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Rancho Santa Fe Neighborhood Guide: Rancho Del Rio

Rancho Del Rio Google Earth

The Rancho Del Rio neighborhood is just minutes from the Village of Rancho Santa Fe and offers a few unique features not found in most RSF communities.

The custom, ranch-style homes sit on large, private lots with views and plenty of amenities, such as swimming pools and horse facilities, which is much of what you will find in and around Rancho Santa Fe.

However, this is one of the area’s few luxury neighborhoods that is not gated, currently has no Mello Roos and has no formal homeowners association enforcing community-wide rules. These are the types of things that might be particularly appealing to folks with larger home-buying budgets who are interested in living in the coveted 92067 ZIP code without the formality of gates, the extra expenses of Mello Roos or the headaches of following a long list of rules.

Speaking of the 92067 ZIP code — which consistently ranks among the most expensive ZIP codes in the country — the median household income in this upscale area is $105,266 and the average household worth is $1,101,682 ( About 90% of residents are married (about 33.9% are married with children), and 82% of the residents over the age of 18 have at least a bachelors degree.

Close to country clubs, equestrian centers, hiking trails, open space, shopping, dining and so much more, this North County neighborhood is a great choice for families, professionals or retirees in search of a home base from which they can enjoy an upscale, active lifestyle.


Most of the custom homes in Rancho Del Rio were built in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s; however, you can also find newer homes in the neighborhood.

Horse Weathervane


There are fewer than 75 custom homes in Rancho Del Rio, which means it may be difficult to find your dream home for sale here. If you have your heart set on living in this horse-friendly Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood that is one of the few communities in this area without a gate and without a homeowners association, you will need to keep a close eye on the market and be ready to act fast.

I found just one home for sale in Rancho Del Rio at the time of this writing, which is a five bedroom, 4.5 bathroom, 6,450-square-foot home with a two bedroom guest house on a 1.75-acre lot listed at $3,250,000.

Homes here are on large lots and have plenty of room for swimming pools and horse facilities, although most Rancho Del Rio homes already have one or both of these options. Most of the homes also have beautiful views of the surrounding mountains or the golf course at The Crosby Club.

While the neighborhood has homes dating back to the 1960s, most of the homes in this neighborhood have been remodeled with upgrades and custom touches.

4S Ranch Commons Town Center

Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment

Rancho Del Rio residents are going to love Cielo Village once this quaint shopping center designed to look like an old-world village in Italy is fully occupied and offering dining, shopping and services just down the street.

As we anxiously await this exciting new option, we can, of course, continue to enjoy the locally owned cafes and boutique shopping offered just minutes away in The Village of Rancho Santa Fe. Dining options in this charming shopping area include The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s Mille Fleurs and Morada, as well as the Rancho Santa Fe Sandwich Shop, Rancho Santa Fe Bistro, Caffee Positano and Thyme in the Ranch. Some of the local shops include Rancho Santa Fe Flowers & Gifts, Rancho Santa Fe Pharmacy, Stumps Village Market, Rancho Santa Fe Book Cellar, Country Friends Shop and Country Squire Gifts & Linens. There is also a post office, several banks, a library and professional offices.

Also nearby is the smaller Del Rayo Village, which is home to a handful of shops and restaurants and is where locals come together on Sundays from 9:30am to 2:00pm for the Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market.

Shopping in The Village is part of the Rancho Santa Fe lifestyle, but sometimes locals need to leave RSF for everyday essentials and a wider selection of offerings. On these days, you can make the short drive to 4S Ranch where you will find 4S Ranch Commons Town Center and 4S Ranch Village Center. These nearby shopping centers are home to Ralph’s, CVS Pharmacy, a post office, banks, salons, Jimbo’s…Naturally!, gas stations, an animal hospital, a pet supply store, and other shops and services to fulfill most of your everyday needs. This is also where you will find fun stores like Cost Plus World Market and Bed, Bath & Beyond, as well as several restaurants, including coffee shops, sandwich shops, Mexican restaurants, fast food restaurants, a bakery, a sushi restaurant and the Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

Just past Interstate 15, you will find Rancho Bernardo Town Center, which is just a few more minutes away. This large shopping center and the area around it offer lots of everyday essentials, as well as some shops and restaurants you will not find in 4S Ranch, such as Big 5 Sporting Goods, GNC, Urge American Gastropub, The Kabob Shop and Carvers Steaks & Chops.

Folks who live in Rancho Del Rio do not have to travel far to run their regular errands or find something special, but those willing to drive just a few more miles can also enjoy the expanded shopping, dining and entertainment options in Solana Beach, Encinitas, La Jolla, Del Mar and downtown San Diego.

Lake Hodges Looking West

Parks & Recreation

Homes in Rancho Del Rio are on large parcels with room for swimming pools, tennis courts and horse facilities, so there may already be plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation on properties within this Rancho Santa Fe community. Of course, North County — in general — offers exceptional recreational areas, which means residents living in this area are never far from hiking and riding trails, golf courses, beaches, picnic areas and lots of other options.

Golf courses and country clubs within a short drive of Rancho Del Rio include The Crosby Golf Club, The Bridges, The Santaluz Club, The Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, The Farms Golf Club, Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, Lomas Santa Fe Executive Golf Course, Bernardo Heights Country Club, Maderas Golf Club, Morgan Run Club & Resort, Stoneridge Country Club and Del Mar Country Club.

Rancho Del Rio horse property allows residents to keep their horses at home, but if you are interested in local boarding or training stables, some of the equestrian centers in this area include Willow Creek Stables, Dove Hollow Dressage Center, Mega Arte Riding Academy, Blue Fox Farm, The Riding Club, Kalimar Farms Equestrian Center, Ridgemar Equestrian Center, Rancho El Camino Equestrian Center, Seabreeze Farms Equestrian Center, Harmony Grove Equestrian Center and Hunter Equestrian Center.

There is also the 65-acre Del Mar Horse Park, which is just a short drive away and somewhere horse lovers will probably frequent for horse shows and events throughout the year. Facilities here include boarding stables, riding schools, two jumping arenas, a dressage arena, four practice arenas and four show arenas.

Lake Hodges is one of the closest outdoor recreation areas and offers fishing, picnicking, boating and hiking trails. Just a bit farther up Del Dios Highway, you will find the 784-acre Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and the 774-acre Del Dios Highlands Preserve. Each of these offers miles of hiking trails, and the Del Dios Highlands Preserve is part of the County of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program, which makes this a particularly great spot for hikers to catch a glimpse of raptors or other wildlife.

If you are considering living in or visiting this area and love the outdoors, make sure you add Black Mountain Open Space Park to your list of things to see and do in North County. This 2,352-acre park has miles of trials for hiking, biking and horseback riding, and is where you will find some of the best views in this area. The 2.5-mile Miner’s Ridge Loop Trail is among the most popular and is moderately difficult. The Summit Trail, which can be accessed on Oviedo Way by Hilltop Community Park, is steep at times and not for everyone, but those who make the climb are rewarded with amazing views. On a clear day, the 360-degree views from the top include the ocean, mountains and downtown San Diego.

Within an easy drive, you will also find San Dieguito River Park, San Elijo Lagoon, Blue Sky Ecological Reserve and, of course, the area’s beautiful beaches.

Girl with Calculator


Public school students living in Rancho Del Rio generally attend Solana Santa Fe Elementary School in the Solana Beach School District, followed by Earl Warren Middle School and Torrey Pines High School in the San Dieguito Union High School District.

Private schools serving this North County neighborhood include Olivenhain Country Preschool, Maranatha Christian School, Village Nursery School, Diegueno Country School, Kinderhouse Montessori School, St. Bartholomew’s Preschool, Lifetime Montessori School, Incarnation Lutheran Preschool, Horizon Prep, The Graur School, Encinitas Country Day School, Cal Coast Academy, Notre Dame Academy, San Diego Jewish Academy, Cathedral Catholic High School and Santa Fe Christian School.

For extracurricular activities, there are several equestrian centers, music schools, art schools, dance studios and martial arts studios serving this area.


Rancho Del Rio is west of The Crosby Estates, east of Hacienda Santa Fe and just south of Del Dios Highway. It is just a few minutes east of The Covenant.

Additional Information

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

Photo Credits (in order of appearance): 2015 Google/2015 INEGI; morgueFile, DuBoix; Wikimedia Commons/Philkon; Wikimedia Commons/Dlbreaux; morgueFile, kakisky 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+