There is still time for a summer vacation

    There are three ways to get to Coronado Island. Whether you take the ferry, the bridge or Silver Strand Highway, you will end up at a quaint — albeit touristy — San Diego attraction.

    Tyler Huff
    Guardian

    As you drive south on Interstate 5, you see the long, blue Coronado Bridge that seems endless as it disappears into the hazy horizon. OK, that haze is probably smog, but don’t let the brown cloud or the suicide prevention signs that line the bridge distract you from the serene beaches that lie beyond. Coronado Island is a city with a history all its own, and although there are more people and cars now than back when Marilyn Monroe frolicked on its beaches, the island still has enough charm to lure those in search of a day or weekend getaway.

    Coronado is not actually an island but a peninsula, which — despite enormous pressure to merge with San Diego — has preserved its independence. The first inhabitants of Coronado were most likely the San Dieguitos: Asians who crossed the Bering land bridge. Their successors, the Deigue Indians, were still in residence on the island when the Spanish arrived in 1542. However, commercial development on Coronado did not happen until much later.

    In 1846, Spanish settler Juan Rodr’guez Cabrillo sold the peninsula to two Americans for $1,000. One year later, when California became part of the United States, the peninsula changed hands several times before the Coronado Beach Company bought it in 1886 and began construction of the Hotel Del Coronado at the turn of the century.

    Courtesy of The Hotel Del Coronado

    The Hotel Del, as it’s known, is perhaps the most recognizable attraction on Coronado Island. On its beach and within its rooms, Ronald Reagan vacationed and, at the hotel, Tony Curtis filmed “”Some Like it Hot.”” John D. Spreckles, who owned one-third of the Coronado Beach Company, took over the hotel when its builder was unable to repay a loan. The mansion that Spreckles built for himself is now the Glorietta Bay Inn.

    The Hotel Del has grown considerably over the years. The Victorian building that was the backdrop for “”Some like it Hot”” is still available for guests, and one of the rooms is even said to be haunted (see ‘the guest that won’t leave’ below). The towers, cabanas, beach houses and cottages reflect the hotel’s modernization and expansion.

    Dinner cruises, harbor tours and trolley tours are just some of the ways to explore Coronado. Or maybe you’d like to coast down Orange Avenue, the town’s main drag, on a bicycle built for two. While Coronado borders on the touristy side, when you look across the bay at the San Diego skyline, you will be glad that an escape from the daily grind is just a bridge away.

    Visit the Hotel Del Coronado at http://www.hoteldel.com.

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