 5 Day Itinerary

Do you love visiting San Diego? Really love it? Then enter to win our sweepstakes and you could win a 5 night stay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel and airfare for two! And as the big winner, you’ll have five whole days to enjoy all that San Diego has to offer. Never been to San Diego or interested in trying something new? Here’s how I would spend my five days highlighting the outdoors and our amazing beaches.

Waking up each morning at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel will provide inspiration as you plan your day. The hotel, located on the waterfront, features sun and sea inspired design and a casually sophisticated design.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Day 1: Explore trails while overlooking the ocean
Hike Torrey Pines State Reserve or take a guided tour. Among the eight miles of trails, guests can encounter native chaparral plants, wildflowers, birds, reptiles and butterflies. My favorite trail is the beach trail. During low tide, you can take the stairs down to the ocean and walk between the ocean and cliffs.

Sail on the Bay

Day 2: Set sail on the San Diego Bay
Strap on your sea legs and rent a sailboat in Coronado from Seaforth Rentals. Choose from over 200 rental boats, including boats for sailing, cruising, skiing and fishing, jetskis, speedboats, fishing charters, sunset sails.

Mission Beach

Day 3: Cruise the boardwalk in Pacific and Mission Beach
The favorite hangouts of active young sun-worshipers, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are connected by a three-mile boardwalk crowded with inline skaters, skateboarders, runners and bikers – and beachgoers just wanting “to be seen.” End your stroll by walking to the end of the Crystal Pier for a beautiful coastline view.

Sunset Kayak Cruise

Day 4: Take a sunset kayaking trip and witness the sun dip into the Pacific
Try Hike Bike Kayak’s popular Sunset Paddle Tour, where you’ll kayak along the La Jolla sea caves and ecological reserve during a beautiful sunset on the Pacific Ocean. Expert naturalist guides provide insights and fun facts about the amazing environment.

Ocean Beach

Day 5: Hang out in Ocean Beach – doggies included!
Ocean Beach is one of San Diego’s prime surf spots. The neighborhood is also popular for its kid-friendly tide pools, long wooden pier that is perfect for fishing and Dog Beach, where even the tail-wagging members of the family can play Frisbee and romp in the surf.

Enter to Win a 5-night hotel stay and two round trip airfare tickets here!

Suzzanne

It’s a Whale of a Time


Every year from December through March, visitors to San Diego have an opportunity to watch the gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja. One of the most unique ways to see these magnificent creatures is by kayak. Kayak you ask? Yes! OEX Dive & Kayak in La Jolla offers whale watching kayak tours from La Jolla’s Ecological Preserve, a marine sanctuary and home to the seven seas caves, Leopard Shark City and the La Jolla Sea Lion and Harbor Seal colonies. Whale watching from a kayak allows participants the opportunity to be one with the ocean and enjoy an incredible up-close view of the whales as well as provides a nice little workout. I should note: you aren’t always guaranteed a glimpse of the whales (they don’t always get the memo that we’ve just paddled out to see them), however according toMike at OEX, no one has ever been disappointed. Seals, dolphins and other marine life are almost always swimming around and are happy to oblige the kayakers.

Of course this isn’t the only way to get out and see the whales. From land to sea, check here for a complete round-up on whale watching in San Diego.

Interested in giving the kayak tour a try? Comment below on our blog and one lucky winner will win a pass for two to OEX Dive & Kayak’s whale watching tour. Must comment by Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 10:00 a.m.

OEX Dive & Kayak Center offers kayaking, scuba, stand-up paddleboard and snorkel tours and rentals from several locations throughout San Diego County. Check out their website to learn more!

Kate

TODAY Takes A Vacation To San Diego

The TODAY Show wrapped up their week of vacationing across the US here on the California coast with a visit to San Diego. 

They rode the waves in La Jolla Shores with Surf Diva, went kayaking in the La Jolla Sea Caves, took a leisurely ride with The Gondola Company in Coronado and visited the beautiful Hotel del Coronado.  A pretty cool finale to a great series!

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Stephenie

5 to Try This Weekend

Treat dad to a special Father’s Day this weekend and check out these fun events :

i always prefer a wet dog over a hot dog

a wet dog or a hot dog, which do you prefer?

1. This Saturday, watch adorable pups ride the waves during the 4th Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition at Imperial Beach.  This free event, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., features talented surfing dogs as they surf in three different heats: small dogs, large dogs and tandem. 

2. Head over to the UCSD campus this Saturday and Sunday and check out the 23rd Annual La Jolla Festival of Arts and Food Fair.  The festival will have nearly 200 art displays, live music, food, book signings, and special events just for dads.  The festival will also have a new attraction, Calle Color, a live street chalking exhibition.

3. Beginning this weekend, explore  Park at Dark when the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park extends its summer hours to 8 p.m. As daylight turns to darkness, take nightime tours on Journey Into Africa, catch new summer shows with special animal encounters and watch as the park’s nocturnal creatures emerge. 

4. Eat, shop and explore the Little Italy Mercato this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  More than 70 booths will take over Date Street and offer farm fresh produce, artisan foods and specialty items.  There will also be live music and a special pet place.

5. Celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday by taking dad on a special kayaking adventure.  Bike and Kayak Tours in La Jolla is offering all dads FREE kayak tours after 4 p.m. while the rest of the family will receive 10% off their tour.