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 14,795 48.851.241.8 5,569 90,540 2.7
Bonita CDP, California 13,082 50.050.041.8 4,246 93,625 3.3
Bonsall CDP, California 4,341 52.247.848.0 1,705 72,411 2.7
Borrego Springs CDP, California 2,077 49.150.958.8 2,718 38,264 2.0
Bostonia CDP, California 17,600 49.950.132.9 5,904 48,995 3.1
Boulevard CDP, California43952.247.868.0273-1.9
Campo CDP, California 2,971 55.844.232.4 1,272 57,634 3.1
Camp Pendleton North CDP, California 7,443 69.930.121.5 1,562 38,969 3.2
Camp Pendleton South CDP, California 12,770 56.743.322.2 3,364 43,087 3.6
Carlsbad city, California 113,147 48.851.242.6 47,119 102,722 2.6
Casa de Oro-Mount Helix CDP, California 20,196 49.051.044.2 7,336 87,953 2.8
Chula Vista city, California 264,101 48.951.134.6 85,426 70,197 3.3
Coronado city, California 24,053 52.647.438.1 10,760 99,641 2.4
Crest CDP, California 2,767 51.148.943.8 1,059 80,250 2.8
Del Mar city, California 4,338 51.748.350.7 2,838 122,563 2.0
Descanso CDP, California 1,592 53.047.046.5767 82,813 2.5
El Cajon city, California 103,314 50.749.333.8 33,600 49,445 3.1
Encinitas city, California 62,595 50.050.042.9 26,321 103,842 2.6
Escondido city, California 150,783 49.950.133.4 47,213 58,834 3.3
Eucalyptus Hills CDP, California 5,798 45.254.840.8 1,990 88,125 3.3
Fairbanks Ranch CDP, California 3,024 46.853.250.9 1,245 137,929 3.2
Fallbrook CDP, California 31,121 48.751.337.0 11,028 56,468 3.0
Granite Hills CDP, California 2,873 47.452.652.7 1,068 117,863 2.9
Harbison Canyon CDP, California 4,199 51.848.242.9 1,529 83,616 2.9
Hidden Meadows CDP, California 3,382 52.048.052.9 1,604 85,556 2.5
Imperial Beach city, California 27,270 49.350.731.9 10,111 49,950 3.0
Jacumba CDP, California17673.926.172.4130 26,636 1.4
Jamul CDP, California 5,895 47.652.448.3 2,068 114,037 3.1
Julian CDP, California87850.149.960.2759 66,250 2.0
Lake San Marcos CDP, California 4,924 44.355.758.8 2,771 63,599 2.1
Lakeside CDP, California 21,827 51.548.539.2 7,865 69,912 2.9
La Mesa city, California 59,479 48.151.936.7 25,040 59,629 2.5
La Presa CDP, California 36,225 50.050.034.5 11,012 61,568 3.4
Lemon Grove city, California 26,645 49.450.635.6 8,868 60,309 3.1
National City city, California 60,715 50.050.032.5 17,349 43,168 3.5
Oceanside city, California 174,811 49.750.337.5 66,715 61,778 2.8
Pala CDP, California97748.851.226.7330 67,500 3.7
Pine Valley CDP, California 1,878 49.550.538.5744 103,173 3.1
Potrero CDP, California46546.953.133.3133 26,847 3.5
Poway city, California 49,874 48.651.440.0 16,418 102,338 3.1
Rainbow CDP, California 2,041 47.552.550.3693 66,528 3.0
Ramona CDP, California 21,871 50.949.137.7 7,162 68,485 3.2
Rancho San Diego CDP, California 21,651 49.550.542.8 7,936 87,942 2.8
Rancho Santa Fe CDP, California 2,428 46.953.151.2 1,214 105,469 2.8
San Diego city, California 1,390,966 50.349.734.3 533,973 71,535 2.7
San Diego Country Estates CDP, California 10,633 49.450.644.5 3,786 105,087 3.0
San Marcos city, California 93,493 49.750.335.1 30,491 70,417 3.2
Santee city, California 57,376 47.652.438.3 20,311 81,430 2.9
Solana Beach city, California 13,362 47.152.946.1 6,665 103,864 2.3
Spring Valley CDP (San Diego County), California 30,439 48.551.535.3 10,341 62,734 3.1
Valley Center CDP, California 9,842 48.951.140.1 3,321 84,742 3.3
Vista city, California 99,496 51.148.932.8 31,683 59,833 3.2
Winter Gardens CDP, California 22,237 51.248.839.2 7,953 64,124 2.9

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

Agra Glen Oaks Mount Helix
Alpine Heights Glenview North Jamul
Ballena Grossmont Ocotillo Wells
Bankhead Springs Guatay Pala Mesa
Banner Hacienda del Florasol Palm Grove
Barona Harmony Grove Palomar Mountain
Barrett Harrison Park Pauma Valley
Barrett Junction Hellhole Palms Phelps Corner
Blossom Valley Holcomb Village Pine Grove
Borrego Homelands Pine Hills
Boulder Oaks Hulburd Grove Ranchita
Boulder Oaks Indian Springs Rancho del Campo
Buena Irvings Crest Ridgecrest Estates
Calavo Gardens Jamacha Rincon
Calexico Lodge Jamacha Junction Riverview
Cameron Corners Jesmond Dene Riverview Farms
Canyon City Jofegan Rosemont
Casa de Oro Johnstown San Felipe
Chappo Kentwood-In-The-Pines San Ignacio
Clover Flat La Cresta San Luis Rey Heights
Dehesa Laguna Junction San Onofre
Del Dios La Jolla Amigo Santa Ysabel
Deluz Lakeside Farms Scissors Crossing
De Luz Lakeview Shady Dell
De Luz Heights Las Flores Stallion Oaks
Descanso Junction Lilac Stuart
Desert Lodge Lincoln Acres Suncrest
Doghouse Junction Live Oak Springs Sunnyside
Dos Cabezas Los Terrenitos Tecate
Dulzura Los Tules The Willows
Eagles Nest Lynwood Hills Tierra del Sol
Elfin Forest Manzanita Titus
Engineer Springs Mesa Grande Warner Springs
Fallbrook Junction Mesquite Oasis Winterwarm
Fernbrook Morena Village Whispering Pines
Flinn Springs Moreno Wynola
Foster Morettis Junction Yaldora
Four Corners Mortero Palms

San Diego County State Parks

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Moonlight State Beach
Torrey Pines State Reserve Carlsbad State Beach
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park South Carlsbad State Beach
Palomar Mountain State Park Leucadia State Beach
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park San Elijo State Beach
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Cardiff State Beach
Border Field State Park Torrey Pines State Beach
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve Silver Strand State Beach
San Onofre State Beach

San Diego County Lake

Lake Cuyamaca Barrett Reservoir
Lake Hodges Natural Rock Tanks
Santee Lakes Little Laguna Lake
Sweetwater Reservoir Big Laguna Lake
Upper Otay Reservoir Big Lake
Lower Otay Reservoir Twin Lakes
Lake Wohlford Jean Lake
El Capitan Reservoir Lost Lake
Sutherland Reservoir Swan Lake
Lake Henshaw Lake Miramar
Lake Murray Lake Poway
San Vicente Reservoir Dixon 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!