Coronado Beach, San Diego

No. 5: Coronado Beach - San Diego, Calif.

The Travel Channel has called Coronado Beach one of the best in America, citing its near-perfect weather and sprawling stretches of clean white sand. Coronado is perhaps best-known for the national historic landmark Hotel del Coronado, the finely restored, red-roofed Victorian-era inn that has beckoned tourists to the shore since 1888.

But locals and tourists alike fall in love with the beach itself because there is so much to do there -- Coronado is a favorite of for sunbathing, volleyball and other beach sports, and swimming nearly year-round.

There's also a great bike path, tide pools to explore, nearby off-leash dog park and fire rings. In January through March, visitors might spot whales migrating south.

But maybe the best thing about Coronado is that it has the widest expanse of sand in San Diego County -- plenty of room to fly a kite or simply unfurl a beach towel for a quiet nap under the California sun.

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