View Attractions Related to: North County Inland


Explore Visitor Attractions in North County Inland San Diego

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The wide open land northeast of downtown San Diego provides the space needed for one of the best safari-type experiences outside of Africa and the darkness needed for one of the world’s most powerful telescopes to study the night sky.

The region, better known as the North County Inland, is home to mountains, wildlife institutes, vineyards, Indian reservations, and visitor attractions that lure travelers to the rural areas of San Diego County.

The area first became notable after California’s largest skirmish during the Mexican-American War took place at the San Pasqual Battlefield in 1846.

By the early 1900s, this region of San Diego became known around the world for its gems, and in particular, pink tourmaline, which was a favorite of the Chinese.

During the 1930’s, spectators across the nation flocked to their local railway as the mirror for a 200-inch telescope was transported across the country from New York to its eventual home at the Palomar Observatory.

Today, visitors can still explore the attractions that made this area famous with previous generations. Travelers can also enjoy the Wild Animal Safari Park, local wineries, and Indian casinos on their visit to this part of San Diego.

Start your journey to relive this history by selecting each of the picture tabs above to learn more about the area attractions.

Mining for California Gemstones & Tourmaline in San Diego

Museum Curators, Gemologists, Jewelers, and Rockhounds from around the world descend on northern San Diego County looking for the perfect specimens to add to their gem collections. California’s gemstones came to notoriety during the latter part of the 19th century when abundant pockets of high quality gemstones were discovered in the Mesa Grande and Pala Districts of San Diego County. A number of famous California gem mines are now open to the public.


Wildlife Art at Hidden Forest Art Gallery & Nature Center

Location: Fallbrook (53 Miles / 55 Minutes Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Cost: None, unless you want to buy a wildlife painting.

Hours: Varies

Features: Meet Famed Wildlife Artist Gamini Ratnavira, Browse through his Wildlife Paintings, and Meet his Unique & Colorful Birds.


Lake Henshaw Scenic Overlook

Location: Santa Ysabel (75 Miles / 1.25 Hours Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: Always Open

Cost: Free

Features: One of the top Birding Spots in San Diego overlooking the local mountains, grasslands, and Lake Henshaw.


Cupa Cultural Indian Center

Location: Pala (52 Miles / 55 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 9:30AM – 4:30PM, Monday through Friday

Cost: Free

Features: Displays of artifacts, photographs, arts & crafts, and history of the Pala Indians, including the Cupeno Trail of Tears


Mission San Luis Rey Museum

Location: Oceanside (42 Miles / 45 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Entry Allowed 10AM – 4PM

Cost: $6 ($5 for Seniors 65+, $4 for Kids 6-18)

Features: Largest Mission in California; Historic Water Conservation System; Oil Paintings; Abraham Lincoln Signed Document


San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park & Museum

Location: San Pasqual Valley (34 Miles / 40 Minutes Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Weekends: 10AM – 5PM. (Closed Weekdays)

Cost: Free

Features: Bloodiest Battleground in the Mexican-American War. Also, the Most Controversial Battle Site in the War.


San Diego Archaeological Center

Location: San Pasqual Valley (35 Miles / 40 Minutes Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 9AM – 4PM. (10AM-2PM on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.)

Cost: $2 Donation / $5 per Family

Features: 10,000 Years Worth of Archaeological Artifacts Found in San Diego County.


Marine Corps Aviation Museum

Location: Miramar (15 Miles / 20 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 9AM – 3:30PM (Closed on Mondays)

Cost: Free (Donations Appreciated)

Features: Only Museum in the Country Dedicated to Marine Corps Aviation


Temecula Wine Tasting Tours

Location: Temecula (60 Miles / 1 Hour North of Downtown San Diego)

Schedule: Daily

Cost: $97 and up.

Features: Enjoy Wine Tasting Tours in the Temecula Valley; Nearly Two Dozen Wineries; Shuttle and Limo Services


Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

Location: Vista (44 Miles / 50 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 4PM (Closed on Christmas and New Year’s)

Cost: $3 ($2 for Kids and Seniors)

Features: 55 Acre Farm Serves as a Museum for Thousands of Antique Farm Artifacts; Recreates the Typical California Farm from the 1850s – 1950s; Dozens of Items Used in Hollywood Movies.


The Wave Waterpark

Location: Vista (43 Miles / 45 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego); Near a Sprinter Train Station.

Open Daily: First Weekend in June – Middle of August; Generally 10AM – 4PM (Check schedule for specific hours and additional dates in May & September.)

Cost: Several options starting at $16 ($12 for Kids under 42″ and $11 for Seniors 60+). Parking is Free.

Features: Five Water Slides; a Competitive Pool for Swimming; Simulated Wave Maker; Early Morning Lap Swims.