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Our guide to unique lodging and adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Bobbi Zane, East County Magazine

San Diego’s backcountry is home to mountains with hiking trails, miles and miles of pine and oak forests, wine regions, deserts, and rural areas --- known as the playground for San Diegans who want a close-to-home getaway. 

It’s beautiful country mostly untouched by urban development. You can walk throughforests, ride bikes on country lanes, horseback ride, pick apples in the fall, sample local wine, and dine in the great outdoors most of the year.

It’s less than an hour’s drive from downtown to the mountains, where you can discover the hidden pleasures by checking into one of many bed and breakfast inns in Julian or Ramona, or savor luxury at Native American resort casinos, visit historic lodging establishments, or get pampered at one of the golf/tennis hotels in Borrego Springs.

Your lodging options in our inland region also include campgrounds, cabins, tipis, "glamping" and more.

 East County Magazine's  Backcountry Hidden Pleasures series profiles weekend getaway destination that you can find close to home in San Diego County's inland region.  We have visited them all.  Read our entries so far (below), and check back for new additions soon!

Marriott Hotel, cornerstone of El Cajon's downtown redevelopment, celebrates grand opening (El Cajon)

Enjoy a country stay at the Dulzura Winery guest house on historic Clark Ranch (Dulzura)

Orchard Hill Country Inn:  Elegant and Exclusive (Julian)

Ayres Lodge Alpine: Gateway to San Diego's Beautiful Backcountry (Alpine)

Starry Night Inn: A Winery Vacation In Ramona (Ramona)

Ramona Wine Region Also Has Parks, Preserves and Historic Sites to Explore (Ramona)

Barona Resort: Vacation in the Heart of Lakeside (Lakeside)

Soothe Away Your Cares at Keys Creek Lavender Farm (Valley Center)

Bailey's Palomar Resort: A Historic Haven on Palomar Mountain (Palomar)

Sycuan Tops Off High-rise Resort Hotel (Sycuan Casino & Resort, Sycuan reservation in El Cajon)

La Casa del Zorro: First and Finest in the Desert (La Casa del Zorro Resert & Spa, Borrego Springs)

Borrego Valley Inn and Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort: Weekend Getaways for Stargazing Couples and Families (Borrego Springs)

The Beauty of Borrego (activities and attractions in Borrego Springs)

Day Tripping in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park  (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park)

Historic Haven (Julian Gold Rush Hotel, Julian)

What’s Up At Wikkup?  (Wikiup Bed and Breakfast, Julian)

Comfortable Cabins at Santee Lakes (Santee Lakes, Santee)

Viejas Celebrates Grand Opening of The Willows Hotel and Spa (The Willows, Alpine)

Lake Jennings Tipi Camping Provides Fun Getaway (Lake Jennings, Lakeside)

Healing Waters at Jacumba Hot Springs Resort (Jacumba Hot Springs)

High Desert Mountain Yoga Retreat (Jacumba Hot Springs)

Stars Lined Up For Perfect Mountaintop Camping (Burnt Rancheria, Mount Laguna)

Valley Center's Tribal Casino Resorts:  Getaway Retreats in San Diego's Northeast County (Valley Center)

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the County of San Diego for providing a Community Enhancement Grant to support our “Backcountry Hidden Pleasures” weekend getaways coverage.