There's No Place like Coronado: Celebrate the Fourth on San Diego's Island of Oz
Trulsson, Nora Burba, Sunset
FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD far enough and you just might end up on Coronado Island along San Diego Bay. L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard Oz on the 14.3-square-mile peninsula. It sprouts Technicolor cottages, beaches, and flowers--no wonder he called Coronado "the Queen of Fairyland." Here are our top 10 magical summer moments on Coronado.
1| VISIT EMERALD CITY
With its towers and beach cabanas clustered like villages, Hotel del Coronado just may have been Baum's inspiration for the Emerald City. After all, he wrote Oz while he was staying here. You don't have to be an overnight guest at the Del to get a taste of this glamorous spot, which has hosted presidents and movie stars and was the setting for the 1959 film Some Like It Hot. Try a sea salt exfoliation at the spa, sip margaritas at the beachside bar, or take a history tour and learn about (and maybe even see) the hotel's ghost.
2| GO EXPLORING
Rent a cruiser and bike along Glorietta Boulevard to peek at stately mansions; take the Silver Strand bike path along the bay; or pedal through neighborhoods to check out the cottage gardens. For an on-the-water perspective, rent a kayak at Glorietta Bay.
3| BROWSE FOR BEACH READS
Bay Books has loads of magazines, plenty of literature, and, with its proximity to the naval base, a stock of military history books.
4| BEACH YOURSELF
Coronado Central Beach, broad and long, with sugary sand, stretches out from the Del. Farther afield, look for the dog beach and surfing spot toward North Island Naval Air Station, where you can watch fighter jets land. Explore tidepools, then stay after dark for a bonfire. Quieter, smaller beaches are at Tidelands Park or the ferry landing.
5| ADD SOME SPICE
Take a beach break and head to Miguel's Cocina, across from the Del. Try the shrimp burritos with the famous jalapeno white sauce, or the grilled swordfish tacos. The Mexican eatery spills out onto the tiled courtyard of the Spanish-style 1902 El Cordova Hotel, dotted with shops.
6| LIVE FREE ON THE FOURTH
Wake up early and reserve your spot to watch the patriotic parade along Coronado's main drag, Orange Avenue, often led by a surfboard-toting drill team, and highlighted by Navy flyovers. Catch a concert at shaded Spreckels Park and fireworks over Glorietta Bay. …