Visiting the beach at Hotel Del Coronado was one of the highlights of my recent trip to San Diego in July. It’s a well-maintained, long stretch of beach, with rows of red and white striped beach umbrellas contrasting beautifully with the light sand and blue sky. We loved relaxing in the cool San Diego breeze, listening to the waves, and watching the occasional military helicopters and jets flying overhead. I rented 2 lounge chairs from Hotel Del Coronado, and had lunch on site. Below is a bit about my experience, including some travel tips, to help you prepare for your own visit to this iconic beach.
Visiting the Beach at Hotel Del Coronado
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Where to Park and How to Find the Beach
My visit was on a Friday, and the free street parking was completely full when I arrived around 11am. If you get there early, you may be able to grab a free parking spot on the street, but if not, I recommend using the covered self parking in the structure at Hotel Del Coronado. Be sure to save your ticket, as you pay upon exit. They also validate in the gift shop if you spend at least $10.
Coronado Beach is a private beach, but the access is free. Head towards the entrance of Hotel Del Coronado and follow the signs for beach access. You can bring your own beach equipment as well as rent lounge chairs, beach chairs, and day beds.
Renting Beach Equipment at Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado rents out beach chairs, umbrellas, lounge chairs, and day beds. Once booked, the rental is yours from 10am to sunset. I booked a pair of lounge chairs online via the Hotel Del Coronado website, but they are also available for renting on site. There is a stand on the beach where you can check in and get your towels. They give you some wristbands and one of the staff will walk you to your spot.
Renting a Lounge Chair
After we checked in at the beach stand, one of the staff members gave us our wristbands, grabbed us a couple of towels, and told us we could pick any of the available pairs of lounge chairs with a beach umbrella included. We picked a pair of chairs in the 2nd row, and the staff member offered to move them over for us to be in better spot. He moved both chairs and the umbrella for us, and left us to enjoy the beach. One thing I learned was that the positioning of the lounge chairs is pretty far from the water, but we preferred these anyways because we wanted to lay down and relax.
Renting a Beach Chair
The beach chairs were located right on the shoreline. This is the spot to be if you plan on getting in and out of the water, or if you’re bringing kids who want to play in the wet sand. You can rent the beach chairs ahead of time online at the Hotel Del Coronado website, or you can walk up to the beach stand and rent them on the spot. The chairs do not come with a beach umbrella, but you can rent one of those as well.
Renting a Day Bed
Renting a day bed looked like the most luxurious option to choose while visiting the beach at Hotel Del Coronado. They’re about twice the price of the lounge chairs, but they do look like they provide a bit more shade. The day beds are located in a row right in front of the lounge chairs, so while they are slightly closer to the water than the lounge chairs, they are still quite a walk from the water. You can rent day beads ahead of time online or on site at the beach rental stand.
Food and Drink Service
I knew the Beach and Taco Shack delivered to the day beds, but I was very happy to learn that they delver to beachgoers in the lounge chairs as well. We sat about 20 minutes before one of the waiters came to our chairs, and we ordered 2 signature cocktails. He offered us a taco menu as well, but we were just starting with the cocktails. It took about 20 minutes to receive the drinks, and they were delicious. If you’re not in a hurry, this is a fantastic and relaxing option. The Beach and Taco Shack is a short walk away from the chairs, however, so guests are welcome to walk over and get their own food and cocktails if they choose.
Where to Have Lunch When Visiting the Beach at Hotel Del Coronado
The best spot to have lunch is at the Beach and Taco Shack. It’s a short walk across the sand to get to the shack, but it’s nice because they have tables and umbrellas for sitting. We waited in line for about 15 minutes and ordered beer and tacos. There was a small stage set up on the sand next to the tables, so we got to enjoy some live music while we enjoyed our lunch. We could’ve taken our food to the lounge chairs as well, but sitting in this spot was definitely the better option.
What to Pack for your Day at Coronado Beach:
- A good beach bag. It’s a bit of a walk from the parking to the beach, so pack it all up in a beach bag.
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Check out my article on choosing a summer sun hat.
- Towels. The beach equipment rental stand offers towels to those renting chairs and day beds, but if you’d like your own, be sure to bring a beach towel. I recommend these quick dry, sand free towels.
- Water. They sell water at the beach shack, but it’s recommended to bring your own. I like to keep a Hydroflask in my beach bag to keep my water cool.
Check out the Gift Shop Inside the Hotel
I did not expect to see such an awesome gift shop inside Hotel Del Coronado. Located right near the lobby, this gift shop has everything from shirts, hats, and handbags, to postcards, art prints, and keychains. Almost everything has the Hotel Del Coronado branding on it, making these items perfect for gifts and souvenirs. They also had some essentials for purchase in the shop like cold drinks and sunscreen.
Be Sure to Check out the Hotel Lobby
If you didn’t already see it on your way in, be sure to check out the lobby of the Hotel Del Coronado. If you’re coming from the beach, make sure you’re properly dressed first. Stepping into that lobby is like stepping back in time, surrounded by chandeliers, beautiful dark wood, and a restored vintage elevator, which is the original from when the hotel was built.
Other Activities Available for Booking When Visiting the Beach at Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado offers plenty of other awesome activities available for booking online. If you’re staying at the hotel, or wanting to spend your weekend at Coronado, there are tons of things to at the beach. The activities vary seasonally as well (like ice skating at the beach!), so be sure to check the hotel website if you’re visiting around the holidays.
- Rent a fire pit right on the beach from 6-8pm. Roast s’mores and enjoy the sunset.
- Surf lessons. Take a private or group lesson, or even book a photography surf package.
- Rent some bikes. Enjoy your beach cruisers from 10am-4pm.
- Beach Yoga is available on Saturdays and Sundays at 10am.