On Presidio Hill in the city of San Diego stands the Serra Museum. A short distance down the hill, Old Town provides another sense of the state’s early settlement. Downtown, the Gaslamp Quarter, a national historic district, contains fine examples of Victorian architecture. San Diego Harbor hosts one of the largest naval bases in the world, yet the waterfront is a showcase. The Embarcadero, a landscaped boardwalk, leads past the Maritime Museum to Seaport Village, a replica of an early California seaport. San Diego boasts what is probably the finest water-oriented park in the nation, Mission Bay. Encompassing 4,600 acres and 27 miles of sandy beaches, the park offers every conceivable water activity, as well as picnic areas, playgrounds, tennis and volleyball courts, cycling/skating/jogging paths, restaurants, shops, and two huge campgrounds. In addition, Seaworld, the world’s largest oceanarium, provides education and entertainment to flocks of visitors. Not far from Mission Bay is Balboa Park, home to the famed San Diego Zoo, where 3,800 animals occupy 150 acres. The park also features nine museums, three art galleries, several theaters, and a golf course. Outside the city, 76 miles of some of California’s finest beaches extend from San Onofre in the north to Imperial Beach near the Mexican border. Inland, the restored Mission San Luis Rey, east of Oceanside, and the Mission San Antonio de Pala are well worth a visit. The San Diego Wild Animal Park, near Escondido, houses more than 2,500 animals, many of which roam free on 1,800 acres. Also near Escondido are several wineries, the southernmost in the state. But San Diego County offers much more than the features of its largest city. From San Onofre to the Mexican border stretch 76 miles of some of the finest beaches on the West Coast. Inland, the hills, streams, and woodlands of the Cleveland National Forest offer a different outdoor perspective.
© Richard McMahon/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.