Toss a ball, shoot down a slide or take a hike... There are so many ways to enjoy a day outdoors at one of more than 20 local parks throughout San Diego County. Nearly all of these neighborhood parks offer playgrounds, lawns and picnic areas. If you’re looking for a place to host that special celebration, one of these local parks may be right for you. Eighteen of our County Parks have special reservable picnic areas. From company picnics, wedding receptions, or large family reunions, to birthday parties or team-building events, we have a park for you.
Open space within San Diego County is defined as areas generally free from development, or developed with low intensity uses that respect natural environmental characteristics. These preserves are used for purposes such as preservation of natural resources, passive outdoor recreation and scenic and visual enjoyment. Go explore!
Are you ready to experience the San Diego wilderness? Check out one of our many parks below to find your ideal camping destination. For more info about camping in a San Diego County Park, call (877) 565-3600 or (858) 565-3600.
Quick Links for Camping:
San Diego County is rich in natural and cultural history. Efforts are made, every day, to protect historic icons and to provide education on our region’s colorful past. The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation supports a History Center that houses photography archives, artifacts, and information related to all County parks, with extensive information on historic parks. Get information on the center's hours and location on our Contact Us page.
Sites maintained by County Parks include:
Sites on the National Register of Historic Places include:
Sites that have been coined National Historic Landmarks include:
Sites that have been named California Historical Landmarks include:
The Department of Parks and Recreation offers opportunities to work on cultural and historic interpretive programs. To receive more information about these and other volunteer opportunities, visit the Volunteer Opportunities web page.
The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation maintains and/or operates many sports facilities throughout the County including ball fields, sports courts, gymnasiums and a roller hockey rink. Below is a list of these facilities.
County Parks recognizes that certain athletic facilities are intended to be used for organized sports activities, and require that a permit be obtained for the use of those facilities. This document outlines the process and procedures for the scheduling of those facilities, keeping in mind the greatest benefit to local communities and providing opportunities for everyone.
Community Centers provide preschool, youth, adult and senior
programs, along with listings for special interest courses, family
activities, sports and special events. Get involved!
A place for teens, the Teen Centers or REC Clubs at Lakeside and Spring Valley demonstrate how to make a positive difference in the lives of youth, providing opportunities for middle and high school youth to grow through physical fitness, art expression and leadership development, community service, and educational activities while enhancing self-esteem, communication skills, problem solving, and community involvement. The fundamental objective is to succeed in life.
Visit our website for more information including upcoming special
events, center calendars, membership applications and more!
Plant lovers can’t miss the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas encompassing 4 miles of garden trails, a wide collection of native and endangered plants, a whimsical children's garden, and the nation's largest collection of bamboo species. The garden offers a full line up of events including workshops, plant sales, and bird-watching tours. This garden is managed by a separate entity.
We also offer community gardening opportunities to residents of San Diego's central and south county. Spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact the individual parks for details.
The community garden at Tijuana River Valley Regional Park is the largest community garden in all of San Diego. It’s the result of a federally-funded grant from the California Associate of Resource Conservation Districts. The initial grant, secured back in 1999, supported the installation of a water meter, irrigation pipes, access roads and fencing for 96 individual gardening plots along the eastern edge of Tijuana River Valley Regional Park. Since then we’ve expanded our garden to 138 plots. The cost to reserve a 30-by-30-foot plot here at the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden is $125 per year. Water and soil are provided, along with areas for composting. Learn more by watching this video!
Established in 2012, the community gardens at Los Penasquitos Canyon County Preserve are comprised of 20 6' x 16' garden boxes with drip irrigation, superior soil, and access to nearby tool lockers - providing lessees with the space and amenities they need to grow their own produce. The cost is $120 per year. Gardeners are required to visit weekly and garden every season. Call 858-484-7504 for information, and to be added to the wait list. Please be prepared to share your first and last name, your phone number, your email address and a general overview of your gardening experience. You can also send a message to a park ranger.
Sweetwater Community Garden opened in 2020 and contains more than 200 garden plots with perimeter fencing and water hookups. Plots are still available, and there are two sizes to choose from. Rates are 20' x 20' garden plot = $300/year and 10' x 20' garden plot = $150/year. Rental agreements run July through June and can be renewed. All rentals require a one-time, refundable cleaning deposit of $100. Payment plans are available. For more information, contact the Resource Conservation District by phone at 619-562-0096, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.