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Enjoy a walk on the mild side

Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park is one of Mission Bay's nicer public walks

The walkway can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers
The walkway can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers
Place

Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park

500 Sea World Drive, San Diego

San Diego is blessed with many nice public walks, and this is one of the nicer ones, because it hugs the south shore of Mission Bay opposite Fiesta Island. It is named for Rose Marie Starns, who was the head of the San Diego Hotel-Motel Association and a “relentless advocate for Mission Bay Park and San Diego tourism,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Coyote brush and sea lavender are common plants seen on this walk

As you drive into the lot, note that the boat launch is a large, busy area with great public facilities. After parking, you’ll pick up the sidewalk immediately on the right of the boat launch area. Simply follow this around to the east. Be alert and you will probably be greeted by an osprey who seems to make this area his perch.

The focus of this small park is a wide, artistically designed concrete walkway that winds its way east until it meets up with Sea World Drive, about 150 yards south of the entry road into Fiesta Island. For those wanting a longer walk, they can continue north across Fiesta Island Road and pick up the walkway that follows the east side of Mission Bay.

What you’ll notice immediately is the graceful way the path follows the shoreline. There are ample benches to sit on and watch the world go by. Or you could have a picnic; there are tables and also a shaded area. There are also fire pits. This walkway is framed by native plants that also support an abundance of bush birds. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

There is an explosion of color here, especially in the spring due to the moisture and mild climate, but the path any time of the year offers up many beautiful views. Keep an eye out for the pines along the way; they are Torrey Pines, as evidenced by their five-needle bundles. Take in the members of our coastal sage scrub community: San Diego goldenbush or coastal goldenbush (Isocoma menziesii) dominates throughout. The male coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) might be in bloom, waiting for the wind to carry their pollen to interested female coyote bushes. Interspersed among the lemonadeberry, toyon, and laurel sumac are sea lavenders (Limonium perezii) providing their purple blooms as a contrast to the greens.

Cedar Waxwings and White-crowned Sparrows dart in and out of the coastal sage scrub habitat. Enjoy your walk on the mild side!

ROSE MARIE STARNS SOUTH SHORES PARK (Mission Bay)

Enjoy a walk on the mild side

Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park map

Driving directions: Exit I-5 on to Sea World Drive west and go one mile. Turn right onto South Shores Parkway and drive about 0.2 mile and turn right into the lot. This is also home to the Mission Bay South Shores Boat Launching Facility, and is part of the Mission Bay Bike Path. Hiking length: 1.7 miles out-and-back. Allow 45-60 minutes. Difficulty: Easy. The trail is paved. Bicycles are allowed. A great family outing as well. No dogs between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (April-October) or 4 p.m. (November-March). Leashed dogs allowed before and after those hours.

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The walkway can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers
The walkway can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers
Place

Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park

500 Sea World Drive, San Diego

San Diego is blessed with many nice public walks, and this is one of the nicer ones, because it hugs the south shore of Mission Bay opposite Fiesta Island. It is named for Rose Marie Starns, who was the head of the San Diego Hotel-Motel Association and a “relentless advocate for Mission Bay Park and San Diego tourism,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Coyote brush and sea lavender are common plants seen on this walk

As you drive into the lot, note that the boat launch is a large, busy area with great public facilities. After parking, you’ll pick up the sidewalk immediately on the right of the boat launch area. Simply follow this around to the east. Be alert and you will probably be greeted by an osprey who seems to make this area his perch.

The focus of this small park is a wide, artistically designed concrete walkway that winds its way east until it meets up with Sea World Drive, about 150 yards south of the entry road into Fiesta Island. For those wanting a longer walk, they can continue north across Fiesta Island Road and pick up the walkway that follows the east side of Mission Bay.

What you’ll notice immediately is the graceful way the path follows the shoreline. There are ample benches to sit on and watch the world go by. Or you could have a picnic; there are tables and also a shaded area. There are also fire pits. This walkway is framed by native plants that also support an abundance of bush birds. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

There is an explosion of color here, especially in the spring due to the moisture and mild climate, but the path any time of the year offers up many beautiful views. Keep an eye out for the pines along the way; they are Torrey Pines, as evidenced by their five-needle bundles. Take in the members of our coastal sage scrub community: San Diego goldenbush or coastal goldenbush (Isocoma menziesii) dominates throughout. The male coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) might be in bloom, waiting for the wind to carry their pollen to interested female coyote bushes. Interspersed among the lemonadeberry, toyon, and laurel sumac are sea lavenders (Limonium perezii) providing their purple blooms as a contrast to the greens.

Cedar Waxwings and White-crowned Sparrows dart in and out of the coastal sage scrub habitat. Enjoy your walk on the mild side!

ROSE MARIE STARNS SOUTH SHORES PARK (Mission Bay)

Enjoy a walk on the mild side

Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park map

Driving directions: Exit I-5 on to Sea World Drive west and go one mile. Turn right onto South Shores Parkway and drive about 0.2 mile and turn right into the lot. This is also home to the Mission Bay South Shores Boat Launching Facility, and is part of the Mission Bay Bike Path. Hiking length: 1.7 miles out-and-back. Allow 45-60 minutes. Difficulty: Easy. The trail is paved. Bicycles are allowed. A great family outing as well. No dogs between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (April-October) or 4 p.m. (November-March). Leashed dogs allowed before and after those hours.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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