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.

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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.

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

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3.Rip Current Brewing

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

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5.The Antique Village

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.Mama Kat's Restaurant

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.

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

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9.Phil's BBQ

Phil's BBQ
© Phil's BBQ

Phil’s BBQ is one of those places where you will see everyone from local teens to busy businessmen waiting in line to satisfy their craving for delicious barbecue. The restaurant has been open since 1998 and is popular for feeding thousands of people a day with their mesquite-grilled baby back and beef ribs, chicken sandwiches, or more. During your visit to Phil’s it’s guaranteed that your meal will be of the highest quality, and always fresh and delicious. The huge portions and energetic atmosphere just make the entire dining experience complete. You can even buy bottles of Phil’s signature BBQ sauce to take some of the deliciousness back with you.

579 Grand Ave, San Marcos, CA 92078, Phone: 760-759-1400

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10.Fish House Vera Cruz

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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10 Best Things to Do in San Marcos, California