Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad is one of the natural gems of San Diego County and is a great place to hike, boat, paddle, fish and enjoy a unique coastal ecosystem. The lagoon is home to juvenile fish, crabs, hundreds of species of marine life and waterfowl, including an array of threatened and endangered species.
Agua Hedionda is connected to the Pacific Ocean between Tamarack Avenue and Cannon Road in Carlsbad. The 400-acre area includes three inter-connected lagoons. The Lagoon itself extends 1.7 miles inland and is up to .5 miles wide. Three major roadbeds cross the Lagoon - Highway 101 along the coastline, the railroad and Interstate 5.
Boats, personal watercraft and paddleboards are allowed on Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Check local permits needed at https://www.carlsbadca.gov/departments/parks-recreation/lagoon-permits.
The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center, located at 1580 Cannon Road in Carlsbad offers public programs and outreach activities, such as exhibits, lectures and festivals celebrating the lagoon. For more information about the Discovery Center and the Lagoon Foundation, visit https://www.aguahedionda.org/.
Runners, walkers and bird watchers will enjoy Carlsbad’s Batiquitos Lagoon, a beautiful coastal wetland. Bordered on the northern side by the Batiquitos Trail system, the over 600-acre lagoon is protected as a game sanctuary and bird estuary. The lagoon is owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The public walking and hiking trail along the lagoon’s north side is currently 1.6 miles long. The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation offers many different docent-led walks along the trail from its nature center at 7380 Gabbiano Lane in Carlsbad.The foundation also provides informational pamphlets for self-guided nature walks. There are several access points primarily on Batiquitos Drive, on the north side. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be leashed at all times.
The lagoon is home to many different wildlife species, including plants, fish and birds. Endangered birds such as the Snowy Plover, California Least Tern and Clapper Rail have been spotted there.
The Batiquitos Lagoon trail and picnic tables are open from dawn to dusk. The Nature Center restroom and viewing deck are usually open from 9am – 3pm, subject to volunteer availability. There are five public parking lots providing access to the trail, one by the Nature Center and four on Batiquitos Drive.
Fishing is permitted only at the rock jetties at the mouth of the lagoon in South Ponto Beach and the rocks under I-5 (east or west of the freeway, on the north side only). A fishing license is required.
For more information about the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, visit https://batiquitosfoundation.org/.
Buena Vista Lagoon
The Buena Vista Lagoon is known for its scenic views of the ocean and notoriously good bird watching. The 350-acre freshwater lagoon is on the border between Carlsbad and Oceanside. The lagoon is owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and managed as an ecological preserve.
Buena Vista, Spanish for “good view”, became California's first ecological reserve in 1969. The lagoon offers sanctuary to many species. More than 103 bird species, 18 mammals and 14 amphibians and reptiles live in and around the lagoon. More than 235 types of birds have been spotted there, including the California Quail, Vermillion Flycatcher and the Great Blue Heron. The lagoon is located on the annual migration route known as the Pacific Flyway, and millions of birds pass through during winter and summer migrations.
This Carlsbad lagoon may be viewed from Maxton Brown Park on Laguna Avenue and State Street, the Ecological Wildlife Viewing Area on Jefferson Street and Marron Road or the Buena Vista Audubon Society Nature Center on Coast Highway in Oceanside. In addition to general information about the lagoon and its native inhabitants, the Nature Center also offers bird watching tours.
For additional Information about Buena Vista Lagoon, visit https://bvaudubon.org/.