Escondido means “hidden,” but with a Mediterranean SoCal location only 20 minutes from the beach and 30 from San Diego, this city is no secret.
Escondido serves up a full menu for stoking adventure or simply cooling your heals. From beautiful wineries and laid-back craft breweries to the charming downtown scene and its arts, from culinary delights to swinging on the golf links or cranking pedals on trails ... Escondido is a gem hidden in plain sight.
A road trip from San Francisco to Escondido is a day's worth of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," no doubt. Whether riding the 5 all the way down through L.A. or cruising the coastal dream down iconic US-1, bring your stamina and enjoy the singalong. At Carlasbad, you'll turn you'll turn inland from the 5, taking CA-78 the last 20 miles to Escondido.
If you are flying, there's a nonstop from SFO to San Diego International that clocks 85 minutes. Rent a car and you can reach Escondido in 30 minutes unless, of course, you feel like some beach time on the way.
The Escondido Lodge is a budget-friendly spot. It's a one-minute walk from Center City Cafe and it features the kick-back basics, like an outdoor pool and hot tub. Hook into the Wi-Fi at no charge. San Diego Zoois only six miles away.
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites San Diego-Escondido puts you in the sweet spot between the two cities, giving you ideal access to whatever you're chasing on this getaway. Only two minutes away are the Escondido Children’s Museum and the California Center for the Arts. Golf links are only five minutes away. And when you're ready to get wild, the San Diego Wild Animal Park is just a 20-minute ride from your door.
Welk Resorts San Diego actually is in Escondido, and it's loaded. It's surrounded by 600 acres mountain views. Enjoy the swimming pools, hot tubs, golf courses and tennis courts. The resort also is only minutes from area higlights, including SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Vintana Wine & Dine is on the penthouse level The Centre at Lexus Escondido, making a wow impression from the moment you step into the dining room. Vintana serves up modern California cuisine with seafood and fresh ingredients at the heart, for lunch and dinner. On the weekend, it's also a hot spot for brunch.
Pho Saigon Express is noted for it's fantastic Vietnamese and Chinese menu, and its friendly staff gets top reviews, too. Good-sized portions with an easy-on-the-wallet style. With the mural of Halong Bay on the wall and the flavorful broths, it's a Vietnamese experience.
A Delight of France Bakery serves lunch, but it's the tasty French pastries and breakfast served all day that grabs the most attention. Cheese plates and sweet treats can cap the meal or make it. Who cares? You're on vacation.
Grand Avenue is the sparkplug in downtown Escondido. With an array of restaurants and types of cuisine -- Italian, French, Hawaiian, Salvadoran, Irish, American -- and a weekly farmers market on Tuesdays, this town knows fresh ingredients and happiness through food. In the summer, Friday nights are for "Cruisin' Grand " with classic cars, and the shops and restaurants stay open late to join the fun.
Orfila Vineyards & Winery is a fantastic local vineyard that let's you shape your wine tasting experience. Enjoy the beautiful tasting room and patio, or soak in the mountain views from the lawn. Bring a blanket, if you feel like it, and make a picnic tasting out of it. Open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The California Center for the Arts in Escondido offers theater shows and concerts and gallery exhibitions. Walk and talk with a curator on a gallery tour or enjoy a concert in the spacious theater. And it's no small thing that people love to rave about not only the quality of the arts here, but the comfort of the theater seats. Details make the experience.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park actually is in Escondido, putting one of the world's best zoos practically at your door wherever you stay on an Escondido getaway. Ride the tram through the park and feel the vibes of an African safari, and see some of the few white rhinos that are left in the world. Needless to say, bring a camera.
Palomar Mountain State Park is filled with beautiful forest and mountain meadows high atop the west side of Palomar Mountain. There are large pine, fir and cedar trees, making the park one of the few areas in southern California with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere. The park features camping, picnicking, hiking, and trout fishing. Elevation within the park averages 5,000 feet above sea level, making the mountain a cool spot to hang out for sunsets in summer.