Salt & Wind Travel

Fallbrook California, Is One of San Diego’s Most Charming Small Towns

Fallbrook California

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We get it; there’s much to love about California’s major cities, from Los Angeles to San Francisco and San Diego. But don’t sleep on its smaller towns, like Fallbrook, California.

Where Is Fallbrook, California?

Fallbrook is a small city in northern San Diego County, among hills and farms. Specifically, find this under-the-radar gem off the major highway, the I-15, which is just south, less than 15 miles from Temecula and the Riverside County border. It’s accessible from interstate I-5, too, about seven miles east of Camp Pendleton.     

You might find yourself in this area on a road trip through California. It’s worth a stopover once you dig into its number of local food, wine, and natural options, all packed into a rural, vibrant town center.

Let’s get into where to eat, sip, get your wellness on, and more in Fallbrook, California.

California Avocados

What Is Fallbrook Famous For?

Fallbrook, California, became a burgeoning hub for many agricultural products, including avocados, beginning in the late 1800s. The area’s rich agricultural heritage includes everything from honey to olives, lemons, strawberries, tomatoes, and avocados. Fallbrook is an immensely popular avocado growing area and is now known as the “Avocado Capital Of The World!”

What To Do in Fallbrook

If you’re craving a stretch after all that driving in California, a Pilates class at Grove Pilates Studio & Boutique on North Main Avenue may hit all the right stiff spots. The combo of soothing blue backlit mirrors behind each reformer machine and modern farmhouse décor like natural light wood accents feels like a studio in Los Angeles or La Jolla, to be honest. 

The trailhead to the Santa Margarita River Trail is conveniently less than a ten-minute drive from Main Avenue for something outdoors like a nature walk or hike. It’s part of the Santa Margarita County Preserve and includes more than 10 miles of trails to explore. 

The five-mile river trail loop is interesting because a lot is going on, from climbing over some large boulders to walking beneath a canopy of expressive oak trees along the shallow river and the choice to cross it at some points. There are also opportunities to spot wildlife like turtles and ducks near the river and birds like egrets and the occasional osprey.

Where to Eat and Drink in Fallbrook

Most options are located Downtown along South Mission Road and its cross streets for food, caffeine, and more. 

Fallbrook Coffee Company

Morning coffee-seekers can go to Fallbrook Coffee Company for lattes and breakfast items like acai bowls and avocado toast. The coffee shop feels like a well-maintained cottage, with indoor seating and an inviting outdoor patio sprinkled with small bistro tables, shade trees, and a pond. 

The Hearth

The Hearth is a roomier place for croissant breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and espresso drinks, like its popular cinnamon-spiced Mexican Mocha. They also sell colorful flowers from a local farm, Brooktown Blooms, in case you want to add a color burst to your lodging. 

Bakin’ It Up

Bakin’ It Up also serves coffee beverages and pastries. However, if you’re on the go, you can make an online order for pick-up for a box of cinnamon rolls, or scones in flavors like lemon lavender or apricot almond, with locally made orange or guava jam.

Garden Center Cafe and Grill

For lunch and weekend brunch, there’s Garden Center Cafe and Grill. They do everything from salads to sandwiches for various dietary preferences, including an eggplant sandwich, a Mahi fish sandwich, a grilled raspberry chipotle chicken sandwich, and a classic French dip with roast beef and grilled onion. 

Casa Estrella

And what small towns like Fallbrook lack in upscale, trendy dinner restaurants, they totally make up for with Mexican comfort food restaurants like Casa Estrella. It’s got an outdoor patio to sip a margarita and dig into a large plate of enchiladas with rice and beans. 

The Mill

There’s also The Mill, which is a spruced-up abandoned barn with a charming patio. It does wood-fired pizzas and SD-local craft beers from Booze Bros. It also has a cute decor shop for home goods like ceramic serving bowls and throws blankets.

San Diego Winery

Wineries to Check Out In Fallbrook, California

When you think of wine and southern California, the Temecula region might be the go-to, but among the avocado groves, Fallbrook is home to several wineries too. The area has at least a dozen that offer weekend tastings with scenic views.

Warm, sunny days, cool nights, and a soil composition of mostly decomposed granite help the region make Bordeaux- and Rhone-style red and white varieties and more. Think Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Sauvignon Blanc to Syrah and Viognier.

For example, Fallbrook Winery is nestled between avocado groves and is known for its BDX Red Blend and Sangiovese. There’s also Monserate Winery, which was a former golf course, Myrtle Creek Vineyards, and Toasted Oak Vineyards and Winery.

Vineyard 1924 is more of an outdoor event venue that makes its estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and serves craft beers and cocktails. The place hosts regular themed, family-friendly day and evening events with live music and food options, like a weekly Sunday Funday and weekend corn hole tournaments.

Farmers Markets and Events in Fallbrook

Weekly Farmers Market

Main Avenue is home to Fallbrook’s farmers’ and makers’ market on Saturdays. Vendors come from across SoCal, like fruits and veggies from Canyon View Farms in Fallbrook to flowers from Mellano & Company.

Avocado festival

As far as annual events go, Fallbrook is most known for its Avocado Festival. Each year, the free event hosts live music and arts and crafts vendors (including an avocado art competition), and offers many avocado-related products.

So the next time you’re traveling through San Diego’s northeastern parts, know there are plenty of ways to eat, drink, shop local, and more in Fallbrook. Or, let us help you plan your custom trip.

Have Us Plan Your California Trip

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency that specializes in California vacation planning? If you’re looking to plan a wine country or road trip to California, our California trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.


Photo Credit: Opening photo by Jason Finn; avocado photo by Iv-olga; winery photo by Peter Palestini

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