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Rancho Santa Fe Neighborhood Guide: Rancho Del Lago

Rancho Del Lago: Rancho Santa Fe, Ca

Rancho Del Lago is home to some of the most prestigious properties in North County and is adjacent to two other highly sought-after Rancho Santa Fe neighborhoods: The Covenant and The Bridges. Well-manicured, luxury estates on at least four acres with many amenities are the norm, and the residents living in this exclusive enclave’s 43 homes enjoy the privacy and security of a 24-hour guard at the gate.

This affluent community is located within the coveted 92067 ZIP code, which consistently ranks among the most expensive in the country. Residents here have a median household income of $105,266 and an average household net worth of $1,101,682 ( Ninety-percent of residents are married, one-third are married couples with children, and 82% of residents over the age of 18 have at least a bachelors degree.

According to, the average home price at this time in the 92067 ZIP code is $2,899,500; however, it should be noted that the most affordable homes in Rancho Del Lago start at more than $3,500,000.

Rancho Del Lago offers a luxury, semi-rural lifestyle in a very private setting on gently sloping land with orange groves and views of the San Dieguito Reservoir. Within a short drive, residents can enjoy exclusive country clubs, golf courses, boutique shopping, locally owned eateries and state-of-the-art equestrian centers. The beaches of Encinitas and Solana Beach are about 15 minutes away, downtown San Diego is about a 30-minute drive, and you will find miles of hiking, biking and riding trails just minutes away.


Rancho Del Lago was first developed by John Desha, who took 185 acres of one of the largest privately held Valencia orange groves in San Diego County and transformed it into 43 luxury home sites. Once known as Johnston Ranch, this land is now home to some of the most exclusive properties in the Rancho Santa Fe area of North County.

Most of the homes in this small community were constructed from 1984 into the 1990s.


A guarded gate adds to the security and privacy enjoyed by residents in Rancho Del Lago’s 43 custom homes on lots ranging in size from four to 5.5 acres. Most of the luxury estates in this exclusive community have swimming pools, tennis courts, guest houses or guest quarters, family orchards and views of the San Dieguito Reservoir. Many have additional amenities, including putting greens, solar panels and home theaters. Orange groves between the homes enhance the privacy of these large estates even more.

Homes offer a minimum of 4,000 square feet of living space with some of the more expansive estates spreading well beyond 15,000 square feet. You should not expect to see anything in this gated community listed at less than about $3,500,000, and do not be surprised if you see one of the more opulent estates on the market for upwards of $15,000,000 (or even $20,000,000, depending on the market).

There are four homes for sale in Rancho Del Lago at the time of this writing, ranging in price from $3,988,000 to $9,994,000.

The most affordable home (listed at $3,988,000) is a seven bedroom, eight bathroom, 9,377-square-foot home on four acres with a swimming pool, putting green, tennis court, guest house, and detached game room and gym with a guest apartment.

The highest-priced home on the market at this time (listed at $9,994,000) is a seven bedroom, eight bathroom, 15,000-square-foot home on four acres with two offices, a game room, a media room, a wine cellar, a swimming pool, a pool house, a conservatory, a pond, a tennis court and a five-car garage.

Rancho Santa Fe Village Shopping Area

Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment

Shopping and dining in The Village is part of the Rancho Santa Fe lifestyle. This is where you will meet your friends at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for lunch at Morada or Mille Fleurs before you head over to Country Squire Gifts & Linens, Country Friends Shop or Celeste’s for some boutique shopping. You might also stop by Rancho Santa Fe Book Cellar to browse the shelves for an intriguing read, find a delightful adornment at John Matty Co., or search for a special piece at The McNally Company Antiques.

You can also find some everyday essentials here, such as a post office, pharmacy, several banks and a village market, and there are several professional offices and dining options. What you cannot find here, you may be able to find in the handful of offerings at the Del Rayo Village shopping center, and you will certainly want to stop here on Sundays between 9:30am and 2:00pm for the Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market.

Near the gate of the Cielo neighborhood to the east, you will find Cielo Village, which is just starting to offer eateries, professional services and shops in a quaint atmosphere designed to look and feel like an old-world village in Northern Italy. While there are not yet a lot of options here, this is sure to be a local favorite very soon.

These smaller, village-based shopping centers offer delightful shopping and dining experiences in a small-town atmosphere, but there is bound to come a time when you need to run some bigger errands, such as regular grocery shopping, taking your dog to the vet or finding some fluffier towels. On these days, you will likely find yourself making the short drive to 4S Ranch or Encinitas for their expanded options.

4S Ranch is where you will find the 4S Commons Town Center and 4S Ranch Village Center. This area is where you are going to head for your Starbucks fix, Ralphs, Cost Plus World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS Pharmacy, Jimbo’s…Naturally!, Petpeople, 4 Paws Animal Hospital and more. There are also several banks, gas stations and restaurants here, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Miguel’s Cocina and Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

If you would rather head towards the beach for your shopping excursions, Encinitas has lots to offer. West Village Shopping Center is at the heart of the first shopping area you will find. In this area, there is Grangetto’s Farm & Garden Supply, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Meritage Wine Market, Harvest Ranch Market, Back to Basic Foods and a few more offerings. If you travel a few more minutes to the much larger shopping area running along both sides of South El Camino Real, you will find several shopping centers with just about anything you could ever need. Village Square Shopping Center, Camino Real Shopping Center, El Camino Promenade, Weigand Plaza Shopping Center and Camino Village Plaza are just a few of your options. In this area you will find HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Sprouts Farmers Market, Vons, Kohl’s, Ross Dress for Less, Target, Trader Joe’s, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Michaels and lots more. Some of the restaurants in the area include Native Foods Cafe, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Borrelli’s Pizza & Italian Food, Jorge’s Mexicatessen, Firefly Grill & Wine Bar, Pizzicato, Sushi House, Isabelle Briens French Pastry Cafe, Rosanna Pasta and Mexico Viejo.

The Bridges Club House from the 18th Tee

Parks & Recreation

New residents of Rancho Del Lago will likely be interested in joining the exclusive, invitation-only country club, The Bridges. Located in the adjacent community of The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, this prestigious club is minutes away from Rancho Del Lago and offers its members an array of enticing amenities. Golfers can enjoy a course designed by the Robert Trent Jones II Group, a pro shop and practice facilities. If you prefer spending an afternoon on the court, rather than the green, the club also has five lighted tennis courts, tennis pros, a pro shop, tennis teams and clinics.

The recreation center at the club has a bocce court, squash court, volleyball court, playground, art room, a multipurpose field and a multipurpose sports court. There is also a full fitness center, a lap pool, a children’s pool, casual and fine dining, concierge and travel arrangement services, access to private jets and access to state-of-the-art medical facilities.

The Crosby Golf Club is just a little farther from Rancho Del Lago and is another option residents may find appealing. While this club does not offer the same level of amenities as The Bridges, members do enjoy an upscale, country club setting with a fitness center, social events, tennis courts, a swimming pool, casual and fine dining, a golf course, a pro shop, a driving range, and chipping and putting greens.

Other nearby country clubs include The Santaluz Club, The Farms Golf Club, Del Mar Country Club, Morgan Run Club & Resort, Lomas Santa Fe Country Club and The Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.

North County, in general, is a very horse-friendly area, and Rancho Santa Fe is even more so. Therefore, there are many boarding and training stables within a short drive of Rancho Del Lago. Some of the equestrian centers closest to the neighborhood include Willow Creek Stables, Dove Hollow Dressage Center, Mega Arte Riding Academy, Blue Fox Farm, Surfside, Royal Oak Stables, Kalimar Farms Equestrian School, Rancho El Camino Equestrian Center, Ridgemar Equestrian Center, Seabreeze Farms, Concord Equestrian Center and the San Diego Polo Club.

Golf Cart

Lake Hodges, which is located to the east, is one of the closest outdoor recreational areas where residents and visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, picnicking, and hiking and riding trails. Continuing on Del Dios Highway, you will then come to the 784-acre Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, which is home to 11 miles of hiking trails. Park rangers offer educational programs and guided tours, and visitors can enjoy some fantastic views, including views of the Channel Islands and Coronado Islands on a clear day.

A bit farther on Del Dios Highway is the 774-acre Del Dios Highlands Preserve, which is part of the County of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program. While it is possible to see wildlife while hiking any of the miles of trails in North County, this nature preserve is a particularly good option for hikers hoping to spot raptors.

Black Mountain Open Space Park requires a slightly longer drive, but it is well worth a few extra minutes to visit this 2,352-acre park that is home to miles of riding and hiking trails, the 1,554-foot summit of Black Mountain and views ranging from the ocean to downtown San Diego.

Within a short drive, there is also San Elijo Lagoon, offering the San Elijo Nature Center, guided nature walks, day camps and hiking trails where visitors can view more than 700 species of flora and fauna in the protected wetlands.

Other nearby attractions of interest to folks who love the outdoors include several beaches, San Diego Botanic Garden, Batiquitos Lagoon, Rancho La Costa Reserve, Crest Canyon Park, and the 125-acre San Dieguito County Park with hiking trails, exercise stations, picnic areas, a basketball court and an accessible baseball field.



Most public school students living in Rancho Del Lago attend Roger Rowe Elementary and Middle School in the Rancho Santa Fe School District, followed by Torrey Pines High School in the San Dieguito Union High School District.

North County private schools within driving distance include The Rhoades School, Encinitas Country Day School, Rancho Encinitas Academy, The Grauer School, Maranatha Christian School, Pacific Academy, Horizon Prep, Santa Fe Christian School, Diegueno Country School, Cathedral Catholic High School and San Diego Jewish Academy.


Rancho Del Lago shares its southern border with The Covenant, is east of the Groves neighborhood, is directly south from The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, and is west of the neighborhoods of Rancho La Cima and Via Del Charro.

Additional Information

If you have a larger home-buying budget and are looking for a truly special property for your primary residence or vacation home, the exclusive community of Rancho Del Lago may be right for you.

To learn more about nearby North County neighborhoods, check out these previous articles:


Photo Credits (in order of appearance): 2015 Google/2015 INEGI; Wikimedia Commons/Tuxyso; Wikimedia Commons/Josephramos; morgueFile, taliesin; morgueFile, cohdra Real estate and demographic information gathered from, and

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+