View Attractions Related to: East County

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Explore the Western Frontier in East County San Diego

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Traveling towards San Diego’s backcountry, better known locally as East County, takes visitors into a picturesque area of rolling hills and winding roads. The farther out you drive, the hills become mountains and the winding roads become an escape from everyday life.

The hillsides are a beautiful green after the winter rains but soon begin to dry and become what local real estate agents call, the California golden hills. Whether you decide to call them golden hills is irrelevant to the fact the vast panoramic views you encounter as you round a corner on a mountain top lure you to drive even deeper into the backcountry.

Before you reach the rural areas of San Diego’s East County, there are handful of tourist attractions worth visiting. Among them is the factory for the world-famous Taylor Guitars. You can join a daily tour that takes visitors through the production line and explains why the world’s top musicians prefer the guitars built here in San Diego. After visiting the Taylor Guitar Factory, you might as well drive just a couple miles away to see aircraft that have been or will be placed on display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Once you continue into the rural areas of East County, enjoy the drive. See what life was like on the old frontier by visiting an antique railroad museum, truck museum, and stone museum, which highlights the cavalry units that used to call this backcountry home.

Start your adventure by reading about one of the attractions displayed in the pictures above or view the summary of all East County attractions.

Taylor Guitars Factory Tours

Location: El Cajon (17 Miles / 20 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Tour Time: 1PM Monday through Friday (Closed on Major Holidays)

Cost: Free

Features: Factory Tour of the Most Prestigious Maker of Acoustical Guitars; Gift Shop

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Gillespie Field Aircraft Museum

Location: El Cajon (17 Miles / 20 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 8AM – 3PM Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Cost: Free (Donations Accepted)

Features: Restoration Hanger for the Air & Space Museum includes More than Two Dozen Aircraft and an Atlas Missile.

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Motor Transport Museum for Antique Trucks

Location: Campo (51 Miles / 1.25 Hours East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 9AM – 5PM on Saturdays

Cost: Free; Donations are Accepted

Features: Antique Truck Museum with 200+ Vehicles and Industrial Equipment

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San Diego Railroad Museum and Train Rides

Location: Campo (51 Miles / 1.25 Hours East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 9AM – 5PM on Saturdays and Sundays

Cost: $5 ($2.50 for ages 6-12); Train Rides are Extra.

Features: 1916 Train Depot is home to Over 80 Train Cars and Locomotives, many dating back to the 19th Century, Hour-Long Train Rides; Setting for Numerous Movies and Commercials.

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Museum Honoring Buffalo Soldiers, US Cavalry, and The American Frontier

Location: Campo (51 Miles / 1.25 Hours East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 11AM – 5PM on Saturdays and Sundays

Cost: $2 (Free for Kids).

Features: History of Early Life in the American West Frontier, Buffalo Soldiers, and the U.S. Cavalry at Camp Lockett.

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Panoramic Views from Mount Helix Lookout

Location: La Mesa (16 Miles / 20 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Sunrise to Sunset

Cost: Free

Features: Magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean to the West and Peninsular Mountain Ranges to the East.

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Viejas Casino and Outlet Center

Location: Alpine (35 Miles / 35 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: Casino Open 24 Hours a Day / 7 Days a Week; Outlet Shops Generally Open 10AM – 8PM; Outdoor Concerts at 8PM from March – October; Indoor Events Vary

Features: Top Rated Casino with Slots, Card Tables, Bingo, Off-Track Betting, Non-Smoking Area; Outlet Shopping; Indoor and Outdoor Concert Venues with National Acts

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Barona Casino and Golf Resort

Location: Lakeside (28 Miles / 40 Minutes Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: Casino Open 24 Hours a Day / 7 Days a Week

Features: Destination Casino; Top Rated Casino with Slots, Card Tables, Bingo, Roulette, Off-Track Betting; Large Selection of Restaurants; One of the Best Golf Courses in California; Free Bus Service from Several San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County Locations; Nightly Entertainment

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Sycuan Casino and Golf Resort

Location: El Cajon (26 Miles / 40 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: Casino Open 24 Hours a Day / 7 Days a Week

Features: Slots, Card Tables, Bingo, Separate Non-Smoking Casino Room; Free Bus Service from Several San Diego Locations; Golf Resort with Spa

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Steele Canyon Golf Course

Location: Jamul (19 Miles / 25 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Year-Round; Dawn – Dusk

Cost: $99 – $139; Discounts for San Diego County Residents

Features: Gary Player Designed Golf Course in a Picturesque Canyon Setting; Golf Club Rentals Available

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Beginning of the Pacific Crest Trailhead

Location: Campo (51 Miles / 1.25 Hours East of Downtown San Diego)

Features: The Beginning of the 2,650 Mile National Scenic Trail at the U.S. – Mexican Border Fence

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