North County San Diego has many large tracts of land that are open to the public in some form or another, and 394-acre Guajome Regional Park is no exception. The park boasts camping (including a two bedroom cabin for rent), hiking, fishing, biking and relaxing. There are multiple covered playgrounds, two ponds and lots of trails.
The first inhabitants of the park were Native Americans, of course. Before California become a state, this land was given to two Luiseño Native Americans by the last Mexican governor of California. The land changed hands a few times and was eventually gifted to Ysidora Bandini de Couts when she married Cave Johnson. After Bandini/Johnson, in the 1950s, the then-owner, Jerry Buteyn, built a small zoo on the land and created ponds and marshes to attract more clients. I guess that was short lived, since the county purchased the land in the 1970s. I am sorry the zoo wasn’t a success but I am happy the county owns the land so everyone can enjoy the it free of charge.
Four Points pointer- There is free street parking right outside the park on Guajome Lake Rd., so you don’t have to pay $3 to park in the park.