San Diego Tourist Guide

Coronado’s Silver Strand State Beach

Coronado’s Silver Strand is a thin stretch of land connecting Coronado to the community of Imperial Beach. It’s just wide enough for a street and a few roadside attractions such as restaurants, condos, marinas and a hotel. The Silver Strand begins just south of the Hotel Del Coronado and runs for seven miles. The Strand separates the Pacific Ocean from San Diego Bay.

At the southern part of the Strand lies Silver Strand State Beach which has both bay access as well as beach access. Visitors enter the park on
the beach side and can take an under the road pedestrian tunnel to the bayside. The bayside has picnic areas and restrooms and a sheltered cove area for wading, swimming or windsurfing.

The beach offers surf, white sand and camping. That’s right, camping. This is parking lot style camping, you don’t get much here besides the million dollar view and a campsite that doesn’t require advance reservations - which is a rarity in San Diego (CA) County.

Along the bay is a concrete “boardwalk” that’s popular with walkers, bird watchers, skaters, joggers and bike riders. Bike trails that are separated from the actual roadway stretch along the strand all the way from Imperial Beach to Coronado.

Parking at the Silver Strand State Beach is available for a fee onsite and for free along Coronado Cays Boulevard. Because cars are not allowed on the bay side, visitors should plan for a fairly long haul. By the time the car is parked, it’s a pretty good walk to the under street tunnel and then even further to the picnic areas. A wagon or a cooler with wheels is the best bet for hauling gear to the bayside portion of the beach.

Silver Strand State Beach is about four miles south of Coronado on Highway 75. It’s also accessible from the south through Imperial Beach but it’s far more scenic and much easier to travel through Coronado.

Camping at the beach in Southern California usually is on a reservation only basis and reservations go lightning fast. Reservations for most beach campgrounds are made six months in advance and often sell out on the first day they are released. Silver Strand however bucks this system and operates on a lottery style system. Prospective campers receive a numbered ticket from the camp host each day. The camp host randomly draws the numbers to see who will be granted a campsite. Sundays and Mondays are the safest bet for obtaining a campsite as many others are leaving after a weekend at the beach. Be warned that camping is limited to self contained type vehicles only, no tents or vehicle camping is allowed.

Even if the campsites are full, RVs and motorhomes can park in the large parking lot for day use at the beach. This makes for a decent camping alternative; all the motorhome amenities are close at hand for the day though they must leave by sundown.

The Coronado Bay Loews Resort is directly across from this fantastic beach and is considerably less expensive than the ritzy Hotel Del Coronado.

If you’re going to be there all day, plan on bringing your own food or visiting the small snack bar on the beachside. The snack bar serves hot dogs and typical snack bar fare. This is the only food option available unless you drive into either Coronado or Imperial Beach – both several miles away.

The bay side is a great spot for windsurfing with the steady coastal winds blowing. For those who prefer to frolic in the waves, the beach side offers sections for swimming, boogie boarding and surfing.

Silver Strand State Beach has its roots in the military and today Navy SEALS training exercises are still commonplace. The beach gets its name from the silver oyster shells that are found all over the shore. While this beach is a little harder to get to compared to most of San Diego county beaches, remoteness has its privileges. Wide open stretches of sand greet visitors and the surf beckons. With large bodies of water on each side of the road there’s plenty of beachside real estate to spread out on.

Day use is from 8:00AM to 8:00PM. Fire rings dot the beach but all fires must be properly extinguished by closing time. No glass containers are allowed but alcohol is permitted. Dogs are limited to campsites only. Wi-Fi Internet is a convenience. For more information see Coronado Sliver Strand Beach. Also read about the nearby Coronado City Beach and San Diego Beaches overview.
San Diego, California