Local Attractions

Other Attractions Near the Center:

San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park is located .2 miles immediately before the Center. San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park honors the soldiers who fought in the battle between the U.S. and Californio forces on December 6, 1846 in the midst of the Mexican-American War.  Generals Stephen Kearny and Andres Pico both claimed victory. The Visitor Center houses exhibits and offers programs, a nearby hiking trail and picnic area. Open on Saturday and Sunday only, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Telephone (760) 737-2201 for more information. Located directly adjacent to the Center at 15808 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92025.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Visit the San Diego Archaeological Center, then drive down the road just 1.5 miles to visit this world famous attraction.

Orfila Vineyards and Winery is an ultra-premium boutique winery nestled in the picturesque San Pasqual Valley, approximately 30 minutes from San Diego, on the way to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Orfila produces award-winning Rhone-style wines from grapes grown on our hillside estate located approximately 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean and from other renowned grape-growing regions in coastal California. Orfila wines are available at the winery’s tasting room which overlooks the 70-acre estate.


Sikes Adobe, San Dieguito River Park The Sikes Adobe Farmhouse was destroyed in the Witch Creek Fire in October 2007. Click here for an update on the historic landmark site that is being restored.


The San Diego Archaeological Center is a member of the San Diego Conservation Resources Network, or CRN, whose mission is to "support the network of resource conservancies involved in the preservation and stewardship of the natural and cultural resources of the San Diego region and promote public understanding of conservation issues."

CINCH - Historic North County Sites North County strives to preserve its history, with almost every community hosting an historical society, museum or historic attraction. In 1995, representatives from local historical and preservation organizations created an informal council to bring awareness of North County’s historical resources to the public.

The following information is courtesy of the Council Interpreting North County History (CINCH)

Once a sleepy rural agricultural region, San Diego’s North County is now the demographic and cultural center of the region. North County was first settled over 10,000 years ago, when the ancestors of the present-day Kumeyaay and Luiseño Indians settled in fertile river valleys and on mesas near the coast. Archaeological artifacts from these ancient sites tell of a people who lived a good life utilizing the vast resources of the area.

The Spanish arrived in San Diego in 1769 and founded two missions in North County, establishing a tradition of agriculture still carried on today. After Mexico won independence from Spain in 1822, support for the missions waned and land was made available to local people who called themselves Californios. The Californio Period ended when California became a state in 1850, but extravagant fandangos lived on in local adobes.

Entrepreneurs, farmers and laborers followed the American Dream to found and develop the cities and villages present today. We hope that you enjoy your visit to each of these historic sites, each one telling a little more of the history of North County.

North County strives to preserve its history, with almost every community hosting an historical society, museum or historic attraction. In 1995, representatives from local historical and preservation organizations created an informal council to bring awareness of North County’s historical resources to the public. You can become a part of North County history—all of the organizations in CINCH welcome volunteers!



1. Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

Located on 40 acres of farmland in the Guajome Regional Park, the museum features vintage cars, steam engines, mechanical models and demonstrations of turn-of-the-century skills. The museum hosts a harvest fair on the 3rd and 4th weekends in June and October, with educational programs offered year-round. 2040 N. Santa Fe, Vista (760) 941-1791. Open daily 10 AM to 4 PM - $3 adults, $2 children
Click here
for more information.

2. Camp Joseph H. Pendleton Command Museums: Rancho Santa Margarita Y Los Flores; WWII/Korea LVT Museum, and Marine Corps Mechanized Museum

Located on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton these three unique museums offer interpretation of California and military history. The Rancho Santa Margarita was built in the 1880s by Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California. The other museums exhibit vintage amphibious and tracked transport and battle vehicles. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Fax tour requests to (760) 725-5147
or write CPAO, ATTN: History and Museums Office, Box 555019, Camp Pendleton, CA 92055-5019 - Free.
Click here
for more information.

3. Carlsbad Historical Society Museum 

Carlsbad ’s historic Magee House offers a view of life from the 1880s to the present. Changing displays highlight subjects of historic and timely interest. Carlsbad Historical Society membership is your ticket to special social events and lectures. Research collections are available to professional and armchair historians. Docent-led tours Tuesday through Thursday 11 AM to 3 PM (tea and refreshments on Tuesday & Thursday), Saturday 12 PM to 4 PM, private tours by request - Free, donations welcome. 258 Beech Street , Carlsbad (760) 434-9189 Click here for more information.

4. Del Mar Historical Society

The Del Mar Historical Society operates the historic Alvarado House, Del Mar’s oldest house. The Alvarado House is stored at the Del Mar fairgrounds and is open to the public each year during the San Diego County Fair. Visitors from over 30 countries and 41 states have visited the Alvarado House. (858) 755-1670. Click here for more information.


5. Encinitas Historical Society

This restored 1883 Encinitas schoolhouse features rotating historical exhibits and pictorial and narrative panels of local history. Research materials and photo archives are available. Free guided walking tours of historic downtown are offered on the second Saturday of the month at 10:30 AM, except August. 390 West F Street , Encinitas (760) 753-5726
Open Friday through Saturday 12 PM to 4 PM - Free, donations welcome.
Click here
for more information.

6. Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Museum

The Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society hosts two museums for those interested in minerals, mining history, gems and fossils. Society membership includes lectures, field trips and monthly newsletter. Two locations: 123 West Alvarado Street, Fallbrook, CA (760) 728-1130. OpenThursday 11 AM to 3 PM - Free, donations welcome.. Click here for more information.

7. Fallbrook Historical Society

The museum complex includes a local history building, antique autos and tools and Victorian-period country home of William Pittenger, a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient. The Society conducts student tours and offers research assistance pertaining to the history of Fallbrook, Rainbow, Bonsall and Pala. Holdings include photos, maps, family histories, federal census schedules and early newspapers. 260 Rocky Crest Road/South Hill, Fallbrook (760) 723-4125 or (760) 728-7964 Open Sunday and Thursday 1 PM to 4 PM (except holidays) and by appointment - Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.

8. Heritage Park Village Museum

The park village and museum were created as a 1976 Bicentennial project honoring the history and heritage of Oceanside. The idyllic main street is lined with many of Oceanside’s original buildings, including the Blacksmith Shop, Livery Stable, Libby School, Blade Newspaper and the Old City Jail. 220 Peyri Drive , Oceanside (760) 435-5215.  Park grounds open 9 AM to 4 PM daily, buildings Sunday 1 PM to 4 PM, tours available by appointment - Free, donations welcome. click here for more information.

9. Escondido History Center

Located in Grape Day Park, is operated by the Escondido Historical Society. The park includes an 1890 Victorian home, 1888 Santa Fe Depot, 1920s railroad car with model train and a 1900s barn. Blacksmithing classes are offered on Saturday in the Bandy Blacksmith Shop. The Society office is located in the city’s first library and is open Monday through Friday 8 AM to 4 PM. 321 North Broadway, Escondido (760) 743-8207. Open Tuesday - Saturday 1 PM to 4 PM, school and group tours by appointment - $3 adults, $1 children donation.
  Click here for more information.

10. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park was once home to cowboy actor Leo Carrillo, his wife Edith, and their daughter Antoinette. The City of Carlsbad has stabilized, preserved and restored many of the historic ranch buildings. Construction on the ranch began in 1937 and concluded in 1940. Historic structures on the 27-acre parcel include a Visitor’s Center, Hacienda, Reflecting Pool, Cabana, Cantina, Carriage House, Stable, Barn, Foundry and Equipment Shed. 6200 Flying LC Lane, Carlsbad (760) 476-1042. Open Tuesday through Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM (One hour later in summer) - Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.

11. Cupa Cultural Center

The Center and museum provide the best resources for information on the history of the Pala Region, genealogy and culture of the Cupeño and Luiseño Indians. Included in the museum is a collection of Cupa projectile points, basketry, historical documents and sound recordings. A ceremony commemorating the forced removal of the Cupa Indians is observed the first weekend in May. The public is welcome.
Highway 76 at Pala Indian Reservation (760) 742-1590. Open Monday through Friday 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Saturdays by appointment - Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.

12. Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

Mission San Luis Rey is the 18 th of the 21 California missions and is known as the king of the missions for its grandeur. Exhibited in the museum are Native American, Spanish, Mexican, American Military, and modern artifacts. 4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside (760) 757-3651. Museum and church open daily 10 AM to 4:30 PM, last admittance 4 PM, closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas - $5 adults, $3 students, $18 family rate. Guided tours available for groups with advance reservations. Click here for more information.

13. Mule Hill Historical Trail

In a 1¼-mile segment of the San Dieguito River Park Trail, visitors experience five historic events. From the trailhead at Sunset Drive, you encounter the former location of the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead. After crossing Kit Carson Creek, you pass wetlands and wildlife reserves before arriving at Mule Hill. Here an interpretive station describes the military engagement of 1846 between General Kearny and Captain Pico. An interpretive station is located on the site of Rancho San Bernardo (1789), the San Diego to Yuma Road (1840s) and the original Town of Bernardo (1880s). 12575 Sunset Drive, Escondido (858) 674-2270, Open sunrise to sunset - Free. Click here for more information.

14. Oceanside Historical Society

The Society houses an extensive archive of historic information and photographs. Special events are offered throughout the calendar year, including walking tours of historic downtown Oceanside. 305 North Nevada Street, Oceanside, CA. (760) 722-4786. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 AM to 2 PM, private and group tours by appointment - Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.

15. Old Poway Park

Old Poway Park is owned and maintained by the City of Poway, and includes the Hamburger Factory, Heritage Museum, a train barn with a steam engine, ore cars, and an 1894 Los Angeles yellow trolley. The Nelson House, a restored 1910 farmhouse, features turn-of-the-century objects donated by early settlers. The Heritage Museum and the Nelson House are operated by the Poway Historical Society. The two-acre green park with a gazebo is perfect for picnics. A half-mile train runs on weekends.14134 Midland Road, Poway (858) 679-8587; (858) 679-4342. Museum open Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to 4 PM, Nelson House open Saturday 9 AM to 4 PM and Sunday 11 AM to 2 PM - Admission to buildings varies.  Click here for more information.

16. Rancho Buena Vista Adobe

This 11-room house and museum is a showcase of the early beginnings of life in San Diego County. The antique furnishings are continually rotated. The La Tiendita Shop, Visitor’s Center, and Art Gallery are also on the premises, and several special events are hosted throughout the year. 640 Alta Vista Dr., Vista; (760) 639-6164. Tours conducted Wednesday through Friday 10 AM to 3 PM, last admittance 2:15 PM, one tour on Saturday 10 AM - Educational tours arranged by reservation - $4 general, $3 seniors and Vista residents, 50¢ children. Click here for more information.

17. Rancho Guajome Adobe County Park

This historic rancho was once a city unto itself with its own school, chapel and general store. Colonel Cave Couts of Tennessee built this 22-room, 7,000 square-foot adobe residence for his wife, Ysidora Bandini of Old Town, San Diego. Built on a 2,219-acre Mexican land grant in 1853, this historic landmark is operated by San Diego County Parks and is one of the finest examples of Anglo-Hispanic architecture in California. 2210 N. Santa Fe, Vista;
(760) 724-4082. Guided tours given weekends at 11 AM, 12:30 PM and 2 PM, and by advance reservation - $3 adults, $1 children. Click here for more information.

18. Rancho Los Peñasquitos County Park

Rancho Peñasquitos Adobe Ranch House is located on San Diego’s first Mexican land grant. The adobe has been restored to the 1860-1880 time period and farming implements of that era are displayed. Archaeological artifacts from 7,500 years ago are on exhibit. There are trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. 12020 Black Mountain Road, San Diego (858) 484-7504. Tours conducted Saturday 11 AM and Sunday 1 PM, trails open daily - Donation requested. Click here for more information.

19. San Diego Archaeological Center

The Center is a repository for archaeological artifacts, where the public can enjoy learning about the prehistory and history of the San Diego region through educational programs and museum quality exhibits. Exhibits documents 10,000 years of San Diego history. Research library and comparative collections are available for amateur and professional researchers. Educational programs and tours available by request. 16666 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido; (760) 291-0370. Open Monday through Friday 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturdays 10 AM to 2 PM Suggested donation $2 per person, $5 per family.

20. San Dieguito Heritage Museum

The San Dieguito Heritage Museum collects, preserves and interprets the history of the cities of Encinitas, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Cardiff, Carlsbad, Solana Beach and Olivenhain. The museum seeks to keep local history alive and accessible. 1450 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas (760) 632-9711. Open Wednesday through Friday 12 PM to 4 PM - Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.

21. San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park

The purpose of this park is to honor those who participated in the battle between the United States forces and the Californio forces on December 6, 1846. Living History Day is held the first Sunday of each month from October through June. The Battle of San Pasqual reenactment is held the Sunday in December nearest to the 6 th . For school tours call (760) 480-6320. 15808 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido; (760) 724-3925. Visitors’ Center open Saturday and Sunday 10:15 AM to 3:30 PM - Free. Click here for more information.

22. Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead

The Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead was destroyed in the 10/07 Witch Fire. There are plans to rebuild. The Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead was one of the area’s oldest adobe homes from the American Era (c. 1870), representing the legacy of Old California and our farming and ranching history. By 1881, the rustic one-room adobe was expanded into a seven-room Victorian country home.  Click here for more information on the fire and plans for rebuilding..

23. Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society

The Heritage Museum, located in La Colonia Park, is housed in an 1894 ranch house, the oldest surviving residence in the city. The museum is furnished to reflect the theme, “The Changes That Came to Lockwood Mesa with the Arrival of Running Water and Electricity in 1923.” A 1900s kitchen and parlor are contrasted with a 1930s kitchen and living room. A living history program is offered for third-grade students. 715 Valley Avenue, Solana Beach; (858) 755-2937. Open first Saturday of the month 1 PM to 4 PM and by appointment – Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.

24. Valley Center History Museum

The museum’s centerpiece attraction is a taxidermy mount of a giant California Grizzly Bear, extinct since 1924. A Gold Rush tribute recounts the story of a local resident credited as the co-discoverer of gold in California. The eclectic offerings feature a replica of an early settler’s cabin and sections of an airplane, which was built within two years of the Wright Brothers first flight and later flew out of Valley Center. 29200 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center; (760) 749-2993. Open Tuesday through Saturday 1 PM to 4 PM - Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.

25. Vista Historical & Society Museum

This organization offers photographs and objects interpreting the various aspects of Vista history. Excerpts from the old “Vista Press” newspaper are exhibited alongside items such as a 100-year-old Mexican Bingo game. Documents, historical objects and artifacts about the settlement and everyday life of Vista residents are preserved. Exhibits are rotating. 2317 Old Foothill Dr, Vista; (760) 630-0444. Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 AM to 3 PM and by special appointment - Free, donations welcome. Click here for more information.