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21 Things You Don’t Know About San Jacinto, CA

Tonya Prater, Owner

I’ve spent time in San Jacinto, CA on multiple occasions, and have discovered that this wonderful destination is the ideal place for anyone to visit and relax in Southern California.  There are many little-known things about this hidden area of the region that I am excited to share with you.

21 things you don't know about San Jacinto Valley, CA but should.

21 Things You Don’t Know About San Jacinto, CA

Remember that San Jacinto Valley is nestled about halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles.  For anyone wishing to see those popular destinations in California, it makes perfect sense for your home base while traveling to be San Jacinto, CA.  However, with the list below, you’ll find that this area holds much more than just a stop along the way for travelers.  It has its own unique history and appeal. You’re sure to fall in love with the valley, just like I have.

  1. The Santa Fe Depot is located in Hemet in San Jacinto Valley: This historic structure in San Jacinto Valley is a great look into the history of the railroad.  The museum offers a ton of information and is a great educational destination.
  2. San Jacinto Valley is an Ideal Snowbird Destination:  I think San Jacinto Valley offers the best location for snowbirds to stay in the entire state. It is close to many popular attractions but also has that small town quiet feeling many are looking for when getting out of the colder states during winter.
  3. It’s within driving distance of beaches.  If you want the beach scene for a bit, grab your bag and take a simple day trip to any of the beaches located along the coast of California.  A short drive away and you’ll find breathtaking coastal views.
  4. San Jacinto Valley is the home of many Native Americans:  This is one region of California that was heavily populated with Native Americans. In fact, just east of San Jacinto, CA is the Sobobo Indian Reservation.  This entire valley is rich in Native American history.
  5. It’s within driving distance of fabulous wineries:  A great glass of wine with dinner is a must, but when in San Jacinto Valley, tool over to Temecula and take a look at the many local wineries within the area.
  6. It is home of the Historic Victorian Bridal Museum:  If you are a lover of the Victorian Era (and who isn’t?), this fun museum shows you some beautiful gowns used as wedding attire.  There are fun little tidbits of information throughout, and it makes a great stop along the way.
  7. Idyllwild has gone to the dogs: Max the Mayor is a Golden Retriever that takes his responsibilities seriously. He’s often seen in his official vehicle happily welcoming visitors to the area.
  8. The Ramona Bowl is located in San Jacinto Valley:  This amazing outdoor theater shows the play adapted from the book written by Helen Hunt Jackson.  It is full of history about the Native Americans in this region and is a great read as well as event to attend.
  9. It boasts an amazing art scene:  With multiple outlets for both visual and audio art, San Jacinto, CA is a great destination for those who are looking for an artistic vibe.
  10. It offers amazing authentic tacos:  While it may not have the well-known 5-star restaurants of Los Angeles, it does have some of the best authentic taco shops you’ll ever find.  Along with that, the wineries in the area offer great tastings. There’s also an In-n-Out, which for us Midwesterners, is kind of a big deal.
  11. The Western Science Center is a great destination for Earth history:  Fossils abound here leaving visitors excited to find out more about the history of the Earth and the science behind the changes that have taken place over the centuries.
  12. Gilman Hot Springs is the home of the Church of Scientology:  For those interested in the various interesting facts of the region, Gilman Hot Springs in San Jacinto Valley houses the headquarters for the much talked about Church of Scientology.
  13. It’s a great location to pick up antiques and handcrafted items:  With downtown areas in the San Jacinto Valley region full of local handmade wares, antique shops, and unique boutiques, it is ideal for shopping.
  14. You can stay in a tiny house at Golden Palms RV Resort:  In Hemet, you can enjoy a luxurious stay at Golden Village Palms RV Resort that offers rentals of gorgeous tiny houses designed for 1-2 people.
  15. You’ll find amazing hiking trails and outdoor adventures:  While the desert heat may be tough some months of the year, heading to San Jacinto Valley in the winter is a great time to go hiking and really explore the region.
  16. Diamond Valley Lake offers water time:  While a man-made reservoir lake, you’ll find Diamond Valley Lake a great place to cool off in the summer and fun for locals and tourists alike. You’re not permitted to swim in the lake, but the lake is great for boating. You can fish, or sit back and enjoy the boat ride and the gentle breeze. An added bonus is that the lake has floating restrooms for boaters. How cool is that?
  17. The California Equine Retirement Foundation: Located in the SJV, this ranch is home to retired race horses who would normally be slaughtered at the end of their career. They live on the ranch for the rest of their days.
  18. Taste La Michoacana 100% Natural: According to locals, one could eat the all natural ice creams and desserts every day and still lose weight. Try the Mango Mangonada for an especially delicious treat.
  19. The CSA Hall of Fame is located in SJV: Learn how to play shuffleboard at the California Shuffleboard Association Hall of Fame that is located at the Golden Springs RV Resort.
  20. Hollywood has been drawn to Idyllwild: This artsy community located in the San Jacinto Mountains has welcomed Hollywood on numerous occasions. Elvis fans trek to this small town to seek out the filming location of Kid Galahad and if you grew up watching Bonanza re-runs, you may be interested to know that the opening scene was filmed on Garner Ranch.
  21. SJV is an official Transpolar Landing Site: In 1937, an ANT-15  military reconnaissance plane left Moscow to the San Jacinto Valley in 62 hours and 17 minutes, establishing a world’s nonstop distance record of 6, 305 miles.

These things you didn’t know about San Jacinto, CA are ideal for making your next vacation a fun-filled event everyone will enjoy.

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Sunday 16th of September 2018

Just found this article. Very interesting. In your opinion, would you say this is a town worth considering as a retirement location for a single woman? Did the locals seem generally content or happy? Were they friendly? Any input would be most appreciated.


Rose Crow

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Sorry if this reply arrives late in answer to your question, however I! AM! that "single retired woman" who makes San Jacinto my permanent address!(being that I also still travel extensively), however I absolutely LOVE! San Jacinto and cannot recommend it enough for someone who enjoys owning a very large home at a fraction of what I paid in Mountain View, CA where I use to live. I personally chose San Jacinto BECAUSE I wanted a literal MANSION with a pool and great views of the mountains and the home builders in San Jacinto are able to make that happen for (literally) 1/10 th the cost of a home like mine anywhere else in southern California. Simply put? A $2,000,000 home where I used to live in Mountain View costs less than $300,000 in San Jacinto, with the added benefits of more land, less neighborhood noise, and better parking!

Tonya Prater

Friday 21st of September 2018

I've visited twice but not sure that I can answer your question fully. When I was there, I stayed at an RV park that was for adults only so that definitely felt like a great retirement community! :) San Jacinto isn't too far from LA but feels like a world apart. The people in the community have worked really hard to build up the area and make it what it is today. Do you have specific questions I can help you with? Feel free to email me at Protection Status
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