View Attractions Related to: East County


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.


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.

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum

Location: La Mesa (13 Miles / 20 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 1PM – 4PM on Saturdays

Cost: Free

Features: 1915 Train Depot; Steam Locomotive and Freight Cars


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


Cygnet Theatre

Location: Old Town (4 Miles North of Downtown San Diego) & College Area (12 Miles East of Downtown San Diego)

Performances: Year-Round; Generally Alternate between Both Locations

Cost: $22 and Up

Features: Award Winning Local Theatre Company.


Converting Currency in San Diego

There are several locations where foreign visitors can convert currency in San Diego.  The main currency exchange company in San Diego is Travelex, the world’s largest retail operator.  There are two locations at the San Diego Airport and several more throughout San Diego County.  Their details and a currency converter are provided below.


General Aviation Airports

San Diego offers a number of airports for private plane travel. Below, you will find general location information, Google Maps, and web site links for each of the airports.


San Diego Greyhound Stations

Greyhound offers five full service stations throughout San Diego County, including access to the beaches, international border, and major tourist attractions. Details on the Greyhound Stations, including Google Maps, other transit services, and nearby attractions are noted below.


San Diego Regional Visitor Information Center

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

Hours: Generally open 10AM – 7PM.

Services: Professionally trained staff to assist with San Diego vacation plans, brochures, maps, and discount tickets.

Host: San Diego East Visitors Bureau


Taking Pictures in San Diego / Photography Help

Features: Get your cameras ready for taking lots of pictures in San Diego County. Learn what to expect, where to look for great photo opportunities, and where to go to address any camera problems you may have while visiting San Diego.


Lions, Tigers, and Bears Sanctuary

Location: Alpine (30 Miles / 35 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Visits: By Appointment or Special Event

Cost: $50+

Features: One of 12 Big Cat Sanctuaries in the United States


Descanso, Alpine and Pacific Railway

Location: Alpine (31 Miles / 35 Minutes East of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 1PM – 3PM on Sundays (Call to Confirm) or By Appointment

Cost: Free

Features: Take a 20 Minute Ride on a 24 Inch Gauge Train Track.