Hubbs Trail Tour at Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon is forty minutes north of Downtown San Diego, in the city of Carlsbad.  The lagoon is over 400 acres and is the home to numerous plants and animals, as well as a recreational playground for humans and leashed dogs!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Google Map

There are several trails to choose from at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Today, we are going to explore the Hubbs Trail which is situated closest to the Ocean at the northwestern portion of the lagoon.

Printout trails at Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon-Hubbs Trail

Dirt area beginning Hubbs Trail
Beginning of the trail at Garfield St.

Hubbs Garfield Street Trailhead Directions

This article is a continuation of my epic adventure examining the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center, which also included hiking the Discovery Center Trail.  So for more in-depth information on the Discovery Center and all the other trails, please click here.

Dirt trail plants Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Looking straight down the middle of the photo- the smokestack belongs to the Encina Power Station owned by NRG Energy, which uses the lagoon’s water to cool the power plant. Because of this, the Encina Power Station is considered the “steward” of the lagoon and is in charge of dredging every 2 to 4 years.

As a result of this dredging (removal of sand and silt), the Agua Hedionda Lagoon is also used by two aquaculture businesses: the Carlsbad Aquafarm that raises Blue Mussels, Pacific Oysters and Ogo (edible seaweed); as well as, the Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute that runs a White seabass hatchery.

Wild Radish Plant Agua Hedionda Lagoon
Wild Radish is a non-native species.

The Wild Radish, pictured above lives and dies in one year. It is considered a habitat threatening invasive species. 

Dredging Machine Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Panoramic Picture

Did you notice the loud humming in the background and the silt in the water? The Encina Power Plant was dredging the lagoon today.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Upper Trail

Before going down on the main trail let’s now take a look at the lagoon from up above. There are many plants up here to see, and the view is incredible!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Bridge

Bush Sunflower Agua Hedionda Lagoon
Bush Sunflower-(native)
French Broom Agua Hedionda Lagoon
French Broom- (non-native)
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus-(native)
Algerian Sea Lavender Agua Hedionda Lagoon
Algerian Sea Lavender-Statice (non-native)

Let’s head back and go toward the northeast and check out where the Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute is.

Have I also mentioned that I would LOVE to work there?

Overlooking bench seating area Agua Hedionda Lagoon
What a great place to have a seat and look out onto the lagoon!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon upper trail

Hubbs Trail Dredging Machine Lagoon

As we are getting closer to the beginning of the trail, do you notice those black contraptions on the side of the cliff?

Black plastic sheets Solarization Project

According to the official website of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, these thick sheets of plastics are being used for a solarization project headed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Carlsbad Strawberry Fields.

The goal of the project is to remove the non-native plant species, such Algerian Sea Lavender and the Hollentot-Fig and the Wild Radish from local salt marshes by using the heat of the sun.

Studies have shown that increased soil temperatures, as well as lack of sunlight, have helped in eliminating invasive species and their seed banks.

The solarization study began in December of 2017,  so fingers crossed!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon bluff

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Bluff flowers
Yarrow (white), Common Ice Plant and Algerian Sea Lavender (purple)

Lagoon information sign black plastic solarization sheet

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Trail Regulation Sign

Trailhead sign information Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Check out all of these activities that are offered here at the lagoon!

Agau Hedionda Lagoon Dredger

Here is a peek at the dredging machine, and boy is it loud!

Time To Go Down South Toward Hubbs-Seaworld Institute

Beginning Hubbs Trail down Lagoon

Fountain Grass Agua Hedionda Lagoon
Fountain Grass (non-native)
Wild Radish and Bush Sunflower dirt trail
Bush Sunflower and Wild Radish

hill stabilization ice plant growing inside

Here we have ice plant taking over the retaining wall.

Fun Fact- The Hottentot-Fig, commonly referred as ‘ice-plant’ is a habitat threatening invasive species originally from South Africa. In the late 1800’s, California imported this plant as a way to stabilize the sand dunes and the dirt in between the railroad tracks. Later on, CalTrans did the same up along all of the freeways.

The fact is, the opposite is true; in other words, this plant adds to the erosion problem as well as inhibiting the growth of native plant populations.

bluff stabilization ice plant growing inside

Algerian Sea Lavender Agua Hedionda Lagoon

bench Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute

Another fantastic spot close to the Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute, which provides relaxation and a spectacular view to boot.

Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute White seabass growout pen

We are getting closer to Hubbs now.

Do you notice the piping in the lagoon leading to the platform offshore? Here is a holding pen for the older and larger White seabass to live in before released into the wild.

According to the Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute, since 1986, over one million juvenile White seabass have been released into bays and nearshore coastal areas in southern Califonia. In fact, this facility is capable of producing over 350,000 juveniles each year!

For more information, click on the link above.

White seabass grow out pen Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon mudflats with birds
Can you see all of the birds out on the mudflats?

Close up bird wading mudflats

Here we have a Snowy Egret hanging out on the mudflats at low tide. It just so happened to catch a fish while I was watching!

Close up bird wading mudflats lagoons

How did this heart form in the eelgrass?

Close up bird wading mudflats lagoons

In this direction, we can get another good look at the mudflats.

Outside Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute
Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute is on the other side of the fence.

What is around the corner?

Water Sports in the Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon welcome/trail sign
Notice the very northeast marker is where Carlsbadlagoon.com watersport park is located.

The outside section of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon is not accessible to the midsection except by a water vessel such as a paddleboard or a kayak. As you can see, the path ends underneath this bridge. Here I have an example of where the two sections of the lagoon meet.

I had a mishap while filming, as my finger seemed to get in the way.

I love how this video shows the current going out because of the low tide, so I am ignoring the finger!

Paddle boarder under small bridge

Agua Hedionda Lagoon is considered to be a “passive recreational’ water park.

No swimming is allowed, and you may not anchor a boat, but in the northeastern part of the lagoon, many activities are offered at California Watersports: such as wave runners, waterskiing, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, peddle boats, wakeboarding, and boat rentals.

It is important also to note that there is a ramp available here as well as picnic tables.

For more information, please check out Carlsbadlagoon.com‘s website.

Fishing is permitted along the shore, but not by boat.

The average depth of the lagoon is 8-10 feet.

under bridge looking toward mid-lagoon

Right under the bridge in the distance is where you will find California Watersports.

View under bridge toward west lagoon

Heading Back Towards The Ocean

seaweed edge Agua Hedionda lagoon

Now it is time to walk back toward the coast.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon
I wonder if this seaweed here in a hindrance to the anglers who fish here?

What a beautiful sight to see the mouth of the lagoon fully open since water exchange between the ocean and the lagoon is exceptionally vital.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Another great spot to hang out and watch the current of the lagoon go out into the Ocean or vice versa.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

At this vantage point, we look back at the lagoon before heading onto the bridge. Do you notice the beginning of the trail up on the hill to the right?

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Directly across from the street to the right is Tamarack Beach and to the left is Warm Water Jetty Beach.  Let’s have a look at the water from on top of the bridge.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Time to make our way back to the beginning! How did you enjoy the tour? I love it here so much as it brings back great memories when I use to interview fishermen here.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

It looks like someone is going fishing in a kayak.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

One more look before we say goodbye!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon
Hottentot-Fig

Well, thanks again for joining me on a tour of the Hubbs Trail at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. As you can see this is a unique place!  I hope one day you will be able to come and visit here in person! Hopefully, it will be on a day when there is no dredging going on. It would be a, how do you say- a quieter experience.

Please feel free leave any comments or questions below.

Until next time!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

I can not tell you how excited I was to go and check out the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center! I have always been fond of this lagoon. In fact, when I used to work as a Fisheries Technician, I would find a large number of shore anglers fishing on the western edge of this lagoon.

In San Diego, there are several lagoons as well as complimentary Nature Centers filled with valuable information on local flora and fauna.

On my site here, I have a page which lists all of these Coastal Lagoons and Nature Centers in San Diego County.

It has been my goal to visit everyone! Today is the day to check out the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center!

Let’s go!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Map

Located in North County San Diego, the Agua Hedionda Lagoon is a 400-acre saltwater lagoon situated forty minutes away from Downtown San Diego in Carlsbad.

 Agua Hedionda means “Stinky Water” in Spanish. Before dredging in 1954, the lagoon was initially cut off from the Ocean by a massive amount of sand, so I can easily see how it received this name.

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon is unique in that several businesses share this lagoon:

  • The Encina Power Station owned by NPG Energy uses the water of the lagoon for the Power Plants cooling systems. Of special note-they are the stewards of this lagoon and are in charge of dredging it every two years
  • Carlsbad Aquafarm  which raises oysters and mussels
  • Hubbs-Seaworld Institute runs a White Sea Bass hatchery
  • YMCA Daycamp
  • California Water Sports- Carlsbad Lagoon.com features a dock and launch ramp as well as rentals and picnic areas
  • Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center, located on the eastern edge of the lagoon is also where the Ecological Reserve section of the lagoon is. (refer to the map below)

Agua Hedionda Lagoon pamphlet with map

Agua Hedionda Lagoon pamphlet information

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center building

So now that we got all of that out of the way let’s now just concentrate on the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center!

1580 Cannon Rd

760 804-1969

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

*Please click on each photo to see a larger version.

When I first pulled into the parking lot, I was already happy with what I saw. It is evident that much care has been given to maintaining a pristine environment in and around the Center.

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation owns and operates the 3800 square foot Agua Hedionda Discovery Center which was completed in 2004.

Here you will find some fantastic displays which showcase historical as well as the biological significance of the area.

Let’s have a look around, shall we?

Ranchero room inside Center

When I first walked in, I encountered the guinea pigs cages within the Rancho Room.

In the early history of California, the Spanish and later the Mexican governments would hand out large land grants and deeds to set up Ranchos to raise cattle and sheep.  

Ranchero Room coyote buffalo skin

Ranchero Room animal skin on wall

Over in the far left corner, there is an insect display showcased.

Animal Displays

Wetland Habitat Sign Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Bird Room Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center
In the display case are six bird nest examples.

Here we have the Birds of Agua Hedionda Lagoon Exhibit. Each tile has relevant and interesting facts on several species of birds found here.

Nine professional bird portraits information tiles
Professional photos of birds seen at the lagoon.

Back door view Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

The Reptile Room display showcases several species as well as giving you the option of handling them if you wish. I have to say that I passed on that opportunity today, but if I did have the chance, I wouldn’t mind holding one of the snakes.

Reptile Displays six tanks

Reptile Room Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

More reptile display tanks

Across the room, you will find the Discovery Centers Fish Aquariums where you can get a general idea of what is going on underneath the waters and also see some of the native species that call this lagoon home.

Fish Aquarium Room tanks

Fish Display with information posters

Discovery Center Adopt a Fish Display
Adopt a Fish! Here a few examples of fish seen at the lagoon.

Column of Life Display Discovery Center

In this showcase- The Column of Life, you will get a first-hand look at what is going on at the bottom of the lagoon as well as each layer. In essence, here you will learn the ecology of the lagoon and see how each layer works together as well as learning how important wetlands are to the coastal environment.

Here, see for yourself what lives in each layer! Column of Life Information side display

Luiseno History and Cultural Exhibit

Luiseno Heritage Display

This display was a collaborative effort between the San Luis Rey Band of  Luiseno Indians and California State University San Marcos.

Native American Display Discovery Center

Grab Station Kids Corner

Luiseno Instruments showcased display
Luiseno Instruments

One of the primary emphasis of this display is to show how important the native plants played in general to the Native American lifestyle.

California Native Plant Poster

Kid’s Corner

Archaeological Dig Display Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

In the Kid’s Corner, there are several activities for the children to experience, such as an Archaeological Dig, many books to look at as well as plenty of things to color and draw on.

I know that if my kids were still small, they would find heaps of things to do here!Kid's Corner bookshelves table

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center
Withing the Beachcomber display, kids can close there eyes and guess what is in the sand.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon History Hallway

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center History Hallway Sign

I always get a little excited when I see a designated History area, as I revel in learning as much as I can of the past of San Diego. There is something to be said about past knowledge that adds to the experience of any location.

Let’s now take a stroll down History Hall!

Beginning of History Hall

5000 BC to 1769 facts History Hall

 It so fascinating that the history of this area goes back all the way to 5000BC!1796 to 1842 Agua Hedionda Lagoon

A Spanish commander, Gasper de Portola was the first sighted the lagoon, and named it “Stinking Waters.”  I find this interesting because where I live (20 miles inland) in Temecula, one of the major roads is named De Portola Road!

1860 to 1879 facts in History Hall

Before the 1920’s the Agua Hedionda Lagoon was closed off to the Ocean, but that all changed after a series of powerful storms finally opened up the lagoon to saltwater circulation.

History Hall Facts 1920's to 1954

On March 3, 1990, the Aqua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation began.

1980-1990 History Hall Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Between the years of 1992 and 1998, a system of trails was planned and eventually created around the lagoon. During these formative years is when I became familiar with the lagoon.

At the time, the only trail that I was aware of was the Hubbs Trail located at the northwestern shore of the lagoon. This area has always been a favorite spot to fish from shore.

1992-1998 History Hall

History Hall 1999-2000 facts

History Hall 2000-2003 facts Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Between the years of 2000 and 2003, an invasive seaweed species named Calerpa taxifolia was introduced into the lagoon after being released from a home aquarium.

As a rule, never, ever dump your aquarium water into the wild as you will be introducing foreign, competing species!

Anyway, this strain of seaweed grows extremely fast, up to 12 inches a day. Because it is so fast growing, the lagoon almost came to ruin, but through due diligence, the seaweed was ultimately eradicated.  If you are interested in learning more, please click here.

History Hall Facts 2005-2006

I  appreciate immensely how much time and effort that the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation puts into educating the children in the area about the importance of the lagoon.  All of the awards that they receive are proof of that! 
History Hall 2013-2015 Facts and photos

1954 Aerial shot lagoon with information
A 1954 aerial shot of the lagoon.

Tour Around The Outside

When I walked outside of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center for the first time, I became swarmed by a flock of swallows! I had no idea that they were back in town, so it was a pleasant surprise!

Fun Fact- Each year the swallows return in large groups to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19, St Joseph’s Day. The birds travel over 6000 miles from Goya, Argentina. To read more, click on the link above, it is fascinating!

Swallows outside Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Side of Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

If you zoom in and look under the eave of the roof, you will find holes lined up where the swallows can build their mud nests.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Backside of Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Can you imagine yourself sitting here with a cup of coffee taking in the sights? I sure can!

Viewing Station Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Let’s now take a walk around toward where the trail starts.

Bridge to sitting area Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Here we are on the back patio.

Native American Mural Back Patio
This mural depicts when the lagoon was cut off from the Ocean and was a freshwater lagoon. You can tell because cattails only grow in freshwater.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Back Patio

Looking back at the back patio, we are on our way now to take a short  .25 mile hike!

Let’s go!

Aqua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Trail

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Trail Map
Here is a list of all of the Trails at the lagoon

Discovery Center Trail Head Sign

Beginning of the Discovery Center Trail

Walking down this slope, you can not help becoming overwhelmed with all the smells of the coastal sage scrub community of plants. Within the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center’s grounds, there are more than 800 native plants, highlighting over 60 different species!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Trail

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Trail


Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center from trail

Here you can sneak a peak of the Discovery Center from the bottom of the first hill.

Bush Sunflower on trail

Walking down a little farther, I spy a bit of orange, which can mean only one thing our State Flower, the California Poppy!

I get so excited when I find them!

Fun Fact- You may pick a California Poppy, but only if it is not on any state grounds. If it is outside a school or a courthouse, or even on a street median do not hurt it or pick it!

Bottom of Discovery Trail poppies

California Poppy Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Trail

California Poppies Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Mid-Trail

Here we are making our way on the final stretch of our hike. Did I mention that it smells delightful?

California Coastal Sage Scrub Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Discovery Trail halfway down

If you are ever in the area, guided bird walks are offered monthly here at the Discovery Center! What a marvelous opportunity to go bird watching with an expert for free!

Poster for Monthly Bird Walks

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Trail

Ecological Reserve Sign at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Here we come upon the Ecological Reserve portion of the lagoon. No one is to enter this area, as it is critical habitat for many species.

End of Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Trail

East of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center near end

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Trail

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Ecological Reserve

End of Discovery Trail looking toward lagoon

End of Discovery Trail Looking Back
Looking back at the end of the Trail

It is important to mention that this is not a closed loop trail, so now it is time to make our way back.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Native Garden

Carlsbad Garden Club Sign

After our lovely walk, let’s now head over the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center’s Native Garden which hosts over 50 native species of plants.

First off, here is a list of all the species that are found here to use for later reference.

Native Plant Species List Side 1

Native Plant Species List Side 2

Two sand boxes at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Heading over to the Native Garden, we pass by these fun sandboxes for children to explore in.

Franciscan manzanita Native Garden

Over here, we find the Franciscan Manzanita which is extinct in the wild. How fortunate to have this particular plant on display!

Franciscan manzanita Native Garden Discovery Center

Torrey Pine Tree information sign

Ever since I visited the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, I am obsessed with the Torrey Pine tree!

You see, the Torrey Pine is the rarest pine tree in the United States and lives only in North County San Diego, with one exception-a grove on an island off the coast of Santa Barbara.

Two Torrey Pine Trees outside the Center
Torrey Pine Trees!

I get delighted whenever I come across one!

Close-up of Torrey Pine needles

You can tell it is a Torrey Pine tree by looking at the needles as they are in groups of five. Take a look at the picture above and see if you can count out five.

Prostrate Black Sage Native Garden

The Prostrate Black Sage has such delicate purple flowers.

Deergrass Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center Native Garden

Deergrass is a valuable material used in basket weaving.

Inner Monterey Manzanita native garden

Inner Monterey Manzanita Plant Native Garden

Lemonade Berry Sign Native Garden

I might have to try this lemonade recipe some time!

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

San Diego Honeysuckle Native Gardens

The San Diego Honeysuckle is found everywhere! In fact, I have a few of these vines growing in my backyard.

To call them hardy would be an understatement. You can find this plant everywhere growing like a weed.

It sure does smell good though!

Coast Live Oak Information sign

Here is another of my favorite trees the Coastal Live Oak. In fact, the oldest Coastal Live Oak tree is on the Pechanga Reservation which is less than a mile from my house.

Nicknamed the ” The Great Oak,” it is over 1000 years old!

Coastal Live Oak outside Discovery Center

Coyote Brush Native Garden Information

Coyote Brush Near Parking Lot Native

Carmel Mountain Lilac Native Garden

Narrow-leaf Milkweed Native Garden

Foothill penstemon

I love the flowers!

Basket Bush Native Garden

Dwarf Coffeeberry Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

White Sage Discovery Center Native Garden

California Sagebrush Information

Down below is California Sage Brush which smells heavenly.

California Sagebrush Plant

Gowen Cypress Information

Gowen Cypress Plant Native Garden

Dwarf Coyote Brush Native Garden

Western Yarrow Information

Western Yarrow Plant Native Garden

End of the Tour

So thank you for making it this far!  So what do you think of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center? Pretty fabulous huh?

As I mentioned before, I have been visiting all of the Lagoons and Nature Centers in San Diego.

In fact, this lagoon was number three on my list. So far, I think this might be my favorite. There is so much to see and do here.  I only stayed for an hour but could have stayed even longer.

I enjoyed the short Discovery Center Trail, all of the interactive displays as well as the very extensive Native Garden.

My only wish is that I had more time to look around!

After my visit here, I continued my adventure and toured the Hubb Trail located at the mouth of the lagoon. Please check back later as I will writing about my experiences there as well!

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section!

Until next time!

Front of Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Goodbye Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

Today, I would like to take you on a tour of the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center which lies between Encinitas to the north and Solana Beach to the south in San Diego North County.  I have always wanted to explore the San Elijo Lagoon as you can see it from both HWY 101 and off of the Interstate 5 Freeway.

Come and join me, would you?

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Regional Park Sign

First off, here is a bit of information for you.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife; as well as, the County of San Diego Department of Parks are in charge of overlooking the lagoon.

2710 Manchester Ave, Cardiff

(760) 436-3944

Hours- 9am-5pm

  • Please click on each photo to see a larger version.

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Google Map

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve

San Eljio Lagoon Ecological Reserve Trail Map
San Elijo Lagoon Trails

There are over 1000 acres with 7 miles of trails and eight trailheads available to walk around at the San Elijo Lagoon.

Located within the reserve are six plant communities to explore:

  • Coastal Strand
  • Salt Marsh
  • Brackish/Freshwater Marsh
  • Coastal Sage Scrub
  • Mixed Chapparal

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Nature Trail Sign

California Sage Scrub Plants looking SW
Coastal Sage Scrub-looking out toward the Ocean.
San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center
San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Welcome Sign

Let’s now have a look inside!

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Welcome Booth
Great Blue Heron- Ardea herodias

Established in 2009, the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center offers a variety of interactive displays as well as historical facts.

According to the San Elijo Conservancy website, “The 5,600-square foot building is Platinum-Certified by U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The two-story building is made from recycled materials and relies on solar energy, natural light, and ventilation.”

This state of the art center, which even uses recycled water to irrigate the landscape, replaced the nature center that had previously opened in 1988.

Watershed Display San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

People, Plant and Animal Display

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk- Accipiter cooperii
Coyote Display San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center
Coyote- Canis latrans

Scented Slopes Display San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

 There are several examples of fragrant plants in this display. It helps you get a good idea of what you are smelling while walking around the lagoon.

Fiddler Crab Display
Fiddler Crabs
San Diego Alligator Lizard
San Diego Alligator Lizard
Coastal Rosy Boa
Coastal Rosy Boa
California Kingsnake Display
California Kingsnake

A Brief Look at the History of this Area

I was very interested in going over these historical displays.

Here you can learn very quickly all that has been happening in the area for over the past hundred of years!

Let’s have a look!

Native People History Display Information
Native People
Ranchos History 1840's
Ranchos
Transportation Information at San Elijo Lagoon
Transportation
Land Development History of San Elijo Lagoon
Land Development
Storing and Moving Water History at Lagoon
Storing and Moving Water
Human Influence History San Elijo Lagoon
Human Influences

Time For A Nature Walk!

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Trail Sign
San Elijo Lagoon Nature Trail Sign

So today, we decided to walk around the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Trail Inner Loop which is only .3 miles long.

Here you get to walk next to the inside of the lagoon and experience the Salt Marsh, Brakish-Freshwater, and Coastal Sage Scrub environments.

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail Brochure Station

Before we start our adventure, I have found a couple of excellent resources to help you out in identifying the plants and birds at the lagoon compliments of the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy.

Plant Guide

Animal Guide

San Elijo Lagoon Enhancement Project Poster

At the time of our visit, crews were out in the lagoon dredging. There has been a consorted effort to restore the lagoon both from the city and from concerned private citizens.

Resident and Visitor Birds at San Elijo Lagoon

Here are a few more examples of several birds seen here. In fact, over 40% of North American bird species have been seen here!

Beginning of San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail

Marine Protected Area Sign

Amtrak Train San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

The Amtrak Train passes by the lagoon several times a day.

San Elijo Lagoon Dredging Machine

Do you notice the dredging machine in the background?

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail

Water hole at San Elijo Lagoon

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail
Turning a corner

Inner San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail

San Elijo Lagoon

Seeing the San Elijo is an Ecological Reserve, it is important to remember to always stay on the designated paths.

San Elijo Lagoon Area Closed Sign
Birds Only Beyond This Sign

middle of Inner San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail

Here we are entering the center of the Inner Loop Trail.

Inner San Elijo Lagoon Nature Trail

Inner San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Trail

Owl Box San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

Here is an Owl Box on the reserve, located in the middle of the Inner Loop Trail.

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center in distance

We are now heading back to the Nature Center now.

Coastal Sage Scrub Plants
Coastal Sage Scrub Plants
Bush Sunflower
Bush sunflower- Encelia californica

View From the Top

As we come to an end of our walk around the trail, let’s now have a look at the second story of the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center!

Second Story of San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

DId you happen to notice the sign for Sunday Family Fun Day? I would also like to mention that every first and third Saturday, the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, offers free naturalist-guided tours from 10 am- 11 am!

Here is a pamphlet that I picked up at the nature center which provides information of other programs that are held here.

San Elijo Nature Center

San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Environmental Education Brochure

While we are walking up the stairs to the second floor, there were these beautiful drawings of birds to take in.

Bird Poster on Stairwell

Here is a bit of the artwork that the kids make on the Family Fun Day. There is something special when you can have fun learning!

Bird Poster on Second Floor

Second Story View From San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

Second Story Panoramic View San Elijo Lagoon
Second Story Panoramic View

I wish I were able to take a few more photos up here, but a swarm of bees started to surround me, so I thought it was a great idea to head back down!

End of the Day

Beginning of the Nature Center Inner Loop Trail
Beginning of the Nature Center Inner Loop Trail.

So I hope you enjoyed a mini-tour of the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center and the .3 mile Nature Center Trail Loop!

The Nature Center is a great location to learn about the early history of the area as well as learning about what animal and plant species that are prominent in Southern California.

In Southern California, over 90% of the coastal estuaries are gone due to development. Because of this,  restoration and preservation of the remaining estuaries are essential.

It gives me such pride to see another fellow San Diegans taking the initiative and effort to keep the Southern California coast as pristine as possible.

It has been a pleasure visiting all of the Coastal Lagoons and Nature Centers in San Diego! I have been learning so much!

I hope that you have enjoyed our mini-tour and that one day you can come here in person!

Please leave any comments or questions you might have!

Until next time!

Resources Used-

San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy


Learn How To Make A Business Website For Free!

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

List of San Diego Fishing Piers

San Diego Fishing Piers

Today, I would like to present to you a comprehensive list of all possible San Diego fishing piers. We will start the journey in North County San Diego at the Oceanside pier, making our way south, all around San Diego Bay and finally ending at the Imperial Beach pier less than two miles away from Mexico.

San Diego County Google Map

San Diego Fishing Piers-Which one to Choose?

Do you like to fish?

Do you like to take walks on piers?

San Diego has several piers to choose from depending on where you are or what kind of fish you wish to catch.

Fishing Pole San Diego Fishing Piers

Each pier has something unique to offer, be it the type of bottom or surrounding views. San Diego Bay alone has five different piers!

Fish Identification Tools

Kelp Bass San Diego Fishing Piers
Kelp Bass-CA Fish and Wildlife Fish ID

For your convenience I have also added a California Marine Sportfishing Identification Index as well as a California Ocean Fishes Fishing Passport to help the next time you go fishing or if you would like to have a look.

Sargo San Diego Fishing Piers
Sargo- CA Fish and Wildlife Fish ID

And one last thing, here are the California Saltwater Sportfishing Regulations along with a Guide to Southern California Beach Fishing which legitimately has some great advice.

All the piers listed below do not require a fishing license, except Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach.

For your assistance, each address is linked to a google map.


Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier San Diego Fishing Pier

San Diego Fishing Piers

Est-1888

Oceanside Pier, Oceanside, CA

Hours– Open 24 hours

Size– 1954 feet wooden pier with a concrete ramp

Underwater Environment– Sandy shore with a rock quarry artificial reef out toward the end of the pier

Amenities

  • Restrooms
  • Fish cleaning stations
  • Snack shop/bait shop
  • Benches
  • Lights
  • A restaurant at the end of the pier Ruby’s has an outdoor second story option
  • 24 hour metered parking
  • Handicap parking
  • 44-inch railing

Fish Caught

Beginning for the pier- Here you will find the sand dwellers such as croakers, corbina, barred surfperch, Sargo, round stingrays.

Middle of the pier- Halibut, barred sand bass, white croaker, yellowfin croaker, topsmelt, jacksmelt, herring and gray smoothhound sharks.

End of the pier– Here you will find more of the pelagic species such as small yellowtail, small white sea bass, bonito, Pacific mackerel, barracuda, kelp bass, barred sand bass. Sometimes even small thresher sharks, blue sharks, leopard sharks and Salema.

Best Spot– MId-pier

Rating– Good to Great

Let’s have a look what is going on under the water! Special thanks to the TASI Youtube Channel for the use of the video.


Oceanside Small Craft Harbor Fishing Pier

Oceanside Harbor San Diego Fishing Pier
The pier is in the far background with the bait barge in the forefront.
San Diego Fishing Piers

Est. 1967

1540 N Harbor Dr, Oceanside

Hours– 24 hours

Size- 50 feet into the water/wooden pier

Underwater Environment– Shallow bay water with mud and eelgrass, rocky intertidal shoreline with a bait barge nearby. The pier is situated near the channel opening of the harbor.

Amenities

  • free parking on the adjacent street N Harbor Dr
  • restroom across the street
  • benches and grass lawn at the base of the pier
  • limited bait available at Helgens Sportfishing at the opposite side of the harbor
  • handicap parking
  • 44-inch railing on the pier

Fish Caught

Many different species that are caught at this pier depending on where you cast your line.

Fish caught at this location include: jacksmelt, topsmelt, kelp bass, spotted bay bass, white croaker, black croaker, spotfin croaker, California halibut, diamond turbot, fantail sole, sargo, shiner perch, rubberlip seaperch, barred surfperch, opaleye, halfmoon, blacksmith, Garibaldi (illegal), round stingray, thornback ray, bay ray, butterfly ray, kelpfish, California needlefish, shovelnose guitarfish, and gray smoothhound shark.

Oceanside Small Craft Harbor Pier

Fish Visiting the Bay

If you are looking for the more substantial pelagic fish that made a wrong way turn into the harbor, you would want to cast straight out from the midpoint of the pier.

Keeping the bait up top might land you – bonito,  Pacific mackerel, barracuda, or small white sea bass.

Best Spot– Midpoint or on the left

Rating– Fair to Good

Here is another TASI video underneath the pier-

 


Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier San Diego Fishing Piers

San Diego Fishing Piers

Est. 1936

4500 Ocean Blvd, San Diego

Hours– 7 am to sunset

Size– 1936 foot wooden pier

Underwater Environment– Sandy shore with no rocks. The pilings are covered with mussels, and there is a right amount of kelp growing around the outer and the end of the pier. The water is not as deep as the other coastal San Diego Fishing piers.

Amenities

  • One fish cleaning station.
  • restroom
  • benches
  • limited night lighting
  • limited metered parking at the front of the pier/ no handicap parking
  • Fishing Licence is required

Fish Caught

Tideline– California corbina, barred surfperch, spotfin croaker, yellowfin croaker, stingrays, shovelnose guitarfish, thornback rays.

Halfway out/ above the tideline– Walleye surfperch, queenfish, white croaker, California halibut, gray smoothhound shark.

End of the pier– Bonito, Pacific mackerel, jack mackerel, jacksmelt, bat ray, small to mid-size white sea bass.

Best Spot– Halfway out on the south side.

Rating– Good to Great


Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach Pier north T San Diego Fishing Piers
San Diego Fishing Piers

Est-1971

Niagara Ave, San Diego

Hours– Open 24 hours

Size– 1971 feet- making it the longest concrete pier in Southern California.  The pier is T-shaped with 360 feet on the south end and 193 feet on the north end. There is over 1 mile of pier railing.

Underwater Environment– The Kelp Forest is on the south end of the T, with a depth of 25 feet. There is a reef off the north end of the T and yields the most fish out of any other areas on the pier. Inshore is rocky intertidal.

Amenities

  • restroom
  • Two fish cleaning stations
  • bait and tackle shop
  • restaurant
  • benches and lights
  • 24-hour parking adjacent to the pier
  • handicap parking at the foot of the bridge

Fish Caught

On the south end which is in the kelp forest, yields kelp bass, sand bass surf perch, bonito, Pacific mackerel, California scorpionfish, California halibut, California lobster (keep only when in season) and occasionally a small Giant Black sea bass (illegal).

On the north end, is where most of the fish are caught due to an underwater reef just off the pier.

Midway out, on both sides of the bait shop, you will see white croaker, queenfish, jacksmelt, Pacific mackerel, barracuda, walleye surfperch, and small white sea bass. This area also yields California halibut, shovelnose guitarfish, and bat rays in the Spring and Summer.

Inshore, the foot of the pier is built over a rocky cliff area. When the tide is high, this shallow area will yield rocky intertidal species such as rubberlip seaperch, black perch, halfmoon, opaleye, blacksmith, senorita and occasionally a moray eel or even a California spiny lobster.

Ocean Beach Pier San Diego Fishing Piers south T

Best Spot– North end of the T.

Rating – Good


Imperial Beach Pier

San Diego Fishing Piers

San Diego Fishing Piers

Est- 1963

10 Evergreen Ave, Imperial Beach

Hours– A curfew is enforced from 10 pm to 5 am

Size– 1491 foot concrete pier

Underwater Environment– Sandy shore, 20 feet deep with short finger jetties to the north of the pier.  There is a substantial growth of mussels and barnacles on the pilings and an artificial 1/2 moon-shaped rock reef near the end of the pier.

Amenities

  • restrooms
  • fish-cleaning stations
  • benches
  • a restaurant at the end of the pier
  • night lighting
  • a parking lot near the foot of the pier-$2 all day, $1 after 5 pm
  • free parking on adjacent streets
  • regular police bike patrols

Fish Caught 

End– Pelagic species such as bonito, Pacific mackerel, bonito, small barracuda and occasionally a small white sea bass or small yellowtail. Fishing in deeper water by the pilings may land you a rubberlip surfperch.

MIdway– Shallow species such as white croaker, queenfish, walleye surfperch, jacksmelt, California halibut, gray smoothhound shark, shovelnose guitarfish.

Inshore– Surfline species like barred surfperch, California corbina, yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker, thornback ray, stingrays, shovelnose guitarfish and sometimes a California halibut.

Best Spot– According to Pierfishing.com, the best spot is behind or in the surf zone and about halfway out right where the pier begins to slope upwards.

Rating-Good

Fun Fact- Imperial Beach is the most southwesterly city in the United States!


San Diego Bay Fishing Piers

Google Map San Diego Bay

San  Diego Bay is a natural harbor with an average depth of 22 feet which is over 13 miles long and 1-3 miles wide.

There are five different fishing piers to choose from.

First starting closest to the mouth of the bay is Shelter Island Pier, followed by the Embarcadero Pier that is located right behind the San Diego Convention Center.

Next, in National City,  the Pepper Park Pie is adjacent to the Sweetwater River Channel, followed by the Bayside Park Pier in National City located just outside of the Chula Vista Harbor.

Finally, looping around the San Diego Bay, I will be ending the list with the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier which is found behind the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace.

There are many options to choose from when fishing in San Diego Bay!

For a general overview, typically when fishing in the bay, you will find that the fish on the top include topsmelt, jacksmelt, Pacific mackerel and bonito. While croakers, bass, sharks, rays, and perch, are found on the bottom.


Shelter Island Pier

Shelter Island Pier San Diego Fishing Piers

San Diego Fishing Piers

Est- 1991

1776 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego

Hours– 6 am- 10:30 pm

Size– T-sharped wooden pier,  200 feet away from the shore and 500 feet in width.

Underwater environment– A mixture of mud, sand, eelgrass with a few rocks. At times the underwater current can get very strong.

Amenities

  • Restroom
  • Bait/Tackle Shop
  • Food and snacks
  • Two fish cleaning stations
  • lights
  • 42-inch railing
  • Handicap parking

Fish Caught

California halibut,  Pacific mackerel, topsmelt, jacksmelt, kelp bass, barred sand bass, spotted sand bass, yellowfin croaker, queenfish, black perch, opaleye, California scorpionfish, turbot, bonito, barracuda, gray smoothhound shark, shovelnose guitarfish, bat ray, and lizardfish.

There are a few rare fish that have been seen here as well, such as the angel shark, thresher shark, and the giant butterfly ray.

Best Spot– Any spot is good but if you are looking for opaleye, right next to the bait shop is best.

Rating– Good


Embarcadero Marina Park Pier

Embarcadero Pier San Diego Fishing Piers
Coronado Pier in the background.
San Diego Fishing Piers

Est-1980

200 Marina Park Way, San Diego

Hours– Open 24 hours, but the parking lot closes at 10 pm.

Size– 95 feet from the shore, a T-shaped wooden pier that is 300 feet wide

Underwater Environment– Shallow bay water with muddy bottom and eelgrass as well as an artificial reef just off the pier.

Amenities

  • restroom
  • fish cleaning stations
  • lights
  • bait store/snack shop
  • picnic area
  • metered parking
  • handicap parking
  • 42-inch railing

Fish Caught

Kelp bass, barred sand bass, spotted sand bass, jacksmelt, topsmelt, walleye surfperch, yellowfin croaker, white croaker, spotfin croaker, Sargo, lizardfish, needlefish, queenfish, diamond turbot, California halibut, shovelnose guitarfish, bat ray, leopard shark, round stingray, and gray smoothhound shark.

When schools of pelagic fish make their way into the bay, there can be good fishing for bonito, Pacific mackerel and small barracuda at this pier.

Some uncommon fish have been seen here as well, such as horn sharks, thresher sharks, and small white sea bass.

Best Spot– Bayside, but it is ok toward the rocks as well.

Rating– Good


Pepper Park Pier

Pepper Park Pier San Diego Fishing Pier
Credit-Port of San Diego
San Diego Fishing Piers

Est- 1970

3299 Tidelands Ave, National City

Hours– 6 am- 10:30 pm

Size– 162-foot wide wooden T-shaped pier.

Underwater Environment– Located right next to where the Sweetwater River Channel enters into San Diego Bay. Sandy bottom with little growth on the pilings. Some of the deepest near-shore water fishing opportunities are found here due to the dredging of the flood channel. On the other side of the river is the Sweetwater Marsh National Refuge which acts as a fish nursery.

Amenities

  • restrooms
  • picnic tables
  • playground
  • free parking
  • boat ramp

Fish Caught

Resident species-topsmelt, jacksmelt, white seaperch, black seaperch, kelp bass, barred sand bass, spotted bay bass, croakers, rays, California halibut, turbot, gray smoothhound shark, leopard shark, shovelnose guitarfish, bat ray.

Seasonal pelagics, Pacific mackerel, bonito and barracuda.

Best Spot– Any

Rating– Fair to Good

Fun Fact- Seeing that this pier is located right next to a river channel, in the winter after a big storm the water surrounding the pier becomes less saline. As a result, fish populations become sparse.


Bayside Park Pier

Bayside Park Pier San Diego Fishing Piers

Est

999 Bayside Pkwy, Chula Vista

Hours– 6:30 am- 10:30 pm

Size– A small concrete pier located at the entrance of the Chula Vista Marina in the south end of San Diego Bay which is an industrial area.

Underwater Environment– Muddy and shallow water situated right next to the Marina.

Amenities

  • restrooms
  • sand beach
  • grass lawns
  • food concessions
  • telephones
  • free parking
  • handicap parking
  • 43-inch railing

Fish Caught

Here you will find the typical bay species such as queenfish, topsmelt, jacksmelt, diamond turbot, California halibut, shiner perch, shovelnose guitarfish, bat rays, round stingrays, gray smoothhound shark, and leopard shark.

Not as common but these fish have been seen here as well- Pacific mackerel, bonito, California needlefish, black perch, barred sand bass, spotted sand bass, yellowfin croaker, and mullet.

Best Spot– On the outside of the pier.

Rating– Fair to good


 Coronado Ferry Landing Pier

Coronado Ferry Landing San Diego Fishing Piers

San Diego Fishing Piers

Est- 1987

1201 1st St, Coronado

Hours– Open 24 hours. The pier is located behind the Ferry Landing Marketplace which is a group of small shops and restaurants.

Size– 377-foot boarding area for the Coronado Ferry that allows anglers to fish but away from the Ferry landing.

Underwater Environment– Shallow water mix of sand, and mud, clam beds with eelgrass. Pilings are covered in mussels

Amenities

  • restrooms found in the shopping center
  • bait cutting platforms
  • free and metered parking
  • food in the shopping center
  • benches
  • lights

Fish Caught

Pacific mackerel, bonito, jacksmelt, topsmelt barred sand bass, spotted sand bass, kelp bass, black perch, white seaperch, rubberlip seaperch, sargo, white croaker, Salema, gray smoothhound shark, bat rays, shovelnose guitarfish, needlefish, California halibut, and sometimes shortfin Corvina.

Best Spot– Grassy areas for barred sand bass and under the far left corner for halibut.

Rating– Good


So there you have it!

We sure have a large selection of fishing piers to choose from here in San Diego.

Regardless of what you are looking for, in terms of a fish species, you are in for a treat. Each pier has something unique, so I suggest you try them all out and find the right “fit”, so to speak.

I hope you enjoyed yourself, and one day you too can walk up and down these piers in person!

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions down below.

References Used-

Pierfishing.com

SDFish.com

The Mystery of Saint Malo Beach

Saint Malo Beach

Have you ever walked down the southern Oceanside beaches? Did you know that at the very end, right near the border of Carlsbad there is a private beach named Saint Malo Beach?

In fact, the community of Saint Malo owns the part of the Buena Vista Lagoon closest to the Pacific Ocean.

Not much is known of this beach, and because of this, I was extremely intrigued to learn more. I would like to mention right up front, that there is hardly any information about this area on the internet.

I spent countless hours trying to find something, anything!

Well,  I found just enough so here I am to take you on a mini-tour of this infamous beach.

Come on!

Let’s have a look!

Saint Malo Beach Map

The History of Saint Malo Beach

Saint Malo Beach was the very first private gated community ever in the San Diego area!

The houses here were first built in the late 1920’s by a Pasadena architect and his wife, Kenyon and Louise Keith.

Initially, he was only interested in buying a few beachfront houses but ultimately he ended up having to purchase 28 acres of prime beach real estate.

And as they say, the rest is history.

Beginning Saint Malo Beach Panoramic

The Saint Malo Community

A high majority of the original owners in this community are from notable “old money” Los Angeles families.

Approximately 2/3 of the 80 houses have been owned by the same families generation after generation.

Over the years, the property owners would sell to just family members and friends as a way to keep the community as tight as possible.

Again, it seems to have worked!

Elite Retreat

Saint Malo Beach was the “It” place to go in the 1930’s and 1950’s. The wealthy elite and Hollywood types would jaunt down here from Los Angeles on the weekends using the train.

You see,  a train station is only steps away from here.  Some notable guests that have spent time here include Harpo Marx and Al Capone.

With a little more digging I found Prince Andrew and Princess Anne stayed her during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and Julia Childs parents had a house here at one time too.

Even to this day, Saint Malo maintains to be an ideal location for summer homes and vacation rentals for the rich and famous.

Saint Malo Home Design

Saint Malo Beach was inspired by the island-city of Saint Malo, located off the Brittany coast of France. The architecture of this community is unique as all of the houses are designed in a French Normandy village style.

Saint Malo Beach France
Credit- All Free Photos

For instance, homeowners are to keep to strict architectural detail:

  • Slanted wood-shingled roofs
  • Red brick chimneys
  • Animal shaped weather vanes

Code of Silence

Not only do all houses have to adhere to this design, but the residents also have to keep a code of silence.

Seeing that I have lived in the San Diego area for over 30 years and I have never heard of this place, I would say that this code of silence has worked rather well!

To respect their wishes, I will not add any of the families names, but I will give you a few hints.

One family has their name on a very famous street in Los Angeles, in fact, I grew up one block away from it.

Another family has a State Beach named after them.  And as a matter of fact, this State Beach is only 34 minutes north of here!

So are you ready to go and see this mysterious place? Well, to begin with, to get there you will need to walk for a little under a mile, starting at the South Oceanside beach entrance off of Cassidy Street.

Cassidy Street Stop Sign

You see, this is the only entrance from Oceanside, or you could start further south at Carlsbad City Beach. Today though, we will be starting in Oceanside.

Let’s go!

  Saint Malo Beach Walk

To start our adventure, we first had to park off the street as there is no parking lot.

As a rule, this beach access route is entirely dependent on the tide due to how narrow it is. Because of this, always check the tide report before walking on this beach.

Cassidy Street Beach entrance

Beginning stairs looking south

Cassidy Street Beach Stairwell Halfway Down northwest

Looking north Oceanside Pier

beginning of Saint Malo Beach

Walking toward Saint Malo Beach

About halfway on our walk, the Saint Malo community begins. Each house has it own unique stairway making its way down unto the beach.

Staircase up to Saint Malo Beach

Saint Malo Beach half-way down

Saint Malo Beach half-way down

Sandpipers Saint Malo Beach
Sandpipers.

Two birds in surf at Saint Malo Beach

When taking a  look up top, I am not going to lie, but I was pretty nervous walking up this stairwell.

Keeping my eye on the sign which plainly states no trespassing, I  intentionally kept this photo shoot short!

Stairway up to house Saint Malo Beach

Saint Malo Beach Private Beach

I appreciate how all the houses have the same slanted wood shingled roofs. Don’t you find this charming? I especially like the animal shaped weather vanes.

View From the Top
Close to end Saint Malo Beach

 When visiting today the tide was low, but when the tide is high, the waves crash right into the rocks, making this beach impossible to go on.

Could this be another reason why not many are aware of this area?

South Oceanside Beach Saint Malo Beach

Saint Malo Beach Looking North

Saint Malo Beach Upper View

Can you imagine the waves crashing onto the rocks here and how wonderful that would sound!

Saint Malo Beach Private Beach Lifeguard Chair

Here is a look at the private beach which includes a lifeguard!

What a gorgeous spot to sunbathe!

Private Beach Saint Malo Beach
Saint Malo’s private beach.

The Backside of Buena Vista Lagoon

End of Saint Malo Beach

As we come toward the end of Saint Malo Beach, we come upon the backside of the Buena Vista Lagoon.

Backside Buena Vista Lagoon

The Buena Vista Lagoon in the past used to be a saltwater lagoon because it connected to the Pacific Ocean.

But in the early 1940’s that all changed.  The homeowners of Saint Malo, placed a small dam (weir) to keep the ocean out.

Ultimately this weir has turned this area into a freshwater lagoon.

Long story short, the Saint Malo community believed it was in their best interests to have a freshwater lagoon, compared to a saltwater lagoon. Needless to say, but there has been controversy over this decision ever since. If you would like more information as I have written more on this in-depth, please go here.

Buena Vista Lagoon Overflow

Buena Vista Lagoon Weir

Corner house Saint Malo Beach Hottentot-fig

Buena Vista Lagoon

Can you imagine what the views must look like from inside of these houses?

Buena Vista Lagoon Saint Malo Beach

Dunes at Saint Malo Beach

Here we are at the city border-Oceanside is on the right and Carlsbad is on the left.

Saint Malo Beach ice plant

Let’s now walk toward the water again and soak in the views.

Ocean waves beach iceplant

Saint Malo Beach sand dune

Buena Vista Lagoon runoff

Corner house Saint Malo Beach

Looking north Saint Malo Beach

Well, here we have come to the end of the tour.

Saint Malo Beach looking North

I hope that you enjoyed our quick tour walking the beach of South Oceanside and Saint Malo Beach!

What do you think about the architectural design of the homes? How about the sense of community? How has this spot been keep secret for so long?

I am happy that I was finally able to come here and see it for myself. I hope that one day you will too!

Until next time!


Interested In Starting An Online Business For Free?

Saint Malo Beach


 

 

 

A Walk Around Buena Vista Lagoon

Buena Vista Lagoon

 On the morning of March 9, 2018, my mother-in-law and I decided to take a trip to the Buena Vista Lagoon in Oceanside, California.

I had been here once before but never took the quarter-mile hike just outside of the Buena Vista Lagoon Audubon’s Nature Center.

I have been intrigued ever since, so we are back!

Come and join me for a tour!

Buena Vista Means “Good-View” In Spanish

Buena Vista Lagoon Cattails trees
What a view from the Nature Centers observation deck!

2202 South Coast Hwy, Oceanside

760-439-2473

# Please click on each photo to see a larger version size.

Great Blue Heron Metal Statue

Let us now go over a few things before we take our hike.

The Buena Vista Lagoon is 223 acres of freshwater wetland that serves as a natural barrier between two cities- Oceanside and Carlsbad.

  I think it is also important to mention that there are no other freshwater lagoons in Southern California.

So needless to say, we have a unique coastal ecosystem here!

You may fish from shore and hiking is allowed on designated trails only.

Buena Vista Lagoon Map

I have always wondered about this lagoon/ coastal wetland ever since I moved down here over 30 years ago.

Not only do you notice it when driving on Interstate 5, but you can see it as well on Hwy 78 which runs east.

In fact, this waterway (Buena Vista Creek) runs parallel with Hwy 78 for almost 10 miles inland.

Who is in Charge of the Buena Vista Lagoon?

The lagoon is owned and maintained by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

There are also two non-profit organizations that help support and preserve this site: The Buena Vista Audubon Society and the Buena Vista Lagoon Foundation.

Buena Vista Lagoon History

Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve Poster

The history of the Buena Vista Lagoon is fascinating.

Back in 1939, an ordinance was passed stating that firearms were allowed to be discharged within the adjacent areas around the lagoon. Ultimately this is what turned this location into a bird sanctuary.

In 1968, the Buena Vista Lagoon became the very first ecological reserve to be designated in California.

Initially, this body of water was a salt marsh. The inlet once connected to the Pacific, so the lagoon relied heavily on the tidal action to help with the water circulation.

The Placing of the Weir

Buena Vista Lagoon Weir
The weir in place is the reason that this is a freshwater lagoon.

 In the 1940’s a weir was put up to stop this connection and as a result, created a freshwater lagoon.

 A weir is a small dam used to raise the level of a stream, or in this case, a small lagoon.

A group of private homeowners at Saint Malo Beach damned up the lagoon to keep it freshwater only.

Saint Malo is a unique private gated community of multimillion-dollar homes built in a French Normandy style situated right on the coast. With the adding of the weir, they now had their private lake as well.

Saint Malo Beach Buena Vista Lagoon
The Saint Malo community owns this section of the Buena Vista Lagoon.

There has been significant controversy over weir ever since.

More on that later.

Pacific Flyway

 Do you like birds?

Did you know that the Buena Vista Lagoon is a part of the Pacific Flyway?

Can you believe that millions of birds pass by this area during their annual migrations in the Winter and Summer?

Trailhead Posters Birds Water Conservation

Needless to say, but this is an excellent spot to go bird watching!

The Four Basins of Buena Vista Lagoon

Buena Vista Lagoon Aerial Shot

Referring to the aerial shot of the Buena Vista Lagoon above, you can see that it is broken up into four separate basins.

The last one is hard to see in this photo, but it is right before you get to the beach, where a weir is set up.

 A group of private community homeowners at Saint Malo Beach own the last of the four basins.

Their primary objective is the keep the Buena Vista Lagoon as a freshwater lagoon.

The Buena Vista Lagoon has been in a state of decline due to excess sedimentation and the uncontrolled spread of cattails and mosquitos because of this weir.

As of today,  there has been no dredging of the sediment since 1982! Whenever something is about to be done, another court case is filed once again.

Talk about red-tape!

Saltwater Lagoon vs. Fresh Water Lagoon

Salt water heals everything poster Buena Vista Lagoon

I can not tell you how many headaches this small little dam has given to this community

There have been four options:

  1. Restore the lagoon to saltwater marsh flushed by the ocean.
  2. Create a hybrid lagoon with eastern half freshwater and the western half salt water.
  3. Dredge and improve the existing freshwater lagoon.
  4. Do nothing.

Pro Saltwater Lagoon

After several years of environmental impact studies done by the city as well as the state, the conclusion was that the removal of the weir is in the best interests of the lagoon as well as the most economical.

Advocates for removing the weir site numerous studies showing how the infestation of the cattails and mosquitos would disappear and biological diversity would increase.

You see, the cattails have been growing out of control. Many of the waterways have been chocked off thus making the water stagnant and in turn, making for a natural breeding ground for mosquitos.

Opening up the lagoon to the Ocean would also help improve circulation of the waterways.

Additionally, a brackish (salt/fresh) water environment would be ideal for many marine species as a nursery ground.

Buena Vista Lagoon Saint Malo Beach
The last Buena Vista Lagoon quadrant before the Pacific Ocean.

Is Freshwater Really Best?

Opponents of the measure (the private homeowners) claim that if they agree to remove the weir, then sooner or later a 100 ft wide channel would be made on the beach.

Because of this, it would be impossible to walk between the two city beaches over 37% of the year.

Buena VIsta Lagoon run-off on Saint Malo Beach
Would the channel be 100 feet wide?

They also fear that the lagoon would end up decreasing in size and would result in a stinky mud flat. The bottom line is the homeowners do not want to see a decrease in home value.

On the other hand,  many inland residents feel as if they are being held  ‘hostage” by the few who own the weir.

Their main complaint is the evergrowing mosquito problem overtaking adjacent areas around the lagoon.  Everything can be resolved by just getting rid of the weir.

Mosquitos cannot live in salt water!

Are you interested in more information?

Check this video out!

What do you think?


Walking On the Trail At Buena Vista Lagoon

Buena Vista Lagoon Trail Guide

Now let’s get back to the main reason that we came here in the first place, to take that walk around the Buena Vista Lagoon Nature Center Trail.

We started just outside of the Visitor Center and proceeded to follow the path to the left.

I would like to add that the local Eagle Scouts have posted classifications placards for many of the plant species all along the trail (see map above.), which I appreciated so much!

Let’s go!

Flora and Fauna of Buena Vista Poster
Here are a few examples of what Flora and Fauna that is seen here.

Fish Poster Buena Vista Lagoon

 

Beginning of trail Buena Vista Lagoon

Buena Vista Lagoon Trail dirt trail coastal sage scrub

Cattails sky trees
Cattails

Buena Vista Lagoon bird watching platform cattails

The lagoon edges are taken over by narrow and broadleaf cattails, spiny rush and bulrush.

Dirt trail between Cattails saltgrass
Cattails and Salt Grass

Bridge through Cattails

Cattails and Bulrush Buena Vista Lagoon
Cattails in the back and bulrush in the front.
Dirt trail through Cattails
These Cattails were over 8 feet tall!

Low water level Buena Vista Lagoon mud cattails

It is evident here that the lagoons water level is rather low.

woman on bird watching platform woman

Do you see how tall these cattails are?

Compact Cattails in water
Notice how compact these Cattails are?

 

A Look at a Few Native Species

Native Species Torrey Pine, CA Sagebrush CA Bush Sunflower
Two Torrey Pine trees and California Sagebrush on the left with California Bush Sunflower on the right.

 I was pleasantly surprised to see two Torrey Pine trees while we were making our way back to the Nature Center.

If you are not familiar, the Torrey Pine is the rarest pine trees in the country.

 The Torrey Pine tree is only found in North County San Diego. There is one exception though- a small grove is located on one of the Channel Island off of the coast of Santa Barbara in Central California.

Would you like to see a grove of Torrey Pine trees up close? A hike at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is just 20 minutes south of here! I highly recommend it!

Torrey Pine Tree Buena Vista Lagoon

Torrey Pine Tree Cattails Buena VIsta Lagoon

End of Trail bushes white sage
White Sage on the right.

 Native Species Garden

 A mini-looped trail with smaller sized versions of the vegetation seen here at the lagoon is located in front of the Nature Center.

I have to say that the Eagle Scouts did an excellent job of classifying the plants.

Let’s take a look!

California Sycamore Information
California Sycamore

California Sycamore Tree

Deergrass Information
Deergrass
California Sagebrush Information
California Sagebrush
Mulefat Bush
Mulefat Bush

Mulefat Information

California Buckwheat Native Gardens
California Buckwheat
Buena Vista Lagoon
Toyon Bush

Toyon Plant

Common Saltbush

Cleveland Sage Buena Vista Lagoon Native Garden
Cleveland Sage
California Mugwort
California Mugwort

Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center

Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center Welcome Sign

Let’s now take a look inside of the Nature Center!

The Audubon Chapter of Oceanside is responsible for this facility. In fact, they built this Nature Center, along with having members and fellow volunteers on staff.

There are many free activities offered here.

 For example, every Monday from 10 am-12 pm, volunteers meet to do a little maintenance work around the native plant garden and trails.

Other activities include nature led walks as well a monthly bird census which takes place on the 4th Saturday of each month.

 Interested in any more activities offered?  Click on the photo above.

Front of Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center
Do you notice the White Pelican to the left?

According to the Buena Vista Audubon’s official website, the lagoon accommodates 103 bird species, 18 mammal species, and 14 reptile and amphibian species.

Also, because of the Pacific Flyway, there have been over 200 bird species, observed and recorded here!

Let’s have a look at a few of them now.

Glass bird showcase
Birds Seen At Buena Vista Lagoon
Great Blue Heron Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl Nature Center
Great Horned Owl

Let’s go upstairs to the observation deck!

Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center Conference Room

Many guest speakers lecture here at the Nature Center. The public is always free to join.

Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center view west second story
Looking toward the west, where the weir is.
South lagoon view Second Story Nature Center
Looking South
East View Lagoon Second Story Nature Center
East

The End of the Road

Buena Vista Lagoon Torrey Pine tree Cattails
Torrey Pine Tree at the Lagoon

So there you have it, Buena Vista Lagoon in all of its glory! Did you enjoy the tour?

Which ecological option do you think would be best?

In my opinion, restoring the lagoon to its original saltwater state would be the best option.

It is important to realize that at this point, something needs to happen sooner than later.

So far it has been decades since any dredging has taken place, which means more sedimentation by the day, month, year.

Cattails Freshwater Lagoon
Freshwater Lagoon

On Jan 25, 2018, a court ruling was set back once again,  due to the fact that so many more public comments came in at the last minute.

If you would like more information regarding the Saltwater vs. Freshwater debate, please go here.

Thank you once again for joining me on a mini-tour to the Buena Vista Lagoon Nature Center and trail! I sincerely hope that you too can come here one day!

Please check back later as I will be showcasing the owners of the weir- the mysterious Saint Malo Beach!

Until next time!


Learn How To Make A Business Website For Free!

Buena Vista Lagoon

 

 

San Diego Wheelchair Accessible Beaches

San Diego Wheelchair

I present to you a comprehensive list of all San Diego wheelchair accessible beaches.  First off, I will be listing for the entire San Diego County, beginning North and making way to the South.

All addresses are linked to Google Maps, and a phone number is provided as well.

Manual beach chairs are available for check-out for the opportunity for water access, but you will need someone to push you.

Power beach chairs must remain 5 feet back from the water to prevent damage to the motors. You may only use for one hour.

Beach access mats are only available from May to Sept. These mats are not used in the winter, early spring or fall due to increased tidal action, high surf and blowing sand.

San Diego City Beach Hours

Waves on Beach San Diego Wheelchair

Peak season is from May to October.

Monday-Friday  11:30 am- 4:30 pm

Saturday-Sunday  11:30 am – 5:30 pm

The off-season is from November to April (closed Jan-Feb).

Friday-Sun   11:30 am- 3:30 pm

Call for reservations- (619) 980-1876

For more information on any question about San Diego City beach accessibility, please call (619) 525-8247.

 

List of All San Diego Wheelchair Accessible Beaches

North San Diego County Beaches

Old Man's Beach San Diego Wheelchair

San Onofre State Beach- Beach Club Rd & Old Pacific Highway

  • Manual chairs available
  • Peak season is June 1st- Sept 15
  • Call Lifeguard tower during peak season and on weekends during off season (949) 366-8592.

Oceanside Harbor Beach San Diego Wheelchair

Oceanside Harbor Beach- 1540 Harbor Drive

  • Manual and powered chairs are available here.
  • For reservations and more information, please call  (760) 435-4018

Oceanside Pier San Diego Wheelchair
Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier View South Beach– 200 The Strand N

  • Two manual beach wheelchairs available as first come first serve between the hours of 8 am to 5 pm.
  • Pick up at the Lifeguard station headquarters below the pier.
  • For reservations and more information, please call (760) 467-4565

Moonlight Beach San Diego Wheelchair

Moonlight Beach 386 B St, Encinitas

  • Manual beach chairs, powered beach chairs, and two floating beach chairs are available here at Moonlight Beach.
  • A 150-foot beach sand mat is found here year round.
  • To make reservations or for more information, please call (760) 633-2740.

Cardiff Beach San Diego Wheelchair

Cardiff State Beach – 2500 S Coast Hwy 101

  • Manual beach chairs and power beach chairs are available here.
  • A beach access mat is next to Lifeguard station 15.
  • To make reservations or for more information, please call (760) 753-5091

San Diego City Beaches

La Jolla Shores San Diego Wheelchair

La Jolla Shores Beach – Calle Frescota & Camino Del Oro

  • Manual beach chairs and power beach chairs are available here.
  • The beach access mat is north of the main lifeguard tower.
  • To make reservations or to get more information please call (619) 221-8899.

Pacific Beach San Diego Wheelchair
Pacific Beach Beach is next to Crystal Pier.

Pacific Beach – Grand Ave & Mission Blvd

  • Manual and powered beach chairs are available here.
  • A beach access mat is south of the main lifeguard tower which is south of the pier.
  • To make reservations or for more information, please call (619) 525-8247.

Mission Beach San Diego Wheelchair

Mission Beach – Ventura Pl & Mission Blvd

  • Manual and powered beach chairs are available here.
  • A beach access mat is in front of the main lifeguard tower.
  • To make reservations or for more information, please call (619) 980-1876.

Ocean Beach San Diego Wheelchair

Ocean Beach – 1946 Abbott St

  • Manual and power beach chairs are available here.
  • A beach access mat is in front of the main lifeguard tower.
  • To make reservations or to get more information please call (619) 221-8899

Coronado Beach San Diego Wheelchair

Coronado Beach – Ocean Blvd & Isabella Ave

  • Manual and powered beach chairs are available here.
  • To make reservations or for more information, please call (619) 522-7346

Silver Strand State Beach San Diego Wheelchair
Credit Slworking2 from Flickr

Silver Strand State Beach – 5000 CA-75, Coronado

  • Manual and powered beach chairs are available here.
  • To make reservations or to get more information please call (619) 435-0126

Imperial Beach San Diego Wheelchair
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

Imperial Beach  – 10 Evergreen Ave

  • Manual and powered beach chairs are available here.
  • There are two beach access mats: one at Pier Plaza and the other at Dune’s Park.
  • To make reservations or for more information, please call (619) 685-7942

Additional San Diego Wheelchair Accessible Paved Pathways

Mission Beach Boardwalk San Diego Wheelchair

Mission Beach Boardwalk-   West Mission Bay Drive

  • Here is a 2.3-mile paved boardwalk that connects Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.
  • Of particular note, the boardwalk is exceptionally narrow in Pacific Beach and much more extensive in Mission Beach.

 

Silver Strand Boardwalk San Diego Wheelchair
Credit- The City Project, Flickr

Silver Strand Bike Path

  • Here there is a 7-mile bike path that connects Coronado to Imperial Beach. You may start at either city or Silver Strand State Beach.

I hope this information on all of the San Diego wheelchair accessible beaches has helped you to have an incredible adventure on the coast of San Diego!

Showcasing the Best Beaches of La Jolla

Best Beaches of La Jolla

Today I would like to showcase a few of the best beaches of La Jolla in the hope that the beauty and wonder will encourage others to visit San Diego and experience the loveliness first hand.

 La Jolla is a seaside community situated on top of towering cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean located 20 minutes north of Downtown San Diego.

Outside La Jolla Cove rocks ocean

Best Beaches of La Jolla

I will be concentrating on The Best:

  • Family
  • Picnic
  • Hiking
  • Marine Life Experience
  • Surfing
  • Diving/Snorkeling
  • Tidepool Adventure
  • Swimming/Kayaking/Paddleboarding
  •  Hidden Gem
Scripps Beach La Jolla bluffs sand ocean
Scripps Beach is north of La Jolla Shores, looking toward Black’s Beach.

First off, La Jolla hosts several marine protected environments to encounter and explore which include-

  • Mesa Top
  • Coastal Canyons and Bluffs
  • Sandy Beach
  • Rocky Intertidal
  • Submerged Coastal Plain
  • Deep Submarine Canyon
Best Beaches La Jolla
Credit-CA Fish and Wildlife

Of particular note, the marine protected areas begin at Torrey Pines State Beach and end at the La Jolla Cove.

The La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve starts at the La Jolla Cove and stops halfway at La Jolla Shores Beach (see map above).

 La Jolla, California- The Jewel City

Sunset Downtown La Jolla
Downtown La Jolla- looking toward the La Jolla Cove.

To say that La Jolla is one of a kind or is breathtakingly beautiful would be a gross understatement.

How about awe-inspiring, magnificent, astonishing, and thrilling or gorgeous, energizing, and magical?

All of these words still can not sum up how you feel when you are here. You need to experience this place in person to comprehend, but I will try my best.

Sunset La Jolla Shores Beach 3 people ocean
La Jolla Shores with Downtown La Jolla in the background.

How Do You Pronounce La Jolla?

First off, let us get the pronunciation of La Jolla out of the way- LA HOYA, the double L’s are silent.

Ok, that was easy, right?

It is believed to be Spanish meaning “The Jewel,” hence the nickname The Jewel City.

Where is La Jolla Located?

La Jolla Google Map

Bordering Del Mar to the north and Pacific Beach to the south, La Jolla occupies 7 miles of rugged coastline and boasts some of the best views if not beaches in all of San Diego.

La Jolla Cove Best Beaches of La Jolla
La Jolla Cove-looking toward Torrey Pines State Beach in the far background.

As we go forward, please click on the appropriate underlined links to get more ‘in-depth’ information. Also, click on each photo to see a larger version.

Are you ready?


Best Family Beach

Best Beaches of La Jolla

Best Beaches La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

 Calle Frescota & Camino Del Oro

I would like to start my list with one of the most popular beaches in La Jolla. There is so much to do here that it is not a surprise that I have listed this beach as the first entry.

What Make’s La Jolla Shores So Unique?

Underwater topography Map of La Jolla Shores
Underwater topography Map of La Jolla Shores

Right offshore of La Jolla Shores beach is a very deep underwater trench-The La Jolla Submarine Canyon.

The ocean bottom here slopes and suddenly drops 500 feet and reaches down to 600 feet within the park. That is a huge drop!

Because of this trench as well as other offshore reefs, the tidal swells slow down considerably.

La Jolla Shores Beach Kayaking Paddleboarding

Because of this, the waves are gentle and forgiving, which makes for great swimming as well as other water sports, such as, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding and of course learning how to surf.

Do You Like to Walk as a Family?

Here you have an extensive sandy shore where you can walk for miles north on a low tide. In fact, Black’s Beach is just a three-mile hike or else only 5.4 miles to Torrey Pines State Beach!

La Jolla Shores Best Beaches of La Jolla

How about a short 10-minute walk to the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier?

There are many sea creatures to check out on the cement pilings as well as excellent photographic opportunities at the pier.

Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier

Gooseneck Barnacles on Scripps Pier
Gooseneck Barnacles

A Playground and Picnic Area

La Jolla Shores Playground
JJ the Baby Gray Whale is a children’s favorite here at La Jolla Shores Beach.

 Another enjoyable aspect is the large children’s playground. I can not tell you how many times I have brought my kids here for a picnic and how much fun they all had at this playground!

La Jolla Shores Playground

To sum it up, La Jolla Shores has everything that you would need for an outstanding Family Friendly beach experience.

La Jolla Shores Kellogg Park

There are several lifeguard towers, two sets of restrooms, showers, playground, water sports rentals, picnic areas and finally a large parking lot.

Word to the wise though, come early, or you will have to look for parking in the residential neighborhoods.


Best Family Beach #2

Best Beaches of La Jolla

Torrey Pines State Reserve Sign

Torrey Pines State Beach

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd

Another fantastic Family Beach is Torrey Pines State Beach. Here is where my husband and I would bring our children when they were small.

We would pack up the baby playpen, umbrella, towels, food and we were all set for a fantastic day at the beach!

The views here are incredible, especially the towering 300 feet sandstone cliffs. There is something to be said about how small you feel standing next to these giants!

Torrey Pines State Beach Bluffs

Torrey Pines State Beach Panoramic Photo

Torrey Pines State Beach Beachcomber Showcase

Do You Like to Walk as a Family?

Torrey Pines State Beach is an excellent place to go “Beachcombing”  In the photo above is the display case showing objects and creatures found by fellow beachcombers.

I wonder if anyone ever saw my husbands’ wedding band that he lost here while in the water 22 years ago?

As stated previously, Torrey Pines State Beach during low tide is a fabulous location to take a very long beach walk. In fact, as previously mentioned above it would be 5.4 miles from here to Scripps Pier at La Jolla Shores Beach!

Flat Rock Beach Beach Beaches of La Jolla
Making our way toward Flat Rock Beach.
Blacks Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla
Here we have the view once around the Flat Rock, looking towards Black’s Beach. Do you notice La Jolla in the background?

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Beginning of the Marsh Trail.

I would also like to comment that there is a trail that goes across the street over to the Los Penasquitos Lagoon.  The Marsh Trail makes its way along the southwestern part of the lagoon and marshland shore for about 3 miles.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon is a prime spot for the serious birdwatcher.

For more information, please click here.

Family Fun At Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach on street parking

Torrey Pines State Beach has two parking lots as well as a few spaces along the road leading up to the park entrance.

In summary, Torrey Pines State Beach is one of the best family beaches in La Jolla, or in all of San Diego if I had my say.

There are many lifeguard towers, restrooms, a picnic area set up in both parking lots, showers, sinks and even the option of hiking up top at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, but more on that later.


Best Picnic Spot

Best Beaches of La Jolla
Calumet Park Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla

Calumet Park Beach

 5445 Calumet Ave

I thought that I had a pretty good idea of all the ‘secret’ beach locations in San Diego, but when I came here, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.

You see, it is important to realize that an opened area with green grass in a residential area overlooking the Ocean is not something you see every day in San Diego.

What an excellent spot to have a picnic! It is as if you are at the beach, but without the sand!

Calumet Park Beach is a city park which overlooks a famous surf break-Rock Pile. There is a dirt path at the north end of the park that will take you down to the rocky beach.

Rock and Roll Stones

It also a great place to come on a low or negative tide as there is not much beach at all, mostly all large to medium size stones.

The music that these stones make with each wave is another reason to check this place out! The only way I can think of describing the sound is eerily beautiful.

Have a listen to the video for yourself below!

Calumet Park Beach south

Calumet Park Beach bluffs waves ocean surfer

Look at these views!

Calumet Park Beach Ocean View

Calumet Park Beach bluffs Ocean South

Whether you come here to eat a picnic or to check out the shore at low tide, or maybe just to watch the surfers way out in the water, you will always have a fantastic time.

I felt like a little kid at Christmas the first time I came here. I have always known that central La Jolla had stellar views but also enormous crowds.

Here at the Calmut Park Beach, you can have the views virtually to yourself! Please use caution when standing on or near the bluff as it is very unstable.

Seeing that this park is in a residential area, parking is limited, and there are no restrooms.


Best Picnic Spot #2

Best Beaches Of La Jolla

La Jolla Strand Beach

La Jolla Strand Beach

 Kolmar St & Neptune Pl

Here is another beach that not many know about as it is rarely crowded! Shhh! The La Jolla Strand Beach is found right near the La Jolla Hyatt Regency and is a little piece of heaven.

White sandy beaches with tide pools to both the north and south, there is much to see here.

La Jolla Strand Beach is unique in that you can shelter between the tidal shelf rocks on shore and pretend no one else is around.

Tidal Shelves La Jolla Strand Beach

 The surf at the La Jolla Strand Beach breaks right on the shore.   I find it thrilling to sit and watch the waves crash into the sand.

Big Splash!

Wave crashing woman rock La Jolla Strand Beach

For instance, you can feel the vibrations of the sounds of the waves crashing resonating in your body!

Additionally, I like how sometimes my mind plays tricks on me, and I sense the wave’s vibrations before it even hits the shore.

Have a listen for yourself!

Bench above La Jolla Strand Beach

Stairwell down Bench above La Jolla Strand Beach

La Jolla Strand Best Beaches of La Jolla

La Jolla Strand Beach is in a residential neighborhood, so parking is limited and again no restrooms.


Best Hiking Beach

Best Beaches of La Jolla

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd

If you are in the mood to hike on a Mesa top with an ocean view, well look no further than Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is an example of how Southern California used to look like in the past. There has been no development on this site, ever.

Home to one of the rarest pine trees in the nation, the Torrey Pine, this Reserve has several trails to choose from as well as a visitor center with copious amounts of information on the area.

 Naturalist-led tours are available each weekend.  For more information,  please click on the link above.

Road up to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Making our way up the hill to the trailhead and the Visitor’s Center.


Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Torrey Pine Trees on Bluffs
Torrey Pine Trees on the cliff.
Razor Point Trail Panoramic tree shrubs ocean
Here is a view from the Razor Point/Beach Trail.

Flat Rock Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is my number one recommendation for beachside hiking. The views and the terrain are just out of this world.

You must come here and experience it for yourself!


Best Marine Life Experience

Best Beaches of La Jolla

Children's Pool many Harbor seals rocks

The La Jolla Children’s Pool Beach

 Jenner St & Coast Blvd

Now how often do you get to see California sea lion or a Harbor Seal up close? When I say up close, I mean more like 30 feet away at least.

Children's Pool Best Beaches of La Jolla

Anyone caught bothering them or trying to scare them back into the water will be fined $500.

Pacific Harbor seal
Harbor Seal, La Jolla

These marine mammals are seen off the coast of La Jolla with much frequency and love to hang out here at the Children’s Pool or on the big rock-Seal Rock just outside of the Children’s Pool.

Western View La Jolla Children's Pool

Ideally, this spot was a perfect place for children to swim because the seawall shelters the area.  But there is a problem with water pollution due to these animals, so it is not recommended to swim here.

Though that doesn’t seem to stop some from doing just that; nevertheless, I for one would not.

Children's Pool La Jolla

Children's Pool Seal Pup Count Chart

A great time to visit is during the Spring when the babies are born.

Children's Pool La Jolla
Seal Rock is just outside of the Children’s Pool.

California sea lion Steller sea lion

Pinniped Chart
A little insight on how to tell the difference between seals and sea lions.

Best Surfing Beach

Best Beaches of La Jolla

Black's Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla

Black’s Beach

2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr

 Black’s Beach has some of the best surfing in all of Southern California making it one of the best beaches of La Jolla. I have yet to go, but I will soon.

Another exciting feature I would like to add is that it is also an optional clothing beach.

Nude surfing anyone?

Black’s Beach is a half-mile stretch of beach known for it powerful and consistent waves because the La Jolla Submarine Canyon funnels the swells straight into this beach.

Black's Beach Beaches of La Jolla

The underwater canyons increase the power of the waves and in turn creates terrible rip currents. These waves are definitely for the advanced surfer.

No Direct Route Here

Black’s Beach is a pretty hard location to get to as there is no direct route. There is a dirt path behind the Torrey Pines Gliderport, and I have linked the address above.

The trail is very steep, so I do not recommend this way if you are not up to it, especially holding a surfboard!

Gliderport Trail Black's Beach
Gliderport Trail connects to Black’s Beach.

I would advise starting out at La Jolla Shores and walk three miles (on low tide). Or you could start at Torrey Pines State Beach as well and walk only two miles.

There are no restrooms or showers here, and lifeguards patrol randomly throughout the day.

Video Credit- JacuzziSurfer


 #2 Best Surfing Beach

Best Beaches of La Jolla

 

Tidal shelf beach surfer ocean

Windansea Beach

 Neptune Pl & Nautilus St

Windansea Beach is another extremely famous surfing beach in San Diego and the west coast in fact.

The surf is considered to be a moderate to a severe shore break due to the steep beaches which result in the hard-hitting waves right on the shoreline. Because of this, it is recommended to surf during low tide when the waves are a little farther out.

Windansea Beach is suggested to be for advanced wave riders only as there have been many serious accidents that have taken place here in the past.

The Surf Shack

Windansea Surf Shack

The palm covered wooden shack (The Surf Shack)- was first built in 1946 by three famous surfers-Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon, and Don Okey.

It was knocked down by large waves and a high tide on Dec. 24, 2015, but was eventually rebuilt by locals in June 2016.

The Surf Shack by Windansea Beach was further named a historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resource Board on May 27, 1998.

Windansea Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla

Fun Fact- Windansea Beach was the inspiration for the many “Beach Films” of the 1960’s

Windansea Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla

Windnsea Beach La Jolla

Windansea Beach La Jolla

Parking might be a problem here as there are only a few designated parking spaces for the beach in this residential area.  Furthermore, there is no restroom or shower at this location.


Best Diving/Snorkeling Beach

Best Beaches of La Jolla

La Jolla Cove Best beaches of La Jolla

La Jolla Cove Beach

 1160 Coast Blvd, La Jolla

There is one sure winner for the best diving/snorkeling spot, and that would be the La Jolla Cove!

Look at this place!

La Jolla Cove Clear Waters

 A tiny white-sand beach positioned between sandstone cliffs is the gorgeous background you will experience while swimming in the clear blue-green waters. Visibility here can sometimes be more than 30 feet!

La Jolla Cove

As stated earlier, the La Jolla Cove is part of the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, so everything here is protected. Nothing is to be touched or taken. Also stay away from any seal or sea lions as they may bite if frightened.

The diversity seen here is incredible. You can stay in the cove and experience the underwater sandy shore and rocky intertidal or swim out a bit and discover the Giant Kelp Forest!

I do not have an underwater camera, yet, but I found this lovely video that high lights this location. I am sure you will enjoy!

Video Credit- Jamie Norcutt

La Jolla Cove Best Beaches of La Jolla
Springtime is the best time in La Jolla, California.

Best Tide Pool Beach

best Beaches of La Jolla

La Jolla Cove Clear Waters

Bird Rock Beach

 Dolphin Pl & Bird Rock Ave

Bird Rock Beach is a tidepool dream come true on a Spring Tide (one of the lowest tides of the year!)

Unknown to many, it remains a terrific secret and is not easily assessable to the general public, unless you have directions, that is.

Bird Rock is the go-to place to experience tidepools at their best! In fact, this is the number one place that college professors bring their students to identify rocky intertidal specimens.

I am going to present to you two videos, with the first one being the one that I took on a low tide of around 1ft and the second is the effects of a Spring Tide of -1.9ft.

 Do you notice how utterly transformed the shoreline looks when the water is pulled away with such a negative tide?

Tide pool creatures are genuinely the most adaptable creatures in the world, don’t you think?

 

Video Credit- James Weaver

Bird Rock La Jolla

Bird Rock Best Beaches of La Jolla

Bird Rock La Jolla

Bird Rock Beach

Tidepool Specimens

Creatures that you might encounter here include-

  • sea anemones
  • hermit crabs
  • mussels
  • barnacles
  • sea hares
  • octopi
  • limpets
  • sea stars
  • brittle stars

I have made available to you this printable list of possible tidepool specimens to help identify flora and fauna the next time you are in the tide pools. (Courtesy of the Cabrillo National Monument).

And if you are coming for the tide pools, make sure it is sometime in the winter because that is when the lowest tides occur.

Bird Rock Beach is located in a residential neighborhood so parking can be a problem. I always suggest avoiding crowds.  In the early morning or the late afternoon is your best bet.

Again, no restrooms available here.


Best Swimming/Kayaking/Paddleboarding Beach

Best Beaches of La Jolla

La Jolla Shores Beach Surfing Mural

La Jolla Shores

Calle Frescota & Camino Del Oro

Well, what makes for a good swimming/ kayaking /paddleboarding beach?

First off you need a beach that is easy to enter the water and where there is not that much tidal action.

Do you happen to recall reading about such a place? Why yes, good old La Jolla Shores Beach.

Do you also recall that I previously mentioned that there is a vast underwater trench offshore of here? And that said trench is the reason that the waters are relatively calm?

La Jolla Shores snorkelers

Kayaks La Jolla Shores Beach

Many companies rent out kayaks and paddleboards just up the street from the beach.

Sunny Jim Cave La Jolla
A bunch of kayakers- looking inside the Sunny Jim Cave.

One of the benefits of kayaking in La Jolla is the caves.

La Jolla Shores is a Great Beach!

Well, as you can see, there are endless amounts of activities to do at La Jolla Shores Beach, making it indeed one of the best beaches of La Jolla!

La Jolla Shores Beach

Be it swimming, diving, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, boogie boarding, or surfing near the pier.

Oh did I mention underwater photography too?  Seriously, you must come to this beach and experience what it is like!

 


Best Hidden Gem Beach

Best Beaches Of La Jolla
Camino de la Costa Beach Access La Jolla

Camino de la Costa Beach Access

5990 Camino De La Costa

Driving up to Camino de la Costa Beach Access, I  had no idea what I was in store for or what I was about to discover.

After parking in the residential neighborhood, I proceeded to the stairway and immediately noticed that this beach was made up entirely of medium to large stones with a tiny bit on sandy shore on the south side.

Camino de la Costa Beach Access

I have to say that when I turned my head to the left ar the stairway, I was taken aback by what I saw.

Million dollar views!

Camino de la Costa Beach Access south view

Camino de la Costa Beach Access surfer
Here is the spot where the surfers enter the water.

ocean waves Camino de la Costa Beach Access

Sandy spot Camino de la Costa Beach Access

Here is the only little bit of beach.

Mind you; it was low tide so I can only imagine that the water most likely covers the whole area during the high tide.

Rocky bluffs Camino de la Costa Beach Access

I am so thrilled that I found this spot. Next time that I visit, I plan on sitting on a rock ledge and gaze out onto the horizon. Hopefully waiting to see if some whales or dolphins pass by the shore.

Camino de la Costa Beach Access Stairwell

Just one more look before I say goodbye.

Camino de la Costa Beach Access Stairs

 


End of the List

I hope you enjoyed my picks for the best beaches of La Jolla.  As you can see La Jolla is a pretty spectacular place to visit.

Please check back soon as I will be making a comprehensive list of touring companies as well as hotel and motel deals!

I would like to leave you with a few Honorable Mention Photos of other great beaches in La Jolla because I felt these other four needed to be seen and appreciated.

Until next time!


Best Beaches of La Jolla Honorable Mention

Hospital Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla

Hospital Beach– 445 Coast Blvd

Hospital Beach is another La Jolla beach that is in a residential neighborhood that is a favorite of photographers and scuba divers.

Marine Street Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla

Marine Street Beach– Marine St & Vista Del Mar Ave

Do you like to boogie board? Here at Marine Street Beach, the waves crash extremely hard onto the shore

.Really, the waves here have the nickname “The Whomp.”

Whispering Sands Beach Tidal shelf surfer in wave

Whispering Sands Beach- 202 Coast Blvd

Whispering Sands Beach is another fabulous spot to photograph as well as checking out tide pools!

Scripps Beach Best Beaches of La Jolla

Scripps Beach El Paseo Grande & La Jolla Shores Dr

Scripps Beach is north of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier. If you keep walking north, you will find “Dike Rock” which is a beautiful place to look at the tide pools.

In this area, you are allowed to surf as well.

Black’s Beach is about 2 miles from here.


Brown Pelicans Best Beaches of La Jolla


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Best Beaches of La Jolla

Exploring North Pacific Beach

North Pacific Beach sandy beach Crystal Pier

One day I decided to head down to the coast to do some more research on my website. So,  I had my itinerary all ready, with over 12 beaches to go check out, starting with North Pacific Beach.

I was fortunate that it was such a lovely day. It was so warm that I didn’t even need a jacket.  Where else can you experience mid 70’s in the winter but Southern California!

 My “Beaches of San Diego County” was a big help. Here, I  have linked all the addresses of each beach to Google Maps.

Google Map North Pacific Beach

 

North Pacific Beach/ Law Street Beach- Ocean Blvd and Law St

Crystal Pier- 4500 Ocean Blvd

Tourmaline Surfing Park- Tourmaline St & La Jolla Blvd

Linda Way Beach Access- 341 Sea Ridge Dr

# Of particular note, click on a photo to see an enlarged version.


Crystal Pier North Pacific Beach

North Pacific Beach

On our adventure today, we will be looking over North Pacific Beach, Tourmaline Surfing Park and finally be ending at the Linda Way Beach Access point.

It is important to realize that all locations mentioned above are connected when the tide is low and makes for a lovely walk.

First off,  Pacific Beach is considered a hustling beach town, with many college students and young professionals living and playing here.

Surfing and partying are all the rage here, but there are a few quieter spots in North Pacific Beach, and I am here to share with you a few prime locations.

Downtown Pacific Beach
Bars and restaurants leading to the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach.

Beach and Bars

It may be a cliche, but the two most popular activities here are beaches and bars. There are many bars and restaurants on the boardwalk,  close to the pier, not to mention throughout most of Pacific Beach.

If you take a look at the map above you will see that North Pacific Beach or Law St Beach starts about half a mile north of Crystal Pier.

 The large patch of green is Palisades Park, which overlooks Law St Beach.

 Looking carefully, you can see that the locations that I have mentioned above tuck under what is called False Point, but more on that later.

Let’s go!

Law Street Entrance North Pacific Beach
Law Street Entrance.

North Pacific Beach Entrance

It is important to mention before starting that there are several stairways and ramps to use when entering this beach.

Entrances are on Loving St, Crystal Dr,  Law St (where we are), Chalcedony St, Diamond St, and Felspar St.

There is no parking lot, so you must park in the residential area.


North Pacific Beach Entrance Restroom

Restrooms are available here at the Law Street entrance as well as at the Diamond Street entrance.

North Pacific Beach Entrance dirt path bushes ocean

Here we start to make our way down to the beach which is surrounded by 75-foot cliffs. How fortunate to have this access.

Up at the top, there is a  walking path that is a continuation of the boardwalk which starts just past the Crystal Pier.

Beach entrance North Pacific Beach Crystal Pier
Do you see Crystal Pier in the background?
Succulents North Pacific Beach
Succulents on the bluff.

North Pacific Beach sandy beach Crystal Pier

North Pacific Beach Surf School Umbrella

Here we have a local surf school set up at the entrance of the beach.

Before heading up top to check out Palisades Park, let’s have a quick look at Crystal Pier.

Crystal Pier- Pacific Beach

Crystal Pier Pacific Beach
Credit- Wikimedia Commons

The construction of the Crystal Pier began in the early 1920’s. Eventually, it was named the Pickering Pleasure Pier and soon became a popular vacation destination.

The Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages at the beginning of the pier, built in 1930 provides the ‘one and only’ experience of sleeping over the ocean water. Click here for more information on these incredible rentals! Some of them even have balconies!

End of Crystal Pier
Crystal Pier

Here at the end of Crystal Pier, fishing is the thing to do.

An interesting fact is that in 1927 this was the site of the Crystal Ballroom.  Back then there was a “Midway” with carnival-like attractions and games leading to up to the end of the pier to the ballroom.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the ballroom and the midway only lasted for three months.

Palisades Park

Palisades Park North Pacific Beach
Do you notice the walking path of the left?

What a great hideaway that I found! There is a narrow stretch of green grass with benches with the most incredible view! At this park, you can experience everything about the beach without the sand.

And do not forget that there is a walking path as well as several dirt trails that will take you down to the beach.

The Pacific Ocean +Yoga= Pure Bliss

I also found an exciting activity that takes place here every Saturday and Sunday at 9 am.

There is a yoga instructor, Namasteve that happens to live across the street from this park. He sets up in his front yard and provides a donation based Vinyasa Yoga class overlooking the Pacific Ocean! I would love to try this someday, as I could only imagine that it would be spectacular.

If interested, please make sure to get there early because over 100 people show up!

Palisades Park North Pacific Beach bench
Can you picture 100 people doing yoga here?
Crystal Pier View Palisades Park
What a view! You can see the Point Loma Penninsula in the far background.

North View From North Pacific Beach

Looking north, you can see the Tourmaline Surfing Park, as well as False Point, sticking out.

Let’s go!

Tourmaline Surfing Park

Tourmaline Surfing Park Panoramic

Tourmaline Surfing park is right at the border of San Diego and La Jolla. Surfing at this beach has been extremely popular here since the early 1930’s.

Nestle between towering cliffs, the surfers, would call this place ‘The Canyon” because of the unique access to the beach due to it being a canyon.

Back in the day, access to the beach was very limited due to all the residential housing in this area.

While researching this site, I found some interesting facts that happened here at the Tourmaline Canyon in the 1960’s, so if you would like to know more, please visit here.

Tourmaline Surfing Park parking lot

Here we have the vast parking lot. Do you notice the descending roadway making its way to the parking lot?

Tourmaline Surfing Park parking lot

Tourmaline Surfing Park Memorial.
Tourmaline Surfing Park Memorial.

Looking at the memorial at the restroom, I discovered that the motto of this park is: “Surf well, spread Aloha, share waves without judgment.”

Tourmaline Surfing Park Warning Sign

Tourmaline Surfing Park north view

Family Friendly Surfing

Tourmaline Surfing Park is a beautiful family beach and a great place to learn how to surf.

There are two surf breaks here, one close to shore which is ideal for beginners as well as a break farther out for the more advanced wave rider and both great for longboards!

North Pacific Beach

North Pacific Beach
False Point

  During the winter time and with a north swell, False Point helps to form some incredible waves which will travel all the way to Tourmaline.

There are several surfers out in the water riding the more advanced waves found near False Point.

North Pacific Beach

North Pacific Beach

North Pacific Beach

We are getting close to False Point, so let’s have a look!

False Point-Linda Way Beach Access

Linda Way Beach Access

I was so excited to find this access way to the beach! The view here is out of this world!

There is no parking lot and no real beach to think of, just a bunch of rocks. But, when the tide is low, this is an excellent spot to come to, to check out the tidepools.

Let’s see!

Linda Way Beach Access

Prickly Pear Linda Way Beach Access

Prickly Pear cactus North Pacific Beach

Here we have the perfect example to showcase that Southern California is a semi-arid desert. Where else can you see cacti next to the ocean?

North Pacific Beach Waves

Linda Way/False Point Tidepools

Linda Way Beach Access Tide Pools

Looking toward Tourmaline Surfing Park to the right, you can see that when the tide is low, both beaches are connected.

In other words, if you would like to go for a walk here, checking a tide chart is a must!

North Pacific Beach Tide Pools

False Point North Pacific Beach

False Point is a popular site for tide-pooling, in fact, the Birch Aquarium offers naturalist-led tide pool expeditions here. Click here for more information!

False Point Tide Pools North Pacific Beach

Linda Way Beach Access Storm drain

Oh no!  A storm drain!

I good rule of thumb is to never go into the ocean the day after a storm, especially near a storm drain.

Exploring the beaches of North Pacific Beach was so satisfying, as it felt like I was the only one on the beach.

There is nothing better for the soul than a day at the beach.

End of the Tour

North Pacific Beach sandy beach

So there you have it- North Pacific Beach, Tourmaline, and False Point are all connected when there is a low tide.

  The bluffs are magnificent as well as the views of the incoming waves. The walk is just spectacular but very rocky over at False Point.

All in all, you can not go wrong visiting here on a negative low tide day.

There is so much to see and do. I especially enjoyed watching the surfers off of False Point.

It is hard to imagine paddling so far out to catch a wave!

Tourmaline Surfing Park North Pacific Beach

I hope you enjoyed your mini-exploration, and my only wish is for you to come out and enjoy the area for yourself!

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below!  Also, please check back, as I will be concentrating on the nine other beaches I visited on this day, starting with the beach right around the corner from False Point.

Thanks again!


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North Pacific Beach

 

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

One of my favorite places to explore for over the past 30 years in the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. I would like to take you on tour, would you join me?

Ok! Let’s go!

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Located between the city of Del Mar to the north and the border of San Diego to the south, the Los Penasquitos Lagoon is a 510-acre coastal salt marsh estuary.

Translated from Spanish, meaning “The Little Cliffs,” the Los Penasquitos Lagoon frames the northern part of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and is designated as a Natural Preserve.

Los-Penasquitos Lagoon

 Los Penasquitos Lagoon is one of the last remaining salt marshes left in southern California. In other words, the lagoon supports a large variety of plants and animals, including seven threatened or endangered species.

Another interesting fact is that this lagoon also serves as a refuge for migratory birds that use the Pacific Flyway.

Since joining the State Park System, there have been quite a few changes to help increase the overall tidal flow here at the Los Penasquitos Lagoon.

Let’s now have a look.

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Parking Fees

Places nearby-   Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Activities- Hiking, bird watching

Los Penasquitos Lagoon History

 Development within the lagoon in the 1880’s and the 1930’s have modified the lagoons hydrology process.

There are several reasons for how this eventually happened.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon train tracks
Train Tracks

Sante Fe Railroad Track

First off, in 1925 the Sante Fe Railroad built a single-track roadbed causeway embarkment down the center of the lagoon for its Surfline.

Can you believe that this track is still in use today on a daily basis?

Train Tracks over Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

The embarkment severely restricted the normal historical lagoon drainage for the first time and ultimately this changed the tidal flow.

Highway 101 Bridge

Los Penasquitos Lagoon man in front
Do you notice all the pilings on the original bridge?  (circa 1993)

In the 1930’s the Pacific Coast Highway, otherwise known as US Route 101 was expanded, the roadbed along the beach heightened, and a bridge built over the mouth of the lagoon.

The waterway under the bridge would continually get clogged with sand and debris due to the 72  wooden pilings.  This debris, in turn, would impact the flow of water between the ocean and the lagoon.

In 2005, a new bridge was built for uninhibited water flow.

Do you notice that there are only four cement pilings?  Because of this, the lagoon being closed off by sand and debris doesn’t happen anymore.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Bridge

Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet under bridge

Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet ocean
Uninhibited water flow is a beautiful thing!

Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet Torrey Pines State Beach

Due to the very low tide, the tidal flow out to the beach is stronger than usual.

Fun fact- My husband and I would consistently come out here to Torrey Pines State Beach back in the early 1990’s when we were dating.

One of our favorite things to do was to go at night with flashlights. We would shine the light into the mouth of lagoon looking for Gray Smoothhound sharks and other fish. Their eyes would glow green with the reflection of light.

Gray Smoothhound Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Gray Smoothhound
Credit- Nathan Rupert

Let’s now have a look at the mouth of the lagoon from on top of the bridge on Highway 101.

North Torrey Pines Beach
Looking toward North Torrey Pines State Beach

Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet Torrey Pines State Beach
Notice all the sediment leaving the lagoon?

Do you see the metal pole sticking out of the water towards the left? That is a monitor that keeps track of the tidal flow that comes in and out of the lagoon.

North Beach Entrance Parking Lot

Los Penasquitos Lagoon North Parking Lot
Credit -Wikimedia Commons

In 1983 the Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation was established. The primary function of this foundation, to this day,  is to keep the mouth of the lagoon open, improve circulation of the lagoon as well as to restore habitat.

According to the Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation and the State Coastal Conservancy, the building of the fully paved North Parking Lot in 1968, considerably altered the lagoons hydrology (water circulation).

Could this lagoon ever catch a break? First, off the railroad, then clogged bridge pilings and then finally a cement parking lot. All three structures played havoc on the water circulation!

North Parking Lot Los Penasquitos Lagoon
North Parking Lot
Los Penasquitos Lagoon
HWY 101  view.
North Parking lot view lagoon
North Parking lot view.
Birds Los Penasquitos Lagoon
There sure are a lot of birds here!

Continuing from the North Parking lot and following Carmel Valley Road, there is an unofficial path in which you may view the lagoon from behind a barrier. Let’s go!

East view Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon trees background hill plants

Los Penasquitos Lagoon California Buckwheat Front

Los Penasquitos Lagoon East view

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Trails

Los Penasquitos Marsh National Preserve Boundary Sign

Although almost all of the lagoon is off limits to the public, there is one trail- The Marsh Trail that is open to exploring!

To reach this trail, you must start at the South Beach entrance off of North Torrey Pines Road (HWY 101).

South Beach Entrance Los Penasquitos Lagoon
South Beach Entrance- South Parking Lot

You will find the trailhead not that far south on the east side of the road. The trail winds around the western side of the Reserve, finally ending up in the industrial area of Sorrento Valley.

Marsh Trail Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Beginning of the Marsh Trail. Do you notice the North Parking lot in the background?

This trail is not a loop, so you must turn around and come back, so keep that in mind. If you go to the very end, the roundtrip would be about 4 miles.

There are many plants and animals to look out for, so keep your eyes open!


My Special Place

Los Penasquitos Lagoon 1993
Los Penasquitos Lagoon -Circa 1993

Well, thank you so much for joining me on a tour of the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. As you can see, it is not enormous, but it sure has character.

Check back later as I plan on taking a hike on the Marsh Trail in the near future!

As I have previously stated, this lagoon has always held a special place in our hearts. I feel incredibly fortunate to have seen so many improvements and witness the transformation this lagoon over the last 30 years.

Under Bridge Los Penasquitos Lagoon

The new bridge has a lot to do with this, so thanks to the new bridge! Thank you for allowing more water into the lagoon and improving the circulation.

And a special thanks goes to the Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation for all the hard work and dedication they all put into preserving as well as researching this environment.

 I hope that one day you may witness the Los Penasquitos Lagoon in person. There are so many beautiful places to discover in San Diego, especially the beaches of San Diego!

Please leave any comments or questions that you may have down below.

Until next time!


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Los Penasquitos Lagoon

 

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach Panoramic Bluffs

Torrey Pines State Beach is located right between La Jolla to the south and Del Mar to the north.  I have been visiting this beach for over 30 years and never tire of the sights.

While living in San Diego, this was our number one beach to come and visit.

I discovered Torrey Pines State Beach when I was working as a Fisheries Technician. This beach is a prime spot for surf fishing. I can not think of a better place to have to work on!

I love it here so much!

Torrey Pines State Beach Entrance Sign

12600 North Torrey Pines Rd

(858) 755-2063

Hours- 7:15am-Sunset

#This post is a continuation of my previous post-Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Please refer to the above link for more information concerning parking and rates.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach Panoramic Bluffs

With wide sandy beaches alongside towering sandstone cliffs, coupled with bright blue shallow waters, Torrey Pines State Beach has always been one of my top three favorite beaches in San Diego.

Beginning in  Del Mar just past the Los Penasquitos Lagoon and finally ending at Blacks Beach, there are 4.5 miles of coast to explore here, especially on a low tide.

Torrey Pines State Beach Google Map

Torrey Pines State Beach is the most popular State Beach in San Diego so needless to say, crowds here on the weekends are not uncommon.

This beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, walking, fishing-the possibilities are endless here!

Supermoon and Low Tides

Full Moon
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

To back up a bit, I would also like to mention that on this is the day the Supermoon/Bluemoon/Lunar eclipse took place (1/31/18).

Therefore my primary motivation in coming here was to photograph the tide pools and exposed beach that comes along with a Spring low tide.  For more information about what precisely a Supermoon is and why it creates extreme tides, please go here for an explanation.

Torrey Pines State Beach-Down the Beach Trail

It was a warm day for January measuring in at a pleasant 75 degrees. We were happily surprised by the cloudless skies!

Please do not get me wrong; I love the beach regardless of the weather. But there is something to be said when you can see for miles and miles out onto the ocean.

To put it another way, it is as if everything on the beach shimmers when the sun is bright. And do not forget you also get the best pictures, in my opinion, that is.

So now back to the adventure.

As stated above, my son and I were on a hike up above the beach at the Reserve. We just exited the “Beach Trail,” and this is what we experienced.

Torrey Pines State Beach Flat Rock
Flat Rock is on the left, sticking into the water.

Trail down Flat Rock Beach

Stairs down Flat Rock Beach

The stairway lets you down right onto Flat Rock Beach.

Wow, what an incredible reward after a long hike above at the Reserve. Now we are going to have a look around towards the south of the Flat Rock.

What is on the other side?

Flat Rock Beach Path bluff

Do you see the passageway on the right of this photo? This path is an extremely narrow way to get around Flat Rock. And when I say small, I mean maybe just the width of your shoes, tight!

Black’s Beach

Going around the corner, we are now looking at the beginning of Black’s Beach, which goes on and ends about where the surf is breaking in the far distance.

Blacks Beach Torrey Pines State Beach

Located directly below the world famous Torrey Pines Golf Course,  Black’s Beach is San Diego’s renowned surfing spot as well as a nude beach.

Blacks Beach Panoramic sandy beach

There are several paths to reach this beach. One such path, the Ho Chi Minh Trail connects to this beach, but the descent is very steep, so a word of caution is needed.

Ho Chi Minh Trail Torrey Pines State Beach
Ho Chi Minh Trail down to Black’s Beach

There are two other trails which lead to this site, but I will go over those in a different post-one that concentrates just on this beach.

Please check back later as this trail is on my ‘to-do list.’  I have always wanted to experience the surf here, but have shied away due to it being a nude beach. Call me a prude, but I will eventually get there one day! With clothes on though.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Situated south of the golf course is Torrey Pines Gliderport that has been here since the late 1920’s.

Torrey Pines Gliderport Welcome Sign Rules

At this establishment, you will find access to everything related to foot-launched aviation, including hang gliding, paragliding, and powered paragliding pilots.

Black';s beach North sandy beach bluffs hang gliders

Quoting from the Torrey Pines Gliderport website-“We seek to promote all forms of flight and to make Southern California a destination for flight enthusiasts from around the world.”

Cliffhanger Cafe view ice plant trails ocean
View from the Cliffhanger Cafe.

Another great thing to mention is that Cliffhanger Cafe is on site and is opened from 9 am to 4 pm.

Cliffhanger Cafe Torrey Pines Gliderport

Enjoy the offerings of this full-service deli/cafe while looking out onto the Pacific ocean and enjoying the views right there on the cliffs. What a great place to look for whales and dolphins!

 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla CA 92037

Fun Fact- On February 24, 1930, Charles Lindbergh had his first maiden flight along the cliffs of Torrey Pines. He soared all the way from Mt Soledad to Del Mar and ultimately establishing the first gliding distance record!

Blacks Beach Torrey Pines State Beach
Black’s Beach is in the far distance where the waves are breaking. Torrey Pines Gliderport is right above.

Blacks Beach Torrey Pines State Beach

Let’s start to head back north now and have a closer look at Flat Rock.

Rock with wave Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines Indian Bath Tub Rock

Flat Rock tidal shelf

Flat Rock is also referred to as the  “Indian Bath Tub Rock” because there is a deep-seated pool in the center of it.

Flat Rock Torrey Pines State Beach
Flat Rock is over 45 million years old!

There are also several theories on how Flat Rock became separated from the bluff, but my favorite is that back in the late 1800’s,

Del Mar hotels offered picnic/horse and carriage rides to Scripps Beach in La Jolla, so they demolished the rock to make way for the road.

Seems credible, but this route could only be accessible on an extreme low tide, just like today.

For more information on the history of Flat Rock, please visit here.

Flat Rock Beach Torrey Pines State Beach

Looking back from where we exited the Beach Trail from the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Do you notice Flat Rock is in the distance?

Torrey Pines State Beach Tidal Flats

tidal shelf close up Torrey Pines State Beach

Let us now take a walk up the beach and see what is usually underwater.  I seriously had no idea that there were so many reefs this close to shore here at Torrey Pines State Beach.

But now it all makes sense why this beach is so famous for shore fishing.

Tide pools Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach Flat Rock Beach

Lone Rock middle of water

close-up tidal shelf Torrey Pines State Beach

tidal pools shallow water Torrey Pines State Beach

Tidal Pools Torrey Pines State Beach

Shallow water tidepools Torrey Pines State Beach

Tide pools two boys Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach Tidal Shelf

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach Bluff

Sandstone Bluffs Torrey Pines State Beach

You can quickly get a proper feel on just how high these sandstone bluffs are with someone sitting in front of them, can’t you?

We are getting closer to the entrance.

Seaweed on beach Torrey Pines State Beach

There must have been some significant current action happening for all of this seaweed to be washed up on to the shore.

South Entrance

 We stopped in the South Parking Lot area restrooms and found this great display which depicts several examples of what is seen here on the beach.

Beachcombing Showcase Torrey Pines State Beach
Beach Combing Treasures

On our way out I was happy to see these signs.

Especially after realizing that there are so many large rocks and reefs in the surf zone!

Surviving the Surf Poster torrey pines state beach

South Torrey Pines Parking lot

south Torrey Pines State Beach

 A nice friendly warning.

Stay away from the base of the cliffs!

Stay Away From the Cliffs poster

Lifeguard Tower 3 Torrey Pines State Beach

Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet on beach

We are making our way back to the North Parking lot and stop on the bridge to look down at the Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet going out to sea.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet beach
Looking towards North Torrey Pines Beach

inlet under bridge Torrey Pines State Beach

Here is another view of the Los Penasquitos Lagoons inlet taken from the South Parking Lot.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Torrey Pines State Beach

Well, we have finished our adventure and boy are we hungry.  So we take off to our favorite place to go to after visiting Torrey Pines State Beach.

Robertos Very Mexican Food Restaurant Sign

2206 Carmel Valley Rd-Del Mar

Phone: (858) 436-7189

Robertos-Very Mexican Food taco shop has been in this location since 1964 and a local favorite ever since. I highly recommend this establishment for its food, especially the fish burrito!  Also, you can not beat the convenience of it being just across the street!

If you check out the link above, you can order online! How cool is that?

Robertos Sign Torrey Pines State Beach
Do you notice the Torrey Pine groves in the background on the hill at Torrey Pines State Natural Park Reserve?

Thank you so much for joining us on our Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse day at one of my most favorite beaches in all of San Diego County.

I hope that I have piqued your interest and that one day you too will experience Torrey Pines State Reserve for yourself. Remember, no beach day is a sad day!

Until next time!


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Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a 2000 acre park located in the community of La Jolla in San Diego California off North Torrey Pines Rd. Nothing here has ever been altered or diverted at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve making it one of the wildest coastal stretches left in California.

I can not emphasize enough just how beautiful this Reserve is!

Come and join me for a tour!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

 What is a Reserve?

 Everything here and surrounding the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a protected area. That includes the Penasquitos River Valley east of the highway, which is one of the last salt marsh estuaries in San Diego and the Underwater Ecological Reserve offshore.

A Reserve is not a ‘park,’ but an assigned area of importance and commonly is one that contains threatened plants, animal habitats or unique geological formations.

 There are over 300 birds and native plant species that are threatened or endangered within the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The Torrey Pine, which is the namesake of the Reserve is a very rare endangered pine tree- the rarest pine tree in the United States, but more on that later.

The Motto Here is “Preserve the Reserve”

Because endangered and threatened species live here, there are stringent rules. For instance, no food or drink is allowed into the Reserve. Also, there are no trash cans within the park, so you are to take all trash with you.

The sandstone cliffs can be perilous, and there are also rattlesnakes, so children are to be with an adult at all times. You are also to stay on all trails as going off can damage the habitat. I think I covered most of everything, but please double check this sign below.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

First, let’s get through with all the basics.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve General Information

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

12600 North Torrey Pines Rd

(858) 755-2063

 Trail Map

Park Brochure

Park Hours

7:15am-Sunset

Visitor Center Hours

9am-6pm (summer)

10am-4pm (winter)

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Parking

Parking at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve can get a little tricky due to the popularity of this state beach.

There are two parking lots, the North and South. Once entering the Park via the South entrance, there are several small parking lots also available up on the hill close to the trails.

Additionally, there are about 20 spots available on North Torrey Pines Rd that are free, but as you can imagine they fill up extremely fast.

Please refer to here for parking prices.

Torrey Pines State Beach on street parking
Parking is available off North Torrey Pines Road.
North Parking Lot Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
North Parking Lot.

 All recreational vehicles that are longer than the standard parking lot space must park in the North Parking lot.

South Parking Lot Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
South Parking Lot.

Hiking Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

There are over 8 miles of trails to hike here at this Reserve, ranging from easy to moderate. All have something special and unique to see.

Due to varying elevations at this park,  there are several habitats found here. For example, freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, coastal strand, sage scrub, salt marsh, chaparral and finally conifer woodland are all present here at the Reserve.

Let’s Go Hiking!

Today, my son and I started our hike parking at the North Parking lot which is adjacent to the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. When the tides are changing, there are some great photo opportunities to be found here.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Inlet

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Los Penasquitos Inlet on beach

Here is the Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet as it is rushing out at the start of the low tide. You get an excellent perspective here while standing on the bridge.

Los Penasquitos Inlet on beach

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve sign


Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Entrance Sign

We are almost there!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve South Entrance

Do you notice the grove of Torrey Pine trees on top of the hill?

Visitor Center Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Visitor Center Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Here is the road that takes you up to the trails. Word of caution, this is a steep hill that goes on for 3/4 a mile.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Visitor Center Trail Torrey Pines

The Torrey Pine-Pinus torreyana

Torrey Pine Tree Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

As stated above, the Torrey Pine is the rarest pine tree in the nation if not the world. This tree is found only growing on a thin piece of coastline in North County San Diego. You also may see them on one of the Channel Islands-Santa Rosa off the coast of Santa Barbara to the north.

This species is native to the coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion in California. Let’s have a look at all of the trees that we see walking up into the park.

Torrey Pine Tree Hill

Torrey Pine Tree Torrey Pine State Natural Reserve

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Torrey Pine Tree

Grove Torrey Pine Trees Natural Reserve

 An Interesting Torrey Pine Tree Fact

It is interesting enough to have a pine tree growing on the coastal bluff, not to mention a semi-arid coast.

If it wasn’t for the all-day low cloud cover seen in the spring and fall here in Southern California, these trees could not survive. These trees acquire just enough moisture to help with their survival.

Click here for more information on Torrey Pine tree.

Guy Fleming Nature Trail

 Once near the top of the hill, the Guy Flemming trail is the first trail that you will come upon. Out of all of the paths to choose from at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, this one is the easiest.

Just in under .7miles, this trail loops back and has many Torrey Pines as well as many gorgeous spots to soak in the magnificent view.

North Grove Guy Fleming Trail Sign

Guy Fleming Trail Map Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Ocean

Parry Grove Trail

Here we have another relatively short .5 mile loop trail.   Devastated by the drought and an infestation of the Bark Beetle, this grove has been slowly making its way back to recovery.

 There is also a native garden, The Whitaker Garden, at the beginning of the Trailhead. The entryway is very steep with over 100 stone steps.

Torrey Piines State Natural Reserve

Bark Beetle Traps Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
These buckets collect the Bark Beetles.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Visitor Center

Torrey Pine Lodge Sign

Located at the very top of the hill and adjacent to the restrooms and parking lot sits the Visitor Center.

 Formerly called the Torrey Pines Lodge, this pueblo styled structure used to be a restaurant. Back in the day, many people would stop here from Los Angeles while on their way to San Diego.

Today this is the place where you can find large amounts of interesting facts about the natural history of this Reserve along examples of different plant and animal species that you may encounter while hiking. I genuinely encourage all to visit here!

Furthermore, the visitor center offers guided tours every weekend and holidays at 10 am and 2 pm. Each trip last for an hour and only ten people per group is allowed.

Fun Fact- Along with guided tours, the Visitor Center additionally offers a “Mindfulness in Nature” tour rain or shine on the first Sunday of every month at 8 am-9: 45 am.

Beginning with a guided tour to one of the lookout points you will later be able to go off by yourself for deep introspection allowing yourself to deepen your connection with the land. No reservations are needed.

Let’s now have a look inside!

Torrey Pines State Reserve Sign

Torrey Pines Lodge Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Wildflower Chart Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Wildflower Chart

Welcome Sign Torrey Pines Lodge

Insect Display Torrey Pines Lodge

Ellen Browning Scripps Portrait Torrey Pines Lodge
A portrait of Ellen Browning Scripps.

 Ellen Browning Scripps donated money to start this Reserve back in 1922. She was a very generous philanthropist that provided funding as well as her time for many famous institutions here in San Diego.

Such as the Scripps Insititute of Oceanography, the San Diego Zoo, as well as the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, just to name a few.

Geology Land Map Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

A Look Back In Time Torrey Pines Lodge

Rock Display Torrey Pines Lodge

Mountain Lion Torrey Pines Lodge

Pine cone display Torrey Pines Lodge
Pinecone examples from different species.

Role of Fire Display Torrey Pines Lodge

Let’s take a look at the back of the Visitor Center.

Backside Torrey Pines Lodge

We All Live In A Watershed Display

Southern Reserve Trails

Southern Reserve Trails Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Just a bit of a way from the Visitor Center is a few more trails with two of them taking you down to the beach.

Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Razor/Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Razor Point Trail

stone steps roped off Natural Reserve

The Razor Point Trail as described in the park brochure is 1.4 miles through ravines and badlands. At the end of the trail, there are spectacular ocean views. Have a look for yourself!

Ocean View Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines Bluffs Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

The Beach Trail

Beach Trail Yucca Point Razor Point Signs

Are you looking for a good workout? The Beach Trail is indeed for you! Clocking in at 3/4 of a mile it is relatively steep but what a view!

We also must not forget about the reward at the end!

Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Roped Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Looking Down on Flat Rock Beach

Near end Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Flat Rock Beach Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Beach Trail Staircase Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Thank you so much for joining me on a tour of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve! How did you enjoy the views? How about all the information? Did I persuade you to come down here to San Diego? I sure hope so!

Please check back later as I will be writing about the rest of our adventures down below at the Torrey Pines State Beach!

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

Until next time!


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Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Birch Aquarium-La Jolla

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium is located on the Scripps UC San Diego campus overlooking the Scripps Pier and the Pacific Ocean. Partnered with the Scripps Institute Oceanography (SIO), the Birch Aquarium is a fabulous place to come and experience and to learn about all the natural wonders of the ocean and its creatures.

More than 460.000 people visit this aquarium annually. There is so much to do and learn here.

Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier

Birch Aquarium-La Jolla General Information

Jellyfish Birch Aquarium

2300 Expedition Way-La Jolla, 92037

Website- https://aquarium.ucsd.edu/

Phone- 858-534-3474

Hours- 9am-5pm daily

Free Parking for 3 hours-Handicap parking available in front of the Aquarium

  • Adults- 18.50
  • Children(3-17)- 14
  • Seniors- 15
  • Students- 15
  • College Students for assignment- 12
Star III Submersible Submarine Birch Aquarium
The Star III, a two-seater submersible submarine from 1967 found in the parking lot

A Little History

Scripps Institute of Oceanography Pier Birch Aquarium
SIO Pier

The founders of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) felt it was essential to have an active aquarium opened to the public. They even included such a provision in their founding bylaws.

Their core belief was that the SIO had an obligation to the people to share all of its the scientific findings discovered by the institution.

Fun Fact-The first aquarium was initially situated down below, closer to the pier. The newest aquarium opened its doors up on the hill on Sept 16, 1992.

Birch Aquarium’s Mission

Scripps Institute Oceanography Plaque

According to the official website, the mission of Birch Aquarium is always to provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s research as well as to advance ocean conservation.

Southern California Coastal Habitats

La Jolla Cove Birch Aquarium
La Jolla Cove, Downtown La Jolla

It is important to remember that many exhibits here are examples of different coastal habitats here in Southern California, such as rocky intertidal, sandy shore, and the kelp forest, to name a few.

For one thing, after going to Birch Aquarium, you will have a better understanding of what honestly is under the water or living around the tide pools the next time you on the coast San Diego.

You see, you can have fun and learn at the same time!

Other exhibits here also include the warmer water species that are found down in Mexico as well as, the colder water species of the northeastern Pacific.

Let’s now talk about a few of them.

Tropical Tank Birch Aquarium
An example of the tropical waters of Mexico.
Northeastern Pacific Tank Birch Aquarium
Northeastern Pacific cold water tank with several sea stars.

My Favorite Birch Aquarium’s Exhibits

There are several unique exhibits to be seen here. For instance, I have always liked the sardine and mackerel tank at the entrance. Indeed, there is something to be said about how the fish keep swimming around in circles; it feels a bit hypnotic. I find it hard to look away.

I am also partial to the Giant Kelp Tank as I am familiar with all of these fish from back in the day when I was a Fisheries Technician. In fact, I came to this aquarium to sit and study this tank before I started the job. It was a way for me to review.

I have provided a list of other exhibits to look out for and will be adding just a little of exciting information so you will be ahead of the game when you visit. OK, let’s go.


Seahorse Conservation

The Birch Aquarium has been researching twelve different Seahorse species for more than 20 years.

Seahorse Birch Aquarium
Credit- Wikimedia Commons

Seahorses are fascinating fish!

For example,  did you know that seahorses are monogamous and mate for life? How special is that? There is also one unique fact that I have always remembered since college…

Seahorses Are Like No Other on the Planet!

In particular, the seahorse is the only creature in the world where the male bears and looks after the young! It all begins with an eight-hour ‘dance’ where he swims around his mate changing colors and showing off all of his camouflage abilities. If the female likes his dance, she will then transfer her eggs to his pouch.

Having the males in charge of the young gives this species a significant advantage. For one thing, the female can start making eggs again right away, thus ensuring adequate reproduction. For more amazing facts on the seahorse, please go here.


Coral Conservation

Birch Aquarium has been raising coral in captivity for more than twenty years. The Coral Conservation program allows the aquarium to trade with other aquariums and zoo’s and therefore reducing the pressure off of the wild populations.

Coral Tank Birch Aquarium

Raising coral is similar to propagating plants from cuttings. These fragments of coral can eventually grow into new colonies of young coral.

Coral Birch Aquarium

The Birch Aquarium has had both hard corals, and soft corals spawn in captivity. Breeding in the laboratory is a big deal!

Research is ongoing to better understand these spawning events and new ways of farming corals in the lab. Hopefully, this will protect wild colonies from exploitation in the future.


Seadragon Breeding Programs

While seahorses are a common sight off the coastal waters of North America, their cousins the Leafy Seadragon and Weedy Seadragon, are found only in southern Australia. Due to the pressure on the wild populations, the Birch Aquarium’s Seadragon Propagation Project began in 2012.

With a partnership with SIO, the aquarium has been studying seadragons in the wild as well as in their ‘state of the art’ breeding program. Here is an explanatory video about this fantastic creature.


Giant Kelp Tank

The Birch Aquarium has a 70,000 gallon, two-story Giant Kelp Forest tank. This exhibit represents one of the four protected habits of the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve, located south of La Jolla Shores Beach.

The Giant Kelp forest provides shelter for thousands of creatures. And did you know that Giant Kelp is found only on the west coast of North America?

Marine Protected Areas Map La Jolla

Giant Kelp Forest Tank Birch Aquarium

Found in the relatively cold shallow water close to shore, the Giant Kelp can grow up to eighteen inches a day. It is also the most massive algae in the world, surprisingly reaching heights of over 100 feet.

Giant Kelp Tank Birch Aquarium
The large fish in the foreground is the protected Giant Black Sea Bass.

The Giant Kelp Tank Webcam

Check out this live webcam at the aquarium! Maybe you will see scuba divers cleaning the tank or feeding the fish.

For example, I love going to this webcam because most likely little children are there watching the tank in awe and wonder. Seeing them keep an eye on the Giant Kelp tank always brings me such joy!

Please keep in mind that the lights are only on during the hours that the aquarium is open 9-5pm (PST). Have a look for yourself!

Garibaldi Birch Aquarium
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

Fun Fact- If you happen to come upon a bright orange fish, that is California’s state fish the Garibaldi. The young Garibaldi are red and have blue spots that go away when they mature.


ElasmoBeach

Leopard Shark egg case Birch Aquarium
A Leopard Shark egg case.

First off, why Elasmobeach?

Well, shark and rays are cartilaginous fish meaning that their skeletons are cartilage, not bone. The definition of an Elasmobranch is any cartilaginous fish with 5-7 ventral gill slits.

The ElasmoBeach Experience

ElasmoBeach is an outdoor tank that intimately showcases the underwater sandy shore habitat similar to that of the San Diego-Scripps Coastal Marine Conservation Area.

For example, here you will find many leopard sharks and rays just like what you would see in down below the bluff at La Jolla Shores Beach.

La Jolla Shores Beach Birch Aquarium

Experience ElasmoBeach for yourself and honestly see what is under the water the next time you are at the beach in San Diego.

Fun Fact- Each summer, thousands of leopard sharks make their way to south La Jolla Shores Beach to hang out in the shallow warm waters waiting to give birth. Did you know that the Birch Aquarium also offers Naturalist lead snorkeling trips., swimming amongst these sharks?


Preuss Tide Pool Plaza

Tidepools Birch Aquarium

Tide Pool Plaza located on the outdoor plaza, overlooks the Pacific Ocean and La Jolla Shores beach.

 Here you will find an artificial version of a rocky intertidal pool, where the water ebbs and flows just like the natural tides.

Some inhabitants you will see include hermit crabs, sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea anemones and the California Spiny lobster.

Also, I would like to point out that volunteers are located all around the plaza and will happily answer any questions you may have.

Intertidal Guide

I have also included a Southern California Intertidal Guide, compliments of the Cabrillo National Monument so you will be, again-ahead of the game before you visit!

View from Birch Aquarium

Fun Fact- Tide pool Plaza has exceptional panoramic views and is an ideal spot for San Diego whale watching.

Close up tidepools Birch Aquarium

Tidepool Plaza Birch Aquarium

California Spiny Lobster Birch Aquarium
California Spiny Lobster

Tidepool Plaza Birch Aquarium

Fun Fact-Birch Aquarium offers naturalist-led tide pool expeditions at a couple of San Diego locations. If you are interested, here is some more information on the Tidepooling Adventure


The Birch Aquarium Gift Shop

No trip is complete without visiting the Birch Aquarium’s gift shop. Here is one of my most favorite places to visits because everything in the store has to do with the ocean.

There are many unique items, but what I appreciate most of all is the scientific literature available for sale. Call me a geek, but I have yet to find these books sold anywhere else.

Fun Fact-The Gift Shop is open to the public as no entrance fee is required. For more information please contact at 858-534-8753 or at aquariumgiftshop@ucsd.edu.


Gray Whale Fountain Birch Aquarium Entrance
The entrance of Birch Aquarium

The Splash! Cafe by the French Gourmet

Whale tail fountain Birch Aquarium

When we visit the aquarium, we will stop halfway through to go outside and eat lunch.

Located at the entrance of the Birch Aquarium and adjacent to the life-sized gray whale statues, sits The Spash! Cafe.

You may bring food in if you wish, as there is a beautiful sized seating area with umbrellas, but you will be missing out on some delicious food by the French Gourmet!

There are sandwiches and snacks made from scratch as well as many hot and cold beverages. It is also important to note that organic and gluten-free options are available as well.

It has been awhile, but I do remember that there was an incredible egg salad sandwich!

End of the Tour

Birch Aquarium Whale Fountain

Did you enjoy a mini-tour of Birch Aquarium? For the most part, I hope I have motivated you a bit to come here and see it all for yourself.

I only touched on a few of the exhibits, as there are much more to see and I encourage you to visit the Birch Aquarium website for more information.

I have always held this Aquarium in very high esteem, ever since my first visit back in 1985.

La Jolla Nearby Attractions

If you happen to have a little more time, there are a few places nearby that I would like to include.

Say, if you are in the mood for a stroll on the beach, La Jolla Shores Beach is just a five-minute drive down the hill.

La Jolla Shores beach waves

Or maybe a walk around Downtown La Jolla, that is only less than ten minutes away. If you would like more information, click on the appropriate links.

La Jolla Cove Birch Aquarium
La Jolla Cove, Downtown La Jolla

How about a quick walk at the Scripps Coastal Reserve which is just up the street! Here you can walk through a Biodiversity Trail sponsored and cared for by the students and staff at UCSD.

Scripps Coastal Reserve plants ocean
Scripps Coastal Reserve

Or you could go a little bit further north and check out the Torrey Pines Gliderport which is located overlooking Black’s Beach.

In fact, there is a trail connecting the bluffs to Black’s Beach. This site is only 5 minutes away!

Black's Beach trail panoramic photo
The trail down to Black’s Beach is on the far left where all the people are standing.

Thanks again for joining me at the Birch Aquarium! Please leave any comments or questions below.

Until next time!


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BIrch Aquarium

 

 

 

Touring 10 Beaches-North County San Diego

North County San Diego

Living in Southern California, I have photographed many of the beaches of  North County San Diego through the years. But I have not gotten even close to shooting every one of them!

So, it has been my mission this year to shoot every beach on the 70 miles of  San Diego coast.

 Let’s get going!

 Beaches of North County San Diego

On Jan 11, 2018, my daughter and I took a quick ride to North County San Diego to photograph a few of the beaches.

Before leaving, I mapped out the ten shores that we would be conquering.  Our primary objective was to start at Wisconsin Street Beach in Oceanside and finally ending at Grandview Beach in Encinitas.

All in all, we covered 11.4 miles of San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline.

If there is one thing that I have learned on the adventure, it is that all of these beaches listed below are best to visit on a mid to low tide day.


Wisconsin Street Beach

North County San Diego beaches

South Pacific Street and Wisconsin Ave

Amenities– Parking lot, restrooms, snack shop, public telephone

Beach– Least popular due to being so narrow, water up against rocks at high tide.

I was interested in checking this beach out after doing some research on the Oceanside Pier. It turns out that this was the original location of the pier in 1888.

Fun Fact- On a minus tide some of the pilings from the original pier can be seen sticking out of the water at this location

I had no idea that there was parking down below and that cars are allowed right next to the beach. There is a one-way southbound street- The Strand which runs parallel to the beach.

Wisconsin Street Beach entrance

North County San Diego

Wisconsin Street Beach North County San Diego

south view Wisconsin Street Beach

Oceanside Blvd Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

South Pacific Street and Oceanside Blvd.

Amenities-Ramp, lifeguard tower, showers, no restrooms

Beach– Narrow, most sand in the area but all wet sand at high tide

Oceanside Blvd Beach only allows swimming, body surfing and boogie boarding in front of the lifeguard tower. Surfing is permitted in the areas outside the posted checkered flags.

Fun Fact- There is a very large rock that sits in the surf line 300 yards south of the lifeguard stand and can be seen when the tide is low.

Oceanside Blvd Beach entrance

Oceanside Blvd Beach Lifeguard Tower

south view Oceanside Blvd Beach

Oceanside Blvd Beach waves

Oceanside Blvd Beach North County San Diego


Buccaneer Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

1500 South Pacific Street

Amenities-free parking lot, Buccaneer Cafe (8am-2pm),  walkway next to Loma Alta Creek, lifeguard tower

Buccaneer Park- Restrooms, showers, public phone, playground, picnic tables, gazebo, BBQ grills, basketball court

Beach– smallest in Oceanside, wet sand at high tide

Buccaneer Beach was one of my favorite finds today! This beach has a nice sized  FREE parking lot and the Buccaneer Cafe.  What a fabulous place to eat breakfast or lunch. It is not your typical snack shack. I mean check out this menu! We are going to have to come back here and eat!

Buccaneer Beach Parking Lot

Buccaneer Cafe North County San Diego

Front view Buccaneer Cafe

Oceanside Beaches Regulation Sign

Buccaneer Beach North County San Diego

Primarily in summer, only swimming, body surfing, and boogie boarding are allowed in front of the lifeguard stand. Surfing is still permitted here, but just outside of the posted checkered flags.South view Buccaneer Beach

Let’s walk a bit and check out what is under this bridge.

Loma Alta Creek North County San Diego

Loma Alta Creek runs off onto this beach into the Pacific Ocean.

Loma Alta Creek runoff Buccaneer Beach

view under bridge Buccaneer Beach


Cassidy Street Beach-South Oceanside Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

South Pacific Street and Cassidy St

Amenities– lifeguard, no restrooms, no showers, parking in a residential area

Beach-narrow stretches to St Malo Beach

Cassidy Street Beach is the most southern public beach in Oceanside and is also a favorite surfing beach.

The private, St Malo Beach a quarter mile south from here. Cassidy Street Beach is the access point that you must use if you are interested in checking out this area as there is no other public access south of this location.

Cassidy Street Beach Entrance North County San Diego

Cassidy Street Beach Stairs North County San Diego

Cassidy Street Beach north

south view Cassidy Street Beach

Cassidy Street Beach Staircase


Buena Vista Lagoon Visitor Center

Nature Center Sign Buena Vista Audubon Society

North County San Diego Beaches

2202 South Coast Highway

The night before our beach adventure, I had been doing some research on the Buena Vista Lagoon Visitor Center,  which is the home of the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center.

When we drove past the entrance, I immediately made a U-turn and proceeded to the parking lot.

Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center Sign

Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center Parking Lot

Buena Vista Lagoon Trailhead

Heron Statue Outside Center

Buena Vista Lagoon is a 200-acre freshwater lagoon located in both Oceanside and Carlsbad.
Buena Vista Lagoon North County San Diego

Nature Center Bird Display

looking down Bird Display Nature Center

Microscope Buena Vista Audubon Center

Fun Fact- The Buena Vista Audobon Society holds regular bird walks around San Diego County.


Carlsbad City Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

Ocean St and Grand Ave

Amenities-no lifeguards, no restrooms, parking in a residential neighborhood

Beach– sizeable sandy beach, short walk north to enter the Buena Vista Lagoon

Carlsbad City Beach is part of Carlsbad State Beach, No surfing is allowed at the beach between May and November.  There are several staircases found along Ocean Street to access this beach.

Carlsbad City Beach Entrance

Carlsbad City Beach North County San Diego

north view Carlsbad City Beach

south view Carlsbad City Beach


Robert Frazee State Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

3150 Ocean Street

Amenities– a ramp ( on Pine St), lifeguards, restrooms, showers, grass park, benches, volleyball courts

Beach– wide and sandy, one of the less crowded beaches

Robert Frazee State Beach is a great beach to run along or to walk on. There are many rocks on the beach so please consider that before setting out.

Robert Frazee State Beach parking lot

steps going down Robert Frazee State Beach

north view Robert Frazee State Beach

Wild Radish Robert Frazee State Beach

Robert Frazee State Beach Volleyball Court


Terramar Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

Carlsbad Blvd and Cerezo Drive

Amenities– no restrooms, no lifeguards

Beach– narrow, hidden, wet sand at high tide, excellent surfing spot

On a shallow tide, Terramar beach is an exceptional spot to check out the tide pools.

Fun Fact- Not so fun, but in 2009 and woman was attacked by a 5-6 foot juvenile Great White Shark. Miraculously, there was no blood and she only got bruises!

Terramar Beach North County San Diego

Terramar Beach Bluff Entrance

Terramar Beach Stairs

North View Terramar Beach

south view bluffs North County San Diego

Terramar Beach Stairs North County San Diego

Terramar Beach North County San Diego


Carlsbad State Beach- North Ponto

North County San Diego Beaches

Carlsbad Blvd and Island Way

Amenities– Lifeguard, restroom, parking

Beach-Narrow compared to South Ponto Beach, steep incline to get down to the beach, famous surfing destination

A pay parking lot is located next to the southbound lanes on Carlsbad Blvd north of the South Carlsbad Campground.

North Ponto Beach is another prime beach to visit (on low tide) if you like to get away from the crowds.

South Carlsbad State Beach North Ponto Sign

North Ponto Beach Rules Sign Fence

North Ponto Beach view chain linked fence

North Ponto Surfer Bluff

Surfer Top Bluff North Ponto Beach

Bluff Erosion North Ponto Beach

North View North Ponto Beach Bluffs Ocean

bench on bluffs sandy beach below ocean
Another outstanding place to sit and watch for dolphins and whales!

Carlsbad State Beach- South Ponto

South Ponto Beach Bluffs North County San Diego

North County San Diego Beaches

Coast Highway 101 and La Costa Ave

Amenities– lifeguards, restrooms, showers, paid parking lot, outside free parking

Beach– wide and sandy, dunes and ice plants

South Ponto beach is on a sand spit that shelters the Batisquitous Lagoon from the Pacific Ocean. I was pleasantly surprised at how big this undeveloped beach is.

Fun Fact- During the winter months, South Ponto beach is a notorious spot to find polished stones on the shore.

South Ponto Beach Entrance

South Ponto Beach rules sign

South Ponto wide sandy beach

South Ponto Beach Parking Lot

The paid parking lot has an eight dollar fee. There is the option of parking for free next to the southbound lanes of Carlsbad Blvd, but they do fill up fast.

Beach Wrack Sign South Ponto Beach

Bluff Overlook Sign

South Ponto Beach Stairs North County San Diego

Batiquitos Lagoon Lagoon North County

South Ponto Bluffs North County San Diego

 What stood out to me was the Bluff Overlook. What a spectacular place to sit and watch for any whales or dolphins to pass by the shore!

South View South Ponto Beach

Before leaving, we wanted to observe the massive compass at the base of the bluff stairs.

South Ponto Beach North County San Diego

North Compass Arm Gray Whales
North- Gray Whales
South compass arm The Bluffs
South-The Bluffs
East compass arm The Lagoon
East- The Lagoon
West Compass arm The Pacific Ocean
West- The Pacific Ocean

Grandview Beach-Encinitas

North County San Diego Beaches

1700 Neptune Ave, Encinitas

Amenities– no restroom, parking lot in the residential area, wooden staircase

Beach– narrow during high tide, excellent beginning surfing beach

Grandview Beach is a beautiful little secret spot in Encinitas, CA.

Grandview Beach entrance sign

Grandview Beach parking lot
Grandview Beach parking lot.

Grandview Beach staircase North County San Diego

North View Grandview Beach

South view Grandview Beach

Grandview Beach North County San Diego

Grandview Beach North County San Diego

Thank you so much for joining us today!

Which beach are you most interested in visiting? I have a few

First I would start the day by visiting the Buccaneer Cafe at Buccaneer Beach. Afterward, I would continue to Terramar Beach’s tide pools on a low tide and finally, end the day sitting on top of the South Ponto Bluffs looking out onto the water for pods of dolphins or migrating Gray Whales. Well, that is my perfect day, how about yours? 

I hope that one day you can come and visit these beaches in person!

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions!

Until next time!


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North County San Diego

San Diego Lagoons and Nature Centers

Agua Hedionda Lagoon San Diego Lagoons

San Diego doesn’t just have the best beaches in the country; we also have some of the most significant coastal wetlands as well.

I have prepared a list of coastal nature centers that are along the San Diego coastline. I have also linked each site to its appropriate website.

Explore, have fun and learn at the same time!

San Diego Lagoons and Nature Centers

With over 70 miles of coast to discover in San Diego, there are also several coastal lagoons to visit as well. Be that you are in a mood for a hike or interested in the natural history of the area, you really can not go wrong!

I will be starting the list at the most northern location, Oceanside and will be making my way South, finally ending at the Mexican Border.

Google Map San Diego Lagoons


Buena Vista Lagoon San Diego Lagoons

Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center

  • Nature Center run by the Audubon Society
  • Over 223 acres of coastal wetlands
  • 103 bird, 18 mammals, and 14 reptile and amphibian species found in the park
  • Native Garden

2202 South Coast Hwy, Oceanside CA 92054

760-439-2473

Buena Vista Lagoon San Diego Lagoons

Map

For more detailed information, go here.


Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Agua Hedionda Discovery Center

  • Nature Center run by Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation
  • 400 acres
  • Northeast end of the lagoon is a protected habitat
  • Native Garden

1580 Cannon Road, Carlsbad CA 92008

760-804-1969

Map

For more detailed information, go here.

Backside Aqua Hedionda Lagoon Panoramic


 

Batiquitos Lagoon San Diego Lagoons

Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center

  • Nature Center run by Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation
  • 610-acre Ecological Reserve
  • 1.5-mile trail
  • Over 200 pre-historic site along shoreline dated over 8000 years old

7380 Gabbiano Lane, Carlsbad CA 92011

760-931-0800

Map

Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center


San Elijo Lagoon San Diego Lagoons

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

  • 979 acre Ecological Reserve
  • Nature Center run by San Elijo Conservancy
  • Largest San Diego coastal wetlands

2712 Manchester Ave, Encinitas CA 92007

760-634-3026

Map

For more detailed information, go here.

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center San Diego Lagoons
San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

San Dieguito County Park

  • Found a short distance from the Pacific Ocean
  • Many trails take you toward the coast with exceptional views

1628 Lomas Santa Fe, Del Mar CA 92014

858-755-2386

Map


Los Penasquitos Lagoon San Diego Lagoons
Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

  • Northern Border of the City of San Diego forming a natural border with Del Mar
  • There is a colony of the endangered evergreen species Pinus torreyana-(Torrey pine)
  • Located within the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pine Tree San Diego Lagoons

Here is some info about possible starting locations to this lagoon.

The Visitor Center, The Torrey Pines Lodge is located on top of the hill at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

For more detailed information, go here.

Torrey Pines Lodge San Diego Lagoons
Torrey Pines Lodge

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Map

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Watershed


 

Friends of Famosa Slough

PO Box 87280 San Diego, CA 92138-7280

(619) 224-4591

Map


San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge

San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge

1080 Gunpowder Point Dr, Chula Vista, CA 91910

619-476-9150

The Living Coast Discovery Center

Map


Tijuana River Valley Regional Park

  •  Major bird watching spot as there are over 375 species seen here
  • Bordered by Mexico

Ranger Station: 2721 Monument Road, San Diego, CA 92154

Bird and Butterfly Garden: 2310 Hollister St., San Diego, CA 92154

Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center

301 Caspian Way, Imperial Beach CA 91932

619-575-3613

Map


Border Field State Park San Diego Lagoons

Border Field State Park

1500 Monument Rd, San Diego, CA 92154

619-575-3613

Map