San Diego’s North County Inland Valley embodies a truly authentic California experience. This region not only offers world-class resorts, golf courses, and award-winning restaurants, but also is brimming over with art, culture, and outdoor activities.
THIS REGION NOT ONLY OFFERS WORLD-CLASS RESORTS, GOLF COURSES, AND AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANTS, BUT ALSO IS BRIMMING OVER WITH ART, CULTURE, AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
San Diego’s North County Inland Valley embodies a truly authentic California experience. This region not only offers world-class resorts, golf courses, and award-winning restaurants, but also is brimming over with art, culture, and outdoor activities. The understated elegance the communities exude is an unrivaled blend of natural beauty and landscape and the casual yet refined vibe of cities.
The beautiful community of Poway, which literally means “end of the valley”, offers plentiful parks, trails, and a lake ideal for fishing or boating. The 4.75-acre Old Poway Park houses historic buildings, a train barn with a 1907 Baldwin No. 3 Steam Engine and San Francisco Cable Car, and an Overshiner’s blacksmith and gazebo. The turn-of-the-century setting this park is modeled after is also home to weekly City of Poway Certified Farmer’s Markets and the Target Summer Concert Series, which is held Sundays throughout the summer. Music ranges from the Roaring 20’s to Scottish/Celtic to traditional country. A complete history of this quiet town is presented in the Poway Historical and Memorial Society’s Heritage Museum.
The Poway Center for the Performing Arts Foundation books professional artists into the city-owned center. The Foundation has successfully booked renowned entertainers from the world of drama, music, dance, comedy, and more. Performances pick up in the fall with Page by Page, starring Broadway legend Ken Page. The Center also provides a unique learning environment for the community’s students through workshops and master classes given by working artists.
Entering its 27th season, The Scripps Ranch Theatre, located just south of Poway in the small, sleepy town of Scripps Ranch, has earned the reputation of being one of San Diego’s finest Theatres. Originally envisioned as a source of entertainment for and by the community, performances take center stage in the Legler-Benbough Theatre on Alliant University’s campus.
Spend lazy Sunday afternoons socializing with friends and neighbors during one of the performances of the “Summer in the Park” series. Picnic, dance to, or just sit back and enjoy the music in Scripps Ranch’s Hoyt Park. Sticky Fingers is scheduled to perform July 9.
Rancho Bernardo residents and guests have plenty of recreational activities to choose from. Catch some Florida-strain largemouth bass or channel catfish in Lake Hodges, which also offers opportunities for boating and sailing. The miles of surrounding trails make for a great hike or horseback ride through the terrain that ranges from canopied oak forests to elevated vistas to open fields.
Test your golf game at one of two championship courses, The Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Course or the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo. Treat yourself to a gourmet dinner the Rancho Bernardo Inn’s El Bizcocho restaurant, which has received the highest ratings for four years running by San Diego Zagat Survey voters.
The Art, Wine, & Jazz Fest is a new event this summer for the Bernardo Winery, which will feature local artists demonstrating their talents on canvas and on stage. The Winery, which has been around for 116 years, is still fully functional and has become quite a destination spot that includes Village shops, a salon, café, and tasting room.
A drive north of Rancho Bernardo takes you to Fallbrook, a peaceful, countryside town that prides itself on its friendliness and its avocados. Known as the Avocado Capital of the World, Fallbrook’s primary business is agriculture. The city is also well known for its flowers and nurseries.
Fallbrook’s Main Street has an elegant turn-of-the-century feel and the street is lined with shops selling art, antiques, jewelry, and other local crafts. Many of the street’s wooden buildings are historical and window-shopping is sure to be just as delightful. The residents here lead pretty active lifestyles, taking advantage of the city’s four golf courses, tennis courts, and meandering equestrian trails. July brings two Hot Summer Nights events to Main Street, Off-Road and Race Cars on July 14 and a Taste of Fallbrook on July 28.
Bonsall is another rural town, nestled in the foothills and situated along the San Dieguito River. This charming equestrian town offers a variety of shopping and dining opportunities against the backdrop of the hills and blue skies. The 500-stall San Luis Rey Downs training center is the only auxiliary training track that is continuously approved by the California Horse Racing Board since 1984, which means a horse can train at the training center and race the same day. Most of the time, the horse has to arrive at the racetrack 24 hours ahead of race day. Many famous horses, including four Kentucky Derby winners have spent their early training days here.
The Vista Village Festival offers over 128 booths of colorful and diverse arts & crafts, fine art and jewelry, and other products.
Award-winning food, free live entertainment, and a beer garden round out this weekly event that takes place every Thursday on Main Street in Downtown Vista.
Ending its tour July 9, Seussical the Musical has been lighting up the stage at the Moonlight Stage Productions for family and friends who can enjoy the show while picnicking on the grass under the stars. A second not-to-miss performance, Sound of Music, begins July 19.
The agricultural town of Valley Center, which sits on roughly 100 square acres, provides a wonderful home to the Lavender Fields, which add purples of every hue to the landscape each year, and the Bates Nut Center. The Lavender Fields, situated on 9 acres, are open to the public for self-guided walking tours during the normal bloom season, April through July. Lotions, crèmes, soaps, and candles are made from the one hundred percent organic essential oil and hydrosol that is distilled right on the property. Dried lavender is used for sachets or dried flower arrangements that are also sold to the thousands of real and virtual visitors each year.
The Bates Nut Center offers nuts from all over the world, homemade peanut butter and fudge selections, and an old-fashioned candy counter on its beautiful farm setting that is reminiscent of simpler times. The Farmer’s Daughter and Bates gift shop offer hundreds of home and garden accessories, stationary, books, greeting cards, candles, jewelry, and more. The Bates Nut Farm is also home to the oldest and most famous Pumpkin Patch in San Diego County, as well as various Arts and Crafts Fairs, Antique Fairs, and Car Shows.
Finding something spectacular to do year-round is certainly not the challenge in the North County Inland Valley. Deciding on the one thing to do for the day or the evening may not be so easy, but definitely a fun and distinctively Californian challenge.