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4 Places to go to appreciate the outdoors in San Marcos, CA

Small trail in Double Peak Park

One of the best things about living in San Marcos is the easy access to San Diego County, CA’s endless array of outdoor recreation opportunities; you can have an adventure whenever you’re in the mood. Check out four of our favorite local spots below.

  1. Discovery Lake

    Near the center of San Marcos lies Discovery Lake. Often grouped together with its neighbor, Lakeview Park, this local outdoor spot is a reservoir-turned-sanctuary and birding destination– a variety of songbirds and waterfowl make their nests here. Bring a binocular to spot beauties such as California quails, orange-crowned warblers, and blue-billed ruddy ducks.

    Discovery Lake is also home to a short 0.8-mile loop trail that’s perfect for relaxing strolls or energizing runs. Visitors are also welcome to bring their dogs to enjoy the trail– just make sure they’re leashed for everyone’s comfort. Now, if you want a longer hike or run, check out the larger trail system that includes the 4.3-mile Double Peak Trail.

  2. Double Peak Park

    Speaking of outdoor adventures in San Diego County, CA, Double Peak Park is not to be missed. It’s a popular hiking and mountain-biking spot, with trails that snake through its mountainside. The main loop runs for some 4.3 miles and is rated moderate in difficulty, with steep, rocky, and narrow segments. If you’re coming from Discovery Lake, you can enter Double Peak Park through the trailhead at the northern base.

    The 360-degree views of San Diego County at the top is the reward for anyone who braves Double Peak’s trail. On exceptionally clear days, you can see as far as Batiquitos Lagoon and Catalina Island. But the journey to the top is quite beautiful, too, with the trails lined with sycamores, olive trees, and California-native coast live oaks.

    Use the telescope at the summit for free to enhance your viewing experience. If you want to rest after the hike, picnic tables, restrooms, and a mini amphitheater are also available at the summit park.

  3. Edwin & Frances Hunter Arboretum

    This attraction is a publicly open 10-acre preserve that you can visit for free. It is nestled on the hillside of the Palomar College main campus and notable for its themed gardens.

    The arboretum houses around 800 local and international plants, including some rare and endangered specimens. Keep your eye out for the red-labeled plants: they’re critically threatened or already extinct in the wild. One of the red-label plants you’ll see is the ohai, a native Hawaiian shrub– now extinct in the wild– with flowers that range from pink to orange in color. Researchers are busy testing this specimen’s seeds to see if these can be used to make the ohai thrive in Hawaii again.

  4. Sunshine Mountain Vineyard

    Family-owned Sunshine Mountain Vineyard is a great local spot if you want to enjoy the cooler hill climate with a lovely glass of wine. Some of the grape varieties grown here include cabernet franc, syrah/shiraz, and merlot. The winemakers at this vineyard have been handcrafting wine for 21 years. Their vino is stored in oak barrels and left to age in earthen caves.

    Foodies and wine enthusiasts will surely love this child-friendly and leashed pet-friendly winery! When you’ve had your fill of wine tasting, you can take a bite from the sumptuous menu while enjoying a view of the valley at the al fresco dining area. The winery offers the likes of charcuterie board platters, cheesecake, and bacon jam pizza.

Live close to outdoor adventures in San Marcos and the entire San Diego County, CA. Explore your real estate opportunities in the area with our team.

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