A peninsula once cut off by insurmountable tides, Coronado Island embraces its adopted identity: a strong beach mentality represented by flip-flop-wearing libertarians and surfers romping over the history-soaked land.
L. Frank Baum wrote three of his Oz books here; Marilyn Monroe came to film Some Like It Hot; and Hotel Del Coronado, the resident grande dame where Hollywood and British royalty frolicked in the '20s, celebrates its 125th year.
Fast-forward, and the island has its first farm-to-table restaurant, Leroy's Kitchen and Lounge, and a thriving performing arts scene at the Lamb's Players Theater. No wonder the 20-year-old Loews Coronado Bay Resort saw fit to undertake a facelift.
Thanks to the ideal surf and pure sand, the 1.5-mile Coronado Beach ranks as one of the best in America. A connecting bridge means you're only eight minutes away from downtown San Diego, but you feel a world apart. And it's not a bad world, especially considering Coronado Island is the training and stomping grounds for the U.S. Navy SEALS.