Coronado: San Diego’s Crown Jewel

I recently had the pleasure of taking an entire day to explore San Diego’s crown jewel, the Island of Coronado. Being that we are stationed in San Diego, I have crossed the Coronado bridge many times. Our family’s favorite military beach is located on the island and it is home to a handful of military operations, so we are familiar with the general lay of the land.

Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | View of San Diego Bay From Coronado Island
Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Coronado Island Landing

What made this trip different was that we had dedicated the day to discovering more about the history of the famous island which has hosted Presidents and Hollywood starlets alike. Our top mission was to ride the ferry to the island and visit the Museum of History & Art.

Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Coronado Flagship Ferry

Connected to the mainland by the Silver Strand, we learned that the island was incorporated in the 1890s as a resort beach town for the wealthy. Due in part to the California real estate boom of the late nineteenth century, the Coronado Beach Company invested into the island by building the world renowned Hotel del. Prior to the hotel, which features a wooden framework, ornate ironwork encompassing stars and crowns, and lush tropical flora and fauna- the island was essentially uninhabited.

Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Hotel del Coronado
Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Hotel del Coronado
Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Hotel del Coronado

Once the Hotel was built, the island became known as “Hollywood’s Playground” during the 1920’s despite being reachable only by ferry. Rather than driving across the bridge we decided to take the ferry and once we had landed on the island we were able to visit the original ferry terminal booth which still has the original glass windows.

Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Original Coronado Ferry Terminal

Now known as The Birthplace of Naval Aviation, the island and the hotel became a hub for the United States Navy during World War II. To my delight the museum was home to an antique bomber jacket as well as an exhibit dedicated to showcasing the importance of military wives in the defense of our Nation.

Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Coronado Museum of History & Art Military Exhibit
Coronado Museum of History & Art | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Coronado Museum of History & Art Military Exhibit

Proud of its history, the island not only preserves its military heritage in the museum, but also with dedicated landmarks- a few of which we had the pleasure of seeing on our walk to the museum. If you are in the area I would highly recommend a visit to the crown jewel on the bay and be sure to check out the museum, admission is free! All in all the day was filled with sunshine, beauty, and the rich gift of cultural legacy.

Coronado Historical Landmark | The Patriot Belle
The Patriot Belle | Coronado Island Historical Landmark
Coronado San Diego | The Patriot Belle

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