I realize that the urban vibe isn’t for everyone, and San Diego County has plenty of wonderful suburbs and bedroom communities to choose from. Whether you desire the sound of the ocean, the best school district or the great outdoors, you are sure to find a good fit.
Below I've listed a few-
A scenic coastal community located 35 miles north of the city of San Diego, this picture-perfect town includes three lagoons, miles of hiking trails and nearly seven miles of coastline. The Carlsbad Village area is a great place for nightlife and dining. With multiple golf courses, LEGOLAND California Resort, beaches, shopping, art, restaurants and more, Carlsbad has the outdoor life and small town feel that makes it a great place to live.
Carmel Valley is a master-planned community that has matured into a place where people can live, work and play. Families with children are attracted by the spacious houses and award- winning schools. Area amenities and easy access to much of San Diego County make the commercial center of Carmel Valley ideal for corporate offices, hotels, shopping and restaurants. Recreational options include many neighborhood parks, a community recreation center, athletic clubs, golf and the nearby beaches at Torrey Pines and Del Mar.
The City of Del Mar is a quaint seaside village located just 20 miles north of San Diego. It is known for its vibrant small-town atmosphere, dog-friendly beaches, hiking trails, scenic views, and the many shops and dining opportunities located within the Del Mar village. Residents and visitors enjoy the year-round events held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds including the San Diego County Fair and Del Mar horse races.
Located along six miles of Pacific coastline in northern San Diego County, Encinitas is characterized by coastal beaches, cliffs, flat-topped coastal areas, steep mesa bluffs and rolling hills. The city was incorporated in 1986, drawing together the communities of New Encinitas, Old Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain and Leucadia. Like its neighbor to the north, Carlsbad, Encinitas has both coastal and inland appeal, and the old Coast Highway business district lends it small-town charm.
Rancho Santa Fe/Del Sur/Santa Luz
Rancho Santa Fe is always a fixture on lists for the wealthiest zip codes in the United States and California. Besides a downtown area with restaurants, upscale boutique shops, various exclusive county clubs and golf courses, Rancho Santa Fe is almost entirely residential and is famous for housing a number of prominent political figures and celebrities. The horse lifestyle can be seen all around this area with equestrian trails located around beautiful estates.
Tucked between Rancho Santa Fe and Black Mountain Open Space Park, Del Sur offers distinctive neighborhoods nestled among 1,000 pristine acres. Homes draw inspiration from San Diego’s rich history, with charming architectural styles that pay tribute to some of the nation’s most renowned neighborhoods, such as La Jolla, Mission Hills, Kensington and Coronado.
Sitting in the beautiful rolling hills between Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe and Rancho Penasquitos is the master-planned community of Santaluz. Like the plein aire artistry that inspired it’s name (“Sacred Light”), it is a masterpiece golf course community embodying the best of San Diego coastal living in a highly desirable, private residential area. The hub is an 11-acre Village Green along which resides the membership-owned Hacienda and Santaluz Clubhouse & Spa, both of which serve as the social heart of the community. It is also home to a private, world-class, 250-acre golf course designed by Rees Jones.
Beautiful Solana Beach is located along the northern coast of San Diego County. It is known for its shopping, with a mix of interesting art galleries and boutiques, furniture shops, surfing outfitters, and other unique stores. Solana Beach started as a farming community with gorgeous bluffs overlooking the ocean, but with no beach access. Later on, a gap was cut out in the bluffs, providing access to the ocean. Three small beaches are now located in Solana Beach, but due to the crashing surf, they are better suited to surfers and body boarders than to sunbathers.
The name means “hidden” in Spanish, and Escondido occupies a shallow valley ringed by rocky hills north of San Diego. Founded in 1888, it is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County. The downtown area of Escondido has become very active in the past few years with the opening of restaurants, cafes, and galleries. The California Center for the Arts, Escondido is the art and soul of the community, featuring concerts & performances, museum exhibits, education programs & more. venues.
They call Poway the “city in the country” and it very well is. This formerly rustic community off of I-15 just past Mira Mesa has grown up to be a desirable incorporated city with lots of outdoor recreation, family friendly neighborhoods, plenty of amenities, and one of the best school districts around.
If Escondido is the big hulk of North County, then San Marcos and neighboring Vista are young upstarts. They are both growing fast with new housing, retail and industry cropping up along the SR78 corridor. San Marcos also has a budding academic reputation because it’s the home to CSU San Marcos and Palomar College.
This beautiful community of eucalyptus trees and hiking trails surrounds Miramar Lake and is immediately east of Mira Mesa. Scripps Miramar Ranch and Miramar Ranch North are the two communities that make up the Scripps Ranch Community which was established in the 1890s and continues to proudly maintain its community motto, "Scripps Ranch - Country Living." Scripps Ranch is also home to some of the city's most scenic parks, beautiful community facilities, landscaped neighborhoods and business centers and highly ranked schools.
This unincorporated town is neighbored by the city of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City, providing abundant modern resources. Many consider it a rural and equestrian enclave in the middle of suburbia. While enjoying modern conveniences, the community of Bonita earns the meaning of its name (pretty) through its open spaces and natural environment along the Sweetwater River. The beautiful geography of gentle hills, the Sweetwater Reservoir and River, and the trails and parks make Bonita a desirable community.
Chula Vista means “beautiful view” in Spanish. The second largest city in San Diego County is located just seven miles from downtown San Diego and seven miles from the Mexican border and is at the center of one of the richest economic and culturally diverse zones in the United States. One of the nation’s few year-round U.S. Olympic Training centers is there along with a large outdoor concert venue and Knott’s Soak City USA. And there’s more– top-notch golf courses, a scenic marina, the Living Coast Discovery Center, beautiful parks, and an endless variety of dining, shopping, business and leisure opportunities. The western side of Chula Vista still has a village-type charm, the Eastlake area has good schools and family-friendly neighborhoods and the 535-acre development of the Bayfront will make it a recreational, residential and resort destination.
La Mesa (the table or plateau in Spanish) seems to have it all with its tree-lined streets, parks, good schools, walkable neighborhoods, easy access to retail and commercial areas, a robust public transit system, and a quaint downtown village. Simply put, it is a highly desirable community in which to live, work and do business in San Diego’s East County. Perhaps that is why it’s motto is “The Jewel of the Hills”.
El Cajon, situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, acquired the nickname of "The Box." from the Spanish phrase "el cajón". It is recognized as a wonderful location to live, work and play. Diverse neighborhoods range from “urban-like” to rural ranches, and the area is filled with many parks and recreation centers, award-winning schools, libraries, and other amenities.. Additionally, El Cajon has an energetic downtown, with shops and restaurants that the entire family can enjoy along with a multitude of special events annually.
Linked to downtown San Diego by the arching Coronado Island Bay Bridge and to southern San Diego County by a slender, sandy isthmus, Coronado Island is technically not an island, it’s a peninsula. It’s home to the North Island U. S. Naval Air Station and the U. S. Navy SEALS center, but it’s not the military that attract tourists to Coronado Island. It’s not Frank Baum’s Oz House, Wallis Simpson’s home or the Coronado Island Museum, either. It’s the white, sandy beaches that have earned it numerous ratings as one of top ten beaches in the U.S., and one of the most beautiful places in the world. San Diegans and tourists like to visit Coronado because it looks and feels like a charming, patriotic and small town. Beauty comes at price, especially for the world-famous, 28-acre Hotel del Coronado with its recent $200 million redevelopment and expansion.
In Spanish, it means “the jewel”, and stylish La Jolla is located 15 minutes from downtown San Diego. With many wonderful beaches, cultural activities and fine restaurants, it’s an exquisite combination of a southern European resort atmosphere and Southern California fun. Known to be one of the most affluent communities in the United States, La Jolla also has a down to earth feel. It’s home to renowned institutions, such as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Stephen Birch Aquarium & Museum, as well as the University of California, San Diego, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, & most recently, the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.
Point Loma is one of San Diego’s oldest and most desirable communities blessed with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean to the west and both Downtown and America's Cup Harbor to the east. The Cabrillo National Monument is the nation's second-most visited National Park and tourists and locals alike enjoy the historic Point Loma Lighthouse. The nautical industry continues to have a strong presence in the community as does the military. After serving for many years as our nation’s Naval Training Center (NTC), Liberty Station was reimagined as an urban walking village that features residences as well as an Arts and Cultural District, a Retail District, an Office District, the High Tech Family of Schools, The Loma Club 9-Hole Public Golf Course, The Liberty Public Market, and a 46-acre Waterfront Park.