San Diego is known for its idyllic climate, pristine beaches, and fan-favorite tourist attractions, making it one of the United States’ most vibrant cities. But, what you might not know about this Pacific Coast city is that it has a long-established connection to the U.S. military. San Diego is currently one of the largest active-duty and Veteran military centers in the country and is home to the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, located just across the bay. So, just where can you spot Navy SEAL training in San Diego? On Coronado Island across the bay from downtown San Diego.
Since the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado serves as the home for Navy SEALs stationed on the West Coast, if you head out for a relaxing day on Coronado Beach, you might just spot the Navy SEALs completing drills and training. Sound exciting? We’re going to give you all the tricks and tips that we know about Navy SEAL team training so that you’ll be able to see them on your next trip.
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Naval Amphibious Base Coronado
The Naval Amphibious Base Coronado (NABC) is the SEAL’s home on the West Coast. At the base, the U.S. Navy SEALs complete special and expeditionary warfare training. NABC is home to operations for Special Boats units and SEAL teams and supports over 30 tenant commands. NABC has an on-base population of 5,000 military personnel and 7,000 students/reservists.
The base was formally commissioned in January of 1944 and supports naval amphibious units on the West Coast. NABC is one of only two Naval amphibious training bases in the United States, with the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek located in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Naval Amphibious Base Coronado is home to several SEALs teams and supporting units of the U.S. Naval Special Forces:
- Commander, Naval Special Warfare.
- Commander, Naval Special Forces Pacific.
- SEAL Team 1.
- SEAL Team 3.
- SEAL Team 5.
- SEAL Team 7.
- SEAL Team 17 & 18 (Naval Reserve).
- Special Boat Team 12.
How Hard Is Navy SEAL Training?
Becoming a Navy SEAL requires grit, an ironclad will, and a ton of determination. There are six stages of SEAL training where recruits are pushed to the absolute limits.
In the first three stages, recruits push themselves to see if they have the mental and physical readiness to succeed in the overall program. During these short few weeks, individuals tackle obstacle courses, improve their swimming skills, and come to understand the value of teamwork.
Next, the infamous “Hell Week” begins. Trainees are expected to perform operational tasks for over 20 hours a day and maintain peak mental and physical performance. Pushed to perform in physically uncomfortable environments, they must show a strong commitment and dedication to their teammates and the program.
The last stage of training for SEAL candidates is the longest, and they spend time focusing on advanced tactical training. If candidates can pass this final stage and show that they have what it takes to join the military’s most elite team, they’re rewarded with the prestigious title of Navy SEAL.
Suggested read: Navy SEAL Training Accident Leads To Wake-Up Call for ‘Hell Week’
Where To Spot U.S. Navy SEALs on Coronado Beach
While the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command values secrecy, most SEAL team training is conducted in public. The San Diego County Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton, San Clemente Island, and, of course, Coronado Beach are just a few of the popular training destinations of the SEALs.
Have we piqued your interest in seeing the Navy SEALs hard at work training? Well, you’re in luck because we have all the details and information you’ll need the next time you head out to Coronado Beach. The beach, just south of the Hotel Del Coronado and located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from NAB Coronado, is an exceedingly popular Navy SEAL training location.
If you’re lucky, you might get to see SEAL candidates attempt to surf the rubber boats onto the rocks and haul them ashore. Don’t worry if you don’t get to see the entire exercise because the losing team’s punishment is to exercise (run up and down the beach) while carrying that heavy rubber boat above their heads. Be sure to also take a look out into the ocean, as you’ll get to see the first-place team relaxing in their boat, taking in all the glory.
All the instructors are Navy SEALs themselves and are usually seen donning blue shorts, a t-shirt, and a blue hat. If you see an individual with a microphone shouting at a group of students, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve found a Navy SEAL instructor. During Hell Week, students and instructors can be seen running up and down the beach in combat boots.
If you head over to Silver Strand State Beach, not too far from Coronado, it’s highly likely that you’ll see U.S. Navy SEAL students and their instructors. Here, you’ll witness similar training exercises, as the instructors are testing the students’ physical endurance and leadership skills.
Where Do SEALs Hang Out Off the Clock?
Due to training taking place on Coronado Beach, many of the SEALs reside in San Diego. For some Navy SEALs, San Diego is just not close enough, so Coronado and Imperial Beach have become known as the top place to live while completing training.
After a day of grueling Navy SEAL training, food is likely the first thing on everyone’s mind. So, if you’re looking for a bite to eat or a drink and hoping to see some SEALs while enjoying your meal, you’ll definitely want to stop by McP’s Irish Pub. This pub is a famous SEAL team bar and was founded by SEAL Team 1 member Greg McPartlin. A favorite amongst tourists and locals for their atmosphere and food, it’s a must-stop for Navy SEAL enthusiasts.
After Navy SEAL training, San Diego’s Danny’s Palm Bar, located on Coronado, is always filled with hungry SEALs. It’s conveniently located only a few blocks away from McP’s and is famous for having one of the best burgers in San Diego. No wonder this restaurant is a Navy SEAL favorite!
San Diego is certainly a Navy town and is a great place to spot our servicemen and women in action. So, the next time you’re visiting San Diego, make sure to spend a day at Coronado Beach and check out the USS Midway Museum. If you’re longing to see Navy SEAL training and catch a glimpse of the U.S. Naval Special Forces, Coronado Beach is the place to be.
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Image: AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File; Coronado Historical Association