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North County Neighborhood Guide: 4S Ranch

4S Ranch Sign

4S Ranch is a master-planned community in North County San Diego. Although homes and businesses have San Diego addresses, 4S Ranch is 25 miles away from downtown, is more often considered part of the Rancho Bernardo community and is within the coveted Poway Unified School District. It is officially an unincorporated community with residential neighborhoods built around the 4S Commons Town Center.

Residents of this affluent neighborhood enjoy a community garden, several parks, dedicated open space with 10 miles of hiking trails, a medical center, in-community schools, sports leagues, community groups and events, and two shopping centers with stores, restaurants and services.


Captain John Snook is the first European to own the land that is now 4S Ranch. Because he became a Mexican citizen after immigrating to California and converting to Catholicism, he was able to receive the Mexican land grant that gave him the 17,000-acre Rancho San Bernardo in 1842. The land remained under his wife’s ownership after his death and was divided and sold upon her death in 1860. The land that is now 4S Ranch eventually came into the hands of the Albert Ralphs family (of the Ralphs grocery chain) in 1938, at which time the land was developed for agricultural use.

It was not until the 1970s that plans for a master-planned community began to take form, and approval to develop the first 634 acres of the community were approved in 1984. Housing development began in the early 2000s.

The 4S Ranch Village Center shopping center opened in 2003, and the 4S Ranch Commons Town Center opened in 2006. The 4S Health Center opened in 2012.

View of 4S Ranch from Black Mountain


4S Ranch is a master-planned community offering detached and attached single-family homes, including townhouses, condominiums, apartments and detached houses. This upscale community is one of the most sought after neighborhoods in San Diego County and is particularly well known for being considered a safe, affluent, family-friendly community. It is also well known for being one of just a handful of Southern California communities with homes built with Shelter in Place construction, which is designed to keep homes safe from the wildfires that are all too common in this part of the state.

There are many smaller neighborhoods built by different developers within 4S Ranch, which provides a wider price range for potential buyers hoping to find their dream home in this area. For those who are not ready to buy, luxury apartment living can be found at The Reserve at 4S Ranch with one-bedroom apartment homes starting at just over $1,500 at the time of this writing. The Reserve also participates in limited income programs to offer affordable housing.

In total, there are approximately 4,700 homes in 4S Ranch. The Gianni and Bridgeport subdivisions offer condominiums, and the Ravenna and San Moritz communities have townhouses ranging in size from approximately 1,300 square feet to just over 1,600 square feet. Detached, single-family homes located in the subdivisions found throughout 4S Ranch range in size from about 1,200 square feet to luxury estates more than 4,500 square feet in size.

There is a master homeowners’ association for all of 4S Ranch with HOA fees that help maintain the community parks and common areas. Some of the subdivisions also have their own homeowners’ associations with additional fees. All of the homes in 4S Ranch are subject to Mello Roos.

At the time of this writing, there are a few attached homes for sale in the $300,000s and $400,000s, and detached homes start in the mid-$600,000s. Most detached homes on the market have listing prices between about $800,000 and $1,180,000.

4S Ranch Commons Town Center

Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment

The main shopping hub in 4S Ranch is the 4S Ranch Commons Town Center. This large shopping center is home to a variety of stores and services that make it possible to take care of most of your everyday essentials without having to leave the neighborhood.

The 4S Ranch Commons Town Center includes Ralphs, Jimbo’s…Naturally, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, Ulta Beauty, Ace Hardware, Petco Unleashed, CVS Pharmacy, Fine Men’s Salon, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, Point Loma Credit Union, a nail salon, a tanning salon and more. There are also chiropractic, dental and eye care services, as well as a daycare. Eateries at the 4S Commons include Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Baskin Robbins, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Jamba Juice, Daphne’s Greek Cafe, Brett’s BBQ, Wendy’s, Miguel’s Cocina, Napizza, Pei Wei Asian Diner and Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

At the junction of Camino del Norte and Dove Canyon Road, there is the 4S Ranch Village Center with more offerings, including a post office, gas station, animal hospital, optometrist, pet store and other shops and services. Restaurants in this shopping center include Pitas & Burger, Starbucks, Sushi on the Rock, Los Primos Mexican Food, SUBWAY and Sweet Things Frozen Yogurt.

Shopping and dining options expand considerably just a short drive away along Interstate 15.

Heritage Park

Parks & Recreation

There are plenty of parks and recreational opportunities in and around this affluent, active community. If you prefer more organized activities, there are businesses like North County Gymnastics, Kid Ventures 4S Ranch, and Bounce California Gymnastics and Tumbling Center, as well as several fitness and training centers, such as CrossFit Barracks, Yoga Six, Frozen Ropes, LA Fitness, Studio SWEAT and United Studios of Self Defense. There are also several active youth sports programs, including the 4S Ranch Youth Soccer Association, 4S Ranch Youth Football & Cheer, 4S Ranch Little League and 4S Ranch Girls Softball. Plus, there is a youth volleyball league and basketball leagues for youth and adults.

4S Ranch is also home to many community groups and clubs, and if there is not one that perfectly suits your needs, you are sure to find some neighbors willing to join a new one. Just a few examples of the clubs and community groups currently active in 4S Ranch include the Vihangam Yoga Meditation Club, 4S Ranch Women’s Book Club, 4S Ranch Moms’ Group, Craft Buddies, 4S Ranch Cycling Club, Evening Walking Club, Ballroom and Social Dance Club, The Green Thumb Garden Club, Isha Yoga Club, 4S Tennis Club, The Knitting Club and The Guitar Club.

Boys and Girls Club in 4S Ranch

When kids are not cooling off at the incredibly popular Splash Pad at Pioneer Park, there are plenty of other community spaces for them to enjoy. 4S Ranch Community Park is located at 16118 4S Ranch Parkway and is open daily from sunrise to sunset. This three-acre park has a gazebo, picnic areas, lighted bocce ball courts and a playground.

4S Heritage Park, which is located at 16789 Deer Ridge Road is also open from sunrise to sunset. This 5.54-acre community gathering place has two playgrounds, two basketball courts, picnic areas and walking paths.

The 2.08-acre 4S Homestead Park is located at 9989 Fox Valley Road, is open from sunrise to sunset and has picnic areas, a playground and a grass field.

The 5.75-acre 4S Patriot Park located at 10502 Paseo de Linda is also open from sunrise to sunset and has two playgrounds, two basketball courts, picnic areas and four acres of turf.

The 4S Ranch branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego provides additional recreational opportunities for youth through after school programs that focus on life skills, sports, fitness and recreation, arts and leadership development.

About 1,600 acres of land within 4S Ranch has been permanently designated as wildlife habitat, which provides green space and natural scenery, as well as about 10 miles of trails for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Other nearby North County attractions include Del Dios Highlands Preserve, Lake Hodges, the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Del Norte High School


Residents of 4S Ranch are served by the high-ranking Poway Unified School District. Most public school students living in this community attend the two elementary schools, middle school and high school located within 4S Ranch: Monterey Ridge Elementary, Stone Ranch Elementary, Oak Valley Middle School and Del Norte High School.


4S Ranch is located west of Rancho Penasquitos and Rancho Bernardo, north and east of Black Mountain Ranch and south of Lake Hodges.

Additional Information

4S Ranch is one of the most sought after areas in San Diego County and is a family-friendly, close-knit community with higher-income families who appreciate a clean, safe, well-governed living environment. Not everyone can afford to live in this fashionable enclave of homes, but for those who can, this affluent neighborhood offers an upscale lifestyle with access to North County attractions, downtown San Diego and the beach.


The photograph of the view of 4S Ranch from Black Mountain is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Peard33. All other photographs 4S Ranch are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Dlbreaux.

AJ Davis-Varela: AJ is a freelance writer and blogger at Articles by AJ specializing in travel, real estate, natural wellness and green living. She is a magazine columnist, a former San Diego newspaper columnist, has been published in a variety of print and online publications, and regularly contributes to several websites and blogs. You can connect with AJ on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+