In 1885, Hubert Bancroft bought the Spring Valley Ranch, and over the next decade turned what he dubbed Helix Farms into a thriving operation with orchards, homes and grazing lands. The Bancroft Ranch House still stands today, offering a bit of local history as a museum and a community meeting space.
Named after, wait for it, a nearby spring, this community has some historic roots. The water source attracted the native Kumeyaay a long, long time ago. Settlers arrived in the 1700s and named the area San Jorge. By the 1830s, the native people lost their home and the land was used primarily for sheep and cattle grazing. A few land sales later, the area was renamed Spring Valley, and the first post office was opened in 1885. Thanks to a Postal Service rule prohibiting two names on a post office, it was called the Helix Post Office after a small European snail, the Helix, discovered living on a nearby mountain. Today Spring Valley Lake stands as the largest unincorporated community in San Bernardino county and is home to about 8,220 residents, according to the 2010 census. At thirteen and a half square miles located just 11 miles east of the city of San Diego, this community is really made up of several smaller neighborhoods that, combined, create a region of over 100,000 residents. Don't expect sparse small town life here -- you're living in a suburb of a major American city. This area gives you the best of both worlds: quiet suburban life with modern amenities and well-planned communities and access to world class attractions and beach living just down the road. Who could ask for more?
Moving to Spring Valley Lake
The weather is never a worry in Spring Valley Lake; it's beautiful year round. And although San Diego is a world-class tourist destination, there's no single tourist season to interfere with this residential community consisting of mostly long-time locals who live and work in the greater San Diego area. Being a bit inland means you won't usually benefit from cool ocean breezes, but summer temperatures are manageable and dry. You'll never have to worry about the shirt-sticking humidity here!
Set yourself up for success when you search for apartments by using a trustworthy apartments locator to narrow your options. Contacting a Realtor might also be useful, especially if you're new in town. When you're ready to tour apartment complexes in Spring Valley Lake, come prepared with your proof of income, credit history, contact information for your references -- preferably from a previous landlord that can vouch for great you are -- and security deposit money so you can seal the deal when you find something you love.
Spring Valley Lake Neighborhoods
Spring Valley can be broken into various neighborhoods, each with their own residential and social offerings. Knowing what you want out of the neighborhood surrounding your abode is just as important as the perfect home itself, and being prepared will make the move that much easier.
Casa de Oro / Mount Helix: Located just north of Spring Valley, in southern El Cajon, this neighborhood is hilly and popular. Apts for rent can be found primarily on its southern edge along highway 94, giving you easy commuter access into San Diego. Never go hungry with a wide array of food options here including the ever popular Ranas Mexico City Cuisine to spice things up!
Rancho San Diego: Golfers should check out this area as it is home to Cottonwood and Steele Canyon Golf Clubs. One and two bedroom apartments as well as mid-size detached homes are available here. Book worms will also love the nearby Rancho San Diego Library.
La Presa: Located just south of Spring Valley, La Presa offers residential streets and great access to Sweetwater Reservoir and Sweetwater Regional Park -- a popular destination for day hikes and picnics as well as overnight camping. Rental properties here will be predominantly detached homes with 3 or 4 bedrooms.
Lemon Grove: Just West of Spring Valley, you'll know you've entered this older, established community thanks to the giant lemon that greets you at its borders. A former, wait for it again, lemon grove, Lemon Grove is a treasure trove of mid-century houses and long-time neighbors who will be more than happy to acquaint you with your new surroundings. Also located here is a taste of Southern cuisine with Coop's West Texas Barbecue, a hot spot with locals.
Living in Spring Valley Lake
Spring Valley Lake is part of Spring Valley. Locals may mean a few different things if they say they live in Spring Valley. Generally, it's the overarching name for a variety of communities in unincorporated La Mesa and El Cajon. There's something in the spring water here that makes great NFL players. Reggie Bush and Khalif Barnes both played high school football here and several San Diego Chargers players also call this area home. America's Got Talent host and Mr. Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, was born here too.
Spring Valley Lake and its sister communities are primarily of the bedroom variety: housing abounds, and dining and shopping lie along transit corridors or in La Mesa and El Cajon city centers. That said, nothing is too far a drive from most of the chain restaurants -- fast food and sit down -- you could want. Of course, for fine dining and endless options, San Diego is a short drive away and its thriving downtown offers no end of choices.
Major retail clusters around Routes 125, 94, and Interstate 8. Major malls, like the Mall of Victor Valley, are nearby offering all the stores you could want. There's not too much in the way of local boutique attractions here -- these are the modern suburbs, after all, not major urban living, but don't forget San Diego is only a short drive away.
When you want to see fewer of your neighbors, head outdoors to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, offering trails and great wildlife viewing of native flora and fauna. And, of course, the oceanfront paradise that is San Diego is a short trip down routes 94 or 54. San Diego Bay offers sailing, swimming, sunbathing, and strolling, as well as some surfing along the north county coast.
When out-of-town guests come to visit -- and of course, they will now that you live in such a great area -- you won't run out of things to do easily. Sea World remains a popular attraction for up-close contact with marine mammals, fish, and birds of all size and stripe. Legoland in northern San Diego County offers rides just right for the shorter set along with a water park for hot summer days and yet another aquarium for more scaly fun.
Don't miss Balboa Park and its many museums. The Fleet Science Center will make a scientist out of the most reluctant student with one hundred hands-on experiments and an IMAX Dome theater. The Air and Space Museum soars with historic aircraft and spacecraft from around the world, including the Apollo 9 spacecraft. Perhaps everyone's favorite Balboa Park attraction, however, is the San Diego Zoo. Unlike most other zoos in the country, San Diego's features acres and acres of natural habitats constructed along a hillside and into a valley to give animals comfortable homes and visitors a chance to watch them interact and play. Tram rides conserve your energy so you can make it through the park, as do hillside moving walkways and a skyway tram to whisk you from one side to the other with a bird's eye view.