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Must-Sees

Nature Center

  • STATUS: CLOSED. The visitor center is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. 
  • HOURS: Sunrise to sunset (parking lot: 9 am–5 pm daily). Closed one day (12/25) each year.

  • RESTROOMS: OPEN 

  • 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: Open

  • 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.
    Read more

    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…
    Read more

    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…
    Read more

    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!
Nature Reflections
22

Apr

Nature Reflections

15-60 min

Join us in this reflective online experience. Find a beautiful and quiet space to observe nature. What do you see,…

Learn More
Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
22

Apr

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

60 min

Join us in this online celebration of Earth Day Every Day by creating a piece of art inspired by your…

Learn More