You don’t have to row a boat in order to drop anchor in beautiful Coronado. Just kick back, relax and enjoy the spectacular views of the San Diego skyline aboard the Coronado Ferry. No need for fussy, upscale reservations once you arrive. We’ve found plenty of family-friendly options to keep all family members merry (and well fed) as you enjoy the island.
Photo Credit: Jennifer H. via Yelp
Catch the ferry at Broadway Pier downtown, north of the USS Midway. The ferry departs from Broadway Pier every hour on the hour, starting at 9 a.m., and leaves the island every hour on the half hour starting at 9:30 a.m. The final ferry leaves Coronado for Broadway Pier at 9:30 p.m.,10:30 p.m. on the weekend. The entire ferry ride is only a 15-minute journey.
You’ll arrive at the Coronado Ferry Landing, a shopping and dining destination on the waterfront, where we’ve found plenty for you to do with your crew. The cost is only $4.75 each way, and kids under 3 are free. And bikes are free, too.
Parking is metered at the Broadway Pier waterfront and limited to three hours, including weekends. The County parking garage across the street costs $10-$20, or there are several pay and display lots within walking distance. For more parking details, click here.
Photo Credit: Suzanne B. via Yelp
Where to Eat a Relaxing Lunch
When it comes to dining in Coronado, your first images may be of brunch with your mom at the Hotel Del or a romantic date at Peohe’s. But these days, you just need to fill some little tummies with food that they will actually eat. There are some great options at the Ferry Landing that won’t throw off your budget, and will satisfy young diners.
Little Piggy’s BBQ smokes its meat “low and slow,” Memphis style. The result is delicious barbecue classics and sides such as baby back ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and smoked beans. Add to that a fridge stocked with more than 100 varieties of bottled beers, Julian apple pie for dessert, and you know this is a place both kids and parents can smile about. Standard kids menu items are available, and sliders make a good choice for the kiddos too.
The decor at Village Pizzeria is checkered Italian tablecloths with a view. Grab a seat on the patio and enjoy awesome views of the harbor and skyline. Their specialty is New York style thin crust pizza and they also offer a full menu of Italian favorites including salads, calzones, and pasta. You’ll find a nice range of local brews on tap and a kids menu for little ones.
Photo Credit: Shari J. via Yelp
Play! Shop! Repeat!
On summer weekends, you can listen and dance to local bands playing at the Ferry Landing from 2 – 5 p.m. The range of music is terrific, everything from blues to flamenco guitar, to local teens rockers.
Near the waterfront, look for the Bubble Guy of Coronado who creates incredible, huge bubbles with a bucket of bubble solution and two sticks. Watch your kids’ eyes light up as they chase the biggest bubbles they’ve ever seen. It’s a magical way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Tuesday is Farmer’s Market Day from 2:30 – 6 p.m. Visit this small market for organic produce and a vibrant bunch of flowers.
If you bring your bike to the island, you’ll find a nice riding path along the waterfront. Or rent a bike or surrey at the Ferry Landing at Bikes & Beyond. Arrive early on the weekend to avoid crowds, and don’t forget helmets for the little ones (although if you do, Bikes & Beyond can rent them to you). The shop also provides a map to guide you around the island as you ride.
Coronado to Broadway Pier Option
While we love the adventure and beauty of Coronado itself, Plan B is a great one and saves you money on parking. You can choose to drive over the bridge to Coronado, park for free in the Ferry Landing parking lot (busy on weekends), and take the ferry to Broadway Pier. From there, it’s an easy walk to Seaport Village. Check out our recommendations for how to have fun in Seaport Village here. Either way, an outing on a boat is a sure way to fire up your crew and get them excited to put down the remote and get outside this summer!
990 North Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
Have you taken the Coronado Ferry before? What’s your favorite Coronado place to play?
— Cherie Gough