In San Diego’s East County, you’ll discover close-knit communities with slower-paced
lifestyles, farmlands, desert landscapes and open space.
Old Highway 80
Charming towns, casinos,
hot springs and historical
points of interest are sprinkled
along this 175-mile drive
stretching from Yuma, Arizona
to the ocean. Changing
environments include lush
valleys and sand dunes,
mountain ranges and
prehistoric ocean beds.
Palomar Mountain Loop
This drive through Cleveland
National Forest to the Palomar
Mountain Observatory serves
up stunning panoramas.
Take Highway 76 east to
County Route S7, stopping
at lookouts along the way.
Return via County Route S6,
a twisty road that climbs
down the mountain back to
After exploring Borrego
Springs, follow the Salton
Seaway (S22) out of town,
and look for the signs to
Fonts Point at milepost 29. 3.
A four-mile sandy road leads
to a jaw-dropping view of
badlands, mountain ranges,
Baja and a mini Grand
This charming town is the apple capital of
San Diego County. Walk back in time to the
1870s along Main Street. Get a slice at Mom’s
Pie House (2119 Main St.), a caramel apple at
Candied Apple Pastry Company (2128 Fourth
St.), fresh-pressed cider at Julian Cider Mill
(2103 Main St.) and spiked cider at Julian Hard
Cider (4470 Julian Road).
This quirky desert town sits next to the
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a desert oasis with
stunning wilderness areas, endless hiking,
hot springs, petroglyphs and 500 miles of dirt
roads. Cactus flowers bloom in April and May,
giant steel outdoor sculptures of prehistoric
beasts and dragons dot the town’s Galleta
Meadows Sky Art collection, and Tom Fazio–
designed golf awaits at Rams Hill Golf Course.
Stargazing and camping, too.
a popular climb
nearly 1,600 feet
above sea level,
then drink in the
1 Father Junipero
CALIFORNIA WOLF CENTER
Learn all about Alaskan gray and Mexican
wolves at the conservation center, where visitors
get an up-close and personal look at these
majestic creatures. Reservations are required.
K Q Ranch Road, Julian
EAST COUNTY BREWS
Discover some of San Diego’s best IPAs, like Pure Hoppiness, at Alpine Beer Company
(2351 Alpine Blvd.), then head to their pub (1347 Tavern Road) for delish barbecue, just a
half mile down the road. Play lawn darts or Jenga while arm curling a Bavarian weizen at
La Mesa newcomer Helix Brewing Co. (8101 Commercial St.), or grab a seat on the outdoor
patio of Bolt Brewery (8179 Center St.) for a vanilla porter or nut brown ale, also in La Mesa.
HIT THE ROAD