Situated in the southernmost corner of California along the U.S.-Mexico border, San Diego County is home to relaxed oceanside towns, desert oases, lively urban centers, and quiet suburban communities. The second most populous county in the state, the region has continued to boom in recent years, attracting not only more tourists, but also new residents—and it’s easy to see why. Between all the acres of wilderness, picture-perfect beaches, world-class galleries, mouthwatering cuisine, and family-friendly attractions, sunny San Diego County offers many tantalizing reasons to stay awhile.
Among the most frequently visited destinations is Balboa Park in the city of San Diego. Also known as the “Smithsonian of the West”, the 1,200-acre urban cultural park is where visitors can discover more than 15 museums, performing arts venues, lush gardens, unique architecture, delectable fare, and the renowned San Diego Zoo. Other kid-approved locales include the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido and the Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad.
For more outdoor fun, head to the largest state park in California: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Located on the eastern edge of San Diego County, the sprawling expanse boasts hundreds of miles of dirt pathways for hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders. But visitors who want to take to the mountains should go to Mission Trails Regional Park. There, traverse the labyrinth of trails by bike, go rock climbing, or trek to the top of Cowles Mountain—the highest point in San Diego. And of course, a day at the beach is a must for any San Diego County visitor; luckily, there’s no shortage of options. Whether you choose to lounge on the shores of upscale La Jolla, explore the beach and coastal wilderness of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, or sink your toes in the sand at Del Mar City Beach, it’s hard to go wrong.
Visitors may also opt to relax at luxurious retreats like the Pacific Terrace Hotel, play a round of golf at Coronado Municipal Golf Course, eat their way through the foodie hot spot of Little Italy, or simply sip craft beer at the popular Ocean Beach Brewery—all right beside the sparkling Pacific Ocean.