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Awesome East County

Two sensational day trip itineraries

We've planned two fun-filled days for you and your family to discover San Diego's East County, whether you want to shop, eat apple pie, hike a mountain or play the slots.

2 Loops, 2 Days

We've planned two sensational ways to explore San Diego's East County over two days. Simply head east from town, then come back around. 

South Loop

  • Start your day by taking the 94 freeway east to Barrett Junction. You can grab breakfast at the Barrett Junction Cafe before continuing on to Campo—home of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, Gaskill Brother's Stone Store Museum and Motor Transport Museum.
  • Keep going east to the Wisteria Candy Cottage, where you can enjoy delicious, homemade peanut butter and old-fashioned pulled taffy. After you've satisfied your sweet tooth, start heading back on the 8 freeway to Viejas Casino and Outlet Center—where great shopping, dining and (hopefully) some luck await you.

North Loop

  • Take the 8 freeway east to the 79, turn left and head through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Start by getting your heart rate up with a quick, one-hour hike at Stone Wall Peak Trail, then continue north to Julian, a historic gold-mining town known for its apple pie, mom-and-pop restaurants and small-town charm.
  • Take a 90-minute Gold Mine Tour, or check out Menghini Winery where you can do a quick tasting before heading on to Borrego Springs' Palm Canyon. Here, you'll work off lunch exploring the expansive Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with its natural streams, petroglyphs, and waterfalls. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep. For another epic adventure, get directions to Fonts Point. It’s worth the drive along the four-mile sandy road, as it leads to a mini Grand Canyon and mind-blowing views.
  • Finally, if you're tired, stop and stay at Barona Resort & Casino and get pampered at their spa or play a round of golf.

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