o you want to get out of the rat race and routine? Rediscover the charming communities of San Diego North. From its amazing coastline and valleys to its mountains and desert, San Diego North offers nearly 2,000 square miles of serenity, including acres of parks and preserves. Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive getaway or a lavish retreat, you’ll find solace and relaxation at the region’s warm sandy beaches, historic missions and adobes, beautiful wineries and gardens, or any number of championship golf resorts and spas.
The massive open-space in San Diego North offers a true escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Ranging from incredible bird watching to discoveries made by bike, boat or foot, visitors will enjoy the natural landscape.
Torrey Pines State Reserve in La Jolla offers plenty of trails along the Pacific Coast for hikers. Although it is located within San Diego city limits, it remains one of the wildest stretches of land (8 km²) on the Southern California coast. It is bordered immediately on the south by Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course and on the north by the city of Del Mar. The eight miles of trails within the park offers an attraction for hikers and beach-goers (guided nature walks take place on weekends and holidays), and a small museum sits at the top, as well as the Torrey Pines Lodge, a hotel and tour station. From the cliffs or many places along the beach, it is possible to see La Jolla to the south and Del Mar to the north. During whale migrations, it is sometimes possible to see whales from the cliffs.
If you like adventure… try your hand at Torrey Pines Glider Port where colorful gliders float across the La Jolla coastline. Batiquitos Lagoon, just south of Carlsbad, is a popular place for bird watching. Traces of Native American life can be discovered on Volcan Mountain, near Julian
Relax among the sweet smells and beautiful vistas of the French countryside… at Keys Creek Lavendar Farm (previously known as The Lavender Fields). Located on an organic lavender farm in the foothills of Mount Palomar, Keys Creek Lavendar Farm offers a unique experience in San Diego North. The harvest season (generally May, June and July are the best months to see lavender bloom in San Diego), is the best time to visit and they have many scheduled events throughout the year. The farm currently offers more than two dozen varieties, from the most gorgeous blue/lavender color to a bright chartreuse yellow. Lavender products and gifts are available at their Farm Store or year-round on their website.
Located in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Fonts Point offers incredible views of the badlands. As far as the eye can see, deep rugged peaks and valleys are carved out of the red desert earth.
Lake Hodges, near Escondido, is a popular lake for boating and fishing. In the early morning, low-lying clouds provide beautiful photo opportunities. Daley Ranch, in Escondido, is a pristine park and preserve with more than 20 miles of trails. Its hills and valleys can be discovered by bike, foot, or on horseback.
All this is just a sample.
Do you find comfort in the grace and beauty of wildlife? Experience the sights and sounds of an overnight stay at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. From summer through October the Park offers its popular ‘Roar & Snore’ camp-overs. Visitors spend the night in tents, overlooking the East Africa exhibit and its inhabitants, giraffes, rhinos and antelopes. Campers will enjoy hiking, a campfire program and up-close encounters with a variety of animals. You may choose a more traditional tour of the park, which might include the popular Heart of Africa, the Wgasa Bush Line Railway and the popular photo caravans that are offered year-round.
Quail Botanical Gardens feature 30 acres of unusual plants from all over the world. The tranquility of the gardens provides an escape for locals and visitors alike. Guests will enjoy nature walks and glimpses of indigenous wild life. It’s typical to find visitors enjoying a good book in a peaceful setting or sketching one of their favorite flowers. Free docent tours are available Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Regular admission is $5.00.
The beaches of San Diego North are as diverse as the region. From warm sandy turf to jagged rocks and beautiful cliff formations, there are many options for swimming, surfing, kayaking or just capturing a few moments of reflection. There are 36 miles of coastline and 17 beaches open to the public. Some of the beaches have playgrounds, fire pits and campsites. All the beaches are complete with great views and warm year-round sunshine.
Linking a string of charming beach communities, a trip down Historic Highway 101 offers scenic ocean views with interesting stops along the way. Visitors will enjoy the local cafes, unusual shopping, and some of the sandiest beaches in California.
Explore the depths of the ocean in a creative and approachable manner at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this beautiful complex contains more than 30 tanks, a demonstration tide pool, and an interactive museum. One of the highlights includes a 13,000-gallon tank containing tropical sharks. Thrilling visitors with their large teeth and six to seven-foot bodies, these amazing creatures provide an opportunity to see sharks that are not normally found in California waters. Don’t miss their Morphis movieride. Morphis is an immersive, educational exhibit combining technology, motion, and films to create an adventure ride that challenges and stimulates the mind.
Relive California’s rich and diverse heritage through San Diego North’s Spanish missions and adobes. The legacy of early California is preserved at various sites in Oceanside and Vista, including the Rancho Guajome Adobe and Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, which were the center of social and cultural development as well as agricultural business in the late 1800s. Families will have fun experiencing a bygone-era, first-hand, by making homemade candles or tortillas at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe.
Mission San Luis Rey, the largest of the California missions, is a remnant of the everyday life of the Padres and Indians who inhabited the Mission more than a century ago in Oceanside. Mission San Antonio de Pala is the last of the missions still serving Native Americans. The Santa Ysabel Mission, enroute to Julian, contains a museum, murals, and Indian burial ground.
For true home-town goodness, head out to Julian in the pristine Cuyamaca mountain range. This gold-mining town offers visitors a sense of early California with its original false-front stores, wooden sidewalks, historic Julian hotel, and tours of Eagle and High Peak Gold Mines. For a quick refresher, don’t miss the Julian drug store with its original soda fountain from the early 1900s. Carriage rides through the countryside are also available, offering scenic views of the apple orchards, vineyards, and historic points of interest. Through Fall, Julian celebrates the harvest from their apple orchards. From its famous apple pies to one-of-a-kind apple wine, families will have the opportunity to experience this colorful tradition in a variety of ways.
Nestled along the countryside, San Diego North’s wineries offer a unique experience in a park-like atmosphere. Orfila Vineyard, known for award-winning wines, overlooks beautiful San Pasqual Valley and is the perfect locale for an afternoon picnic. Bernardo Winery is one of the oldest continuously operating wineries in California, established in 1889. Housed in some of the original buildings, visitors will enjoy unique shops, wine tasting, and their wonderful café.
A family tradition for many locals, the Bates Nut Farm provides a memorable down-home experience for everyone. Most famous for their pumpkin patch, the farm is covered in a sea of bright orange from September 28 through Halloween. Activities include hayrides, pony rides, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and food vendors. Encompassing about 100 acres, the farm includes a wonderful park with beautiful trees where visitors may enjoy a picnic. In addition, there is a petting zoo for children with horses, ponies, llamas, sheep, geese, rabbits, goats, emus, ducks and chickens. In their market, they sell all kinds of delicious nuts, candies, dried fruits, dates and honey. The charming Farmer’s Daughter gift shop offers books, collectibles, country crafts, seasonal merchandise, cards, jewelry and more. During the holiday season, visitors can also cut their own Christmas tree. For more information, visit the web site at www.batesnutfarm.biz
A community of arts and culture, Escondido’s newest resource is the Mingei International Museum. With its flagship home in Balboa Park, San Diego, the Museum has opened a second location on Escondido’s Grand Avenue. The new annex facility will be a major showcase for Mingei International’s expanding permanent collection–now more than 12,000 art objects from 100 countries throughout the world. The Museum satellite includes an exhibition gallery, a multi-media education center, and a museum store.
What better way to escape… drive, swing, hit, and putt at one of San Diego North’s 40 golf courses. Lush greens, rolling fairways, steep bunkers, and impeccably designed courses provide the perfect golf getaway. Courses include the popular Arnold Palmer-designed Four Seasons Aviara; the infamous Torrey Pines Golf Course, home to the Buick Invitational; and La Costa Resort and Spa, home to the Accenture Match Play Championship.
If you’re not a duffer, try one of the full-service spas in San Diego North. Relax and rejuvenate with a traditional massage or experience something new in a beautiful garden setting or the privacy of your hotel room. Each of the resorts and spas offer wonderful packages, providing everyone with a quality experience at a premier facility. They include The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Hilton Torrey Pines, L’Auberge Del Mar, Rancho Bernardo Inn, La Costa Resort and Spa, and Four Seasons Resort Aviara.
If all that is not enough, find more options by calling the San Diego North CVB at 800-848-3336 or visit the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau at http://www.sandiegonorth.com/
"On the Road" is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
The purpose of "On the Road" is to showcase some of the magnificent places in the world to visit, to give you an idea for someplace to go that you might previously not have thought of or known about. In most cases, but not all, we have provided a brief overview of a timeshare resort in the spotlighted area. Most of those resorts are either RCI Gold Crown or I.I. Premier quality. However, these resorts are not usually the only timeshare resorts in the area; be sure to check in your exchange catalog for a complete listing of available resorts. Check it out--- enjoy yourself, go somewhere new this year!
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