Planning to settle in the San Diego area? San Diego may be America’s Finest City with its attractions, exciting nightlife, and amazing beaches, but its suburbs are fantastic, too. By expanding your search out of the city proper, you can ditch the traffic and high San Diego real estate prices to get the amenities that matter most to you. What is the best place to live in San Diego? Here are the San Diego suburbs that should be on your list whether you want great schools, family-friendly attractions, an exciting downtown, or pristine beaches.
Chula Vista – Best Suburb in San Diego for Families
- Population: 271,600
- Median household income: $86,000
- Average home price: $575,000
Chula Vista is just 7.5 miles from Downtown San Diego and the Mexico border yet a world away. This diverse city, the second-largest in Metro San Diego, is famous for its diversity, family-friendly attractions, and excellent school system in addition to 16 private schools and university campuses. That’s just the beginning of what makes it one of the best suburbs in San Diego to raise a family.
Chula Vista is also home to diverse housing options including apartments, condos, and single-family homes. Choose from master-planned communities with plenty of square footage or affordable condos close to the action.
While living in Chula Vista, you can enjoy tons of kid-friendly attractions like Aquatica San Diego and the Living Coast Discovery Center.
- Population: 24,000
- Median household income: $99,600
- Average home price: $1.7 million
Want to live the high life in San Diego County? Nothing compares to the beauty of Coronado, one of the richest suburbs of San Diego. This resort city, located across the bay from downtown San Diego, is an island known for its beaches and the historic Hotel de Coronado. The Crown City is home to one of America’s best beaches and the Naval Base Coronado, one of the Navy’s largest aerospace-industrial complexes.
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While many San Diego suburbs can claim easy access to the beach and surf, life on the Silver Strand in Coronado means you can open your back doors to the bay. If you choose to live in the Village, you can walk anywhere on the island for the ultimate laid-back lifestyle.
Escondido – Best San Diego Suburb for the Outdoors
- Population: 150,800
- Median household income: $58,800
- Average home price: $620,000
The landlocked city of Escondido, located 30 miles northeast of San Diego, is one of San Diego County’s oldest cities. While it doesn’t have beaches, it does have a lot to offer including great parks, the massive Daley Ranch preserve, Dixon Lake, and shopping at Westfield North Country Mall and hundreds of small boutiques. The great outdoors is what makes Escondido so unique: go camping and fishing on the weekend for bass, catfish, and trout; go hiking at the preserve, or stroll through Old Escondido to admire the historic architecture.
Oceanside – One of the Safest Suburbs in San Diego
- Population: 174,800
- Median household income: $61,700
- Average home price: $600,000
Concerned about safety? As you choose from the many great San Diego suburbs within your budget, don’t overlook Oceanside, one of the safest cities in San Diego County. Oceanside was recently ranked within the top 100 safest cities in the United States. The crime rate in Oceanside is about the same as the national average and 10% lower than the California average.
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This large city just outside Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton has more to offer than safety. Oceanside is known for its affordable coastal living by Southern California standards. Enjoy the feel of a smaller town while being close to the amenities of both San Diego and Los Angeles. You’ll love spending time at the harbor and pier with opportunities to take a stroll, enjoy a meal by the water, or shop.
Lemon Grove – Best San Diego Suburb for Small-Town Living
- Population: 26,600
- Median household income: $60,300
- Average home price: $537,000
Located just 9 miles east of San Diego, Lemon Grove is unmistakable: as you enter the city, you’re greeted by a 3,000-pound lemon monument that stands 10 feet tall close to the Orange Line trolley track. Lemon Grove is a unique community that’s family friendly and close-knit yet boasts a convenient location with two Orange Line trolley stops.
You’ll find mostly 3- and 4-bedroom ranch homes, many of which date to the post-WWII real estate explosion in suburbs across America. There are also some historic gems like Tudor and Victorian homes from the early 20th century. Lemon Grove boasts a welcoming atmosphere that feels like small-town America with frequent community events, parks, and locally owned businesses.
Poway – San Diego Suburb with the Best Schools
- Population: 49,800
- Median household income: $102,300
- Average home price: $783,000
Poway has a little bit of everything, from beautiful views and great parks to a strong economy and plenty of recreation. Poway’s big claim to fame is its school system, the third largest in the county and the top-rated. The prestigious Poway Unified School District (PUSD) offers two high schools, two middle schools, and seven elementary schools.
Known as the City in the Country, more than half of Poway’s 39 square miles is dedicated green space. There are more than 76 miles of trails to enjoy and dozens of parks like the Skate Park, Old Poway Park with train rides and a museum, and Lake Poway, a recreational area in the hills with fishing, archery, and boating. Poway even boasts one of the county’s lowest crime rates and one of the lowest crime rates in the city.
There’s always something new to do in Poway, from wineries and hiking to shopping. The main drawback is Poway is one of the more expensive suburbs in San Diego.
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Encinitas – Top San Diego Suburb for Affluent Young Professionals
- Population: 62,500
- Median household income: $103,800
- Average home price: $1.21 million
Encintas is one of the most popular suburbs in San Diego for affluent families and young professionals. This small city, located on the coast about 25 miles north of San Diego, is comprised of five large neighborhoods, each with a different style of living. In New Encinitas, families enjoy the new homes surrounding a golf course. Olivenhain is a more rural area of Encinitas known for its equestrian lifestyle. In the inland areas, it’s common to see people riding their horses.
One of the biggest drawbacks of living in Encinitas? The high cost of living. Encinitas is a very affluent community but the high housing costs are a roadblock for middle-income households.
Solana Beach – Best Suburb in San Diego for Ocean Views
- Population: 13,300
- Median household income: $103,800
- Average home price: $1.36 million
Want to enjoy coastal living at its finest? Solana Beach, a small coastal city built on the bluffs overlooking the ocean, is the place to be. This affluent community boasts some of the best ocean views in San Diego. It’s also known for its pristine public beaches and close-knit community atmosphere. Many Solana Beach residents are retirees or young professionals.
One of the best things to do in Solana Beach is enjoy Fletcher Cove, a picturesque park and Solana Beach’s central beach. It’s just a couple of blocks from Highway 101 with an ocean viewing deck, playground, basketball court, and grassy space. The nearby Tide Beach Park is a great place to surf, fish, swim, snorkel, and body-board with a large reef and tide pools to explore.
Carlsbad – Great Suburb of San Diego for Shopping & Recreation
- Population: 113,000
- Median household income: $102,700
- Average home price: $860,000
Carlsbad is one of the largest suburbs of San Diego and a popular tourist destination in its own right. Located 35 miles north of San Diego, the Village by the Sea was once agricultural land before development began. This historic community was home to the world’s first modern skate park and today boasts Legoland California, the first Legoland outside Europe.
What makes this coastal gem such a great place to live? Plenty! The Carlsbad Unified School District is one of the county’s top-rated schools with many Distinguished Schools at the state and federal level. Along with a great education, Carlsbad is one of the best places to live in San Diego thanks to its endless entertainment. Along with the surfing and beaches, Carlsbad offers boating at the Aqua Hacienda Lagoon. It’s also a top golfing destination with world-class shopping and dining. Some of the best shopping destinations in Carlsbad are The Forum Carlsbad, Carlsbad Village for a downtown feel, and the Carlsbad Premium Outlets.
San Diego Suburbs Map
Have you found the San Diego suburb you want to call home? Whether it’s coastal living you’re after or a more rural setting surrounded by nature, you’ll find it in San Diego County. Ahead of moving day, call the top-rated San Diego movers at Republic Moving & Storage for a free moving estimate and the superior customer care you deserve.