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In contrast to the serene coastal landscape to the west, San Diego's East County wilderness is one of the most diverse areas in the county. The region boasts a beauty all its own, with rolling hills, majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, and deep canyons. With the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Cleveland National Forest nestled in the region, outdoor lovers of all types will revel in a wondrous natural playground to explore and discover.
East San Diego County offers hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing and camping in the vast and beautiful wilderness. Spend an afternoon hiking Cowles Mountain, mountain biking through Mission Trails Regional Park, strolling along Lake Murray or fishing on El Capitan Reservoir.
In addition to outdoor adventures, East San Diego County boasts plenty of entertainment. Sizzling Las Vegas-style Native American casinos, luxurious resorts tucked right into the rugged landscape, challenging golf courses built around natural obstacles, historic sites and highways, and annual festivals and rodeos can be enjoyed, all within the expansive landscape of California's wilderness country.
One of our favorite day trips to East San Diego is the historic mining town of Julian. Set against the backdrop of the Cuyamaca Mountains and countless apple orchards, this quaint town is as famous for its apple pie as it is for its collection of gold mines (several offer tours geared toward children). Julian offers a variety of restaurants, bed & breakfast hideaways, antique stores, art galleries and nearby hiking and nature walks.
A different world unfolds as you head east from San Diego's coast. From the mountains to the deserts, San Diego's East County rugged landscape provides a scenic backdrop as you discover wilderness activities, relaxing desert resorts, and charming historic towns.
Browse the articles and listings below to discover the unique treasures to explore during your next San Diego East County trip.
San Diego's East County offers delectable options for diners of all types. From roadside cafés and sprawling casino buffets to home-style comfort food, the options are as vast as the vistas of San Diego's East County.
Historic La Mesa Village offers a wide selection of restaurants and cafés serving up everything from Mexican and Italian cuisine, all-American hamburgers and steaks, to fresh seafood and sushi. For cozy home-cooked meals like mom used to make, head out to Julian, where family-owned restaurants offer weekly fish fry options and other delicious comfort foods. And don't forget to try the famous Julian apple pie, à la mode of course. And for the ultimate indulgence, head to one of the Native-American casinos for top-notch all-you-can-eat buffets.
Regardless of where you dine, East County's charming atmosphere and delicious cuisine will keep you filled to the brim with happiness.
Browse the articles and listings below to find unique dining options for your next San Diego vacation.
Looking for festive ways to celebrate the great outdoors? Then San Diego's East County is the place to be!
San Diego's East County offers a slew of fun and engaging events throughout the year. If you're a little bit country, then put on your cowboy boots and head out for the rodeos in Lakeside and Ramona. Star gazers look no further than pointing your telescopes in Julian for their annual Starfest. If you enjoy some pickin' & grinin' tunes of Bluegrass, head out to Ramona's annual Bluegrass & Old West Festival. And don't miss Julian's annual fall apple harvest, Apple Days, to enjoy with the whole family. The City of El Cajon in San Diego's East County celebrates the fall with an annual Octoberfest, as well as their festive Earth Day celebration.
Within the vastness of San Diego's East County, comprising much of San Diego County's 4,526 sq. miles, you'll always find fun and exciting ways to celebrate nature's bounty.
For an adventurous wilderness getaway, drive eastward on US Interstate highway 8, towards San Diego’s East County. Revel in nostalgic Americana at one of the many luxurious and quaint boutique hotels, motels, and bed & breakfast inns that dot these California mountain and desert communities. For those on a budget, travel trailer and RV camping is available year round in many of East County’s campgrounds. Browse the list below for great places to stay when visiting San Diego’s East County!
East County is an expansive region, encompassing more than three quarters of San Diego County. The area can be accessed by heading east on Interstate 8, and California highways 94 and 52, 78 and 76. Julian and Borrego Springs can be accessed from Highways 78 (off Interstate 15) and 79 (off Interstate 8).
The Orange or Green lines of the San Diego Trolley have multiple stops throughout the area, including Lemon Grove, La Mesa, El Cajon and Santee.