San Marcos is another North County inland city with a suburban look and feel. Nestled in middle of Escondido, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Vista, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles. San Marcos is a great place to live a laid back lifestyle and raise a family, with low crime rates and low unemployment.
The climate is a mix between coastal and inland. There will be some coastal fog at times, but it always burns off early. It stays cooler here in the summer than other inland areas, and when it’s 95° F in Escondido, it’s only 85° here. Average high temperatures range from 68° F in December to 89° F in August, while the average lows range from 41° F in December to 63° F in August.
According to the 2010 US Census, the population was 83,781 (estimated at 92,929 as of 2014). It was spread out with 27.8% people under the age of 18, 11.0% aged 18 to 24, 30.1% aged 25 to 44, 20.9% aged 45 to 64, and 10.2% of the people 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.9 years.
Median family income for San Marcos is $51,292, slightly lower than the CA state average of $53,025 (according to Trulia.com).
The Palomar Medical Center in Escondido is only 4.4 miles from the city center and the Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside and Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas are both only 8 miles away. In total there are 16 area hospitals with 25 miles of San Marcos.
San Marcos is centrally located along Highway 78, making for easy access to the coast and a 35-minute drive to Downtown San Diego. You can connect quickly to Riverside and Orange Counties via Interstate routes 5 and 15 as well. In addition, the Carlsbad/Palomar Airport is only 6 miles away, while the San Diego Airport is 35 miles and the Orange County Airport is 60 miles away.
San Marcos has a very strong educational reputation in the region as the home to several institutions. These include the Palomar Community College, the California State University, San Marcos campus and the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, a Physical and Occupational Therapy graduate institution.
The San Marcos Unified School District includes 19 schools with diverse educational programs for kindergarten through adult education students. There are 11 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 2 comprehensive high schools, 1 charter high school, 1 independent study high school and 1 continuation school. High-Tech High Schools, Middle Schools, and Elementary Charter Schools, along with several private schools are all located in San Marcos as well.
Recreation and Public Amenities
San Marcos has a nice public transit network including excellent bus service and the “Sprinter” light-rail transit line, which runs to the universities and also connects to Oceanside and Escondido.
There are plenty of shopping, restaurants, and a multiplex theater as well. The Creekside Marketplace, Nordahl Center, and Grand Plaza have all become popular shopping and dining destinations. Restaurant Row has been a local landmark for years… and people from all over North County come to taste a huge variety of diverse restaurants here.
Community theatre, music and fine arts organizations are alive and well here. San Marcos’s own “Theatre West” group puts on various community theatre productions throughout the year. The Performing Arts Center at Palomar College and the neighboring California Center for the Arts in Escondido bring wonderful cultural entertainment to the area.
The Discovery Lake area has bridal and walking trails that connect to a network of trails that eventually lead all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Miles of walkways and biking trails wind throughout the city making it easy to explore and enjoy.
You’ll find 4 golf courses in San Marcos, with 2 at St. Marks Golf Club (North and South courses), Rancho San Marcos Golf Course, and Twin Oaks Golf Course in addition to numerous other options in neighboring communities.