Experience Wonder at the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge

What are your Labor Day plans? If you’re going to be in Coronado, you’ll want to see the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! This competition was named by CNN Travel as the Best U.S. Labor Day Event in 2018, and by USA Today and American Express as a “Top 20 Must See” seaside festival. Clearly, this is a great festival to visit during your Labor Day trip!

What is the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge?

This is one of the world’s largest and most prominent sand sculpting competitions. Yearly, over 200,000 visitors come to San Diego to see this challenge. This is more than just building sandcastles in the sand–sculptors create works of art over the weekend.

During the competition, 12 World Master Sculptors spend days creating sculptures from the sand which can reach up to 15 ft. tall and over 20,000 lbs. Teams also recreate the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition from 2989 – 2011.

This means there will be 20 incredible sculptures for guests to marvel at during the challenge.

Each year, this challenge has a theme. The 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge‘s theme is Wonder. The sculptors are free to interpret this theme as they wish, which means the sculptures they create vary in terms of subject and meaning. You’ll have to see them in person to see what the artists bring to life!

When is the challenge?

This festival takes place from Saturday, August 31 – Monday, September 2.

Saturday, August 31: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Sunday, September 1: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Monday, September 2: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Where is it?

Broadway Pier and Pavilion

1000 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101

The Coronado Ferry disembarks next door to the festival, so it’s easy to get to the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge from Coronado and Crown City Inn.


Adults (aged 13 – 62): $15

Kids (aged 2 – 12): $10

Seniors (aged 62+): $13

Toddlers (under 2 years): Free

Active duty military, EMT’s, firefighters, and police: Free with valid ID

VIP Package: $40

  • Up to $70 value; includes weekend-long admission, cut-the-line privileges, shaded seating section, 2 free drinks, and more

What else is there to do?

Aside from sand sculptures, there’s so much to do during the 2019 Sand Sculpting Challenge! Here’s just a few of the other activities you’ll find:

  • San Diego Seals lacrosse stars will be taking pictures and signing autographs
  • Kid Zone featuring:
    • Sandcastle building lessons
    • Rides
    • And more!
  • Food trucks and vendors, including:
    • Cousins Maine Lobster
    • Eat Your Heart Out
    • The Habit Burger Grille
    • Matheny’s Wagon Works
    • Lolita’s Mexican Food
    • Sophia’s Kitchen
    • Pomodoro Rosso
    • Kettle Masters Kettle Corn
    • Cruising Cones
    • Goodness Baked Cookie Co.
    • Old School Shave Ice
    • Maui Wowi
    • And more!
  • Live entertainment from bands that pay tribute to famous bands such as the Beatles, Journey, and others! On Saturday and Sunday, Elvis will perform!

Will you be in Coronado over Labor Day weekend?

Check out the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge while you’re here! You can stay at Crown City Inn across the bay and enjoy our wonderful amenities, comfortable rooms, delicious Bistro, and award-winning beach! You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with Coronado events.

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