San Diego County

San Diego County is the southern-most region of Southern California. It encompasses the city of San Diego and its large metropolitan area, which includes many smaller cities and communities. San Diego County lies along the U.S.-Mexican border, across from the Mexican city of Tijuana.


Map of San Diego County


Besides San Diego, there are many smaller cities in the county. Listed here are the major ones:

Hotel del Coronado


San Diego County covers a very large area (4,526 square miles, to be exact) with incredibly varied topography. The western half of the county is mostly urbanized, and includes the city of San Diego and its many suburbs to the south, east, and north. The climate of the western half is more moderate, due to its proximity to the ocean, giving San Diego its signature weather. The eastern half is mostly uninhabited or rural, contains snow-capped mountains, forests, and barren desert, and is prone to more extreme weather.


Like much of California, English and Spanish are the dominant languages in San Diego County. Typically, most businesses have at least a few employees that are bilingual in English and Spanish, and some people will be bilingual in English and Tagalog (mostly spoken by San Diego's large Filipino population). It is also common to see store signs printed in both English and Spanish, especially in neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations.

Get in

Union Station, Downtown San Diego

For detailed information on getting in to San Diego, see the Get in section of San Diego.

By plane

San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN) is the only commercial airport in the county and is served by all major U.S. airlines, offering flights from cities around the country and some international flights to Mexico and Canada. General aviation pilots have several airports spread across the region to choose from.

By train

Amtrak's frequent Pacific Surfliner San Luis Obispo-Los Angeles-San Diego route serves San Diego County with several stops along the coast, stopping in Oceanside, Solana Beach, and at the southern end of the line at Union Station in Downtown San Diego, with a secondary station in Old Town San Diego.

By car

Three major interstate roadways, Interstate 5, Interstate 8, and Interstate 15, lead into San Diego County. I-5 runs from the north along the coast, I-8 comes in from the east through the desert, and I-15 leads in to San Diego from the northeast.

Get around

By car

In the western half of the region, a complex system of interstate highways and major roads connect the cities and neighborhoods of that half of the region. In the more rural Inland region, only I-8 and a small network of state and county roads run across the area.

By train

The COASTER commuter rail system runs along the coast of San Diego County north of Downtown San Diego, linking together most of the coastal cities and towns of North San Diego County with Old Town and Downtown San Diego. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner runs this same route, stopping in Oceanside, Solana Beach, and San Diego, but is less practical for getting around the county than the COASTER due to its high price.

In North County, the SPRINTER rail line runs east-west between Oceanside and Escondido. In San Diego, the San Diego Trolley light rail system links several cities east and south of San Diego to the metropolitan center, running east through La Mesa and El Cajon to Santee and south through Chula Vista to the USA-Mexico border.

By bus

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and the North County Transit District (NCTD) operate public transit bus services in San Diego County. MTS serves San Diego and many of the surrounding cities, while NCTD serves North County. Service in the Inland region is pretty scarce.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.