Laguna Mountain Recreation Area is a great weekend getaway that is only a 45-minute drive from San Diego. The park is well known for it's scenery, hiking trails, campground, and ideal stargazing conditions.
The best time to visit is summer through fall, though the park is open year round. The area has a warm, dry, Mediterranean climate, but it does get some snow during the winter due to the 6,000-foot elevation. Laguna Mountain Recreation Area has a campground in which there are 104 sites, one of which is ADA-accessible. RV sites are available as well, but there are no water or electric hook ups. Amenities include campfire rings, restrooms, and coin-operated showers. If camping isn't your style, Laguna Mountain Lodge is conveniently located within the park. Also, Laguna Mountain has some of the darkest skies in San Diego County, which means it's a great place to go stargazing. There are even "star parties" on summer weekends from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the park's observatory.
Laguna Mountain has a rich Native American history as well. Several bands of the Kumeyaay Tribe have lived in the area for thousands of years. They were hunter-gatherers who lived in the mountains during the spring and summer and returned to the desert for autumn and winter. They now live on various reservations throughout San Diego County. Some of the different bands include the Viejas, Barona, Camp, Manzanita, Santa Ysabel, and Pala Indians.