At the heart of North County lies the historic city of Escondido, ('hidden' in spanish), one of the oldest settlements in San Diego County. Incorporated as a city in 1888, Escondido boasts not only a mild climate but a diverse economy based on agriculture, tourism, retail, high tech and light industry. It has one of the highest 'Real Estate appraisal ratings' in the county, since the population began to steadily rise in the 70ies. To the north of Escondido you will find the rural town of Valley Center with its sprawling ranches and million dollar home developements. Valley Center is also home to the burgeoning native American casino industry with Las Vegas style resorts like Harah's Rincon Resort & Casino. Local recreation areas include Dixon Lake, Lake Hodges and Lake Wohlford offering fishing and boating year round. Escondido is also home to 'Wild Animal Park', Lawrence Welk's 'Welk Resort' and Escondido's own Center for the Performing Arts. Enjoy 'Cruising Grand' during the summer months on Escondido's famous Grand Ave., in the heart of downtown. The Escondido Union School District is comprised if 19 elementary schools, 5 middle schools and 7 high schools. For more information on Escondido, please visit the attached area links.