As usual, the Southern California summer is heating up. Our late summers in August and September force me to change my riding habits each year. Like many of you, I’ve had to forgo rides or ride early in the morning or in the evening hours, which is not always convenient.
Time to ride can be hard to come by when the hot summer weather further limits our time. Cricket and I hit the beach when we can.
is located within the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, just off Monument Road. The 418-acre reserve is one of 28 funded through a partnership between state governments and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and offers a couple of nice staging areas and access to the beach with your horse.
I highly recommend that you take a picnic and munchies for your horse and plan on being there most of the day.
At Staging area 1 there are open parking spaces, a wash rack with water and even a hose most of the time. It’s nice to be able to rinse all of the salt and sand off of your equine before the hour-long ride home to Ramona.
There is a potty to use and the beach is about seven minutes away at a walk. The trail leading from the staging area is nice and flat with a fence on the street side. Smaller trailers are more comfortably maneuvered at this staging area.
Staging area 2 is just an open area to park, with the beach about three minutes away. It’s easy to access with just about any sized trailer and has a pull-through design. A portable toilet may be available at this location, but not always, so be prepared. Border Field State Park hasn’t been crowded during our visits, with just a few other equestrians enjoying the beautiful beach weather.
There is a possible $5.00 charge on weekends and holidays, and as a state park I recommend that you check the website before your visit. The park gate is closed during the week due to budget cuts, but you can park outside and still access the beach. In addition, poor water conditions can cause the area to be closed. This is a ride that you should always call before you haul.
Please do not collect anything from the beach such as shells, rocks or driftwood. Collecting anything is not allowed in most state parks.
Cricket’s first visit to the beach was quite amusing. While she loves the water and plays like a filly when we do find water along a trail, the ocean was a bit intimidating to her at first. The water moves and it has white edges as it moves toward you and the sand sank under her hooves.
She was very unsure about this moving, white water—most horses are the first few times. I wish I had captured the look on her face at first and then later, as she came to understand – this is water! She soon began to enjoy the cool water on her legs and splashed all around. I was also soaked by my playful pony pal. At this point I think she wants to live at the beach; however, she’ll have to settle for the one-hour drive.
Give this beach a shot, it’s a nice change and challenge for your equine’s mind, and a nice break from the heat for both of you.
The park is located 15 miles south of San Diego.
Latitude/Longitude: 32.5428 / -117.1214
From Interstate 5, there are two routes:
Exit Dairy Mart Road (exit 2)
Head southwest on Dairy Mart Road. Dairy Mart Road will curve right onto Monument Road. Turn right (west) on Monument Road until you reach the park entrance.
Exit Coronado Avenue (exit 4) in Imperial Beach.
Go straight from the off-ramp onto Hollister Street. Continue down Hollister until you reach Monument Road. Turn right (west) on Monument Road until you reach the park entrance.