Surrounded by the San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Coronado is lined with historic homes, groomed gardens, and sugary beaches. There are so many ways to play and explore Coronado and the surrounding area, but we’ve come up with a great toddler-friendly weekend itinerary for this historic yet modern destination.
Friday – The Artsy Arrival
Plan to arrive in San Diego in the afternoon for a stop at The New Children’s Museum followed by check-in at Loews Coronado Bay and dinner onsite at Market Cafe.
The New Children’s Museum is an arts-based children’s museum that commissions contemporary artists to create pieces with tactile, physical, and participatory elements, opening up a world of art to children through opportunities to observe and create. Their mission is to stimulate imagination, creativity, and critical thinking through inventive and engaging experiences with contemporary art. Athena energetically romped through the climbing structure, thoughtfully sculpted a snowman out of clay, and playfully jumped in the bounce house. We easily could have spent the entire weekend at the New Children’s Museum.
Loews Coronado Bay is located on its own 15-acre peninsula, creating a private oasis within an island of tranquility—next to a city that never stops. They have views of the Pacific Ocean and Mexico on one side, and shimmering bay waters and the San Diego skyline on the other. The sun-soaked lobby has an elegant California casual feel and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bay. With three heated pools, an on-site playground, beach access, and shuttle service to the beach and downtown, Loews offers something for everyone in the family.
The transformed Market restaurant offers a whimsical design and stunning marina views. The culinary team reimagined the menu to include dishes that showcase the culinary variety of Southern California along with familiar favorites, including Mac & Cheese, to satisfy every appetite. Kids are given a game system and a coloring book with crayons during their dining visit.
Saturday – Brewing Up a Good Time
Spend the day relaxing and taking in the best that southern California has to offer including beautiful beaches, sunshine, and family-friendly pools.
Silver Strand State Beach features extensive beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Combined with the area’s mild climate, the beaches make Silver Strand one of the area’s finest recreation destinations. Camping, swimming, surfing, boating, water-skiing, volleyball, and picnicking are popular activities. We rode the shuttle to the beach and built sandcastles in the sand. The waves break far enough off of the beach to allow kids a little play room in the water and the sand is groomed regularly so it’s soft and clean.
Among hotels in San Diego, Loews Coronado Bay is legendary for our pools. they offer three heated pools, including one just for adults. We settled in and prepared to be pampered by the poolside concierge. Activities such as an aqua-fitness class and Dive-In Movies make things all that more fun for adults and kids alike. Smiles were all around while enjoying the warm pools.
Coronado Brewing Company
The quality cuisine, comfort, and handcrafted ales of Coronado Brewing Company have been luring thirsty travelers to the beautiful island of Coronado for the past 16 years. It’s a family-friendly spot with eclectic fare for every taste bud. The prices won’t break the bank and the portions are large. I had the Diablo Penne Pasta, a favorite choice, with a spicy cream sauce and pico de gallo topped with parmesan. Rather than trying to pick a brew yourself, ask the knowledgeable staff. Just tell them what you’re looking for and they’ll make a great choice for you. It’s all delicious so you can’t go wrong.
Sunday – Sea the World
We treated the kids to the childhood magic of their favorite Sesame Street characters at SeaWorld. Sesame Street Bay of Play is filled with family-friendly fun and rides like Elmo’s Flying Fish, Oscar’s Rocking Eel, and Abby’s Sea Star Spin. Plus, we were able to connect with animals, explore nature, and develop a passion for conservation by visiting the new SeaWorld Kids site. We finished off the day with the Blue Horizons show where soaring birds, playful dolphins, and thrilling aerialists fused the vibrant energy of two fascinating worlds into a mesmerizing display of dance, flight, color, and entertainment.
Helpful Tips for Your Trip
1. Ask Loews Coronado Bay about their free shuttle service. It’s a good option when dining at Coronado Brewing Company. The kids love it and you don’t have to worry about driving after a couple drinks.
2. Check out Coronado Visitor Center for other suggestions on things to do.
3. SeaWorld is definitely a full day of activities, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to eat. Pack drinks and snacks and bring them with you to save on pricey meals.
4. The 15-minute ferry from Coronado to San Diego departs from two San Diego locations; Broadway Pier and the Convention Center. Departure and Landing in Coronado is at 1201 First Street. The ferry’s fare is $4.25 each way, kids under 4 are free. The Ferry is accessible to wheelchairs and bikes are permitted.
5. If you want to get off the beach and get a little culture, visit one of the two local theaters, museums, or galleries. The Coronado Playhouse and Lamb’s Players Theater produce live productions, including classics ranging from “Cinderella” to “Much Ado About Nothing” to comedies like “Harvey.” The theaters are in the downtown area and offer Broadway-style experiences in more intimate settings.
6. The playground at Loews Coronado Bay is great for toddlers. It’s walking distance or you can take the shuttle. There is very little traffic near by and the grassy area is large enough to run and play.
7. Pottery Barn Kids has outfitted Loews Kids’ Club with furniture and accessories designed to delight and inspire the imagination. Sign up for supervised activities for children ages 4 to 12—including magic tricks, sandcastle building, GPS-led scavenger hunts, and much more. Full-day sessions from 9 AM to 5 PM include lunch. Half-day sessions are 9 AM–Noon or 1–5 PM. Half-day sessions can also be combined with lunch from 9 AM–1 PM or Noon–5 PM. Hourly sessions are also available. The Kids’ Club is open daily in the summer and by advance reservation in other seasons. Reservations are required in the summer.
8. San Diego Zoo is a favorite option for kids too and is only 10 miles from Loews Coronado Bay. Located in Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre urban cultural park in San Diego, the zoo usually takes the full day to explore.
9. CityPass includes tickets to SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, and Legoland in the San Diego area. It’s worth a look to save money if you plan on visiting multiple parks.