Sometimes families ask me for a park with a stream, sometimes it’s rocks to climb, or a shaded oak grove, and sometimes it’s a playground or hiking trails. This park has it all — and we discovered it quite by accident.
Directions to Felicita County Park: Off Interstate 15 at Via Rancho Parkway. Go in the opposite direction of the San Diego Safari Park – towards Lake Hodges. Turn right onto Felicita Road and look for the park entrance on your left. You will need to have 3 dollar bills handy to pay the machine for parking. (Address: 742 Clarence Lane, Escondido) MAP TO FELICITA PARK
We found the park on the way to take a hike near Lake Hodges. Since we are in the middle of a drought, the water level was low and the weather was hot. On our way back to our hotel, we saw the sign for Felicita County Park and stopped by. It was amazing. As you drive into the park, the main playground is on your right and there is parking along the stream on the way to the playground. Trails zig-zag all around this area north of the entrance. If you were to drive straight you would come upon a more open field and access to the trails on this upper/southern side of the park.
- You can park very close to nature play, so you don’t have to go far when you need the diaper bag
- Reminded me very much of my youth kicking around in streams and climbing rocks – and basically exploring every inch of a natural place
- According to the official website, this park is “listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its rich Native American and pioneer history.” The history is explained on interpretive signs lining the trails near the playground.
- Felicita Creek runs throughout the park and can be crossed by bridges or jumping over rocks. This is a great place for short hikes with little kids because you don’t have to go far to have an adventure.
- Just like I said at the beginning, the highlights for me are the rocks, stream, oak groves, interpretive signs, picnic areas, and playgrounds with access to restrooms! What more can you ask for?
- We saw white egrets wading in the creek.
- We saw some big dogs running off-leash which was a bit disconcerting when we were back on the trails amidst the trees with nowhere to go if a dog wasn’t friendly. Just be aware of your surroundings and do a little scan of the area before you set the kids free to explore.
- Just like any natural area, there are inherent risks from falls, or tripping, or wild animals (like rattlesnakes). Just be aware and have fun!
- The creek near the playground is a popular spot with the kids. There’s a chain-link fence up the creek which blocks access to the park from the housing on the other side. Every time my kids went up that way, there were other kids hanging out there.
- We didn’t actually play “in” the water – just around it.
- Two restroom buildings
- Small $3 fee for parking
- 2 playgrounds
- Horseshoe pits
- Picnic tables and grills throughout
- Official County of San Diego Felicita County Park page