As you alight the bridge and cruise drive down Orange Avenue you know you’re on hallowed ground. This place has celebrity stamped all over it. Steeped in the glam of monolithic literati and glitterati, Coronado’s played host to Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Marilyn Monroe, Stephen Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey to name just a few. Overwhelmingly though, it’s that return to the sense of gentle sophistication and laid-back lifestyle here that is such a drawcard. My boys abandoned their bags at the fancy Hotel Del Coronado and disappeared for over an hour clambering over rocks, ping-ponging their way along the soft sands, body-popping in the waves. The legendary Del is bang on the beach. And the beach seems to go on for miles and miles.
Back on terra firma they were just as elusive. The sprawling clapperboard resort offers a 3-hour Kidtopia play camp (for 4-12s) and Vibz hangout (for teens) There are surf lessons, bike and boogie board rentals, a Toy Castle toy store, MooTime Creamery and old-fashioned Spreckles candy store. The Family S’mores Night and Flick N’ Float poolside movie night got the thumbs up.
Strolling into town, we took in a play one night at the Lamb’s Players Theatre, we gorged at the 50’s Beach-N-Diner and browsed cutesy stores piled high with seashells and quirky, one-off trinkets.
Coronado epitomizes a small-town America that wholeheartedly embraces its heritage. It’s a reminder of a time when vacations meant stripped-down pleasures - seaside walks, bike rides, gumdrops and jawbreakers.... And not a Nintendo Gameboy in sight.