Great local drives:
Palomar Mountain Loop in Pauma Valley, CA Palomar Mountain offers a scenic lookout and one of the nation’s best observatories. Your trip begins on Highway 76 at Lake Henshaw. Continue on 76 to the East Grade Road, which takes you up Palomar Mountain to the famed Palomar Observatory.
North County Backcountry/Julian day trip: Start in Escondido around mid-morning and drive through Ramona on Highway 78. Be sure to stop at Dudley’s Bakery in Santa Ysabel where Highways 78 and 79 meet. Head north on Highway 79 for about 10 miles until you reach Highway 76. Turn left on 76 and watch for the East Grade Road turn-off to Palomar Mountain. It will take about an hour to go up and down the mountain. If you prefer, take Highway 76 through Pala and Pauma for a very scenic, leisurely winding road trip back to Interstate 15, which will take you south to Escondido again
Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, CA (Point Loma) Portuguese sailor Cabrillo, first explorer from Spain, is recognized at this monument overlooking San Diego, for his discovery. A personal visit will long be remembered.
Mount Soledad in La Jolla: Drive up the hill, visit the memorial and enjoy 360 views of San Diego county
Southern California National and State Parks
A little farther away, these road trips will take several days. These parks are withing one day drive