San Diego for Free: Coronado Central Beach – America’s Best Beach

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free!  We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

Best For: Sun worshippers, families, casual beachgoers

San Diego has many beautiful beaches where you can enjoy the sound of waves while sunbathing, the thrill of catching waves while surfing, or take children for fun in the sun.  Only one beach in San Diego can lay claim to the title of America’s Best Beach for 2012, however, and that is the Coronado Central Beach.

Compiled annually since 1991, the Dr. Beach Top 10 list is curated by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Professor of Coastal Research at Florida International University.  Dr. Leatherman uses a set of 50 criteria to evaluate beaches all over the nation and 2012 is the first year that a California beach has taken the top spot on his list.

Coronado Central Beach is located along Ocean Boulevard, on the west side of the city of Coronado.  The beach abuts North Beach on the north end, which is dog-friendly.  On the south end of the beach is the Hotel del Coronado, the oft-photographed National Historic Landmark.  Parking is typically pretty easy on Ocean Boulevard or nearby streets, although weekends and holidays can be more difficult.

This beach isn’t well suited for surfing, since Point Loma stands to the west and cuts down the swell.  It is a very wide beach; great for volleyball, sunbathing, or setting up a sunshade for a day in the sand and sun.  The beach is flat and my favored beach for running on the sand, especially at low tide, in the entire county.

The weather for the coming weekend is forecast to be sunny and in the mid-80s in Coronado.  It will be a great opportunity to check out the reigning titleholder of America’s Best Beach or another of the many sublime beaches San Diego has to offer.  The sound of the waves are a great complement to a respite from the stresses of the workweek and will surely leave you with a smile on your face.


John P. Anderson

John was an accountant in a former life and now devotes his time to child-rearing, reading, writing, and working to ensure that San Diego is truly America's Finest City. Interested in environmental issues, John enjoys connecting with others that want to improve the health of our world and community. You can find John at or on Twitter (@j_p_a_). Comments, suggestions, wisdom, and complaints are enthusiastically welcomed.