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Ramona, California is a charming town in the foothills of the San Diego County mountains. It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the outdoors. You’re also still close to the beach and all the action of nearby San Diego so it’s a great “home base” for a lot of different activities whether you’re a couple traveling on a weekend getaway or on a week-long vacation with the family!

Woman standing on potato chip rock

Things to do in and near Ramona, CA

We had never been to Ramona, CA before this trip but have been to nearby Carlsbad, San Diego, Del Mar, and other beach cities. We found it to be a great “home base” spot to explore the surrounding areas. Here are some things to do in and around Ramona, CA.

  • Explore the downtown area: We found the main street charming with several fun shops and restaurants to pop into and even a museum or two. I especially loved dinner at Marinade on Main.
  • Hiking: with several great trails nearby if you love getting in some hikes on a trip you won’t be disappointed. There are trails for all levels of hikers, so you can find one that’s perfect for you. Some popular hiking trails include Mount Woodson Trail, Iron Mountain Trail, and Cedar Creek Falls Trail. Just be sure to grab a permit from recreation.gov if you want to do one of the popular waterfall hikes. We chose to do the Woodson Mountain and Potato Chip Rock via Hwy 67.
  • Wineries and Breweries: Ramona is home to several wineries and breweries. You can take a tour, sample some wine or beer, and enjoy the views. We visited Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery, the only certified sustainable winery in San Diego. They have a beautiful tasting room and even animals you can say hi to! We also visited the boutique Correcaminos Vineyard and Winery since I had seen them on Harvest Hosts. We loved this stop as well! The owners are so sweet, down to earth, and the wine was delicious!
  • Day Trip to Julian, CA: Julian is a small mining town about an hour from Ramona. It’s known for its apple pies and its beautiful scenery. We loved walking the main street popping in and out of shops. We had lunch and some hand-mixed soda at Miner’s Diner. On the way back to Ramona we stopped at Calico Cidery and enjoyed a cider flight in their orchard!
  • Visit the popular San Diego Zoo Safari Park: this is roughly a 30 min drive from San Diego Country Estates where we stayed and is always a great choice!
  • Visit the Beach – Since you’re only about an hour from the beach (there are several to choose from) so a beach day or a sunset and dinner on the beach is always a great option!
  • Test your luck at Barona Casino: we didn’t stop in on this trip but it’s close by and a fun option for those who’d love to play a game or two!
  • Visit the Camel Dairy – yes, a camel dairy. Right in Ramona! They are open for farm tours on Saturday.

Where to stay in Ramona, CA just outside of San Diego

One of my very favorite travel “hacks” is to stay outside of a major city as a home base for trips. It’s usually cheaper, quieter, has more large room options, and has “homey” amenities. I’ve written about how I really enjoy staying at Resortime properties for their home-like resort accommodations. I saw a new property there, San Diego Country Estates that had some large rooms that looked great to spread out in!

Our room was super clean and comfy and we loved sitting on our patio for breakfast each morning before our adventures.

We always LOVE getting rooms with kitchens so the full kitchen and dining area here were great to have. The area is gorgeous and was super quiet.

This property has a pool, spa, tennis courts, a game room, and more amenities that are great for longer visits. Check out Resortime to book and see their other property options!


Allison Waken is the founder, writer, photographer, and content creator of All for the Memories and All for the Boys.

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