Tucked away in the southwestern-most corner of the US, San Diego County boasts an abundance of
both physical and cultural diversity. It is bordered by Mexico on the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west,
the Anza Borrego desert to the east and Camp Pendleton Marine Base and Riverside County to the
The Physical Environment – San Diego County is large, encompassing 4,526 square miles, including 70
miles of gorgeous, world famous beaches and beach towns, including Coronado, La Jolla and Del Mar,
just to name a few. Lesser known are the numerous canyons, mesas, mountains and desert that
dominate the land east of the coastal zone. Prudent planning has resulted in the preservation of most of
these features. East County mountains rise to over 6,000 feet above sea level (higher than most
mountains in the Appalachian Range) and contain literally hundreds of miles of pristine hiking trails.
Snow is a regular winter visitor to the higher elevations. For those who prefer a much warmer
environment, the Anza Borrego Desert is there for the taking in the easternmost regions of the county,
where more hiking trails and desert resorts lay close by. Many urban canyons closer to the beach have
also been preserved for multiple recreational activities such as hiking, cycling or just a relaxing walk. The
downtown/Centre City, lying adjacent to the natural harbor of San Diego Bay, has developed into one of
the most beautiful and active urban cores in the world.
With an average annual temperature of 71 degrees, and 263 sunny (or partly sunny) days per year, the
San Diego region continues to act as a magnet to both visitors and those wanting to live in a pristine
climate close to the ocean. San Diego is considered a semi-arid climate with average annual rainfall of
less than 12 inches per year (much more in the mountains).
The Culture – Formally created as a county in 1850, San Diego’s culture is as diverse as its physical
geography. There are eighteen incorporated municipalities in the county and, when added to the
population of the unincorporated areas, the total population exceeds three million people (2008).
People from all over the world are attracted here by the pristine climate and coastal location. Tourism is
a major industry and has affected the city's culture, as San Diego houses many world class tourist
attractions, such as Seaworld, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, and nearby Legoland. San
Diego's Spanish influence can be seen in the many historic sites across the city, such as the Mission San
Diego de Alcala, the Serra Museum in Presidio Park, and Balboa Park. Cuisine in San Diego is diverse, but
there is an abundance of wood fired California-style pizzas, and Mexican and East Asian cuisine. Annual
events in San Diego include Comic-Con, San Diego/Del Mar Fair, and Street Scene Music Festival. San
Diego even boasts three breweries that are consistently named in the Top Ten.
Of course, you don’t travel far in San Diego without noticing the influence of the Navy and Marines. San
Diego Bay is home to numerous ships, including nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines
among many other vessels. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (formerly the Top Gun School) is home to
several helicopter and jet aircraft squadrons. But this historical “Navy Town” has grown into so much
more, including a highly diversified hub for wireless technology, biotechnology, ship building and
research and development, much of which is supported by the many prestigious universities calling San
San Diego school information: http://sandi.net