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NEW to North County San Diego? (Here’s Your Guide)

If you’ve recently moved – or are thinking of relocating – to North County, us seasoned locals would love to share a few must-knows with you.

Think of these info nuggets as tips to store in your brain as you navigate your way across the county. And? Welcome!

What’s North County?

North County

North County lies about 25 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Some people say that San Diego is like a square. The four corners hit Escondido, the La Mesa area, San Diego, and Oceanside, with North County representing the top half of the square.

Here at this site, we think of North County as encompassing those neighborhoods north of the 805 and 5 freeway merge. Given this definition, both coastal and inland communities comprise North County, making the region an excellent place to hike, lounge beachside, sail, and participate in nearly every outdoor activity because the topography of the area is both hilly and sea-facing, depending on where you live.

Neighborhoods we consider “North County” are:

North County coastal
  • Del Mar

  • Solana Beach

  • Encinitas

  • Cardiff

  • Leucadia

  • Carlsbad

  • Oceanside

North County Island
  • Scripps Ranch

  • West Poway (Sabre Springs/some areas of Poway)

  • Rancho Penasquitos

  • Rancho Bernardo

  • Carmel Mountain

  • Carmel Valley

  • Escondido

  • San Marcos

  • Vista

  • La Costa

Unincorporated North County Includes:

  • Fallbrook

  • Ramona

  • Valley Center

  • Fairbanks Ranch

  • Rancho Santa Fe

  • Lake San Marcos

  • Bonsall

  • San Diego Country Estates

  • Camp Pendleton South

  • Camp Pendleton North

  • Rainbow

  • Hidden Meadows

  • San Luis Rey

In general, North County is considered to be family friendly and a good alternative to the hustle and bustle of downtown. Arguably, North County is regarded as fairly upper middle class when compared to San Diego regions east and south of the county.


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