San Marcos, CA, has become a highly sought-after destination in the past decade, thanks to its stunning natural landscapes and laid back culture. It’s no wonder that many people are migrating to this Southern California gem. In fact, data from Redfin’s San Marcos housing market report shows that the city is a high demand market, drawing in a diverse range of residents seeking to buy or rent property in the area. With several fun and unique attractions that set it apart from other cities in the region, there are many reasons to consider living in San Marcos. Let’s explore some interesting facts about San Marcos that may just inspire you to move and discover all this wonderful city has to offer.
1. San Marcos is a Gateway to Southern California’s Wine Country
San Marcos is a city that provides easy access to some of the best wineries in North County San Diego. Twin Oaks Valley Winery and Highland Valley Vineyards are just a couple of the popular wineries located within a short drive of the city. Both wineries offer wine tastings, events, and scenic settings that attract locals and visitors alike. With over 100 wineries throughout San Diego County, the region is known as Southern California’s “Wine Country.”
The Mediterranean-like climate and diverse terroir provide the perfect environment for producing delicious wines that appeal to wine enthusiasts of all levels. San Marcos is a gateway to this vibrant wine culture, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that make it an ideal destination for wine lovers.
2. Cal State San Marcos Cougars is the pride of San Marcos’ College sports scene
While San Marcos does not have any dedicated professional sports teams, the city is home to the Cal State San Marcos Cougars, whose NCAA Division II athletics program includes 13 sports teams. The university’s sports events draw large crowds of enthusiastic fans, with the men’s and women’s basketball games being particularly popular. In fact, the university’s sports programs have become such a source of pride for the community that locals often refer to the Cougars as the city’s “unofficial” sports team.
3. San Marcos is a hub to explore California’s most popular destinations
San Marcos is an ideal location for those who want to be close to the action of Southern California. Just 35 miles south of San Marcos is San Diego, a popular destination known for its sunny beaches, world-class attractions, and vibrant culture. San Marcos is also just a short drive from Disneyland in Anaheim, which offers thrilling rides and magical experiences. Additionally, the beach cities of Carlsbad and Encinitas are just a few miles west of San Marcos, offering residents easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches in California.
4. You can hike over 63 miles of trail
San Marcos has a vast network of hiking trails that offers a wide range of terrain and scenery. The trails wind through rolling hills, natural preserves, and along picturesque lakes and creeks. In particular, the city’s section of the Pacific Crest Trail is a popular destination for hikers looking for a challenging and rewarding experience. The trail stretches over 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Pacific Crest. San Marcos also offers guided hikes and educational programs for visitors who want to learn more about the local flora and fauna. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, San Marcos offers a variety of hiking options for all skill levels.
5. San Marcos is known as the “Valley of Discovery”
San Marcos is home to an abundance of fossils and artifacts that have been found throughout the city, earning it the nickname “Valley of Discovery.” The city’s rich geological history dates back millions of years, with evidence of prehistoric animals such as mammoths, mastodons, and saber-toothed cats that roamed the area. In addition to prehistoric finds, numerous Native American artifacts have been discovered throughout San Marcos, including tools, pottery, and burial sites, providing insight into the city’s early inhabitants.
The most significant discovery was made in 1978 when a construction crew uncovered the remains of a Columbian mammoth, which is now on display at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The city takes great pride in preserving its history and regularly hosts events and activities to showcase these discoveries, including guided tours of archeological sites and exhibits at local museums.
6. Palomar College Arboretum boasts over 50 acres of botanical gardens
The Palomar College Arboretum is a hidden gem in San Marcos, featuring over 50 acres of botanical gardens and a diverse range of plant species from around the world. The arboretum was founded in 1956 and has since been a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful walk through the gardens, which includes themed sections such as the Desert Garden, Australian Garden, and Butterfly Garden. The arboretum also hosts educational programs and events, making it a valuable resource for the community. The best part is that admission to the arboretum is free, making it an accessible and enjoyable experience.
7. Tony Hawk grew up in San Marcos
Tony Hawk, one of the most well-known skateboarders in the world, spent his formative years in San Marcos. He attended San Marcos High School, where he developed his passion for skateboarding. Hawk has credited his upbringing in San Marcos with shaping his life and career. In fact, he has even donated money to the The Skateboard Project, which helps to maintain and improve local skate parks. Today, Hawk remains a beloved figure in the San Marcos community and his legacy continues to inspire young skateboarders in the area.
8. The Double Peak Park is the highest peak in North County
Double Peak Park, which is located at an elevation of 1,646 feet, offers panoramic views of San Marcos and the surrounding areas. On a clear day, visitors can see as far as the Pacific Ocean to the west and the mountains to the east. The park features a hiking trail, picnic areas, a playground, and a large amphitheater for events and performances. It’s also a popular spot for stargazing and watching the sunrise and sunset. The park is named after Double Peak, a distinctive feature of the local landscape that was used as a navigational landmark by early settlers in the region.
9. Grand Fall Festival and Street Faire draws thousands of visitors each year
The Grand Fall Festival and Street Faire in San Marcos is a highly anticipated annual event that takes place in downtown San Marcos. It typically occurs in late September and features a wide range of entertainment options, including live music from local and regional bands, food vendors offering delicious cuisine, and a classic car show that displays some of the most stunning vehicles from across the region. Locals say this is a must attend San Marcos event every year.
In addition to the entertainment options, visitors can browse through a diverse array of booths selling handmade crafts, jewelry, artwork, and other unique items. The festival offers fun activities, such as carnival games, face painting, and a variety of other activities. The festival is known to draw thousands of visitors from all over the region, making it a great opportunity for residents to meet new people and enjoy the community’s vibrant culture.
10. San Marcos has a diverse dining scene
San Marcos is known for its diverse dining scene, offering a variety of options ranging from classic American fare to ethnic cuisine. A must-visit restaurant is Old California Mining Co. Steakhouse, where diners can enjoy classic American steaks in a rustic setting. For those looking for international cuisine, the city offers a range of options such as Italian at Bella Vita, Mexican at Cocina del Charro, and Thai at Ruen Pair. Whatever your taste buds desire, San Marcos is sure to have a restaurant to satisfy your cravings.