All Stories from San Diego County

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    A sunset stroll, a beachside bike ride, a frolic with Fido, or a picnic in the park—whatever mission you choose to accept is waiting for you at Mission Bay. The bay per se is the lagoon aspect of the largest man-made aquatic park in the country, which you can explore on a 6.…

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    Sester-Centennial Peregrination

    This year, 2019, marks 250 years since the founding of San Diego—an anniversary some call a sestercentennial. By any name, it’s a great excuse for exploring the history, culture, and spectacular views of America’s finest city on a 2-mile trek through time. Park at the Junipero…

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    A Lot o’ Tecolote

    “Tecolote” is the Spanish word for owl, perhaps suggesting that you would be wise to visit Tecolote Canyon, a secluded nature preserve near Mission Bay. The best way to enjoy it is via a 3.25-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike—truly a hidden hoot! Park at the Nature Center and…

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    San Diego's Rio Camino

    America’s finest city—and America’s finest hikers—have a mighty fine river to be proud of! The 52-mile San Diego River serves the city by supplying its reservoirs, and its hikers, through a developing network of trails. As the San Diego River Park Foundation works toward…

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    Sunny Side Down

    Sunny Jim Cave is anything but sunny. It’s what you want in a cave—cool and dark—and it has a nifty literary connection. It’s also the only sea cave in La Jolla that can be accessed by land. The entrance is the back door of The Cave Store, a California Historical Landmark. Behind…

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    Heavenly Hellhole

    Rounding up some friends to go to a hellhole? Maybe it doesn’t sound appealing, unless you’re talking about Hellhole Canyon County Preserve. Its 1,907 hilly acres are home to a strenuous 4.9-mile trek with 750 feet of gain (and opportunities to extend for those who want to test…

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    Garden in the Wilderness

    Hidden spots may seem harder to come by these days, but San Diego's Pauma Valley has a few less-known gems, including a small oasis tucked within Wilderness Gardens County Preserve. Find it along a tranquil trail where water, native history, and natural diversity come together.

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    Dreamy Winery

    For relaxation, valley views, and some delightful wines, Hill Top Winery in Valley Center is a dreamy setting—literally, because it represents a family’s dream of turning a 30-acre ranch into a “grape escape.” With 15 varieties of reds and whites, Hill Top has options for any…

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    Eagle Gold

    There’s gold in these mountains! Well, there was, once upon a time. In the 1870s, prospectors discovered gold in Julian, leading to the creation of Eagle Mine, known as the Mother Lode of Southern California. Most of the gold is long gone, but the mine has been restored and…

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    Accomplished Mission

    Coastal breezes blow and church bells toll as you approach Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in Oceanside, a peaceful and serene national historic landmark and crucial piece of early California history. Begin your visit by taking a self-guided tour through the mission museum. The…

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    Cultivated Carlsbad

    The most dependable bloom of springtime flowers in SoCal? It’s in Carlsbad, where the cultivated Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch have been putting on a show for the past 26 years. Visitors can stroll through more than 50 flowery acres on this working farm, where row after row of…

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    You Call This a Hellhole?

    One person’s hellhole is another’s heavenly desert oasis. Hellhole Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is definitely the latter. Its name comes from cattleman Wid Helm, who said it was “one hell of a hole to get cattle out of.” For you, it’s a moderate 5.5-mile (round-trip…

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    Lookout Ahead!

    A 3.7-mile loop hike to Boucher Hill Fire Lookout in Palomar Mountain State Park reminds us that fire, and fire prevention, have long been facts of life in Southern California. We’re also reminded just how stunningly beautiful are the mountains of this remote, lightly visited…

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    Be Cabrillo!

    A big year lies ahead. Why not start it off with an explorer’s mind-set? Be Cabrillo! Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, that is, the first foreign visitor (1542) to America’s finest city. Honor his legacy with some San Diego tide pooling, whale watching, and 3.5 miles of walking at the…

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    Around the World in San Diego

    Ah, what wonders grow when the weather is perpetually delightful! Such is the case in San Diego, where the San Diego Botanic Garden is able to grow a ridiculous 4,000-plus species of plants in 37 acres across 30 different microclimate gardens representing pretty much the whole…

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    If Jack Sparrow Had a Lagoon

    Nothing goes together better than bird-watching and buried treasure, right? Never connected the two? Consider 610-acre Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad—perhaps the most bird-friendly and certainly the most pirate-friendly of California’s remaining coastal wetlands. Local legend has…

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    Leopard Sharknado

    If your brain starts playing the Jaws theme the second you hear the word “shark,” relax. Snorkeling with leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores is a little more like Finding Nemo. Sort of. Leopard sharks are the real deal, measuring  six feet long, but their tiny mouths—designed for…

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    Thanks, Annie!

    Is it a canyon hike? Or a wetland hike? Yes! Annie’s Canyon Trail in the 1,000-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Solana Beach includes the most unique quarter-mile you’ve ever maneuvered—through a sandstone slot canyon—and delivers you to a coastal lagoon for some…

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    Burrito Beach

    Not all hidden treasures are silver and gold. Sometimes a breakfast burrito on the beach will do just fine. X marks the spot at Buccaneer Beach in Oceanside, a city known for its chill vibe, gnarly waves, and stellar sand. Get all three along with free parking (aargh you kidding…

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    Potato Chip Topper

    If you associate potato chips with unwanted calories, get ready for a re-education. You’ll burn a lot of energy on the hike to Potato Chip Rock—a one-of-a-kind boulder jutting out from the top of Mount Woodson in north San Diego County. Before you gain bragging rights (picture…