East County is an expansive region, encompassing more than three quarters of San Diego County. The area can be accessed by heading east on Interstate 8, and California highways 94 and 52, 78 and 76. If you have a few hours, head up to the mountains and into the desert – Julian and Borrego Springs can be accessed from Highways 78 (off Interstate 15) and 79 (off Interstate 8). A bit closer to the city center, Lemon Grove, La Mesa, El Cajon and Santee can be reached via the Orange or Green lines of the San Diego Trolley.
East County is one of the most intriguing places in San Diego. While it has a name most people recognize, it is a bit of a misnomer because East County isn’t a county all to itself. It is actually part of San Diego County.Most people associate East County with its rural areas that include incredible lakes, deep canyons and massive wilderness, the area also includes several communities both incorporated and unincorporated. So, if you are looking to plant yourself or your family is this area, there are many varied options to choose from.East County is largely the polar opposite of San Diego’s coastal cities. It is mountainous, full of hiking trails and wilderness, a far cry from the busy city of San Diego. Its cities include both those that are more urban, but it is largely defined by its rural cities where small-town life is simpler and slower paced.