Plan Your Visit

LCDC Bus stop

This refuge has two distinct areas you can enjoy some of the most beautiful and unique wildlife in San Diego Bay. Each area is connected by the Bayshore Bikeway. So whether you're riding your bike, the bus, or driving, accessing the refuge is easy. You just have to know where to go!

Sweetwater Marsh

As a reminder, currently there is no access at the Sweetwater Marsh unit in San Diego Bay NWR until the Living Coast Discovery Center opens. We recommend taking a walk on the north end of 13th or 10th streets in Imperial Beach or at Tijuana Estuary.  

Plug into your GPS: 1080 Gunpowder Point Dr. Chula Vista, CA 91910. To get here from I-5 freeway, exit E street exit and turn west into the entrance of the free parking lot and shuttle stop, where E street intersects Bay Boulevard. 
Open from 10am - 5pm, a shuttle bus run by the Living Coast Discovery Center will bring your inside the refuge gates about every 15 minutes. There is no fee to walk the 1.5 miles of trails, however there is a fee to explore the Living Coast Discovery Center. Both the Discovery Center and our administrative headquarters are located next to each other.
Special events such as the annual National Wildlife Refuge Week celebration will be posted here on the homepage, and on our Facebook page. 

South San Diego Bay 

This area of the refuge is surrounded by the Bayshore Bikeway, so access is easy! Many people walk/bike from the City of Coronado and the Silver Strand down to the City of Imperial Beach, hugging the curves of the South Bay Unit. It continues to glide through Imperial Beach, passing by the salt ponds, where many species of birds can be viewed diving into the ponds for fish or swimming along the Otay River. You may park anywhere along this area, however it is in a residential area, so please be considerate of our neighbors! 

The best place to park would be at 495 10th Street, Imperial Beach, in the gravel parking lot. This is a parking lot the City of Imperial Beach has graciously installed for extra visitor parking. From here, you can cross the bike path and access our Bayside Birding and Walking Trail, which runs from the northern terminus of 10th Street west to 7th Street in Imperial Beach.

During the winter time, monthly guided birding tours by the San Diego Audubon Society are conducted from October to February (except December) within an area of the refuge that is normally closed to the public. During the spring and summer, tours are not offered due to the thousands of protected migrating terns and black skimmers who breed there. You can still see the incredible wildlife spectacle of the migrating terns from the Bayside Birding & Walking Trail.