Coronado Island California History

Coronado Island, California is located across the bay from San Diego and has an extremely interesting history. To start, it’s not actually an island, but a peninsula, since it is connected to the mainland by a narrow stretch of land.

How Coronado got its name

Coronado was discovered by Sebastian Vizcaino, a Spanish explorer, in 1602. He named the islands “Los Coronados,” or “The Crowned ones.” This name stuck, and Coronado’s name was official. This name is what leads to Coronado’s nickname “The Crown City.”

Crown City Inn & Bistro pays homage to this nickname and the island’s history with its name.

Vizcaino also quite literally put Coronado on the map, creating a map of the San Diego bay area when he was there, and permanently etching Coronado into history.

Coronado: an island of jackrabbits

After Sebastian Vizcaino named and mapped Coronado Island, Europeans would not visit the island for over another 100 years. Eventually, in 1885, Elisha Babock Jr., Hampton Story, and their partners purchased Coronado Island with the intent to turn it into a resort town. Up until this point, Coronado was largely uninhabited by people and its largest population was the extremely high number of jackrabbits that lived there.

Coronado’s resort community

In 1888, the Hotel del Coronado opened its doors for the first time, marking Coronado’s official entry into the world of tourism.

Hundreds of years and several hotels later, Coronado was ranked the “best beach in the United States.” Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research, based his 2012 ranking on the beach’s environmental quality, safety for swimmers, the feel of the sand, water quality, amenities, crowds, and weather. The beach’s beauty definitely didn’t hurt its chances, either. Coronado has consistently ranked high on this list, coming in at #9 in 2018. It was once again the sole California beach to make the ranking.

It’s no wonder Coronado was so successfully turned into a resort community—with its beaches and beauty it’s hard to resist!

Coronado’s impressive history

Coronado might be a small island, but its history is big. There are so many stories about its successes, changes, and developments over the years and looking into the future. In Coronado, this history is part of daily life, as there are more than 85 historical sites designated in the city alone.

If you would like to know more about Coronado’s history, the Culinary & History tour is a great place to start. Learn about Coronado on this three-hour walking tour while you taste your way through the island’s local fare. Get a local’s insight to Coronado during this tour.

Coronado has so much history, and as it still thrives today, history continues to be written. Join in on creating history when you visit Coronado. Stay at the Crown City Inn & Bistro and experience all Coronado and San Diego have to offer.

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