San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center

2710 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92024
Park: (760) 634-3026
Reservations: (858) 565-3600, (877) 565-3600

Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily

View the park brochure. Watch our latest on trail video.

The Nature Center is a perfect starting point for experiencing the beautiful San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. Museum quality interactive exhibits interpret the history and development of the ecological reserve, as well as the plants and animals found here.  

Learn more about the hundreds of native species that live in this precious estuarine environment, and the natural processes critical to its health. The Nature Center is along the 7-mile trail system in the reserve, making it a convenient place to bring the family before venturing out into the lagoon.

The Nature Center was designed and constructed with a focus on the environment through energy efficiency, water conservation, and natural resource preservation by incorporating many “green” technologies into its design. The 5,525-square foot, two-story building presents a unique opportunity to see a number of “green” building concepts in use. Construction and operations of the building include a solar powered photovoltaic system mounted on the roof, an energy-efficient radiant heat system encapsulated in the floors, a high use of recycled materials, and more.


  • Nature Center 
  • TRACK Trails
  • NEW Trail through Annie's Canyon
  • Birdwatching
  • Wedding and special event venues
  • Restroom

Visit the News & Events page for park events, updates and closures. 

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