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Top 5 Historic Spots in San Diego North County

Shannon Biszantz

Shannon Biszantz is a San Diego native from elementary school through university Shannon graduated with a Business Administration Degree from USD and ...

Shannon Biszantz is a San Diego native from elementary school through university Shannon graduated with a Business Administration Degree from USD and ...

Feb 25 4 minutes read

It’s not all sandy beaches in San Diego North County, it is still home to plenty of historical attractions that link the place to its storied past. Our list of the city’s most significant landmarks includes plenty of beautiful buildings, classic San Diego venues and even a few parks. Whether you’re brand new to San Diego North County or call this place home, you’ll learn something new about its history at each and every one of these places.

San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park

15808 San Pasqual Valley Rd; Escondido, CA 92025

Definitely a must-see San Diego attraction for history buffs interested in historic and epic battles or the well-known historical figure, Kit Carson, but this is also a good educational opportunity to learn about the history of the San Pasqual Valley, the Native Americans who once called this valley home and the journey to California becoming a state. The park looks over the battlefield where U.S. soldiers and Californios fought what is considered the most controversial battle in the Mexican-American War, as well as the bloodiest. Today, you will now find a park, museum, monument, bookstore, visitor center, amphitheater and nature trail. Visitors to the park have the opportunity to watch a video about the Mexican-American War, view interpretative displays and a map of the battle. Or if you are looking for a quiet afternoon, there are several picnic tables for resting or for enjoying lunch. 

Magee House

258 Beech Ave Carlsbad, CA 92008

The Magee House is a worthwhile stop on Highway 101 in Carlsbad for those who are interested in the area’s history and gardening. Built in 1887 by Samuel Church Smith (one of the founders of Carlsbad Land and Water Company), the craftsman-style house is made of pre-cut lumber, ordered from a mid-Western catalog of pre-designed homes. It’s now home to the Carlsbad Historical Society’s museum and archives and open to the public. 

Guided tours of the museum and grounds are available with advance notice. The Carlsbad Historical Society has also developed a special tour for local third graders to learn about the city’s history on the grounds. December is a particularly popular time to visit as volunteers decorate the home for the holidays using native plant material–just like the early Carlsbad settlers did.

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

4050 Mission Ave; Oceanside, CA 92057

You can’t really do historic tourism in San Diego County without checking out its historic Catholic mission sites. The biggest of them is Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, built in 1815 and named after Louis IX of France, who was the mission’s patron.

Thomas House

208 West 5th Avenue; Escondido, CA 92025

The Thomas House is the oldest existing house in Escondido, built in 1886, and is the historic home of one of the founding fathers of the city. It was built for George Valentine Thomas, one of the five Thomas brothers, early promoters of Escondido. It all started when the Thomas family formed the Escondido Land and Town Company and bought the 12,653 acres that became Escondido for $104,042. While currently maintained as a private residence, if you’re in the area, take a walk around the block and check out this relic of prime historical importance for the history of Escondido.

Las Flores Adobe

20250 Vandegrift Blvd, Oceanside, CA 92058

The Las Flores Adobe was built in 1864 and is considered a perfect example of a 19th century Monterey Colonial style home—a Spanish-Mexican adobe with elements of New England frame architecture. It’s located just inside the Las Pulgas gate entrance to Camp Pendleton. Formerly listed on the National Park Service’s list of most endangered National Historic Landmarks, the adobe is currently undergoing a restoration.

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