San Diego to San Bernardino Road Trip Guide


San Diego is a wonderful city but every now and then, it is nice to be able to take off and explore some of the wonderful surrounding areas. A one-day road trip to San Bernardino takes you through glorious southern California countryside and offers some interesting places to visit.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 1 days
Recommend rig: van
audience: friends

Point of Interest

Palomar State Mountain Observatory

Palomar Mountain State Park is 107 miles from San Diego and makes an interesting place to break your journey, though it will extend it slightly. The drive up the mountain will take you through some dramatic scenery and the observatory provides an unusual first stop. Owned by the California Institute of Technology, the concept was first conceived nearly one hundred years ago.

It contains three different telescopes one of 60 inches in diameter, the Samuel Aschin at 48 inches and the giant Hale at a whopping 200 inches. All three telescopes are still in active service and you can tour most of the observatory.

After that, you might fancy a quick hike and the one that starts at the observatory is just 4.8 miles long and is only moderately difficult.

Temecula Old Town

Just an hour further up the road brings you to Temecula. This small city gets its name from the Luiseno Indians who called it Temecunga meaning place of the sun. It was later changed to Temecula by early Spanish explorers and that translates 'to where the sun breaks through the mist'

The old town comes with a distinctly western era feel to it with its wooden boardwalks and old-style shops. It is a great place to search for antiques or try out the local craft beers of which there are many. There are also several small art and craft shops you«might want to dive into.

If you want to grab a quick coffee and a pastry before hitting the road again you are assured plenty of options. One restaurant that is very popular with locals and visitors alike is Eat Market Restaurant on old town Front Street.

Bailey Vineyard and Winery

Temecula is wine country. It may not have quite the history that the more northern Californian wine estates do but they produce some fabulous wines and there are over forty estates that will be happy to welcome you.

You could opt for a guided tour, and there are many of these, but given your limited availability of time, you could just as easily find one or two and visit on your own. One of the better-known wine farms is bailey vineyard and winery. The owners bought the farm in 1980 and planted their first vines on Mother's Day of 1982.

They were cautious about what wines they produced initially but have gone on to broaden their range and now produce some of the best wines in California.

At Bailey's, you are also going to come across Carol's Restaurant. This restaurant is very like a medieval castle. You can sit on the patio or indoors next to the floor to ceiling fireplace. Dishes range from steak to fish and from salads to sandwiches. Their Reuben sandwich is something of a specialty.

All meals may be accompanied by Bailey wine by the glass or by the bottle. There is live music at both Saturday and Sunday lunches. If you visit on a Sunday and one of your friends happens to be a dog, then ask for the Dog Day Sunday Doggie menu.


It will take you just under an hour to reach San Bernardino. This unusual one-day excursion will have exposed you to some very different country and attractions and there is still plenty that will keep you entertained at your final destination.

You could take in a show at the California Theater for Performing Arts or just relax and try your luck at a bit of gambling at the San Manual Casino. You are surrounded by both lakes and forests so if you want to extend your adventure there is no end to the outdoor opportunities available.

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