Why Visitors Flock to Tijuana Slough
As a wildlife refuge, this beach area is a prime spot for bird watching and viewing other wildlife. Over 360 species of birds have been spotted here, including endangered species, such as the light-footed rail and the California least tern, from the boardwalk and observation decks.
Visit the Visitors Center
You can stop by the visitor center to grab a trail map and plan your time. In the scrub, look for animals on the ground as well as birds in flight. Ground squirrels, rabbits, gophers, and weasels coexist with snakes and lizards.
Don’t forget to watch the marshes and ocean; mollusks and shells, fish, rays, leopard sharks, and sea mammals including dolphins, seals, and sea lions are also known to frequent the waters. In the cooler months, you may even be able to watch whales from the shoreline!
Next to Mexico
Did you know that the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge is located in the most southwestern corner of the contiguous United States, only 1 1/2 miles from the border of Mexico.
Surfing at Sloughs Surf Break
Locals also know to visit Tijuana Slough for some hidden gems of surfing beaches. In fact, Sloughs Surf Break has some of the biggest waves in the area, in part because of the offshore reefs and the deep open waters.
The breaks closer to the beach are known as Boca Rio, and you should always look out for rip tides and dorsal fins. On a good day, long rides are possible, the kind you have seen in movies or heard older surfers talk about.
The Sloughs are not for the faint of heart, and typically, you’ll only see experienced surfers here to brave the waters. The main reason isn’t the size of the swells, but rather that contaminated water, thanks to sewage dumped into the Tijuana River. That’s why swimming is prohibited at this beach.
Even if you avoid the water itself, you can still enjoy the beaches, trails, and the incredible view.
Want to Explore More? Stay Nearby at Sand Castle Inn
Sand Castel Inn is just north of the pier in Imperial Beach and a good place to stay in Imperial Beach. When you stay at the Sand Castel Inn, you get the best of all worlds. Not only is the beach right across the street but also, the best of San Diego, Tijuana and Coronado are all just a short drive away.