Northern San Diego County, which includes areas like Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos, Escondido, Vista, and Encinitas, has numerous parks and open spaces where people can enjoy the outdoors and pleasant weather. San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, located in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, is one such place where nature lovers can enjoy observing the coastal ecosystem of the area. San Elijo Lagoon is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in the San Diego area and is home to a thriving community of flora and fauna. The area is popular with birdwatchers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Located in the hills of Escondido, the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve features approximately 11 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding through the North County backcountry. The Reserve is located within the Escondido Creek watershed and is home to a variety of native plant communities including chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and riparian oak. Additionally, the Reserve also features six scenic overlooks that offer commanding views of the Pacific Ocean, coastal islands, and inland mountain ranges.