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Looking to visit Coronado, CA or Carlsbad, CA or even both in the same trip? Here are some travel itinerary ideas for you including our favorite places to stay, where to eat, what to do, and how to do it all in one trip!
Where to Stay in Coronado, CA
We love to stay at Grand Pacific Vacation Club resorts for their location, room size, price, & that we can get rooms that have a kitchenette or full kitchen. In Coronado the Coronado Beach Resort is a perfect location to walk to the Coronado beach. The other great thing about this property is that you can access all the resort amenities at Loews Coronado a few miles away so you get the benefits of 2 great properties.
Besides having rooms with space, the Coronado Beach Resort has a rooftop hot tub, sauna, and you get to say “good morning” to Ms. Cody the Blue & Gold Macaw each morning. Not only is it a great location to the beach, but it also is perfect walking distance to many great restaurants and driving distance to tons of San Diego area activities.
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Things to do in Coronado, CA
There are so many things to do in the Coronado area depending on what kind of trip you’re looking to have. Here are just some favorites of ours over the years.
- Walk on the beach! If you haven’t been to Coronado Beach yet you’re missing out – it’s stunning & the sand is so soft. The historic Hotel del Coronado has lots of food options & the Coronado Beach Resort is literally across the street.
- Check out Shipwreck Beach south of Hotel Del
- USS Midway
- Cabrillo National Monument
- Head to Balboa Park to walk, picnic, or visit one of the 17 museums or the San Diego Zoo
- Rent a Duffy Electric Boat to explore Mission Bay by water
Where to eat in Coronado, CA
There are so many great restaurants just within walking distance from Coronado Inn that you don’t even need to get in your car. If you want to drive or are out exploring there are tons of restaurants to choose from. I recommend checking Yelp or Google Maps/Reviews to find something nearby.
Here is what we ate and enjoyed this trip (all of these places have gluten free options):
- Miguels Cocina
- Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar
- The Sun Deck at the Hotel del Coronado
- The Henry
- Nado Gelato
- There are so many great breweries but you should also check out the Babe Kombucha tasting room if you’re looking for something different (they have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic Kombucha).
Road Trip Itinerary from Coronado, CA to Carlsbad, CA
Normally we just head out, grab some lunch & check-in at the next place but this trip I wanted to make a little road trip out of it (even though it’s only 40 miles) and make several stops. Here is an itinerary idea for you from Coronado -> Carlsbad, CA if you’re interested in doing the same:
- Head to La Jolla Cove & grab some coffee. Walk to Ellen Browning Scrips Park & walk along the coast to watch the waves, birds, and my favorite, the seals or sea lions. You can swim or just explore and enjoy the gorgeous views.
- After that hop back in the car and head towards Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve. There is a visitor’s center, tons of hiking and nature trails, accessible features, children’s programs, gorgeous views, and a beautiful beach. If you’re short on time, drive up & do a quick trail, then drive back down to park at the beach parking for a quick walk in the sand. There is a fee to enter $10-$25 per vehicle (demand-based pricing) or a valid annual California State Parks Vehicle Day Use Pass.
- If you have more time in your day and want to pack more fun in, head to the Birch Aquarium, or you can save it for another day since it’s in such a great location between the two cities.
- When you get hungry for lunch (or dinner depending on what you chose to do) head to Del Mar, Cardiff, or Encinitas to shop & eat. There are so many great spots between these areas you’ll want to spend some time exploring for sure.
- Head to Carlsbad in time to check-in and head to the beach for a gorgeous Carlsbad sunset.
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Where to Stay in Carlsbad, CA
The Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort in Carlsbad, CA is one of our long-time southern California favorites. I have loved this Grand Pacific Vacation Club property for so long because of the room sizes, views, and location. We hardly ever even pull the car out of parking until it’s time to head home!
Not only is it such a great location, but there are also always fun activities going on at the resort and even occasionally live music. The fire pits are the perfect spot to wind down your day, and the large hot tub is the perfect place to relax before heading to bed.
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Things to do in Carlsbad, CA
While we love to just take it easy & spend time together on a true “vacation”, there is so much to do in the Carlsbad area and we adjust depending on if we have family or friends with us, how long we’re staying, or just how we feel.
Here are some of our favorite thing to do on a weekend in Carlsbad:
- Beach time! You are just a few stairs away from the beach with some of the most gorgeous sunset views in CA. You can borrow chairs, umbrellas, etc from the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort but you’re also close enough to head back for lunch or a nap if you don’t want to tote everything down.
- Shopping – lots of great shops, again within driving distance.
- The Flower Fields
- Leo Carillo State Park
- Craftsmanship Museum – we love us a good museum & this is a great idea for a rainy day
- Rent a bike & see how far you can explore
- Surf Lessons
Where to eat in Carlsbad, CA
There are so many great cafes and restaurants in the area all within walking distance! *Tip* for the nicer restaurants try to make a reservation on weekend nights to make sure you won’t have to wait too long. On this trip we ate at:
- Campfire Restaurant
- The Goods Doughnuts
- The Naked Cafe
- Oak + Elixir
- The Strawberry Shack
- Wine tasting at Carruth Cellars
Honestly, you can fill your day up with all sorts of things to do, or you could really just take it easy and enjoy the beach, the location, and the company you keep.