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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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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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Wine Tasting in Ramona Valley

Eight great Ramona Valley wineries that are worth a try.  

 

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Day trip to Julian

Explore the historic gold mining town of Julian and be sure to sample the signature apple pie. 

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Fall in San Diego

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Museum Month: Half-Off Admission

Feb 1 - Feb 28, 2017

Presented by Macy's, San Diego Museum Month invites everyone to enjoy half-off entry fees at 40+ museums throughout the county for the all of February.

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Chauffeured Distillery Tour

Oct 20, 2016 - ongoing

Taste San Diego's sensational spirits, crafted from grain to glass.Taste locally made whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, brandy; lunch; pint of beer, behind-the-scenes guided tours. Pick up & drop off included in Chauffeured Distillery Tour.

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Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink

Oct 29, 2016 - ongoing

Lace up your skates and take in the holiday splendor as you relive a cherished piece of your childhood or take your very first spin at the Viejas Ice Rink!

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The Julian Daffodil Show

Mar 4 - Mar 5, 2017

Visit Julian to marvel at Daffodils on display and have any questions about daffodils answered by National Daffodil Society experts.

This events draws many entrants and has a strong youth entrance as well.

It will also feature Children's Art - Water Colors of Daffodils.

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Deals just for you

Activity

Save Up to 55% On San Diego Attractions!

Go San Diego Card by Smart Destinations
Valid: Oct 31, 2016 - ongoing

Money: Savings off combined admission prices Time: Skip the line at select attractions Flexibility: Create your own itinerary from over 40 attraction choices Freedom: Do as much as you want each...

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Fishing

San Diego Lake Fishing in East County

Freshwater lakes that are ideal for all anglers
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Explore Julian in San Diego East

A historic gold mining town in the Cuyamaca Mountains

Nestled in the picturesque Cuyamaca Mountains, an hour east of downtown San Diego, charming Julian is an easy escape into the countryside. 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 getaway for a romantic weekend in the tranquility of the great outdoors.

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Hiking

Seven Best Mountain Hikes

Explore San Diego's Surprising Mountain Landscapes

These 7 best mountain hikes in San Diego County offer beautiful landscapes, spectacular views, and are just around an hour's drive from the beach.

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Breweries

10 Stop Brew Hop in East San Diego County

East County Craft Beer Itinerary

Getting to East County from anywhere in the county is not hard once you're on the Interstate 8. Here's an eastern loop that starts in the Hotel Circle area of Mission Valley and will take you through El Cajon, Alpine, Julian, Ramona, and Santee. If you want to do the full loop, you'll need the entire day, but you could also break it into just the northern breweries (Ramona and Julian) or just the southern breweries (Santee, Alpine, La Mesa and El Cajon). You might also want to consider booking a brewery tour that will chauffeur you around while you enjoy a few samples at each stop.

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