San Diego camping

BACKCOUNTRY HIDDEN PLEASURES: WEEKEND GETAWAYS IN SAN DIEGO'S INLAND REGION

 

 

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

By Bobbi Zane and Miriam Raftery, 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, historic highways and rural areas --- known as the playground for San Diegans who want a close-to-home getaway. 

This beautiful country is mostly untouched by urban development. You can walk through forests, ride bikes on country lanes, horseback ride, pick apples in the fall, sample local wine, hike and dine in the great outdoors most of the year.

 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, including lodging plus unique activities and attrations in each region.  We have visited them all.

It’s an hour’s drive or less from downtown to the mountains, where you can discover the hidden pleasures by checking into one of many bed and breakfast inns and lodges in Julian, Mount Laguna or Ramona. Elsewhere in our inland region, savor luxury at Native American casino resorts, visit historic lodges, stay at a winery, hot springs retreat, or lavender farm, visit our historic cities and an emerging restaurant row, or find spa pampering services, golf and tennis at hotels in Borrego Springs.

Your lodging options in our inland region also include campgrounds, tipis, "glamping" , cottages, vintage '50s trailers, and cabins afloat on a lake.

  Start your adventure by clicking here and scroll down to read our entries below, plus check back for new additions soon!

A JEWEL IN THE WILDERNESS: WILLIAM HEISE COUNTY PARK

 

 

Backcountry hidden pleasures: our guide to unique lodging and adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photos by Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

 June 24, 2018 (Julian) -- Nestled at the end of a series of winding roads shaded by pines and oak trees minutes from downtown Julian is William Heise County Park, a comfortable getaway just over an hour away from the bustle of downtown San Diego.  This park is the jewel of the San Diego County Park system in our inland region.

COMFORTABLE CABINS AT SANTEE LAKES, INCLUDING FLOATING LODGING

 

Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Mike Allen, East County Magazine

February 22, 2018 (Santee) -- Ever since wood cabins were built at the end of Santee Lakes some seven years ago, I’ve been curious about what they were like.

I’ve stayed in a few cabins in my life, some quite rustic and spartan, and others with all the stuff you’d ever need if you’re “camping,” including one that had a spa tub.

The cabins at Santee Lakes are definitely at the higher end, in fact, downright luxurious with just about everything a family would need to enjoy one of America’s best campgrounds situated smack dab in the middle of Santee.

LAKE JENNINGS TIPI CAMPING PROVIDES FUN GETAWAY

 

 

Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Mike Allen

Photos by Cindy Growden

December 12, 2017 (Lakeside, CA) -- When we traveled to Utah last year, we checked out a resort that had tipis and got to thinking this might be something we’d like to try.

So, when we discovered that Lake Jennings offers them at its campground in Lakeside, we arranged to spend a night in one.

THE STARS HAVE LINED UP FOR PERFECT MOUNTAINTOP CAMPING CLOSE TO HOME IN SAN DIEGO

 

 

Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Jack Riordan

Photo, left: The Desert View Trail at the Burnt Rancheria Campground is a very easy and dog-friendly one mile scenic loop through the campground to a rewarding view of the desert floor below.  Photo by Jack Riordan.

November 1, 2017 (Mount Laguna) -- Nestled in the pines, beneath a blanket of starlight, you’ll find Burnt Rancheria.  As part of the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area in the Cleveland National Forest, this lush east county campground sits at 6000 feet above sea level, offering dream-like mountain scenery, as well as an easy escape from the day to day life in the city.

KIDS DISCOVER ADVENTURES AT SANTEE LAKES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

April 17, 2017 (Santee) – Santee Lakes is an idyllic place to let kids enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood.  On a sunny afternoon over spring break, kids at the lakes gleefully discovered their inner Tom Sawyer or Becky Thatcher. 

I spotted a group of kids piloting a pedal boat around one of several islands in the lake.   A large Canada Goose skidded to a water landing in front of another pedal boat, where a startled dad snapped photos while his kids looked on, pointing with delight.  

ADVICE FROM THE PURPLE MOUNTAIN SAGE: KEEP COOL & STILL BE EARTH FRIENDLY

By Sharon Courmousis, Sacred Rocks Reserve

 

Increase your enjoyment of living

June 27, 2010 (San Diego's East County) 

 

“Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world.” ~ Ada Louise Huxtable