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San Marcos and North County

San Marcos is part of the North County region of San Diego. The area is a series of valleys between mountain ridges. It is a very fast growing area with several towns over 100,000 people. Oceanside and Escondido each have more than 100,000 residents. The area is home to Camp Pendleton, the major training base for marines. There are two community colleges in North County with nearly 40,000 students combined. MiraCosta College has two campuses, one in Oceanside and the other in Encinitas.  The main campus of Palomar College is in San Marcos, about one mile from the university. Palomar has a second campus in Escondido, and offers classes at a number of other sites. CSU, San Marcos is the newest addition to higher education in North County. It is located on a site just south of the new City Center and Freeway 78.

San Marcos was one of the California Rancho Land Grants. Governor Pio Pico granted Rancho des los Vallecitos des San Marcos to the Alvarez family in the 1840s. Sold to a land company in the 1880s the rancho became the unincorporated farm community, San Marcos. In 1963, the town finally incorporated.  It grew from  from about 2000 residents to 46,000 by 1997. It remains one of the smaller towns in North County, but is growing quickly.. 

San Marcos is developing a system of bike, walking and horseback riding trails throughout the city. As new developments are built, each is contributing to the system. Here are the small fishing lake and bike trails in the Discovery Hills development very near the campus. Both are part of the public park system.

The communities around San Marcos have much to offer. Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Encinitas have miles of beaches. Carlsbad to the West of San Marcos is known for its flower field displays of ranculus in the spring.   Most of the fields were preserved when Legoland was built on a part of the site.  Encinitas is the center of poinsettia production around the world. Many plants have been imported to create colorful landscaping. African Daisies, ice plant, and gazanias are used for ground cover many places in Southern California. San Marcos Boulevard, for example is planted with gazanias and agathanpus.