Must-Sees

Nature Center

  • STATUS: OPEN
  • HOURS: Sunrise to sunset (parking lot: 9 am–5 pm daily). Closed one day (12/25) each year.

  • RESTROOMS: CLOSED 

  • PETS/animals: Leashed dogs welcome

  • ENTRANCE: 2710 Manchester Ave, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007.

  • CLOSEST PUBLIC TRANSIT: Highway 101 + Chesterfield (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA).

  • PARKING: CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE in accordance with Public Health Order.

  • TERRAIN: Flat, wide, and even path. Suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.

  • PARTNERS: We partner with County of San Diego Parks and Recreation, who owns the Nature Center, and county rangers and volunteers who operate it.

Visit the friendly hub of the lagoon.

From the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center’s second-floor outdoor observation deck, you can see far-reaching lagoon + ocean views. Go for a relaxing adventure around the loop trail (with two concentric loops to choose from).

Inside the Nature Center, you can explore interactive museum exhibits. Learn all about the San Elijo Lagoon’s history and ecology. The displays illustrate and explain how connected everything is in your local lagoon – from protected plants + animals to intriguing artifacts. Even a few local animals make their cozy home in the Nature Center. You see how they all play their crucial role in this rare marshland environment.

From Our Visitors

  • @seanpaints

    The visitor center was full with kids learning and enjoying nature, and found the ‘rooftop’ very cool and neat, great view, breeze and with…
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    Carmen V

    San Jose, CA

  • @shmandieee

    Super cool! If you want a place to go running or walking with some among views then this is your place.
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    Janice H

    San Diego, CA

  • @kellygrnlandscaping

    There’s an awesome visitor’s center off Manchester Ave. complete with nice, clean lavs. . . . On any day, you’re apt to see Ospreys, Egrets…
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    Phillip W

    Shorewood, WI

  • @griswold_group

    I’m a kid at heart, I love to get dirt in my hair, travel unmarked paths, and climb things. The reserve was the perfect place for me. The…
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    Andrew V

    Gaslamp, San Diego, CA

Restoring our local ecology,
together.

At Nature Collective, we work with our community and supporters to
conserve and preserve San Diego’s natural habitats. You can even
volunteer – everyone is welcome!

What’s New at Nature Collective?

Join us for community events!
Discovery Tour (Canceled)
02

May

Discovery Tour (Canceled)

1 Hour

Canceled Discover the beauty of San Elijo Lagoon: where fresh water and salt water meet and mix, where migratory and…

Learn More
Lagoon in Bloom (Canceled)
03

May

Lagoon in Bloom (Canceled)

5 hours

CANCELED As warmer days bring butterflies, birds and pollinators over flowering plants it is time for the annual Lagoon In…

Learn More