There are 21 public parks along the San Diego Bay, all with beautiful views. My goal is to visit, photograph, and write about each one—riding my bike along the way. Most are located on the 24-mile San Diego Bayshore Bikeway.
The more than 240 acres of parkland are managed by the Port of San Diego which provided a list and map on their website to guide my journey.
On-leash dogs are welcome and alcohol is not permitted without a special permit. Hours are 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. All require permits for groups of 25 or more. Additional amenities vary at each location and may include: picnic tables, play equipment, exercise stations, fishing piers, boat launches, concessions, and bike paths—see individual websites for details.
The Coronado Landing Park, 1201 1st Street, is located at one end of the of the San Diego Bayshore Bikeway; this is where I will begin. It sits adjacent to the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier which is the arrival and departure point for ferries that transport hundreds of visitors and commuters daily between downtown San Diego and Coronado. It is the park with the most spectacular view of the downtown skyline and is usually busy, especially on weekends. There are a couple of benches, concrete walls, and grasslands for sitting with a nice view. It's a good place for people-watching; visitors come from all over the world and speak many languages. The 377-foot pier is popular for fishing.
The Landing offers many shops and restaurants, as well as an area with a waterfall, palm trees and tables to enjoy a meal or snack. A farmer's market is held here every Tuesday from 2:30 to 6:00 pm. This is also the setting of free Sunday afternoon concerts. They are held year-round, featuring a variety of local musicians and venues from jazz to pop.
For a little more serenity and history, take a short walk north to Centennial Park, site of the original Ferry Landing Terminal. Although not officially part of the Port of San Diego parkland, it has a great view and is more peaceful and comfortable, with more seating available, to enjoy the panorama of downtown. I sometimes savor a morning coffee here with the fragrance from the spring-blooming Japanese mock orange filling the air, watching the boats pass, and listening to the birds chirping.
At the Orange Avenue entrance, there is a lovely rose garden where the shrubs are just starting to bloom. Next to them, is a historical landmark: the original Coronado Ferry Ticket Booth. The park sits in the original site of the Coronado Ferryboat Terminal which operated ferries between San Diego and Coronado from 1886 until the opening of the bridge in 1969. The ferries accommodated passengers, horses, buggies, and later, automobiles. Riding these ferries was a way of life and is a fond memory for many who lived here at that time. In 1987, the old car ferries were replaced with passenger ferries that now depart from the Coronado Landing Pier.
For another great view and park, stroll south about one-half mile toward the Coronado Bridge. This waterfront path is one of the prettiest walks in San Diego. Here you will find a spectacular bridge view and the 22-acre Coronado Tidelands Park, 2000 Mullinex Drive, the largest San Diego Bay park.
|CORONADO TIDELANDS PARK|
The park is famous for its great view of the Coronado Bay Bridge which is particularly stunning at sunrise with the Laguna Mountains in the background. Adding to the photographic scene are the about 40 small sailboats that are moored here.
The park, being the largest along the bay, is especially popular on weekends when hundreds of people gather for picnics and sporting events. There is rarely a time that you can pass this park without seeing some activity. It also has an exercise station where I usually stop for push-ups when passing by.
A fascinating kinetic sculpture of a bicycle that rotates with the wind; sitting high up on a pole overlooking the bay, is a wonderful addition to this park. “My Bike” by Arnos Robinson is one of the many interesting, outdoor works of art along the bay.