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15 Ways to Explore the Outdoors Along the I-15



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Spend your days exploring the diverse North County Inland landscape, out on the golf course, up in the mountains or amongst the ancient vines of local wineries. Get outside and let San Diego's North County Inland be the backdrop for your next adventure.

1. Take a Walk on the Wild Side

San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Flightline

With over 2,600 species and 1,800 acres of safari terrain, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park, is San Diego's very own backyard jungle. Protecting native species' habitat, board the safari tour or experience animal encounters unlike anywhere else in the country just a mere 30 miles from downtown San Diego.

2. Savor Brews and Views

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

Sit and sip on a one acre organic beer garden at the 10th largest craft brewery in the U.S., Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens. Enjoy 36 craft & specialty beers on tap, over 100 bottle selections, and unique events for craft brew lovers, including farm-to-table dinners, Beer U educational classes, Master Pairings series, and several beer festivals.

3. Be the King or Queen of the Mountain

Mt. Woodson's Potato Chip Rock

Explore Mt. Woodson's unusual rock formations, stroll Lake Poway, and discover the fantastic coastal views of San Diego at 2000 feet in elevation. Located at the top of the summit, make sure to add a photo on the popular Potato Chip Rock to your bucket list.

4. Shift into High Gear

Black Mountain

For a panoramic adventure, grab your bike and head to Black Mountain Open Space Park near Rancho Peñasquitos for 2,352 acres of scenic hills, ridges, and canyons. Take the Nighthawk Trail or Miner's Ridge Loop Trailhead where you're sure to find your next two-wheeled thrill.

5. Get that Out of City Feeling

Iron Mountain

Catch a sunrise or sunset on Iron Mountain, a medium-difficulty hike up this inspirational Poway summit that feels nowhere near the city. A 5 to 6 mile trail will take you to the top of the mountain, where you can relax, picnic and take in views through several telescopes.

6. Test Your Aviation Knowledge

Flyin Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Transport yourself back to the past at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum to get a glimpse of U.S. Marine Corps' aviation history. Located at MCAS Miramar and free to the public, the museum is home to over 48 aircraft and interactive events like Open Cockpit Days and Picnic with a Pilot.

7. Reel in the Perfect Catch

Lake Miramar

Blue waters, picnics and plenty of relaxation will reel you into Lake Miramar. A popular recreation site located in the Scripps Miramar Ranch, spend a day on the water or get your heart racing with a 5-mile loop around the lake.

8. Get a Taste of History

Bernardo Winery

Sip an Italian varietal at the oldest operating winery in Southern California, Bernardo Winery. Opened in 1889, tour the wine-making facility, tasting room and over a dozen shops & galleries whose original architecture gives Bernardo Winery an authentic old world feel.

9. Meet us on the Green

Maderas Golf Course

Get into the swing of things at Maderas Golf Club. One of Golf Digest's Top 100 U.S. Public Courses for 2015-16, experience the challenge amidst waterfalls and the rolling hills of San Diego.

10. Discover Life Size Art Installations

Queen Califa's Magical Garden

Niki de Saint Phalle brings beautiful mosaic art to Escondido at Queen Califia's Magical Circle. A hidden gem located in Kit Carson Park, a snake surrounds the entrance where you'll then find nine large-scale sculptures inspired by California's mythic, historical and cultural roots.

11. Ride it Out

Daley Ranch

Hit the trails at Daley Ranch on two wheels! From a long oak-studded meadow to a boulder garden, over 20 miles of trails in Escondido make this a mountain biker's dream! Make sure to stop at the rare Engelmann Oak from the Engelmann Oak Loop.

12. Shoot for the Stars

Palomar Observatory

Take a drive up Mt. Palomar to the Palomar Observatory where guides can tour you through NASA photos, exhibits including Hale, one of the largest telescopes ever built, and out of this world views. A world-class research center, the observatory is open daily and free to the public.

13. Play a Round of Disc Golf

Kit Carson Park

Kit Carson Park has over 100 acres waiting to be explored, including picturesque hiking trails, ponds, playgrounds, picnic areas and sports fields. You can't visit Kit Carson Park without playing the Escondido Rotary Club's 17-hole disc golf course, free to the public during park hours.

14. Experience San Diego's Wine Country

Orfila Winery

Raise a glass of vino to San Pasqual Valley views at Orfila Vineyards and Winery. Nestled in the heart of San Diego's growing wine region, Orfila's 70-acre hillside acre estate is a local favorite.

15. Hit the Ground Running

Los Penasquitos

Make a run for Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve where beautiful oak woodlands, grass-covered hillsides and historical sites add an element of unique beauty. Follow either the west or east trail to a small waterfall in the center of the canyon.

Bonus 16. Make a Splash

Lake Hodges Bridge - Photo by Susan Williams

Just south of Escondido, pack the sunscreen when adventuring out in Lake Hodges, a large reservoir within the Del Dios Gorge. If you're up for a challenge, hike San Diego's Coast-to-Crest Trail, which runs from Del Mar beaches, along Lake Hodges and up to the Volcan Mountains.

Lake Hodges photo courtesy of Susan Williams.