arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin
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.

Find a place to stay

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.

Discover East County

What's Hot|
What's On|

San Diego Casinos

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

Discover

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.

Discover

Wine Tasting in Ramona

Eight great Ramona Valley wineries that are worth a try.

Discover

Peg Leg Smith Liar's Contest

Apr 6, 2019

Every year, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park attracts storytellers from all over the globe to compete in the annual Peg Leg Smith Liar's Contest. The festivities begin at dusk. Bring a lawn chair and refreshments and get ready to enjoy a night of fun, and it's free!

Discover

PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing

Learn how to capture the essence of the late-day light and magical nighttime beauty of America’s finest city, on an Instagrammable private photography tour. Whether mastering how to shoot our outstanding coastal scenery or our lit-up fairytale-like urban wonders, your private tour will be led personally by Julie Kremen, an award winning professional photographer and certified tour guide. Read the reviews and see why she is top-rated on TripAdvisor, and Yelp.

Julie works closely with you before the tour to nail down exactly what you want to concentrate on so you can get the most out of your experience. Contact us to book a private session, boost your shooting skills and make your friends say “Wow!” when they see your photos!

Discover

Julian Gold Rush Days

Apr 6 - Apr 7, 2019

Julian Gold Rush Days celebrates the discovery of gold in this mountain community and invites visitors to learn more about its history with a weekend of entertainment including gold panning, tomahawk throwing, candle dipping and more. Located at The Julian Farm and Orchard in Wynola, the old fashioned mining camp will offer re-enactors, an arts and crafts market, food and drink, old fashioned laundry, free parking and plenty of family fun.

ADMISSION is FREE. 

Activities Include:
Gold Panning
Hayride
Archery
Tomahawk Throwing
Candle Making

Discover

Water Lantern Festival

Mar 30, 2019

Water Lantern Festival is filled with fun, happiness, hope, and great memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime. This is a family friendly event that can be shared by everyone. Enjoy local food trucks, music, and the beauty of lanterns lighting up the water at sunset. Lantern kits are selling fast! Reserve yours today.   

Discover

What's Hot

View All

San Diego Casinos

Discover

Explore Julian

Discover

Wine Tasting in Ramona

Discover

What's On

View All

Peg Leg Smith Liar's Contest

Apr 6, 2019
Discover

PRIVATE SUNSET AND NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing
Discover

Julian Gold Rush Days

Apr 6 - Apr 7, 2019
Discover

Water Lantern Festival

Mar 30, 2019
Discover

East County on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Team Building

Save 20% off Private Tours for 4 or more guests

San Diego Urban Adventures
Valid: Aug 9, 2018 - ongoing

Have the Best. Day. Ever with a local guide on a private tour for your group. Whether you want to explore Old Town, Balboa Park or Coronado, these tours are perfect for solo travellers, couples,...

Accommodation

Make it a 3-day weekend and save with Hilton

Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Valid: Jan 31 - ongoing

Are you ready for a long weekend in San Diego? Book your 3-day weekend and and save up to 50% on Sunday. Bike along the La Jolla coastline. Soak up the sun on the beach. Wander through the zoo,...

Tours & Sightseeing

Family Friendly- Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Amazing Scavenger Hunts by Urban Adventure Quest
Valid: Nov 26, 2018 - ongoing

Enjoy an Amazing Race type adventure with your family and Save 20% when you use Promo Code SDFUN. Only $39.20 for a Team of 2-5 people. Have fun and do something unique!

Related Articles and Features

Explore theNeighborhood

Areas of Interest

Where to Stay

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish