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Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

By Miriam Raftery

May 27, 2018 (Lakeside) – The Barona Resort & Casino offers luxury and comfort, with plenty of amenities onsite at the Barona Native American reservation, as well as a wealth of activities nearby including spectacular county parks, lakes and reservoirs all in Lakeside, the Lakeside rodeo in season, and nearby attractions including wine tasting in the Ramona wine region.

The beautiful Barona Resort features not only comfortably appointed rooms with king and queen beds, but also lovely grounds for walking that include a lake, a pond with a waterwheel and footbridge, a championship golf course, casino with a variety of gaming options, and a spa offering a wide variety of treatments from the “California glow” to a mineral mud wrap and couples massages.

There are also many restaurants to choose from without leaving the resort including a steak house, a buffet with a wide array of options, a wonderful Italian cucina,  grill, noodle shop and food court.

Each year, the Barona  pow-wow is held the first weekend of September, drawing Native American dancers from across the nation as well as artisans and crafters.  The pow-wow is held at the Barona sports field just north of the resort on Wildcat Canyon Road. 

The Barona Museum and Cultural Center is open year-round in the same vicinity, well worth a visit to see ancient artifacts and learn more about our region’s tribal history and culture.

The casino/resort offers a free shuttle to some destinations in San Diego and Lakeside’s downtown historic district. If you have a vehicle, there are also many nearby attractions worth a visit.

Lakeside has many wonderful county parks including Louis Seltzer (a 310-acre site with oak forests, hiking trails and beautiful views), Oakoasis preserve (400 acres, with stargazing occasionally offered), Lindo Lake (family-friendly with fishing, ducks, walking paths and outdoor workout equipment), and El Monte Park, nestled at the base of El Cajon Mountain with playgrounds and covered pavilions for groups.

You can also hike the new Lakeside River Park Trail, where you may see herons, egrets and other waterfowl, as well as educational activities hosted by the Lakeside Riverpark Foundation.

 Lakeside also has two reservoirs run by the city of San Diego, El Capitan Reservoir and San Vicente Reservoir, where fishing and use of personal watercrafts and activities from jet skis to wakeboarding and float tubes are allowed. There's also Lake Jennings, a beautiful reservoir run by the Helix Water District with fishing, hiking and rentals of kayaks, motorboats, rowboats and paddleboats in a lovely setting.

You can also stroll through Lakeside’s historic district on Maine Street, where you’ll still find some western-style storefronts, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and the Lakeside Historical Society in the Olde Community Church.

The Lakeside Rodeo holds rodeo events a couple of times a year as well as concerts and more. 


Each April, Lakeside's Western Days celebration, which coincides with the Lakeside Rodeo, features a parade down Maine Street, festival, breakfasts and a barbecue. 

Wine aficionados will also enjoy visiting wineries in nearby Ramona, a short drive up highway 67. For a list of wineries to visit and any current activities at the wineries, see the Ramona Valley Vineyards Association website.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the County of San Diego for providing a Community Enhancement Grant to support our “Backcountry Hidden Pleasures” weekend getaways coverage.

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