Santee Lakes is a fun outdoor space where you can partake in recreational activities such as hiking, bicycling, boating, fishing, or camping. One of the most unique attractions in Santee is the Creation and Earth History Museum, where the exhibits represent the biblical account of creation. With so much to do, you’ll find many ways to spend your time exploring the suburban city of Santee. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Santee Lakes

Santee Lakes
© Courtesy of Gloria Moeller -

Santee Lakes is one of the most popular places in the area for friends and family to spend a day. The park itself has won many awards over the years and comprises seven different layouts of playgrounds; Boulder Island is great for adventurers while Sprayground is the place to cool down on hot summer days. You can spend your day taking a walk or riding a bike around the lake, boating, fishing, or camping in their facility-filled grounds. If you enjoy camping but you’re not in the mood for roughing it out in the wild, stay at one of the park’s seven lakefront cabins or in one of the three floating cabins for a unique outdoor experience.

9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-596-3141

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2.Creation and Earth History Museum

Creation and Earth History Museum
© Creation and Earth History Museum

The Creation and Earth History Museum is an institute which exhibits the creation of Earth based on scientific and scriptural evidence from the Bible. Accurately reinforcing the biblical account of creation, the museum is laid out so that visitors will experience everything in chronological order. The 10,000 square foot space showcases a literal six-day creation including a life-sized tabernacle display, a human anatomy exhibit, and an age of the earth cave. Other aspects also include a Dinosaur Garden, a Dinosaur Play Area which will attract your inner paleontologist, and Noah’s Ark, which will give you the chance to investigate the finer points of the ark and the Genesis Flood.

10946 N Woodside Avenue, Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-599-1104

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3.Santee Boulders, Santee, California

Santee Boulders, Santee, California
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One of the most popular recreational rock climbing areas in the area, locals and visitors of Santee have climbed the boulders for decades. Though it is located on private land, the owners do allow people to go climbing and bouldering there throughout the year. You’ll love the thin faces and mantels that make the boulders easy to climb but will also appreciate certain challenging and steep aspects which make it exciting. Other than being one of the best places to improve your footwork, Santee Boulders is also popular with climbers because it’s easily accessible; the actual boulder is only a five-minute walk from the parking area.

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4.Edgemoor Farm - Santee Historical Society Museum

Edgemoor Farm - Santee Historical Society Museum
© Edgemoor Farm - Santee Historical Society Museum

Edgemoor Farm was built in 1913 as part of an award-winning dairy farm by Walter Hamlin Dupee. The site also housed a polo pony ranch and was a tourist attraction even when it originated. After years of derailing from its roots and being used as a geriatric hospital and hospice, the farm, specifically the Santee Barn, was recognized as a historic site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The barn is now the oldest building left in the city and now houses a museum that is filled with artifacts and memorabilia that tell a story about the local history.

9200 North Magnolia Avenue, Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-449-2024

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5.BNS Brewing and Distilling Company

BNS Brewing and Distilling Company
© BNS Brewing and Distilling Company

The BNS Brewing and Distilling Company has been producing award-winning beers since it opened in 2012. Known for being ‘clean and classic’ the beers are a tribute to great American flavors. Some of the ones that you can try in their popular tasting room include the crisp India pale ale, Revolver, a rich stout, the Gatling Gun, and the red ale, Ole Prospector - this last one has won gold medals at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Competition. There’s always something fun and exciting going on in the tasting room; for example, their Taco Tuesdays with an all-you-can-eat taco buffet, trivia night, and band night, when local musicians come out to play.

10960 Wheatlands Road, Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-956-0952

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6.Hilliker's Ranch Fresh Eggs, Santee, California

Hilliker's Ranch Fresh Eggs, Santee, California
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Family owned and operated, the rich history of Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs goes all the way back to 1942. Visitors are invited to visit the working farm, learn about their history and day-to-day operations, and purchase some of their eggs - which are a local favorite! Not only can you buy some delicious farm fresh eggs, but you can also buy raw and pure local honey. The retail store is open throughout the week and offers eggs for purchase in dozens, 18-packs, flats of 20, and flats of 30. If you don’t have time to visit the ranch, you can still purchase Hilliker’s eggs at many stores and farmer’s markets throughout Santee.

11329 El Nopal, Lakeside, CA 92040, Phone: 619-448-3683

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7.Mary’s Donuts, Santee, CA

Mary’s Donuts, Santee, CA
© Mary’s Donuts

Mary Hennesy’s history and love for donuts goes long before she opened her own shop in 1984; she had spent many years as a baker and manager at the locally renowned Winchell’s before she bought the very first donut shop in Santee and renamed it to Mary’s Donuts. Though she is no longer at this historic location, Mary’s Donuts continues to be a cornerstone in the community. It is the place people go friendly faces and fresh foods which use the same recipes that made it popular decades ago. In addition to warm, delicious donuts, the cafe also has an array of deli sandwiches made with the finest meats and vegetables.

8959 Carlton Hills Blvd., Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-334-5272

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8.Phil's BBQ, Santee, California

Phil's BBQ, Santee, California
© Phil's BBQ

People all across San Diego have turned to Phil Pace when they’re in the mood for delicious, mouth-watering barbecue. All of the recipes and techniques for his rubs, sauces, and meats, are aspects that Phil has perfected over the years - no matter if it’s the initial four employees who started out helping him, or if it’s the 400 employees helping him today. The environment is fast paced, and the food is fantastic - patrons also love that the portions are huge! Items from their menu that you should try while there include baby back ribs, beefy ribs, mesquite grilled chicken, pulled pork sandwich, and their sausage links.

Santee Trolley Square: 9816 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-449-7700

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9.Anny's Fine Burgers, Santee, CA

Anny's Fine Burgers, Santee, CA
© Anny's Fine Burgers

Anny’s Fine Burgers is an institution in San Diego County, and rightly so as the family owned and operated restaurant has been serving incomparable gourmet burgers since 2010. Anny, who’s always been passionate about good food from around the world, serves a variety of burgers from the classic beef to delicious garden burgers. There are over 35 different burgers, eight different hot dogs, and six styles of wings available on the menu. The combinations are endless, especially with the array of really good homemade sauces and dressings that accompany your meal. Patrons are delighted to know that the meat is ground, and the buns are baked, fresh every morning.

9862 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-258-8288

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9 Best Things to Do in Santee, California

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