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Welcome to

East County

San Diego's wild and wonderful backyard

San Diego's East County wilderness is one of the most diverse areas in the county featuring rolling hills, majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, deep canyons and desert landscapes plus Indian casino gaming. 

Photo By Lou Mora

Get outside and discover your wild side

In sharp contrast to San Diego's beaches to the west, the rolling hills, majestic mountains, sparkling lakes and deep canyons make east county one of the most diverse areas in San Diego County to explore. The area 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. For flower lovers, don’t miss the spring wildflower bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, where a blanket of color covers the desert floor.  

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 this California wilderness country.

A favorite day trip in East San Diego is to the historic mining town of Julian. Set against the backdrop of the Cuyamaca Mountains and countless apple orchards, this friendly, walk-back-in-time town is as famous for its apple pie as it is for its collection of gold mines (several offer tours geared toward children). Julian has a variety of restaurants, bed & breakfast hideaways, antique stores, art galleries, nearby hiking and nature walks, along with the California Wolf Center for conservation.

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Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Getting to 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. If you have a few hours, head up to the mountains and into the desert - Julian and Borrego Springs can be accessed from Highways 78 (off Interstate 15) and 79 (off Interstate 8). A bit closer to the city center, Lemon Grove, La Mesa, El Cajon and Santee can be reached via the Orange or Green lines of the San Diego Trolley.

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San Diego Casinos

Try your had with lady luck at one of the many Indian Las Vegas style gaming casinos.

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Explore Julian

This historic mountain hideaway is rich with natural beauty and entertaining adventures, whether you want to take a day trip in search of sublime apple pie or get away for a romantic weekend in the tranquility of the great outdoors.

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Wine Tasting in Ramona

Eight great Ramona Valley wineries that are worth a try.

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Borrego Days Desert Festival

Oct 18 - Oct 20, 2019

The 54th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival takes place this year on October 18, 19, and 20, 2019.   SAVE THE DATES!

Expanding on our mega wildflower bloom last spring, our theme this year is Bloom In Borrego.  This free event is completely homegrown, planned and executed by an all-volunteer group here in Borrego Springs.

We love celebrating our town and the end of summer!  It is our annual salute to Borrego including the beautiful State Park that surrounds us, with an open invitation to come and share the Borrego Experience.

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PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing

Journey with award winning tour guide Julie around San Diego’s cultural and historic sites—on a private tour of fun and informative must-see sightseeing hotspots.

OLD TOWN:   Take a trip into the past and learn about our rich Spanish and Mexican heritage and why we are the “Birthplace of California.” Experience our original city—colorful and festive now, but find out why it wasn’t always that way.

DOWNTOWN:  Explore these San Diego Downtown essentials: scenic San Diego Bay’s Embarcadero waterfront, the famous and vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, hip and historic Little Italy, and Petco Park.

BALBOA PARK:  The cultural heartbeat of our city; you will fall in love with the country’s largest urban cultural park and be dazzled discovering its origins as you take in its incredible vegetation, gorgeous flowers and ornate architecture.

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Santa at the Lakes

Dec 8, 2019

Santa Claus, snow sledding, carnival rides, smores, food, face painting, arts, crafts and so much more! Come spend the day at Santee Lakes at this family-friendly event that has become a holiday favorite.

A special addition to our event is Storybook Island; meet your favorite characters on a beautiful island - be ready to get an autograph! 

$10 will park your entire car full of merrymakers and tickets are $1 with most activities ranging from 1-8 tickets.

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Up-Close and Personal Animal Encounters

Sep 23, 2019 - ongoing

You will enjoy up-close and personal interaction with these beautiful creatures and learn all about them from our experienced animal keepers.

Pick your favorite animal enclosure from Barnyard Alley, Tortoise Landing, Mini Farm, Big Farm, Mini Trio, Two Besties and Camel Oasis and experience a unique and positive connection with our animals from inside the enclosure.

Admission price not included in the up-close and personal experience price.

Price per enclosure $35/person.

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What's Hot

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San Diego Casinos

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Explore Julian

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Wine Tasting in Ramona

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What's On

View All

Borrego Days Desert Festival

Oct 18 - Oct 20, 2019
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PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing
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Santa at the Lakes

Dec 8, 2019
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Up-Close and Personal Animal Encounters

Sep 23, 2019 - ongoing
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East County on Instagram

 

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History & Heritage

Save 10% off any San Diego Urban Adventures Tour

San Diego Urban Adventures
Valid: Jun 6 - ongoing

#LocalsKnow the best places to visit that get you out of the crowds and into the places and experiences that make San Diego special. We offer tours of Balboa Park, Old Town and Coronado. Use code...

Tours & Sightseeing

Save 20% on an Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunts by Urban Adventure Quest
Valid: Aug 12, 2019 - ongoing

Turn San Diego's Old Town or Balboa Park into a giant game board with this fun Scavenger Hunt Adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart...

Breweries

10% off Culinary Tour

Epicurean San Diego Culinary Tours & Events
Valid: Nov 15, 2018 - ongoing

Enjoy 10% off your culinary tour with San Diego's premiere Culinary Tour and Farm to Table events company! We build completely custom experiences unique to YOU! We tell the story of our local...

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