MCB Camp Pendleton and its surrounding communities, most of which are in San Diego County, date to the nomadic Indian tribes that once inhabited the area. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator hired by Spain, explored the coast of California and in 1542, sailed into the harbor of what is now San Diego.
In 1812, California underwent a change when Mexico gained its independence from Spain. San Diego was still regarded as an agricultural center rather than an aspiring city such as Los Angeles, 100 miles to the north. Not until 1850, when the United States finally gained control of California, did both the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles become incorporated.
Closest to MCB Camp Pendleton is the city of Oceanside, situated on 3 miles of sandy beaches, with an ideal mix of urban and rural environments, blessed with almost perfect year-round weather. Three major highways, Interstate 5 and highways 76 and 78, provide easy access to and from Oceanside. The city is also served by Amtrak and Greyhound bus lines. Local commuter and private aircraft use the Oceanside Municipal Airport. McClellan-Palomar Airport in nearby Carlsbad is a general aviation facility, offering both private and commercial air travel.
Oceanside’s weather, being much like the rest of the San Diego coastal area, offers the perfect climate for the outdoor enthusiast. Residents have access to numerous golf courses, parks, tennis courts and biking trails, as well as facilities for volleyball, basketball and softball.
For those who just want to relax, Oceanside Harbor and Harbor Beach are ideal spots for an afternoon stroll or picnic. Oceanside Harbor, a man-made facility, is one of the best in Southern California and considered to be one of the most beautiful. For shopping, Cape Cod Village provides many unique shops and restaurants.
Health care for Oceanside is provided by Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. Several medical, dental and professional health care complexes also surround the hospital. For more detailed information, call the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce at 760-722-1534 or visit www.oceansidechamber.com.
Two commuter trains, the Coaster, which travels between Oceanside and San Diego, and the Metrolink, which travels between Oceanside and Los Angeles, also serve Oceanside.
The California Welcome Center in Oceanside is at 928 North Coast Highway. Volunteers assist travelers and offer assistance with directions, information, hotel reservations and discount tickets for San Diego attractions.
Oceanside Harbor is a mecca for sport fishing, whale watching, boating and other wateroriented activities. The marina inside the harbor has slips ranging in length from 25 to 51 feet. Transient moorings and limited RV beach camping are available.
Old Mission San Luis Rey is a national historic landmark and the largest in a chain of Californian missions established by the early Spanish missionaries. This magnificent structure, known as the “King of Missions,” shelters a museum, gift shop and conference center.
Situated a few steps from the shore of Buena Vista Lagoon, the Audubon Nature Center offers a variety of natural history experiences. Walk along a shore trail amid native plants to see views of the lagoon and its bird life. You’ll see surfers catching the waves as you stroll along one of the longest wooden overwater piers on the Pacific Coast. The Oceanside Pier has a bait and gift shop and you can dine at the restaurant at the end as you watch a Catalina sunset.
Other Oceanside attractions include the Oceanside Museum of Art, Heritage Park Village and the California Surf Museum.
Where else would you find a seaside community that is small enough to hold village charm, yet large enough to be a premiere business environment? Carlsbad is a community with near perfect weather and two world-class resorts. It is a city that supports economic development yet sets aside 40 percent of its land for open space.
Carlsbad has attracted an international theme park, Legoland California, and has become the golf capital of the world. Interstate 5, a commuter train, bus service and one of the busiest single-runway airports in the nation serve the community’s transportation needs. Carlsbad has a first-class public library system, full-service police and fire services, a parks and recreation department, and high-quality schools.
Carlsbad has miles of beaches and a wide variety of housing options and shopping venues, including Plaza Camino Real (a regional mall), the North County center, and specialty, outlet and antique stores.
Fallbrook is on the eastern boundary of Camp Pendleton. From Camp Pendleton it is reached via Ammunition Road and is about 15 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Fallbrook elementary schools are on and near Camp Pendleton.
Fallbrook is the “Avocado Capital of the World.” Its rural community of approximately 30,000 offers a wide range of housing options, an elementary and high school district with excellent academic and extracurricular programs, including the 2000 CIF Division I champion football team, and a community hospital. The town boasts a healthy retail and service business base with shopping centers in both Fallbrook and neighboring Bonsall. The main street typifies the charm of a small town with many of its shops, galleries and restaurants housed in buildings dating to the late 1800s.
Vista rests 7 miles inland from the ocean and is a short 15-minute drive from Oceanside. Located in the heart of Highway 78, midway between Oceanside and Escondido, it benefits from cool breezes in the summer and is far enough away from the water to escape the coastal fog.
Keeping up with the rest of the fast-growing North County cities, Vista has a number of retail stores. Vista boasts a high-growth reputation of its own; rising from more than 19,000 residents back in 1963 to its present population of nearly 97,000 residents.
For recreation, Vista has golf courses, the Wave Waterpark, the Moonlight Amphitheatre and the AVO Playhouse, as well as historical buildings and museums to visit. Annual events include Winterfest, the Vista Viking Festival and the Strawberry Festival.
San Marcos is in an ideal location in the heart of San Diego’s North County. It is situated between the state’s two largest cities, Los Angeles, about 100 miles to the north, and San Diego, about 35 miles to the south. Climate is a major contributor to the attractive quality of life in San Marcos. The area is characterized by mild winters, plenty of sunshine and little rainfall. Inland, the terrain is made up of rolling hills and deep canyons. Fortunately, San Marcos enjoys being in the direct path of an ocean breeze.
San Marcos features a resort climate without a “tourist” atmosphere, offering a host of popular attractions all within close proximity. San Marcos is enviably situated 10 minutes from many clean Pacific beaches, 30 minutes from the famous Del Mar Racetrack, a 40-minute drive from SeaWorld and Mission Bay, and 90 minutes from the rugged Anza Borrego Desert.
Other nearby attractions include the Old Mission San Luis Rey, the Palomar Observatory with its world-renowned Hale Telescope and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (where many rare species roam free in their natural habitat).
Encinitas is a coastal city in northern San Diego County. It is about 25 miles north of San Diego and about 95 miles south of Los Angeles. The city was incorporated in 1986 from the communities of historic Encinitas, new Encinitas (Village Park, etc.), Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Olivenhain. These communities retain their identities and their distinctive flavors.
The largest single industry is the growing of ornamental flowers, particularly poinsettias. The Fall Festival is held each November in downtown Encinitas, and the Wavecrest Woodie Meet takes place once a year, on the third Saturday of September at Moonlight State Beach. It is the largest rally of wooden bodied vehicles in the world, and it is free to the public and to participants.
Some other points of interest are the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, the San Diego Botanic Garden, Self-Realization Fellowship Temple and La Paloma Theater. Surfing is a popular activity in Encinitas, particularly at Swami’s.
Escondido lies about 18 miles inland, 100 miles south of Los Angeles and 30 miles northeast of San Diego. Escondido is the inland hub of North County, which is emerging as a regional economic leader, in the forefront of job development and new industries. Escondido is home to the $81 million California Center for the Arts, Escondido, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, a sculptural garden in Kit Carson Park. Queen Califia’s Magical Circle has been closed for repairs; visit www.queencalifia.org for updates. For a taste of Africa, visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the San Pasqual Valley just outside Escondido.
A family-oriented community, Poway, known as “The City in the Country,” is south of Escondido. Visit Lake Poway for fishing or a picnic in the park. Take a nature walk at the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, which also offers a free guided wildlife and plant walk.
Temecula is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, with a population of 100,097 during the 2010 census and an estimated 2013 population of 106,780. It was incorporated on December 1, 1989. Temecula is bordered by the City of Murrieta to the north and the Pechanga Indian Reservation and San Diego County to the south. The City of Temecula forms the southwestern anchor of the Inland Empire region.
The city is a prominent tourist destination, with the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, the Temecula Valley Polo Club, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film Festival, championship golf courses, and resort accommodations attracting a significant amount of tourists which appreciably contributes to the city's economic profile. In addition to the tourism sector, the educational, healthcare, leisure, professional, finance, and retail sectors all contribute to the city's economy as well.
San Clemente, the “Spanish Village by the Sea,” is the southernmost city in Orange County. It is the only city in the county that is closer to San Diego than Los Angeles. The city was founded by real estate developer Ole Hanson in 1925. It is home to President Richard Nixon’s “Western White House,” which sits above Trestles, one of the West Coast’s premier surfing spots.
San Clemente is a top-notch surfing destination and home of Surfing Magazine and The Surfer’s Journal. Surfboard shapers and manufacturers have also set up shop in the city.
Land lovers may enjoy hiking the Cristianitos Regional Trail, Forster Ranch Ridgeline Trail and Rancho San Clemente Trail, which offer a variety of terrain as well as scenic views. Interstate 5 runs through San Clemente, and Amtrak and Metrolink trains serve the city between Los Angeles and San Diego daily.
San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, 6 miles north of San Clemente, became an official city in April 1961.
Home to the “Jewel of the Missions,” the city is rich in history and culture. Father Junipero Serra established Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776 and the first chapel built is still used today. The Mission, on Ortega Highway west of Interstate 5, is one of California’s most important historical, cultural and education centers. The Los Rios Historic District includes adobes that date back to 1794 and is one of the oldest continuing neighborhoods in Orange County. The San Capistrano Station was built in 1894. Today, commuters can skip the freeway congestion by using Amtrak or Metrolink from this beautiful, historic depot.
The Orange County Library, at Acjachema and El Camino Real, called “the first authentic postmodern masterpiece” by Newsweek magazine, features musical series, speakers and special events.
San Diego, named after St. Didacus, is the second-largest city in California and the eighth largest city in the United States. San Diego’s economy is largely composed of agriculture, biotechnology and biosciences, computer sciences, electronics manufacturing, defenserelated manufacturing, financial and business services, ship repair and construction, software development, telecommunications and tourism.
Tourism has drastically affected the city’s culture, as San Diego houses many tourist attractions, such as SeaWorld San Diego, Belmont Park, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and nearby Legoland California. San Diego’s Spanish influence can be seen in the many historic sites across the city, such as the Spanish missions and Balboa Park. Cuisine in San Diego is diverse and includes European-American, Mexican-American and Asian-American cuisine. Annual events in San Diego include Comic-Con, the San Diego County Fair and Fleet Week.
Many popular museums, such as the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Museum of Man and the Museum of Photographic Arts, are in Balboa Park. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is in an oceanfront building in La Jolla and has a branch located across and next to the Santa Fe Train Depot in downtown San Diego. The Columbia district downtown is home to historic ship exhibits as well as the USS Midway Museum, which is aboard the aircraft carrier.
The broad city limits encompass a number of large nature preserves, including Torrey Pines State Reserve, Border Field State Park and Mission Trails Regional Park. San Diego boasts over 100 named areas and suburbs within the city limits and hosts Naval Base San Diego, the West Coast’s largest naval base. Located close to the naval arena, downtown San Diego has experienced some urban renewal since the early 1980s. This has resulted in the opening of Horton Plaza, the revival of the Gaslamp Quarter and the construction of the San Diego Convention Center and PETCO Park, which opened in 2004. San Diego also hosts the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, who play in the established Qualcomm Stadium.