Mission Beach. The water’s only a bit cooler, and the beaches are relatively uncrowded.
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Warm Water Temperatures, into the ’70s Fahrenheit over the past several weeks, won’t last much longer. As fall approaches, shorter days and increasingly oblique solar radiation will mean that less and less energy will be supplied to the ocean waters offshore. These waters will soon be shedding more thermal energy than they receive, thereby keeping the coastal area comfortably balmy for several weeks after the end of the summer- vacation season. Don’t give up on the beach after Labor Day — the water’s only a bit cooler, and the beaches are relatively uncrowded

The unique geology of Black Mountain — the one in Ramona, not the shorter Carmel Valley peak — makes it a good place to find rare plants.

The unique geology of Black Mountain — the one in Ramona, not the shorter Carmel Valley peak — makes it a good place to find rare plants.

The Chaparral, the tangled assortment of low-growing, drought-resistant native shrubs covering most of San Diego County’s lower mountain slopes, has managed to remain somewhat green this summer. Unlike many of the scrubby natives near the coast, chaparral plants tend to hang on to their leaves year-round. This month, the coppery, sun-burnished remnants of last spring’s flower clusters are still clinging to the tips of buckwheat and chamise plants. A few wildflowers may have popped up here and there in response to any recent thunderstorm activity over the foothill and mountain areas. To enjoy the austere beauty of the chaparral landscape, explore the hillsides above Lake Morena and along Lyons Valley, Japatul, and Boulder Creek roads in East County. Or head inland from Escondido toward Ramona or Valley Center.

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