Coronado Travel Guide
When we reserved a gondola ride in Coronado, we wondered if we had made a mistake when we read on the website, "... gondoliers may choose to sing a song or two. Song and quality are not guaranteed." It seemed like a red flag. But we climbed aboard the Oriental rug-lined boat anyway for a nighttime cruise along the Coronado Cays.
Operating out of the Loews Coronado Bay Resort's marina, across the bay from San Diego, The Gondola Company offers one-hour rides through the island's waterways. As part of the deal, you can bring a bottle of wine or bubbly, while the company provides glasses and some plump chocolate-covered strawberries.
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San Diego attracts people in search of sand and surf, but across San Diego Bay is one of the most gorgeous beach towns in the area, Coronado. Although a naval base occupies the north half of the island, you don't feel like you're in a police state with big brother watching you. Instead you'll see tourists and locals hanging out in the gold-flecked sand and shopping along the one-mile-long main drag, Orange Avenue.
"Coronado" means the "crowned one" in Spanish, so that explains why you'll see more crown-themed souvenirs here than in England. You'll see crowns on clothing, placards and tea towels, plus you'll even spy actual crowns, fake, of course, in almost every shop along Orange Ave. But the strip of mom-and-pop shops offers a lot more, with restaurants, cafes and a bookstore.
The city is only a 2.2-mile drive from downtown San Diego via the distinctive Coronado Bridge. Or you can hop on the ferry in San Diego Bay and take a pretty 15-minute ride to the Coronado Ferry Landing for about $3.50. But get going now, since tourists will flood the place once Memorial Day hits and summer arrives; more than 2 million people visit the island each year.
Get cracking on Coronado after the jump.