Cities in San Diego County – 2019 Complete List and Guide

It is no wonder why more than 16,000 people are moving to the suburbs of San Diego County every year. Between the unbeatable weather, rich history, and vast array of famous attractions, who wouldn’t want to join the ranks of these lucky Southern Californians?

With living options ranging from beachfront properties and city apartments to gated neighborhoods and large custom homes, there is a place for just about every taste and lifestyle.

If you are one of the lucky ones who will be making your way to this beautiful county soon, the next step will be choosing the city where you will plant your roots.

To ensure you have everything you need to know about the area, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide and list of all of the cities in San Diego County. Read on to see which of them will make the perfect home for your needs.

County History

As with many parts of the western United States, the history of San Diego County is full of ancient Native American tribes who have lived there for thousands of years. A few of the most well-known groups in this area include the Kumeyaay, the Cupeño, and the Luiseño. They lived there for centuries until the mid-1500s when the first Spanish conquistadors arrived.

Native American watching Sunset

After looking at what is now known as Mission Bay, a Spaniard decided to name the region after Saint Didacus, who more commonly went by the name San Diego.

Once the Mexican declaration of independence from Spain was passed, this area remained a part of Mexico until 1848. At that time, the Mexican-American War came to an end thanks to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and shortly thereafter become part of the state of California in 1850.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last war that directly affected the San Diego area. Before the turn of the century, the Spanish-American War of 1898 brought the need for a navy to be established. It was closely followed by both World Wars, leading to a total of seven naval bases being built around the county during those times.

Since then, the area has grown into a thriving region, playing key roles in the tuna fishing industry, aerospace manufacturing, home to multiple universities, and much more.

Area Geography & Climate

Over the years, San Diego County has been broken into smaller pieces that have been re-established as new counties. At one point, it was the only county along the Mexican border, extending all the way over to the Colorado River. Though it used to cover a much larger geographical area, San Diego County still stands as one of the top ten largest counties in the state.

Cliffs along Pacific Ocean Coast

With a coverage area of about 4,526 square miles, the county has a lot more to offer than just sandy beaches along the coast. In fact, on the eastern side, you’ll find yourself in a portion of the Sonoran Desert. And between the two, you’ll find a vast array of rolling hills, shallow canyons, and even mountain with snowy tips during the winter time.

There is little to be said about the county’s climate beyond the notion that it offers some of the most comfortable and coveted weather in the entire world.

You will experience dry, hot summers and mild winters near the desert areas. But the closer you get to the Pacific Coast, a light t-shirt and shorts are commonplace for most locals thanks to temperatures averaging between 45°F and 80°F all year long.

Who Lives in San Diego County?

The area grew very slowly during its first decade, though it spiked briefly around 1849 due to the Gold Rush. From 1848 to 1860, the San Diego population rose from 650 to a mere 731 residents. But as you might have guessed, it didn’t take much longer for people to recognize the great weather and immense opportunity the region had to offer.

With cities like San Diego, Chula Vista, and Oceanside at the helm, the county is now home to more than 3.3 million people. Though the demographics vary greatly by city and region, a quick look at the averages paints a clear picture of the diversity in this part of the nation.

People walking across busy street

Caucasians make up the majority of most areas with an average of about 46% for the county. Between the local Spanish and Native American history, it’s no surprise that Hispanic individuals come in second as more than 33% of the population. Behind them are Asian / Pacific Islanders at 12%, followed by African Americans who make up 5%.

And while English is the primary spoken language, about 23% of citizens in San Diego County are bilingual. Many of these individuals speak Spanish or Asian dialects, as well as a handful of Pacific Island languages.

Top Cities in San Diego County

Some of the largest San Diego County cities include San Diego, Chula Vista, Oceanside, Escondido, and Carlsbad, all of which are home to at least 100,000.

San Diego gives residents the big city feel with a population eclipsing 1.3 million. Lovingly referred to “America’s Finest City”, it fits the bill with white, sandy beaches, fun activities, and beautiful weather.

People living in Chula Vista know it as the lemon capital of the world. Between its family-friendly neighborhoods and comparably low cost of living, it’s a popular place in the county to raise children.

Everything about Oceanside screams California living. Beautiful beaches, great places to eat, and oceanview neighborhoods all come standard with this San Diego suburb.

Escondido is marketed as the “City of Choice”. On the outskirts of the big city, you’ll experience less traffic and fewer people, but still retain the beauty and experience of living in southern California.

There’s nothing bad to say about Carlsbad. As one of the fastest growing cities in California for many years, it has charm in all the right places with most residences offering a view of the ocean with a quick look out your door or window.

A Tourism and Vacation Hot Spot

It’s not difficult to find a wide variety of fun things to do around San Diego suburbs. In the heart of San Diego, you’ll find popular attractions like Sea World, Balboa Park, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

Orcas jumping out of water at SeaWorld

If you find yourself in Escondido, a visit to the breathtaking Safari Park may in order. While a weekend in Oceanside gives you access to the weekly Sunset Market, as well as the longest wooden pier along the entire west coast.

Beautiful beaches line almost the entire 70 miles of San Diego coast, giving you plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun and access to the ocean. Surfers find their happy place in local spots such as Black’s Beach in La Jolla, Swami’s State Beach in Encinitas, or along Sunset Cliffs next to the Point Loma neighborhood in San Diego.

Cities In San Diego County Demographics

City/Town/CommunityPopulation% Male% FemaleMedian AgeTotal Housing UnitsMedian Household IncomeAverage Household Size
Alpine CDP, California 14,79548.851.241.8 5,569 90,5402.7
Bonita CDP, California 13,08250.050.041.8 4,246 93,6253.3
Bonsall CDP, California 4,34152.247.848.0 1,705 72,4112.7
Borrego Springs CDP, California 2,07749.150.958.8 2,718 38,2642.0
Bostonia CDP, California 17,60049.950.132.9 5,904 48,9953.1
Boulevard CDP, California43952.247.868.0273-1.9
Campo CDP, California 2,97155.844.232.4 1,272 57,6343.1
Camp Pendleton North CDP, California 7,44369.930.121.5 1,562 38,9693.2
Camp Pendleton South CDP, California 12,77056.743.322.2 3,364 43,0873.6
Carlsbad city, California 113,14748.851.242.6 47,119 102,7222.6
Casa de Oro-Mount Helix CDP, California 20,19649.051.044.2 7,336 87,9532.8
Chula Vista city, California 264,10148.951.134.6 85,426 70,1973.3
Coronado city, California 24,05352.647.438.1 10,760 99,6412.4
Crest CDP, California 2,76751.148.943.8 1,059 80,2502.8
Del Mar city, California 4,33851.748.350.7 2,838 122,5632.0
Descanso CDP, California 1,59253.047.046.5767 82,8132.5
El Cajon city, California 103,31450.749.333.8 33,600 49,4453.1
Encinitas city, California 62,59550.050.042.9 26,321 103,8422.6
Escondido city, California 150,78349.950.133.4 47,213 58,8343.3
Eucalyptus Hills CDP, California 5,79845.254.840.8 1,990 88,1253.3
Fairbanks Ranch CDP, California 3,02446.853.250.9 1,245 137,9293.2
Fallbrook CDP, California 31,12148.751.337.0 11,028 56,4683.0
Granite Hills CDP, California 2,87347.452.652.7 1,068 117,8632.9
Harbison Canyon CDP, California 4,19951.848.242.9 1,529 83,6162.9
Hidden Meadows CDP, California 3,38252.048.052.9 1,604 85,5562.5
Imperial Beach city, California 27,27049.350.731.9 10,111 49,9503.0
Jacumba CDP, California17673.926.172.4130 26,6361.4
Jamul CDP, California 5,89547.652.448.3 2,068 114,0373.1
Julian CDP, California87850.149.960.2759 66,2502.0
Lake San Marcos CDP, California 4,92444.355.758.8 2,771 63,5992.1
Lakeside CDP, California 21,82751.548.539.2 7,865 69,9122.9
La Mesa city, California 59,47948.151.936.7 25,040 59,6292.5
La Presa CDP, California 36,22550.050.034.5 11,012 61,5683.4
Lemon Grove city, California 26,64549.450.635.6 8,868 60,3093.1
National City city, California 60,71550.050.032.5 17,349 43,1683.5
Oceanside city, California 174,81149.750.337.5 66,715 61,7782.8
Pala CDP, California97748.851.226.7330 67,5003.7
Pine Valley CDP, California 1,87849.550.538.5744 103,1733.1
Potrero CDP, California46546.953.133.3133 26,8473.5
Poway city, California 49,87448.651.440.0 16,418 102,3383.1
Rainbow CDP, California 2,04147.552.550.3693 66,5283.0
Ramona CDP, California 21,87150.949.137.7 7,162 68,4853.2
Rancho San Diego CDP, California 21,65149.550.542.8 7,936 87,9422.8
Rancho Santa Fe CDP, California 2,42846.953.151.2 1,214 105,4692.8
San Diego city, California 1,390,96650.349.734.3 533,973 71,5352.7
San Diego Country Estates CDP, California 10,63349.450.644.5 3,786 105,0873.0
San Marcos city, California 93,49349.750.335.1 30,491 70,4173.2
Santee city, California 57,37647.652.438.3 20,311 81,4302.9
Solana Beach city, California 13,36247.152.946.1 6,665 103,8642.3
Spring Valley CDP (San Diego County), California 30,43948.551.535.3 10,341 62,7343.1
Valley Center CDP, California 9,84248.951.140.1 3,321 84,7423.3
Vista city, California 99,49651.148.932.8 31,683 59,8333.2
Winter Gardens CDP, California 22,23751.248.839.2 7,953 64,1242.9

List of Cities in San Diego County

CarlsbadLemon Grove
Chula VistaNational City
CoronadoOceanside
Del MarPoway
El CajonSan Diego (county seat)
EncinitasSan Marcos
EscondidoSantee
Imperial BeachSolana Beach
La MesaVista

Communities in San Diego County

AlpineFairbanks RanchPala
BonitaFallbrookPine Valley
BonsallGranite HillsPotrero
Borrego SpringsHarbison CanyonRainbow
BostoniaHidden MeadowsRamona
BoulevardJacumba Hot SpringsRancho San Diego
CampoJamulRancho Santa Fe
Camp Pendleton NorthJulianSan Diego Country Estates
Camp Pendleton SouthLake San MarcosSpring Valley
Casa de Oro-Mount HelixLakesideValley Center
CrestLa PresaWinter Gardens
DescansoMount Laguna
Eucalyptus HillsOak Grove

Unincorporated Counties in San Diego County

AgraGlen OaksMount Helix
Alpine HeightsGlenviewNorth Jamul
BallenaGrossmontOcotillo Wells
Bankhead SpringsGuatayPala Mesa
BannerHacienda del FlorasolPalm Grove
BaronaHarmony GrovePalomar Mountain
BarrettHarrison ParkPauma Valley
Barrett JunctionHellhole PalmsPhelps Corner
Blossom ValleyHolcomb VillagePine Grove
BorregoHomelandsPine Hills
Boulder OaksHulburd GroveRanchita
Boulder OaksIndian SpringsRancho del Campo
BuenaIrvings CrestRidgecrest Estates
Calavo GardensJamachaRincon
Calexico LodgeJamacha JunctionRiverview
Cameron CornersJesmond DeneRiverview Farms
Canyon CityJofeganRosemont
Casa de OroJohnstownSan Felipe
ChappoKentwood-In-The-PinesSan Ignacio
Clover FlatLa CrestaSan Luis Rey Heights
DehesaLaguna JunctionSan Onofre
Del DiosLa Jolla AmigoSanta Ysabel
DeluzLakeside FarmsScissors Crossing
De LuzLakeviewShady Dell
De Luz HeightsLas FloresStallion Oaks
Descanso JunctionLilacStuart
Desert LodgeLincoln AcresSuncrest
Doghouse JunctionLive Oak SpringsSunnyside
Dos CabezasLos TerrenitosTecate
DulzuraLos TulesThe Willows
Eagles NestLynwood HillsTierra del Sol
Elfin ForestManzanitaTitus
Engineer SpringsMesa GrandeWarner Springs
Fallbrook JunctionMesquite OasisWinterwarm
FernbrookMorena VillageWhispering Pines
Flinn SpringsMorenoWynola
FosterMorettis JunctionYaldora
Four CornersMortero Palms

San Diego County State Parks

Anza-Borrego Desert State ParkMoonlight State Beach
Torrey Pines State ReserveCarlsbad State Beach
Cuyamaca Rancho State ParkSouth Carlsbad State Beach
Palomar Mountain State ParkLeucadia State Beach
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic ParkSan Elijo State Beach
Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkCardiff State Beach
Border Field State ParkTorrey Pines State Beach
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research ReserveSilver Strand State Beach
San Onofre State Beach

San Diego County Lake

Lake CuyamacaBarrett Reservoir
Lake HodgesNatural Rock Tanks
Santee LakesLittle Laguna Lake
Sweetwater ReservoirBig Laguna Lake
Upper Otay ReservoirBig Lake
Lower Otay ReservoirTwin Lakes
Lake WohlfordJean Lake
El Capitan ReservoirLost Lake
Sutherland ReservoirSwan Lake
Lake HenshawLake Miramar
Lake MurrayLake Poway
San Vicente ReservoirDixon Lake
Lake Jennings

We Know It’s a Tough Choice

Are you trying to decide which San Diego County city you should live in? Hopefully, a few of these details at least sparked a few ideas to lead you in the right direction. To learn more about other cities and suburbs in the area, be sure to check out our blog!

And whenever you’ve found the answer to your living situation, we’re here to help! Move Central has over ten years of experience assisting with moves all around San Diego County zip codes. We can help with everything from packing and transport to storage and unpacking.

Give us a call today at (858) 230-8281 and let us know what we can do for you!