The Gem of Carlsbad 2

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Our beautiful city now has another feather in its cap! Earlier this year, the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (AHLF) announced exclusive eco-tours on the lagoon, in partnership with California Water Sports, to offer another opportunity to educate the community on the ecology, history, and use of the Agua Hedionda. Led by AHLF staff and naturalists, the eco-tours provide residents and tourists the opportunity to learn about the native flora and fauna, history, recreational and commercial uses along the lagoon.

If you are a birding enthusiast, this is an opportunity to sight some Blue Winged Teal, Great Blue Heron, Cinnamon Teal, Killdeer, Snowy Egret, Willets, Black Skimmer – all waterfowl observed on the lagoon during the eco-tours. Guests enjoy the experience on tandem kayaks and all tours are capped at four persons to maximize learning, experience and exclusivity. Each tour lasts two hours and a guide on a stand-up paddleboard accompanies guests on this intimate experience with nature.

This opportunity is unique in the fact that Agua Hedionda is the only lagoon in San Diego that allows for this type of recreational use. A trained teacher educates guests on estuarine ecological zones, native species facts, and more. “By gaining firsthand accessible experience on the lagoon, our hope is for people to feel more connected and become better stewards of the watershed,” says Samantha Richter, Director of Education at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation.

“They learn about the flora and fauna that relies on this unique ecosystem and calls the lagoon home. Without a healthy lagoon, these species will not survive. 
And if the community does not do their part in keeping it healthy, it will not remain accessible forever,” shares Richter. “The current activities we offer do not occur on the water itself. The eco-tours provide a unique experience where visitors learn about the flora and fauna through a recreational activity, only exclusive to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.”

AHLF also seeks to serve families with school-aged children who care about the environment, the watershed, and the local community. With that in mind, the nonprofit operates the Discovery Center (DC), an extraordinary collection of hands-on nature activities that allows visitors to “taste nature” by experiencing the lagoon and the ecological reserve that resides in Carlsbad. They are located on the Eastern end of the lagoon, and serve all of North County; open seven days a week.

This beautiful community nature center hosts an award-winning Environmental Education School Program as well as lectures, festivals, bird walks and events throughout the year. They also offer summer camps at the DC to educate campers on the flora and fauna around the lagoon, taking them on daily hikes around the native garden and trail, and offering an opportunity to interact with the DC animals!

Each week is differently themed, offering a variety of learning experiences catered to the different age groups and interest of camp attendees. Week 1 addresses “Life on the Lagoon” where students will learn how Native Americans lived, hunted, and used the land around this resource. Week 2 is focused on the ecology and habitat of the area. Week 3 is themed E-STEAM: Environmental – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math. Each day will be a different STEAM topic, all with an environmental tone woven throughout the lessons.

It isn’t difficult to see the wealth of work accomplished by AHLF and their continued efforts to educate the community and visitors on the importance of our Carlsbad lagoon as well as how vital it is to protect and preserve this ecological treasure. Visit the DC today, enroll the kids in one of their fantastic summer camps or better yet, get on that exclusive eco-tour this summer, enjoying a first-hand, first-class kayaking experience just minutes from your home!

Learn more at – The eco-tours are priced $350 for four 
people, $250 for two people, individual $175. AHLF members receive $50 off.