Carlsbad's South Ponto Beach is a big favorite with local residents. The annual surf clinic for the blind and sight-impaired—with nearly 100 surfer-assistant volunteers from the Swami’s Surfing Association and San Diego
Surf Academy—is held here in mid-Sept every year. Plenty of sand to stretch out on, and the sand dunes shelter the beach from Highway 101. This popular beach is backed by the tranquil Batiquitos Lagoon to the east. Check out the viewpoint at the top of the stairs at the south end for a spectacular view of the North County coastline. It's handicapped accessible, with two parking spaces right off 101 (just south of the parking lot entrance). There’s a paved path leading to the viewpoint. The beach can be rocky in places (which is a very healthy and good thing) and there are large dunes to scramble over to reach the waves. Batiquitos Lagoon is 600 acres of restored and protected wetlands that opens to the ocean at South Carlsbad State Beach. Paths through the protected area make it accessible to visitors, and leashed dogs are permitted. A popular birdwatching spot, look for blue herons, egrets, killdeer, even the endangered California least tern.