The community of Bonsall is in northwest San Diego County (California), a quick 12 miles east of Pacific Ocean beaches and approximately 40 miles north of downtown metropolitan San Diego. It’s a tranquil area characterized by rolling hills, valleys, and thousands of acres of open spaces, lush green groves, and archetypal western style ranches and haciendas. Stunning vistas of distant mountains and the nearby Pacific Ocean abound.
Bonsall is defined by the Bonsall Community Plan area and it encompasses approximately 32.8 square miles, or approximately 21,042 acres. Bonsall is located in the foothills of the Peninsular Mountain Range in the unincorporated area of northern San Diego County and is decidedly rural. Residents like it that way. You’ll find lots of elbow room here, with most homes built on two acre or larger parcels. Much of the housing is upscale with many multi-million dollar estates and horse properties throughout the community. Yet, if you’re budget is between $500,000 to $1,000,000 you can buy a surprisingly gracious estate-like property. And for under $300,000, there are also very affordable condos, townhomes and smaller residential properties too, most of them situated near the San Luis Rey Downs County Club.
There are no large master-planned developments in Bonsall. In those instances where small subdivisions and neighborhoods have been developed, most are less than 100 homes and these developments are generally expansive tracts of large estate sized, low density properties. More than 90% of the land is zoned for lot sizes of two acres or more. In general, growth patterns in Bonsall have evolved from the area’s recent history as a farming and ranching community. It’s this organic growth that makes the place so charming. When you enter Bonsall, you step back to a slower, more genteel time in San Diego’s history.
The community was formerly anchored by Vessels Ranch, a magnificent 2,000-acre cattle ranch & stallion breeding farm nestled in a fertile valley along the San Luis Rey River. Purchased in the early 1980’s by a well know horse racing enthusiast, Scoop Vessels, the grandson of a wealthy Southern California oilman, the land was one of the last remaining intact Spanish land grants. in 2015, the Vessels estate was sold and it’s anticipated that a portion of this significant land holding will eventually be redeveloped to include up to 400 homesites. The growth of Bonsall is controlled in part by San Diego County’s Master Plan. The Bonsall component of the master plan, The Bonsall Community Plan (see map), calls for a predominance of low density, estate type, residential lots and agricultural/equestrian land uses.
Featured Neighborhoods & Residential Enclaves
Aquacate Ranch Area ($600,000 and up)
Lake Vista Estates Community ($1,000,000 to $3,500,000)
Hialea Estates ($700,000 to $2,000,000+)
Bonsall has some of the most “livable” weather on earth. Sunset Magazine’s “Western Garden Book”, places Bonsall in climate zone 23. It’s a year round temperate growing climate that is a gardener’s paradise. And this temperate weather also means that the climate is human friendly too. Bonsall has more sunshine days than the coast, which is typical for inland SoCal climates, but because of it’s unique topography, the region has relatively cool summertime highs. Almost every day, ocean breezes sweep up the San Luis River Valley bringing moderating temperatures inland. Air conditioning is almost unnecessary with summertime highs averaging in the mid 80s with low humidity levels. Winters are mild too with daytime temperatures in the low to mid 60s. Many winter days will have daytime highs in the 70s and sometimes the 80s. Bonsall has many micro-climates, which can reportedly cause temperature variations of as much as 5 degrees or more across the community.
For further information, to verify school district boundaries, or to enroll, contact the Bonsall Union School District
News Update: The Bonsall Union School District becomes the Bonsall Unified School District and will now include a Bonsall High School. More information click here (UT Article 8/9/2014).
Norm Sullivan Middle School (Grades 6-8) • 7350 West Lilac Road, Bonsall, 92003
Bonsall Elementary School (Grades K-5) • 31555 Old River Road, Bonsall, 92003
Bonsall West Elementary (Grades K-5) • 5050 El Mirlo Drive, Oceanside, CA 92057
Bonsall High School (Grades 9012) • 7350 West Lilac Road, Bonsall, 92003
Fallbrook High School (Grades 9-12) • 2400 South Stage Coach, Fallbrook, 92028 (Option)
Activities & Points of Interest
The Bonsall lifestyle favors outdoor pursuits. Big blue skys and open spaces are ideally suited to hobbyists and sports enthusiasts.
If you are a horse lover, Bonsall is for you. Many private equestrian properties can be found here and the horse business is in the region’s DNA.
San Luis Rey Training Center – The San Luis Rey Training Center (formerly known as San Luis Rey Downs) is a California Horse Racing Board approved auxiliary training track owned by Santa Anita Racetrack AKA Los Angeles Turf Club Inc.. The facility operates year round, providing trainers a permanent home in Bonsall’s tranquil rural setting. The track’s unique licensing status permits horses to be shipped to any track and raced the same day. The public can view horses in training. Spectators can sip “bring your own” coffee and watch training hours most mornings, typically between 5:30 to 11:00 am Monday through Saturday. There is no training on Sunday. For viewing, enter the main gate and take your first left. Proceed to the top of the hill. A simple spectator’s bench is located near the clocker’s tower. Located at 5772 Camino Del Rey, Bonsall, CA – Call the administration office at (760) 724-1098 prior to your visit to verify access requirements.
Horse Spirit Ranch – Equestrian and Boarding Facilities
Other Equestrian Facilities & Services: CONSULT THIS MAP
Bonsall is a gardener’s paradise. The weather is ideal for growing a wide variety of plants. And the climate makes tinkering in the garden comfortable most days of the year. The Fallbrook Gardening Club, based in neighboring Fallbrook, CA is one of the oldest and largest gardening clubs in California. Fallbrook, Bonsall, and Vista is a hub for commercial growing grounds. You are never far from a direct supplier of a wide variety of plant materials. Most gardeners say “the growing is easy”.
Bonsall is located in one of the world’s five Mediterranean climate zones, joining the South African Cape, Central Chile, South & Western Australia, and most counties bounding the Mediterranean Sea (Italy, Greece, etc). These areas are defined by lower humidities, abundant sunshine, mild temperatures and limited rainfall, with most precipitation occurring during the winter months. If a plant grows in one of these regions, it will grow in Bonsall.
See “Fallbrook Community Info” page for dozens of addition nearby activities, organizations, and recreational opportunities.
Bonsall (zip 92003):
Population in July 2007: 3,844.
Males: 1,945 (50.6%)
Females: 1,899 (49.4%)
County Of San Diego Community Plan Area Website
Hialeah Estates HOA Website
Bonsall Community Sponsor Group
Historical Weather Data For San Diego at Lindberg Field (40 Miles South)
Western Regional Climate Center Historical Data (COOP Stations)
NOAA Weather San Diego Homepage
City-Data Page on Bonsall
MesoNet Current Weather For San Diego
Tom Chester Area Info Website (outdated but useful)
Sunset Magazine’s Climate Zones Map and Description for San Diego County
Rawhide Ranch (37 acres) – Vintage Western Equestrian Camp Experience (since 1963)
Bonsall Topographical Map