Local Guide to San Diego – Walking & Hiking

Explore San Diego’s great outdoors and take advantage of our beautiful spring weather with this list of fun walking and hiking trails. We hope our Local Guides help you discover new local adventures and rediscover old favorites.


Liberty Station – Dirt and paved paths follow along a boat channel in the San Diego Bay offering views of Downtown and close up views of planes taking off from San Diego International Airport. The paths are flat and great for a casual stroll along the waterfront. Stop for lunch at one of the many shops in Liberty Station and take a peek at the USS Recruit, which was a landlocked US Navy training ship and is located at the southern end of the path. Dogs are allowed on leash. Park in any of the parking lots on Historic Decatur Road and walk east towards the water. Located at 2455 Cushing Road in Point Loma.

Lake Murray – Three miles of paved trail offering great scenic views of the lake. Walk, bike, or rollerblade alongside the lake on the mostly flat path, which is great for any skill level. Dogs are allowed on leash, and the wide path is great for strollers. We recommend bringing sunscreen since most of the trail is uncovered. Open seven days a week. Located at 5540 Kiowa Drive in La Mesa.

Seaport Village – Filled with over 50 shops and 17 restaurants, Seaport Village is a fun spot for many activities, including walking. Walk north along the Embarcadero to see the Victory Kiss statue and the USS Midway Museum, or walk south to the Marina Park and the Convention Center. Located at 849 West Harbor Drive in San Diego.


Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve – A beautiful park area with eleven miles of trails including a botanical trail and horse trails. The main hiking trail is a 1.4 mile trail called the Way Up Trail that climbs over 1,000 feet in elevation and offers some incredible views from the top. Enjoy a picnic at the several picnic areas overlooking the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir. Dogs are allowed on leash, and are allowed off leash at the top of the Way Up Trail on weekdays. Located at 8833 Harmony Grove Road in Escondido.

Cowles Mountain – Situated inside Mission Trails Regional Park, Cowles Mountain is the highest peak in the San Diego City limits. The trail starts at around 900 feet in elevation and climbs to the peak at about 1600 feet in elevation. The trail is about 1.5 miles from start to peak and the views from the top are spectacular with a 360 degree panorama view of the greater San Diego area. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Trail entrance located at the corner of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive in San Diego.

Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead – A very challenging hike but worth the effort. The trail starts at the top of a small peak and descends about 1,000 feet over the course of around 3 miles, ending at Cedar Creek Falls. The waterfall is over 75 feet tall and falls into a large pool of water, which is at varying levels throughout the year. The return hike is back up the same trail, and can be grueling at times as there is no shade and it is entirely uphill. We recommend hiking this trail in the cooler winter and spring months, bringing tons of water and conserving it for the uphill hike, and leaving your dog at home even though they are welcome on leash. Permits required before entering the trailhead. Located at 15519 Thornbush Road in Ramona.

San Diego Events Calendar – June 2018

Check out the fun activities San Diego has to offer this month in our Calendar of Events! Be sure to take advantage of the free museum days listed at the bottom of the second page. What activities will you be doing this month?


What Is A Granny Flat And Why Is Now A Great Time To Build One In San Diego?

What is a granny flat?

A “granny flat” is an additional living unit added to a property that already has an existing residence. Granny flats often have their own entrance, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. A granny flat can be used as an income producing rental unit or simply a place for guests and family to stay with a little more privacy from the main house.

Other names for granny-flats include “in-law suite”, “rental unit”, “guest house”, “companion unit”, or “accessory dwelling unit”.

The additional unit can be created by adding onto an existing home, an existing home can be divided in a way to create multiple living units, or a new living unit can be built as a separate structure, often in a backyard. Granny flats are commonly built above a garage, or located in a basement or attic where it is easy to section off the living quarters.

Why is now a great time to build a granny flat in San Diego?

Until late April 2018 the cost to build a granny flat was more than $40,000 in government fees alone for some San Diego residents, according to NBC News San Diego. The large cost in fees in addition to the cost of construction were sometimes seen as prohibitive, discouraging some residents from building granny flats. Fortunately, the San Diego City Council voted at the end of April to lower the cost of building granny flats by more than 60% by waiving three of the required government fees to build granny flats.

The measures approved by the City Council make it easier to build granny flats and speed up the permit process for the construction of new homes. According to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the move is designed to remove “barriers to encourage the construction of new units that San Diegans can actually afford”, by lowering fees and making it easier for residents to build more living units.

Housing prices in San Diego have been going up for years and according to City officials the average price to buy a home in San Diego now exceeds $550,000 and the average rent is now over $1700 making San Diego one of the most expensive cities to live in the country. Adding granny flats increases the available housing inventory, which should help lower the cost of rents in San Diego, or at least help slow the increase.

Benefits to having a granny flat

  • Privacy and separation from main home and granny flat
  • Can be income-producing if rent is charged to those living in the granny flat
  • Rental income can serve as passive income to help pay down the mortgage faster
  • Rental income can be saved to buy another income-producing home faster


What do you think? Would you build a granny flat? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Local Guide to San Diego – Parks

San Diego has so many great outdoor activities, and one of our favorites is exploring local parks. We’ve organized the following list of nine parks into those that have great views, are great for kids, or are the best for dogs.

We hope this list of popular parks inspires you to get out and enjoy some fun in the sun with your friends and family!

Great Views

Crown Point ParkLarge grass area next to a beautiful sandy beach, with a wide paved pathway leading from Mission Bay to Mission Beach.  Spend the day using picnic tables, barbecue grills, and fire rings. Located at Crown Point Drive in San Diego.

Ellen Browning Scripps ParkA large picturesque grassy park with gorgeous ocean views. Close to multiple sandy beaches usually full of seals basking in the sun. Be sure to check out La Jolla Cove and the Children’s Pool, or walk along the Coast Walk Trail to La Jolla Shores. Located at 1100 Coast Boulevard in La Jolla.

Point Loma Tide Pools Explore the rocky intertidal zones and tide pools while watching the waves crash on the cliffs at the Southern end of the Cabrillo National Monument Park. Who knows what little creatures you may discover! Late Fall and Winter are the recommended seasons to visit because the tide is low during daylight hours. Requires a small hike along the Coastal Tidepool Trail to get to the tide pools from the parking area, so wear comfortable shoes. We also recommend dressing in layers! May be a small fee to enter Cabrillo National Monument, but there is a lot to see here. Learn about the park’s namesake by visiting Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s statue and the Visitor’s Center full of artifacts and exhibits. Enjoy beautiful views of Downtown, with the chance to observe Pacific Gray Whales from December to February! Located at 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive in San Diego.

Great For Kids

Waterfront Park Offers a huge children’s play area, interactive splash fountains, and several picnic areas. Bring a bathing suit! Located right next to San Diego Bay at 1600 Pacific Highway in Downtown San Diego.

Silver Terrace Mini Park A great small playground in Mission Valley with a swing set, a little sand pit, and a relatively large lawn. Offers picnic tables and a barbecue. Rarely crowded, especially during weekdays. Located at 5550 Friars Road in San Diego across from the YMCA.

Mission Bay Park Multiple playgrounds, swing sets, and sandy areas for kids to explore. Plenty of grassy areas for picnics and kite flying, and a wide path along the beach perfect for a long stroller ride. Located at 2688 East Mission Bay Drive in San Diego.

Best For Dogs

Fiesta Island Dog Park Our favorite dog park in San Diego, Fiesta Island Dog Park is a completely off-leash park surrounded by Mission Bay on three sides and a fence on the other. Walk along the beaches and let your dog swim in the bay, or stay up higher on the cliff edges and grassy areas. Beautiful bay views, especially at sunset. Located on the southwest end of Fiesta Island at 1750 Fiesta Island Road in San Diego.

Mission Trails Regional Park Part of a gorgeous 5800 acre open space nature preserve with multiple trails for all levels of walking and hiking, and even rock climbing. Dogs are welcome in the park but must be on a leash at all times. Located at 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail in San Diego.

Morely Field Dog Park An open dog park where dogs can enjoy playing off-leash in a partially grass and dirt area. Recommended for dogs that are good with voice commands, as the park is not fenced. The dog park connects to the Florida Canyon Nature Trails for some easy and fun hiking, but requires dogs to be on leash. Located in Balboa Park at 2225 Morely Field Drive in San Diego.

San Diego Events Calendar – March 2018

Check out the fun activities San Diego has to offer this month in our Calendar of Events! Be sure to take advantage of the free museum days listed at the bottom of the second page. What activities will you be doing this month?

San Diego Events Calendar – March 2018
San Diego Events Calendar – March 2018

Dean Team Meet & Greet


Do you have real estate questions? Come stop by our Meet & Greet and chat with us!

The Dean Team Meet & Greet is a casual gathering for you to have your real estate questions answered, chat about your neighborhood’s housing market, meet the team, and enjoy some coffee and donuts!

We’ll have packets of information for sellers and buyers,  print outs of the status of the housing market in San Diego, and sample listing agreements and sample purchase agreements. Learn how to buy a home, or learn how to prepare for selling your home.

If selling or buying residential real estate is new to you, or maybe it’s been a while, stop by and we can answer any questions you have.

Hope to see you there!

Dean Team Meet & Greet

Saturday, February 10, 2018
11am – 1pm. Stop by for a few minutes or stay the whole time.

Pacific Sotheby’s Mission Hills Office
810 West Washington Street
San Diego, CA 92103