Explore America's Campgrounds
About 20 miles east of Southern California’s Pacific Coast beaches, the hilly community of Fallbrook is dotted with avocado trees, citrus groves, small farms and plant nurseries. This unincorporated town that calls itself the "avocado capital of the world" welcomes tourists throughout the year to enjoy its carefully tended history, regional arts and all things outdoors.
All Things Avocado
Fallbrook, about 50 miles north of busy San Diego and 100 miles south of uber-urban Los Angeles, since 1962 has labeled itself “the avocado capital of the world.” During peak growing season each April, tourists outnumber the locals in this community of 30,000 during the Avocado Festival (fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org). There are contests for best decorated avocados, a guacamole competition, arts, crafts and live music.
Ancient oak trees are the attraction at Live Oak Park, several square miles of oaks, streams, playgrounds, a sand volleyball court, baseball diamonds, a dance pavilion and hiking trails. Birdwatchers have identified more than 130 species at Los Jilgueros Preserve, one of several preserves operated by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy (fallbrooklandconservancy.org) The San Diego County-run Santa Margarita River Preserve (co.san-diego.ca.us) is open to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The Fallbrook area is also home to several private and public golf courses (fallbrook.org).
On Main Street
Fallbrook residents take their downtown personally. Their names are etched on Hollywood-style stars on well-tended sidewalks and on storefront bench plaques. Some Main Street art galleries and locally owned shops are housed in restored buildings that reflect the community’s late 18th-century roots. Jackson Square is a collection of small shops, fountains and cafes clustered below street level. Village Square is where you’ll find farmers markets on Sundays, and also sculptures and murals that are part of the community’s Art in Public Places program.
Fallbrook’s rich soil once yielded rubies and tourmaline, and the story of mining gems and minerals is the mission of the Gem and Mineral Society museum (fgms.org). The museum has galleries with locally and globally mined finds. The Fallbrook Historical Society Museum (fallbrookhistoricalsociety.com) has Native American artifacts, a restored Victorian farmhouse and a miniature model of early Fallbrook buildings.
Three galleries at the Fallbrook Art Center (fallbrookartcenter.org) regularly host exhibits from regional artists, and one welcomes regularly scheduled poetry readings. Myrtle Creek Nursery (murtlecreeknursery.com) has evolved into its own tourist attraction with fountains, pretty gardens, arts and crafts shops, and a farmhouse kitchen that sells its own brand of fruit preserves and cooking sauces. The community’s annual Christmas Parade in early December boasts dozens of locally crafted floats and marching bands.
S.R. Haines is a veteran writer whose work has been published by newspapers, magazines, international news wire services and nonprofit publications on topics ranging from breaking news and politics to travel, parenting, education, business and technology. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.