The Best Beach in 2012: Coronado Beach, San Diego
After a few busy months of traveling across the globe, I’ve found myself in San Diego, California for a six-week reprieve. I’ve been looking forward to some down time of relaxation, sand and sun.
Coincidentally (as if there are such things as coincidences), Dr. Beach has come out with his annual rankings of top U.S. beaches. And guess which beach tops the list? Coronado Beach in San Diego. I think the universe is trying to tell me something.
Dr. Beach, also known as Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, is Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He’s also authored more than 16 books and 200 articles about beaches, nature and science.
Since 1991, Dr. Beach has been rating America’s beaches using 50 pieces of criteria including beach width, sand softness, air temperature, number of sunny days, algae, smell, seaweed, crime and more.
Based on these criteria, Coronado beach took top honors for 2012. Other high-scoring beaches include Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Hawaii; Main Beach in East Hampton, New York; St. George Island State Park in Florida; and Hamoa Beach in Maui, Hawaii.
Inspired by Dr. Beach’s rankings, I paid a visit to Coronado beach—which is located on a small and quaint island town just a few minutes from San Diego’s downtown. The community, which is reachable by ferry, water taxi or car, is great for walking and biking—and it’s host to a number of small shops and trendy restaurants.
As beautiful as Coronado is, Dr. Beach apparently didn’t take the availability of parking spots into consideration. Coronado is a fairly dense town, and parking spots are far and few between. There’s also no parking lot for the beach—so allow extra time to find street parking.
Nonetheless, the beach is pretty incredible. Like a good hookup, I was surprised by its size. It’s long and wide, stretching some 1.5 miles along the island’s west coast. It’s also set against the picturesque backdrop of the iconic Hotel del Coronado.
Because the beach is so huge, I can’t imagine it ever feeling crowded—even on busy holidays; swimmers, sunbathers, skim boarders and beachcombers are well dispersed across the pristine sands. And it was easy to find a quiet, comfortable spot to enjoy some sun.
Is Coronado the best beach in America? It’s certainly up there. And, at the very least, definitely worth a visit… especially when some down time is in order.
Read more from the Davey Wavey Travel Blog