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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.

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.

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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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Night Fishing

Jun 13, 2019

Join us for a night of fishing in Lakes 1-4.  No state fishing license is required, only a permit from the General Store.  Adults $10, Jrs & Seniors $6, Extra pole stamp $4.

Bring your lanterns!

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Santee Street Fair and Craft Beer Festival

May 25, 2019

Join more than 30,000 visitors for the 10th Annual Santee Street Fair and Craft Beer Festival featuring live music and entertainment, more than 300 food and craft vendor booths, carnival rides and more!

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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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Movies & More by the Lake

Jun 21, 2019

Bring your blankets and join us for a movie under the stars!  Pre-movie fun starts at 6PM. Food Trucks and snack bar treats will be on site for your munching pleasure.  Parking is $10 per carload of movie goers and movie is free. Check our Facebook events page for details!

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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

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Night Fishing

Jun 13, 2019
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Santee Street Fair and Craft Beer Festival

May 25, 2019
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PRIVATE CUSTOMIZABLE ICONIC CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

Mar 7, 2019 - ongoing
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Movies & More by the Lake

Jun 21, 2019
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East County on Instagram

 

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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,...

History & Heritage

15% off Best Day. Ever. for Cruise Ship Passengers

San Diego Urban Adventures
Valid: Aug 24, 2018 - ongoing

#LocalsKnow the best places to visit that get you out of the crowds and experience the Best. Day. Ever. before, during or after your cruise.  Join our local experts on tours of Balboa Park, Old...

Tours & Sightseeing

10% off our San Diego Grand City Tours

Five Star Tours & Charter Bus Company
Valid: Feb 8 - ongoing

San Diego Shore Excursions for Cruise Ship Guests! Known As "America's Finest City", San Diego offers a full selection of things to do and see for visitors to California's second largest city. For...

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