Some Favorite Birding Sites:
Santee Lakes - Very good for ducks in winter. Close access to a string of lakes. Has fishing (for a fee), several playgrounds, picnic areas, & numerous restrooms. Paddle boats and canoes are available for rental. There is a fee for parking if you drive in, but the walk-in entrance at Fanita Parkway and Lake Canyon Road is free.
Old Mission Dam - Good riparian area almost any time of year. There are many trails to different portions of Mission Trails Regional Park, some of which would be too strenuous for small children. Nearby Kumeyaay Lake is a good area for children.
Lindo Lakes - Good for water birds especially in winter. Picnic areas, fishing, playgrounds, and restrooms.
Louis Stelzer County Park (along Wildcat Canyon Road, between Lakeside and Silverwood Audubon Sanctuary) - The only county park specifically designed for children and adults with physical handicaps such as wheelchair-bound and blind. The playground areas in an oak riparian area have activities for the impaired. Short or long hikes at the park. Parking fee.
The Living Coast Discovery Center - Short trails along the east side of San Diego Bay. Nature center has exhibits about the bay, aquarium (some of which allow people to touch the animals), breeding facilities for Light-footed Clapper Rail, and exhibits of caged raptors.