graphicLa Mesa

The city of La Mesa was incorporated February 16, 1912; since that time, the City has acquired a total of 14 parks located throughout the City’s nine square miles. Harry Griffen Park is not only the City’s largest park, but also the latest addition. Collier Park, donated in 1912, is the oldest and one of the most beautiful with palm trees and a large picnic area.

MacArthur Park hosts a 9-hole golf course, Khulken baseball field, Porter Hall, Nan Cout’s Cottage, Recreation Center, the City Municipal pool, and the Department of Community Services, located in the Community Center Building.

El Cajon

The city of El Cajon boasts 17 parks with amenities that include recreation centers, playing fields, playing courts, tot lots, picnic tables, barbeques, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and shuffleboard, fitness courts, gymnasium, lighted ball fields, and outdoor basketball courts. For more information on El Cajon’s parks and recreation programs call (619) 441-1754.


When you enter a Santee park, you enter an exhilarating world of adventure and leisure wrapped in one - a place for the family, friends and you to relax, play, exercise, meditate, learn and socialize. Each park flaunts its own distinctive character and environment, and is fitted with exceptional recreational amenities for your pleasure. For more information on Santee parks contact the Community Services Department of the City of Santee at (619) 258-4100 ext. 126.

East County’s Back Country

East County is blessed with many, well maintained city and county urban parks. Visitors, however, will miss one of the great secrets of East County if they don’t venture east into San Diego’s backcountry.

In San Diego’s backcountry you can hike, camp, fish, hunt and just enjoy nature. Trails abound, most having restrooms and staging areas. These natural treasures are less than a 45-minute drive from the center of San Diego. Some special areas you might want to consider are:

Laguna Mountain

graphicRecreation Area

Free camping permits from the Forest Service are needed for dispersed camping. In the dispersed areas, no fires of any sort are allowed. Call(619) 445-6235 for more information.

Lake Cuyamaca

Campgrounds are available, some with hookups for RV’s, and are handy to the boat ramp, grocery store, restaurant and tackle shop. Stocked with trout year round along with native blue gill, bass, catfish, crappie, sturgeon and small mouth bass. No fishing in December and January on Wednesdays and a half-day on Sundays when duck hunters get their turn. The area has wonderful hiking and nature trails as well. For more information, call (760) 765-0515.

Cuyamaca Rancho

State Park

Paso Pacacho and Green Valley are favorite family campgrounds within the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, located off State Highway 79. The sign for Stonewall Mine, an abandoned relic of old mining days is on Route 79, just before reaching Lake Cuyamaca. Follow the signs to the entrance. Lots of original mining equipment is strewn around the grounds. For more information, contact 1-800-444-PARK.

Anza-Borrego State Park

This is the second largest state park in the United States. It offers camping, hiking, biking, trail riding and tours to examine Indian artifacts and rock art sites. Open all year. For more information, call the Anza-Borrego Park Visitors Center at (760) 767-4205.

Information courtesy of the San Diego East County Visitor’s Bureau and travel writer Chris MacKenzie.


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