Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center


Location: Oceanside (36 Miles / 40 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 4PM (Opens at 1PM on Sundays and Closed on Mondays)

Cost: Free; Donations Accepted

Features: Nature Center Hosted by the Buena Vista Audobon Society on the only Freshwater Coastal Lagoon in Southern California; Mastodon Fossils

buena-vista-nature-centerBuena Vista Nature Center Highlights: The Buena Vista Lagoon is about a 1/3-mile wide and over a mile long. Despite coming within a stones throw of the Pacific Ocean, a sand berm keeps the two separate, and as a result, the Buena Vista Lagoon is the only coastal freshwater lagoon in Southern California.

Over 300 species of birds travel the North American Flyway from the northern reaches of Alaska to Central America. This is one of the many lagoons in San Diego County where the birds can rest and feed during their travels. (One of the main stopping points is the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge on the border with Mexico.)

The Buena Vista Nature Center is an excellent place for bird lovers to learn more about local birds. There are descriptions and models of the birds and well as replicas of bird eggs that help you differentiate between the various species. You will also find a gift shop with books on birding and helpful docents to answer your questions.

The Nature Center maintains a list of recent bird sightings, which will help you identify birds you may see on the small trail that leads you into the Lagoon next to the Nature Center.

Another prominent display is the fossil of a 100,000+ year old mastodon found in the area. On the adjoining display board, you can learn more about early wildlife in San Diego County and the remnants of a 22 million year-old volcano just two-miles to the east of the Nature Center.

Most visitors can plan on spending about a half-hour. It is a nice place to teach children about birds in a short amount of time for free.

Those wanting a more in-depth birding experience can join the Buena Vista Audobon Society for trail tours and other events they host throughout San Diego County each month.

Food – There are a number of restaurants on the Coast Highway two miles north in Downtown Oceanside and two miles south in Carlsbad.

Information on Visiting the Buena Vista Nature Center

Nature Center web site: Get more details on the Nature Center

Admission: Free; Donation Boxes are available

Directions from Google Maps to 2202 S. Coast Highway in Oceanside, CA 92054.

Traffic – Other than summer weekends, getting in and out of the Buena Vista Nature is relatively easy. On summer weekends you will encounter heavy beach traffic but there should not be long delays except on Holiday Weekends. (Learn more about getting San Diego traffic updates.)

Parking – There is small parking lot behind the Nature Center.

Transit – The Buena Vista Nature Center is a two-mile bus ride south of the Oceanside Transit Center.  See San Diego Transit Information for the Transit Planner and details about the Oceanside Transit Center, which is served by AMTRAK, Coaster, and Metrolink trains.

Nearby Attractions: Find more things to do in Oceanside, CA . While in Oceanside, you can also walk out on the largest wooden pier on the West Coast, explore the California Surf Museum, take surfing lessons, enjoy an ocean sailing tour, bike along a nature trail, and see history at California’s largest Mission.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: Oceanside, Wildlife - Places to See |

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