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San Diego’s North County is a vast, expansive area known for its pristine beaches, natural preserves, and miles of open spaces. The North County coastline contains a string of unique and picturesque seaside villages that have a small-town feel, yet are close to all the urban cultural activities of both San Diego to the south and Los Angeles to the north.
North County coastal communities include Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. Home prices in these affluent areas range, on average, above one million dollars. Many of the region’s top employers are located in this region, as are California State University-San Marcos, Palomar College, and MiraCosta College.
Opportunities for outdoor activities in North County are plenty. There’s hiking and horseback riding in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking in Carlsbad Lagoon, and bicycling and motorcycling along scenic, historic Highway 101. Or you can enjoy sport fishing, whale watching, and surfing the coastline from La Jolla all the way to Oceanside.
The North County Coastal region is home to some of San Diego’s top attractions, including Legoland, SeaLife Aquarium, and Legoland Water Park; the Flower Fields at Carlsbad; and the Del Mar Fairgrounds, host to the Del Mar Fair from mid-June to early July, followed by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Races until early September. There’s also the San Diego Botanic Garden for a look at San Diego’s native flora and fauna, and at the eastern border of North County, you’ll find the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Indian Casino Gaming, and some great local wineries and breweries. The area is also a golfer’s paradise, with more than 40 diverse courses to choose from.
Along with a sophisticated way of life that includes 5-star resorts and refined shopping and dining, a laid-back beach culture is prevalent in North County. The area boasts many fine surfing spots, and Encinitas has been named among the best surf towns in the world by National Geographic.
North County is conveniently located near the heart of San Diego and all its many sights, activities, industries, and facilities. It affords easy access to area hospitals, including UCSD Medical Center, Scripps Mercy, Kaiser Permanente, Alvarado, and Sharp Hospitals, among several other top-notch healthcare facilities. It’s also close to numerous military complexes throughout San Diego, the biotech industry (“Biotech Beach” in La Jolla/Del Mar), and technology companies in Sorrento Valley and North County. Minutes away are shopping malls such as Fashion Valley Mall, Horton Plaza, and University Towne Centre Mall, among others, as well as unique communities such as Little Italy, Hillcrest, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, Sunset Cliffs, Mission Hills, La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff by the Sea, Coronado, North Park, South Park, and the Gaslamp District. Take the trolley to a Chargers football game at Qualcom Stadium in Mission Valley or a Padres baseball game at Petco Park in the East Village. If you’re a golfer, there are more golf courses in San Diego County than just about anywhere in the country. Likewise, enjoy a Harbor Cruise for a whale-watching expedition, charter a boat for some sports-fishing, or take advantage of the area’s many yatch clubs, boat slips, and waterfront parks. Additionally, check out adult and baby seals at the rookery at La Jolla Cove, or enjoy bay views and ocean views while strolling through Torrey Pines State Reserve. Water-ski, surf, wind-surf, kite-surf, parasail, or kayak in Mission Bay Park. Play beach volleyball near the Boardwalk, or enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling near Blacks Beach. Hike the mountains of Mission Trails Park, take a historical stroll through San Diego Old Town State Historic Park, or see live theater at one of the area’s many performance venues (including the first-class La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Repertory Theater, the Old Globe, and the historic Balboa Theatre). Or if it suits you, take a wine tour through some of the region’s many wineries, enjoy spectacular views from atop Mount Soledad, shop at Seaport Village’s numerous retail stores, or take a tour of the Naval aircraft carrier USS Midway. And don’t forget San Diego’s premier gem, Balboa Park, which is home to art galleries, museums, botanical gardens, the Spreckles Organ Pavilion, and of course, the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Everything is within easy reach from North County!