The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State
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California Bucket List

Here’s your daily travel guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State. Each of these essential California adventures has been tried and tested by a Travel section staffer or contributor.

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Family-friendlySan Diego County

Bed down at the seaside Hotel del Coronado and dream of Marilyn Monroe, Peter O'Toole and Oz

Hotel del Coronado. (Don Tormey / Los Angeles Times)
Hotel del Coronado. (Don Tormey / Los Angeles Times)

Why: When the 20th century began, there were dozens of grand hotels like this across the country, built mostly of wood. But a bunch of them burned. This resort is a rare survivor, California's most regal Victorian.

What: The Del, as locals call it, was completed in 1888, a white-walled, red-roofed wonderland alongside a broad beach of creamy white sand. Just the 33-foot-tall sugar pine rafters of its vast Crown Room are enough to stop you in your tracks.

It's no surprise that frequent guest L. Frank Baum, author of the "Wizard of Oz" books, was inspired to do a lot of writing here in the 1900s. Or that movie producers seized upon the resort as a setting for "Some Like it Hot" (1959; Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon) and "The Stunt Man" (1980; Peter O'Toole).

As you wander the property, someone will try to tell you about Kate Morgan, a young woman who was shot to death in 1892 and is said to haunt her old room. Yes, she died. But really, does every cool old building have to have a ghost story? Why not just enjoy the history?

Or run on the beach. Or watch the hotel's hired falcon chase away seagulls. Or, as long as you're splurging, do that lavish, spendy Sunday brunch in the Crown Room.

Where: 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 129 miles south of downtown L.A.

How much: Room rates start at $329. The Sunday brunch costs $96 per adult. 

Info: Hotel del Coronado


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