It’s been known for time immemorial that there are around a bajillion scenic spots along the 70 miles of San Diego’s coastline. Local surfer and photographer Aaron Chang is one of the best at capturing stunning ocean views and he recently sat down with us and shared his favorite San Diego scenic spots:
While views of blue skies and colorful sunsets over the ocean never get old, they don’t show off all that San Diego County has to offer. I asked a few of our bloggers to pick one of their favorite scenic spots away from the coast and east of the I-5:
Robert’s Choice – Highway S22
The scenic drive down Highway S22 as you wind down into the desert oasis town of Borrego Springs offers some of the most jaw-dropping vista points in San Diego County. There are several turnouts where you can park your car, get out and gander out over the horizon to take in spectacular panoramic views of a pristine desert valley below surrounded by mountains, the Salton Sea to the east and as far as Mexico to the south.
Kathleen’s Choice: San Diego Zoo Safari Park
In addition to the awesome animals, my favorite things at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are the wonderful views and vistas, and the gardens. Of particular note are the world gardens which include the bonsai pavilion, the conifer arboretum and the nativescapes garden. All three offer park visitors a variety of scenic spots to rest and enjoy the beauty of nature. My other two favorite scenic spots in the park are the Lion Camp and Elephant Valley. Both have built-in overlook platforms with sweeping views of the animal habitats and plains beyond.
Sarah’s Choice: Daley Ranch
You can hike, bike or horseback ride the scenic trails in Daley Ranch, a north county San Diego open space area located in Escondido. The “ranch” is a redwood ranch house, barn and other historic buildings perfect for a rest stop and photo ops. The trails are mountainous, but not too intense so you’ll see a range of locals enjoying the outdoors from kids jumping their mountain bikes to dad’s pushing their jogging strollers. The scenic spots include the nearby Dixon Lake (great for trout fishing, camping and picnicking) as well as some large ponds.
Candice’s Choice: Julian
What I love about Julian is its diversity. In the fall, you’ll find apple barrels everywhere. In the winter, the bare trees against the snow are beautiful. There’s so much landscape to explore, and it’s so different from what you’d see downtown or at the beach.
Benjamin’s Choice: Cowles Mountain
With 360 degree views of San Diego; this is by far my favorite photo spot! A moderate 1.5 mile hike up to San Diego County’s highest point showcases fantastic views from Mexico to North County. Whether I’m focusing on the Downtown high rises and Point Loma, or looking the opposite direction to the mountains of East County, I always find something new to focus on.
My Choice: Mission Trails Regional Park
In the words of Aaron Chang – “You’re basically surrounded by a giant city and you can feel like you’re out in the wild there.” Take a stroll along the 1.5 mile paved Father Junipero Serra Trail in Mission Trails and take the time to look and learn about all the local flora on the surrounding hills. Need a break? Take a seat at any one of the scenic spots with a bench and enjoy the view. The payoff is the beautiful and serene Old Mission Dam. Pick a spot in the shade and listen to the rushing water of the San Diego River flowing through the collapsed section of the dam.
What’s one of your favorite scenic spots in San Diego that’s not on the ocean?