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San Diego County

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San Diego County

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San Diego County is the southwestern-most region of Southern California. It encompasses the city of San Diego and its large metropolitan area, which includes many smaller cities and communities. San Diego County lies along the U.S.-Mexican border, across from the Mexican city of Tijuana.


  • San Diego - The central, largest city of San Diego County
  • Inland - The inland areas of San Diego County to the east of San Diego
  • North County - The areas of the county to the north of San Diego
  • South Bay - The cities surrounding the San Diego Bay to the south of San Diego


Besides San Diego, there are many smaller cities in the county. Listed here are the major ones:

  • Carlsbad - Lovely beach town in North County, home to Legoland California
  • Chula Vista - Largest city of the South Bay region
  • Coronado - Beautiful island community just across the San Diego Bay from Downtown San Diego
  • Del Mar - Small, very pretty Bavarian style seaside town in North County
  • El Cajon - Largest city of the Inland region
  • Encinitas - Small beach town in North County
  • Escondido - Large inland city of North County
  • La Mesa - Small city in the Inland region
  • Oceanside - Largest city of the North County region

Other destinations


San Diego County covers a very large area (4,526 square miles, to be exact) with incredibly varied topography. The western half of the county is mostly urbanized, and includes the city of San Diego and its many suburbs to the south, east, and north. The climate of the western half is more moderate, due to its proximity to the ocean, giving San Diego its signature weather. The eastern half is mostly uninhabited or rural, contains snow-capped mountains, forests, and barren desert, and is prone to more extreme weather.


Like much of California, English and Spanish are the dominant languages in San Diego County. Typically, most businesses have at least a few employees that are bilingual in English and Spanish, and some people will be bilingual in English and Tagalog (mostly by San Diego's large Filipino population). It is also common to see store signs printed in both English and Spanish, especially in neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations.

Get in

For detailed information on getting in to San Diego, see the Get in section of San Diego.

By plane

There are two commercial airports in San Diego County: San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN) is by far the major one, served by many airlines offering flights from cities around the country and some international flights to Mexico and Canada. McClellan-Palomar Airport (IATA: CLD) in Carlsbad serves a couple of commuter airlines providing service from Los Angeles and Phoenix.

By train

Amtrak's frequent Pacific Surfliner [1] San Luis Obisbo-Los Angeles-San Diego route serves San Diego County with four stops: one in Oceanside, one in Solana Beach, one at the southern end of the line at Union Station in Downtown San Diego, and a secondary station in Old Town San Diego which is served on weekends.

By car

Three major interstate roadways, I-5, I-8, and I-15, lead into San Diego County. I-5 runs from the north along the coast, I-8 comes in from the east through the desert, and I-15 leads in to San Diego from the northeast.

Get around




  • Rock Climbing Front Range Climbing San Diego [2]. Offering rock climbing adventures to places like Mission Gorge and Mount Woodson. Classes availble for the beginner or the seasoned climber.
  • Off Road Excursion Based in San Diego, California Motorsport Adventours will take you for an ATV or dirt bike adventure into Baja California Norte, specifically into the area of Puerto Nuevo. Your experienced guide will pick you up in San Diego and drive you down to the riding location. Gear up and receive riding instructions. Begin in the sand dunes, break for lunch at a local taco stand, then explore the rural trails of the Cantamar mountains for the rest of the day. Your day will begin around 9am and will end around 7pm, so it is a full day event. Contact the office for reservations.
  • Gamble A bit of Las Vegas in San Diego. The San Diego area has numerous gaming sites, all operated by local Indian tribes, they range from full-blown resorts to one-room bingo halls. Some offer hotels, golf courses, concert venues, and shopping outlets. Barona Valley Ranch, Harrahs-Rincon Resort, Viejas Casino, Sycuan Resort, Golden Acorn Travel Center, Pala Casino, Pechanga Resort, and Valley View Casino are among largest of the many venues. "The big three"; Barona, Sycuan, and Viejas, all feature a distinct policy of allowing those 18 years or older to gamble, while most others follow a 21+ plus rule. Alcohol may or may not be served at some locations.



Stay safe

Get out

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