For many, a trip to San Diego wouldn’t be complete without a visit to nearby Coronado—a resort city connected to San Diego by a long sandy isthmus known as the Silver Strand. For those of us who live in the area, we know the “island” for its beaches, the Hotel Del Coronado, and as the home port of several aircraft carriers and the Navy Seals.

Overall, Coronado is home to about 24,000 residents, plus an on-base population of about 5,000 military personnel and 7,000 students and reservists . . . and a few ghosts (if the stories are to be believed – more on that below!).

As you might expect, there’s lots to do in Coronado, and much of it revolves around beach going, boating, and active lifestyles.

While you are out and about on Coronado, you will definitely want to protect your eyes and your skin. While the city is quite drivable, you’ll most likely want to walk or bike to get the full experience. That means exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

According to the American Optometric Association, long-term exposure to UV rays puts you at greater risk for developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life. One way to lessen your exposure to solar radiation is to always buy sunglasses marked with a sticker or tag indicating 100 percent UV protection (or that your eye care provider has ensured you offers verified UV protection) and wear them — plus a hat or cap with a wide brim.

Coronado Highlights

It’s hard to decide which is more representative of Coronado—the beaches, the Naval presence, or the Hotel Del Coronado. For purposes of this article, let’s go with the Hotel Del, as it’s often used as an iconic image to represent Coronado. It was built in 1888 and is topped by red, castle-like turrets. The hotel was a filming location for the 1959 Marilyn Monroe comedy Some Like it Hot and is said to be the inspiration for Emerald City for Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum who lived nearby and frequented the hotel. The public is welcome to tour the lobby and grounds, or you can arrange a guided tour through the Coronado Historical Association. Of course, you can also stay at the 757-room resort and enjoy its 28 acres of private, beachfront property as a guest.

Coronado’s Central Beach is routinely ranked one of the top beaches in the United States by Dr. Beach (it was ranked #1 in 2012). This beach is popular with swimmers, surfers, sunbathers and beachcombers, it features an expansive, 1.5-mile-long white-sand beach, warm water, and spectacular views. But it’s not the only beach on Coronado. Central Beach, South Beach, Silver Strand State Beach, and North Beach connect to offer miles of silvery sand and stunning ocean views. (A portion of South Beach is restricted for Navy training.)

Historic Downtown Coronado straddles much of Orange Avenue. There you will find all sorts of shopping opportunities, ranging from surf shops to high-end fashions. The area also abounds with top restaurants, sidewalk cafes, hotels, inns, tree-lined green spaces, and the historic library. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening window shopping, dining, and people watching.

For history buffs, you’ll want to check out the Coronado Heritage Tour. It starts every Sunday from the Coronado Museum at 10:30am and concludes at Noon at the Hotel del Coronado. In between, you’ll learn all about Coronado’s history, architecture, and military presence.

The Silver Strand peninsula starts where Orange Avenue ends, connecting the Coronado to the mainland. It features a paved pedestrian and bike path that is surrounded by the beach and bay. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a casual stroll or bike ride. You can camp at Silver Strand State Beach and visit a nature habitat there. You’ll also get spectacular views of the arching San Diego-Coronado Bridge.

Coronado is also home to some famous ghosts (or at least ghost stories). Perhaps most famous is the story of Kate Morgan who has supposedly haunted the Hotel del Coronado since 1892. She and her husband were alleged to be travelling con artists. She checked into the hotel to await her husband, but he never arrived. Four days later she was found dead at the bottom of an outdoor staircase with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Many people have claimed to see her ghost both in the hotel and on the beach.

Let Us Help You Find Shades that Are Right for You

Stop by any one of Sunglass and Optical Warehouse’s three San Diego locations to browse our collections of sunglasses. We’ll help you find a look and a fit that’s just right for you and for the sandy beaches of Coronado and its history-lined sidewalks, including   ArmaniBolleCalvin Klein, Maui JimNikeOakleyOtisPersolRay-BanRudy Project, and many others.