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Strips away some of the glitz and glamor of city living and allows you to enjoy a more small town vibe.

Here you will find cozy cabins tucked between the pine trees, sprawling ranches surrounded by fruit trees, and trails for horses and humans alike. With a median home price of $388,500, Julian is one of our favorite spots to tour homes, and that’s not just because you can take an apple pie break in between! East County brings you a step back from the coastal lifestyle. Lauded for its near constant sunshine (hardly ever a cloud in sight), East County strips away some of the glitz and glamor of city living and allows you to enjoy a more small town vibe. That isn’t to say that East County is boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can experience the great outdoors by hiking through Cleveland National Forest and camping at Lake Jennings.

Cleveland National Park

Immersing yourself in the foliage in Cleveland National Park is the ultimate way to disconnect from a technology driven outside world. With just over 460,000 acres of land, Cleveland National Park lets you experience a wide variety of terrains. Some of the most notable things to see in the park are Three Sisters Falls, which can be strenuous if you aren’t trained, but features a trifecta of beautiful waterfalls. Crystal-clear views of the stars can be found at Palomar Mountain & Observatory. There are too many hidden gems to name at Cleveland National Park, you have to see it to believe.

Julian Pie Company

San Diego’s favorite apple pie spot for more than 30 years, Julian Pie Company has become a staple of the area. With over 23 unique kinds of pie, no special occasion is complete without one of these famous pies. Even with no occasion on the horizon, any time is a great time for pie!

Lions, Tigers, & Bears

Lions. Tigers, & Bears is the only accredited exotic animal sanctuary in San Diego. Their goal to provide a safe haven to abused and abandoned exotic animals and to inspiring an educational forum to end the exotic animal trade is evident in their operation. Through appointment only, visitors have the opportunity to spend their time in a variety of ways, the most common being the two-hour guided tour where you get to see and interact with the animals up close. Despite the name, more than just lions, tigers, and bears call this beautiful sanctuary home. A number of other big cats and ranch animals have found a safe haven here. The truly adventurous folks can even stay the night in the sanctuary in some very luxurious accommodations.

Lake Jennings

Offering a more rustic experience than that of the beach, Lake Jennings is a beautiful getaway for the outdoor enthusiasts. Spend the day hiking, birdwatching, fishing, or boating at this beautiful lake away from the hustle of the city. Be on the lookout for sightings of the majestic wildlife that call this area home. If you’re brave enough to rough it a little, you can even call Lake Jennings home for a weekend at its camping Grounds.

Santee Boulders

For avid rock climbers, the Santee Boulders should provide an invigorating climbing experience. There are nearly 100 different rock faces for you to try out at the Santee Boulders, each offering a different test. It’s a completely free to test your skill on these rocks, but you should always bring adequate safety equipment and a partner.

Santee Drive-In

There’s nothing quite like a movie night, so why not have one drive-in style? Santee Drive-In lets you experience a retro movie watching experience that takes you way back to the 50s.

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