Families visiting Coronado Island can participate in kayak tours and other nature programming. // © 2013 Thinkstock
Located across from San Diego Bay is Coronado Island, a destination rich with opportunities to learn about California’s nature and wildlife. A new partnership between the California State Parks Department and the Loews Coronado Bay Resort highlights the unique coastal habitat of Silver Strand State Beach, located steps away from the property.
“One of the best parts of travel is exploring new places, and our partnership with Silver Strand State Beach has enabled us to educate and enthrall our guests with the marine life and ecosystem just out our front door,” said Jennifer Duffy, director of public relations for Loews Hotels in California.
Kayaking Coronado Bay
A feature of the partnership that families will love is the guided kayak tours. Kayaking along beautiful Silver Strand State Beach is not only great exercise, but also fun and educational. Park ranger and certified environmental educator Heather Sanderson leads the tours, which feature the birds, fish and other sea life that live in and around Coronado Bay. Kids may think that they are “just” kayaking, but they will also be learning about this unique ecosystem.
The kayak tour begins at the marina at the Loews Coronado Bay. After a brief paddling lesson inside the marina, the tour proceeds alongside the property where small crabs and oysters can be seen on the rocks. Sanderson points out small fish and birds and lucky paddlers might even catch a glimpse of stingrays swimming in the shallow channel leading to the bay.
Once out of the marina, larger water birds and fish can be spotted, including mullets, whose spectacular leaps out of the water are very exciting to see. Sanderson mentions that the eel grass growing in the bay offers protection to small fish, but when she pulls out pieces of eel grass from the water, she explains that it also serves as a “nursery” and shows kayakers the tiny eggs attached to the plant.
The tour continues across the bay to the shoreline of Silver Strand State Beach where a variety of shore birds and fiddler crabs can be spotted on the sand. Providing visitors with an understanding of the bay’s ecosystem is this program’s primary goal, along with sharing interesting information about Coronado Island and its history.
Offered through the California Department of Parks and Recreation, these seasonal tours are available on Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at a fee of $35 per person. The tour is open for ages five and above, although paddlers younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult and children younger than 10 years must ride in the kayak with their accompanying adult.
Reservations for kayak tours are required by 4 p.m. the day prior by contacting the marina at Loews Coronado Bay.
Coronado Junior Rangers
Another great educational opportunity available for kids through the California Department of Parks and Recreation is the Junior Rangers program. Taking place in more than 70 state parks throughout California, this complimentary program is designed to teach children about the environment and culture of California.
In Coronado, Junior Rangers ages 7 to 12 meet at Silver Strand State Beach on Saturdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. year-round. Some of the outdoor activities include ranger-guided nature walks, nature art projects and wildlife presentations. Additionally, Junior Rangers can earn awards such as patches, certificates or pins.
There is no charge to participate in the program and the beach is walking distance from Loews. During spring and summer, there are also some Junior Rangers activities on the property as part of the resort’s seasonal family programming.
A family vacation along the Silver Strand State Beach on Coronado offers parents and kids a great chance to participate in hands-on activities together, while discovering something new.