Magazine article Sunset

Exploring San Diego County's Coastal Lagoons

Magazine article Sunset

Exploring San Diego County's Coastal Lagoons

Article excerpt

Interstate 5 stretches like a lazy roller coaster between La Jolla and Camp Pendleton in Southern California. The eight-lane freeway crosses coastal mesas and swoops into valleys. As you ride each swoop, you catch a quick glimpse of the Pacific Ocean bounded by hillsides and the glinting water of river-mouth lagoons.

But lagoons and estuaries are notoriously difficult to explore. Mud lurks beneath pickleweed, ready to engulf your shoes. And the birds are usually far away on tidal flats, busy as sewing needles at a quilting bee. Four of San Diego County's lagoons, though, offer easy access.

Buena Vista. Look for the Audubon Nature Center at 2202 S. Hill Street in Oceanside, on the marsh's north edge. A short trail leads into a lush cattail jungle where we observed, close up, a blue-nosed ruddy duck busily diving for food. For center information, call (619) 439-2473.

Agua Hedionda. Don't let its name (Spanish for stinking water) put you off. …

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