North San Diego County is a largely suburban region, with a number of lovely seaside towns and several beaches popular with surfers.
- 1 Carlsbad - A lovely beach town that's home to flower fields and Legoland California, a theme park based on the phenomenally popular toy line, featuring thrill rides, a water park, and strikingly accurate Lego sculptures.
- 2 Del Mar - A small, very pretty Bavarian style seaside town, famed locally for its charming beach, its fairgrounds, and its horse racing track.
- 3 Encinitas - A small but picturesque beach town with popular surf spots, beachside camping, coastal wetlands and a lovely botanical garden.
- 4 Escondido - A large inland city, mostly suburban in character but with a few minor attractions.
- 5 Fallbrook - A pleasant agricultural community along I-15 at the northern edge of the county.
- 6 Oceanside - The largest city of the North County region, with a popular beach and pier, coastal wetlands, and Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, the largest of the Spanish missions in California.
- 7 Poway - A large suburban community mostly surrounded by San Diego just off I-15.
- 8 San Marcos - A mostly suburban community along SR 78 between Oceanside and Escondido.
- 9 Solana Beach - A laid-back beach town with a lovely beach and plenty of shops and galleries.
- 10 Vista - A mostly suburban community along SR 78 between Oceanside and Escondido, home to a couple of small historical attractions.
- Additionally, portions of North San Diego are also considered part of North County. Of note is the San Pasqual Valley, home to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the expansive sister park to the San Diego Zoo that contains stunningly huge exhibits that resemble African savanna.
Interstate 5 passes along the coast, connecting San Diego with Los Angeles. Interstate 15 travels north-south further inland, connecting San Diego with the Inland Empire. State Route 76 and State Route 78 serve as the main east–west routes through the region. State Route 76 begins in Oceanside and travels northeast through Pala to Lake Henshaw. State Route 78 is a freeway through Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido, before continuing as a two-lane highway to Ramona and Julian.
Amtrak's frequent Pacific Surfliner San Luis Obispo-Los Angeles-San Diego route runs along the coast of North County, stopping in Oceanside and Solana Beach. Additionally, a commuter rail line called the COASTER overlaps with the Pacific Surfliner between San Diego and Oceanside, linking together most of the coastal cities and towns of North County with San Diego to the south.
Driving is the main way of getting around; everything in this region is pretty spread out. The North County Transit District (NCTD) is the main operator of public transit in the region, providing bus service, the aforementioned COASTER rail service, and the SPRINTER rail service between Oceanside and Escondido.
- San Diego lies to the south with its myriad of attractions, including the upscale seaside community of La Jolla, the popular beach neighborhoods of Mission and Pacific Beach, lush Balboa Park with its gardens, museums, and famed zoo, and California's oldest mission in Mission Valley, among other attractions.
- Taking Interstate 5 or Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner north leads to Orange County, which is separated from North County by the large Camp Pendleton marine corps base. The next town up from Oceanside is charming San Clemente, with its beach and pier, with historic San Juan Capistrano just a little further beyond.
- Interstate 15 north of here leads into the wine country of Temecula before continuing on into the Inland Empire.