You can find San Marcos in the beautiful foothills of northern San Diego County. The city has all the ingredients of an enjoyable holiday, no matter if you’re in the mood for unique dining or exploring miles of local trails. Nicknamed the ‘Valley of Discovery’, it’s a sure thing that you’ll discover an incomparable vacation spot during your adventures in San Marcos.

1. Double Peak Park

Double Peak Park
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Having many convenient access points and several winding trails has made Double Peak Park a popular place to explore the outdoors. Climbing to the peak can be moderately strenuous depending on which trail you take; note that only the south trail can accommodate vehicles through Double Peak Drive. All of the other trail options are only suitable for hikers and bikers - the east side rock and dirt trail is the most difficult and is filled with rugged extrusions and a steep incline. Once you reach the summit, which is about 1,646 feet high, you may be able to see Downtown San Diego, the San Bernardino Mountains, Catalina Island, and Mexico depending on the weather.

More ideas: Weekend Getaways from San Diego

2. Discovery Lake

Discovery Lake
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Open year round, Discovery Lake gives you the opportunity to easily immerse yourself in nature. The loop around the neighborhood-friendly lake is a perfect hike for visitors who prefer a light and easy stroll compared to a strenuous climb. Don’t let the ease of the trail path fool you - you’ll still be able to see a diverse array of flora and fauna while there. The multi-use trail is open to joggers, hikers, bicyclists, and is ADA accessible. The paved path is also perfect for families who have younger children in strollers. Features and amenities in addition to the trail include a playground, restrooms, benches, and catch-and-release fishing.

Discovery Lake, 650 Foxhall Dr, San Marcos, CA 92078, Phone: 760-744-1050

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3. Things to Do in San Marcos: Rip Current Brewing

Things to Do in San Marcos: Rip Current Brewing
© Rip Current Brewing

Rip Current Brewing is the brainchild of two friends, Guy Shobe and Paul Sangster, who have a shared passion for producing high quality, flavorful ales and lagers. They started out as avid homebrewers, but as their passion for craft beer grew, so did their drive to share it with the world. Visitors are invited to get to know the independently owned and operated craft beer manufacturer that has won multiple awards over the years. Their tasting room in San Marcos is the best place to understand why they were identified as one of the “Top 10 Breweries in San Diego County”. Popular drinks include their Barrel-aged Black Lagoon, the Choppy Surf Czech-style Pilsner, and the Deep Reef Dry Stout.

1325 Grand Ave #100, San Marcos, CA 92078, Phone: 760-481-3141

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4. Jack's Pond Park & Nature Center

Jack's Pond Park & Nature Center
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Jack’s Pond Park & Nature Center uses the 23-acre land that surrounds them as an interactive way for visitors of all ages to learn about and enjoy the San Marcos environment. The center provides several activities and events such as hikes, hands-on nature studies, and other outdoor education programs. The natural and rustic learning and hiking habitat is especially popular with younger kids as the center’s programs are designed to be creative and intriguing to their young minds. Other aspects of the center include a tot lot, picnic areas, and exhibits and displays on local wildlife, bird species, the ocean, and more.

986 La Moree Road San Marcos, San Marcos, CA 92069, Phone: 760-744-9000, (website link)

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5. Things to Do in San Marcos: The Antique Village

Things to Do in San Marcos: The Antique Village
© The Antique Village

The Antique Village is a 10,000-square-foot space that is home to an array of treasures. The stock is constantly changing and there’s always something new and exciting as dealers promote their latest merchandise. Visitors will be able to explore over sixty booths, all of them varying in their offerings. Some of the things you might come across include collectibles, antique furniture, glass, china, pottery, tools, and much more. No matter how many times you come in during your stay in San Marcos, it’s guaranteed that you’ll leave with something you love. Don’t forget your friends and family back home - a unique gift from San Marcos’ Antique Village is much better received than a postcard.

850 Los Vallecitos Blvd, San Marcos, CA 92069, Phone: 760-744-8718

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6. St. Mark Golf Club

St. Mark Golf Club
© St. Mark Golf Club

St. Mark Golf Club is a 6,400 yard mature golf course which can be found nestled in the coastal foothills near Lake San Marcos. Housed within the Lakehouse Hotel and Resort in North San Diego, the golf club was designed by Harry Rainville and is open to the public. The greens boast a 71 par golf course that is filled with mindful play for golfers of all skill levels. You can enjoy the stunning backdrops as you also take advantage of other features and facilities such as their driving range, private lessons by golf professionals, and several tournaments and clinics for men and women of all ages and abilities.

1750 San Pablo Dr, San Marcos, CA 92078, Phone: 844-262-9786

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7. Locked Adventures

Locked Adventures
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Locked Adventures offers an escape room experience like no other. Groups of two or more must discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in their attempt to escape from the room they’re trapped in. There are five escape rooms to choose from at Locked Adventures, each of which takes approximately an hour to work through. Popular options include the ‘Quest for the Throne’ where you have to fight to prove your birthright to inherit the throne which your younger brother has cheated you from, and the ‘Mad Scientist’ where you’re infected with a deadly virus and have 45 minutes to find the secret formula to the cure and mix up a batch before your time is up.

844 W San Marcos Blvd Suite 103, San Marcos, CA 92078, Phone: 760-350-5632

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8. Things to Do in San Marcos: Mama Kat's Restaurant

Things to Do in San Marcos: Mama Kat's Restaurant
© Mama Kat's Restaurant

Mama Kat’s Restaurant and Pie Shop may have opened in 2005, but the dream was there for many years before that. The family owned and operated endeavor is renowned in San Marcos for their memorable service and exceptional quality meals in a fun and friendly environment. It’s a great place to dine, but you can also shop and check out local artists and vendors at Mama Kat’s; there’s a succulent garden and amazing boutique to experience. Among the delicious offerings from their menu is the Southern Comfort breakfast platter which includes eggs, breakfast meats, and two biscuits smothered in gravy. Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.

950 W San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos, CA 92078, Phone: 760-591-4558

9. Palomar College Planetarium

Palomar College Planetarium
© Palomar College Planetarium

Completed in 2012, replacing the original 1965 planetarium, the Palomar College Planetarium is the state’s fifth largest planetarium and offers a variety of Full Dome Shows and “The Sky Tonight” presentations for both locals and visitors alike in San Marcos. Public shows are offered every Friday evening, with the exception of most holidays. Visitors are welcome to view the night sky through the telescopes on the planetarium patio after the shows, weather permitting. “The Sky Tonight” is a live presentation of the current night sky, while the fulldome shows are astronomically themed films presented on the dome overhead of guests.

Palomar College Planetarium, 1140 W Mission Rd, San Marcos, CA 92069, 760-744-1150

10. Fish House Vera Cruz, San Marcos

Fish House Vera Cruz, San Marcos
© Fish House Vera Cruz

Known for serving the “Best Seafood in San Diego County”, Fish House Vera Cruz has been a leader of fresh seafood among the area’s restaurants for over thirty years. The restaurant first opened in 1979 with a goal to have the largest variety of fresh fish in the county and soon accomplished that. Diners can choose from an array of seafood, all of which is mesquite grilled to bring out the flavor. Delicious culinary concoctions from their menu include the Cherrystone Clams, crab cakes with pineapple salsa, the shrimp tacos, the swordfish burger, and the combination fish kabob.

360 Via Vera Cruz, San Marcos, CA 92078, Phone: 760-744-8000

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11. Sunshine Mountain Vineyard

Sunshine Mountain Vineyard
© Sunshine Mountain Vineyard

Sunshine Mountain Vineyard is set on North San Diego’s hilltops on a unique soil that results in a perfect mix of European finesse and California wilderness. A visit to vineyards offers guests panoramic views of the surrounding area and a chance to see the rustic charm of the vineyard’s earthen caves in which their wine is aged inside oak barrels. Wines produced by Sunshine Mountain Vineyard include Zinfandel, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, the Sunshine Estate Syrah, the Sunshine Cuvee Red Blend, the Sunshine Estate Dry Rosé, and the Sunshine Estate Sweet Rosé.

2286 Sunshine Mountain Rd, San Marcos, CA 92069, 760-798-3741

12. Meadiocrity Mead

Meadiocrity Mead
© Meadiocrity Mead

Meadiocrity Mead uses a unique “Bee-to-Bottle” approach to produce award-winning mead in the San Diego area. Starting as beekeepers, the company cares for millions of bees and ensures they get the best quality honey for mead by treating the bees as best as possible. Guests can stop by the tasting room to sample a rotating tap list of mead consisting of various styles and flavors either inside or outdoors in the mead garden. Every two weeks Meadiocrity Mead releases a new mead and also hosts several different regular events, such as Open Mic Nights and D&D Nights.

Meadiocrity Mead, 1365 Grand Ave Suite 100, San Marcos, CA 92078, 760-279-3330

13. Invasion Laser Tag

Invasion Laser Tag

Invasion Laser Tag provides a unique experience in California’s North San Diego County with its space-themed maze made to interact with players. The more than 10,000-square-foot facility features laser maze attraction, arcade, and Laserforce. Inside Lazer Frenzy, players will need to complete an array of objectives while navigating a laser beam web designed like those in spy movies to complete their missions. Breaking through the maze’s foggy darkness are intermittent flashes of color and light, thematic props, and music. On Friday and Saturday nights, guests can take advantage of the “Tag Til You Drag All You Can Play” special.

1290 W San Marcos Blvd #101, San Marcos, CA 92078, 760-571-9191

14. Bowlero San Marcos

Bowlero San Marcos
© Bowlero San Marcos

Bowlero San Marcos is designed to be a “next-generation” bowling alley, offering an upscale, hip, and bold bowling experience. Lanes here are considered to be some of the most stunning and coolest, featuring HD video walls playing everything from classic family movies to music videos to live sports, soft lounge seats, and black lights. In addition to bowling, Bowlero offers cornhole, beer pong, billiards, and a deluxe arcade with an array of old-school classics and video games. There’s also a Sports Bar with flat-screen television and serving an upgraded menu of food, wine, draft beer, and signature cocktails.

945 W San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos, CA 92078, 760-744-7000

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