Rancho Santa Fe is an affluent census-designated place in North County San Diego. The original master-planned community dates back to the 1920s, and homes within this community are now referred to as being in The Covenant, which helps to distinguish it from other residential communities commonly considered part of present-day Rancho Santa Fe.
In 2011, the 92067 zip code, which is home to Rancho Santa Fe, was ranked by Forbes as the fourteenth most expensive zip code in the country and the fourth most expensive zip code in the state. This is a bit of a drop from its 2007 ranking as the second most expensive zip code in the country and the most expensive zip code in the state. The 2010 estimated median household income was $188,859, and Rancho Santa Fe is consistently listed as one of the highest income communities in the country.
This small community that is located just minutes from the beach, country clubs, equestrian centers, boutique shopping and fine dining is centrally located to enjoy the arts and culture of downtown San Diego, as well as all that North County has to offer.
The land that is now Rancho Santa Fe was once part of Rancho San Dieguito, a land grant given to Juan Osuna by Mexican Governor Pio Pico in 1840. The land was later purchased by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and the railroad planted hundreds of thousands of eucalyptus trees in the area for use building railroads. After this venture was deemed a failure because eucalyptus was not hard enough to hold spikes, the railroad turned to planning a residential community under the auspices of the newly established Santa Fe Land Improvement Company.
The Santa Fe Land Improvement Company hired land use consultant L.G. Sinnard in 1920, changed the name of the development to Rancho Santa Fe in 1921, and hired Requa and Jackson as the architectural firm for the project. Locally renowned Lilian Rice, an employee of the firm, was integral to the design of this master-planned community, and her influence can be seen in the Village and some of the custom homes in the original Rancho Santa Fe planned community.
By 1927, most of the land within in the development had been sold and the Rancho Santa Fe Association was formed. In 1929, the Max Behr-designed golf course and the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club opened, and the Rancho Santa Fe Association took over management of the course in 1934.
In 1989, Rancho Santa Fe was designated as a State Historical Landmark as a historic planned community.
According to real estate website Zillow.com, the median price of homes on the market in Rancho Santa Fe (inside and outside of the master-planned Rancho Santa Fe community — aka the Covenant) at the time of this writing is $2,900,000, and the median price of homes recently sold is $2,441,471. Redfin.com reports that the current median listing of homes located within the Covenant is $3,400,000 and that the median sale price is $2,650,000.
Examples of homes currently for sale in The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe, which is a gated golf community outside of the Covenant, include:
- A five bedroom, nine bathroom, 10,785-square-foot custom home on 2.1 acres with a pool and many luxury features listed at $7,450,000
- A five bedroom, six bathroom, 6,185-square-foot home on .7 acre with a pool and luxury features listed at $3,595,000
- A five bedroom, eight bathroom, 9,200-square-foot home on 1.88 acres with a pool and luxury features listed at $6,995,000
- A three bedroom, four bathroom, 3,104-square-foot home on .44 acre with a pool and luxury features listed at $1,895,000
The most affordable home that is not in foreclosure that I could find on the market while writing this article is a three bedroom, three bathroom, 1,592-sqare-foot home with a swimming pool in the Morgan Run Resort & Club community listed at $689,000.
The highest-priced property I could find on the market is a unique 16.5-acre property with a three bedroom, two bathroom 1936 adobe home listed at $19,995,000. The property includes eight separate parcels and is not within the Covenant but is surrounded by Covenant properties.
While the above property is a unique parcel that will likely appeal to a real estate developer, there are other luxury estates on the market for more than $10,000,000 that appeal to individual buyers. One example is a 10 bedroom, 14 bathroom, 25,000-square-foot custom estate on 4.71 acres listed at $14,995,000.
Folks interested in living in Rancho Santa Fe but working with smaller budgets will find many options available for less than $3,000,000, including several homes for sale for less than $2,000,000.
Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment
The Village of Rancho Santa Fe is the primary commercial hub for the community and is home to a library, boutique shopping, restaurants and banking services. Banks at the village include Wells Fargo, One West Bank, California Bank and Trust, Union Bank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Pacific Western Bank. Stores include the Rancho Santa Fe Village Market, Rancho Pharmacy and Spirit Shop, Rancho Santa Fe Flowers and Gifts, Country Squire Gifts and Linens, McNally Company Antiques, John Matty Company Jewelers, Country Friends Consignment Shop, and Rancho Santa Fe Estate and Fine Jewelry. Eateries at the Village include Thyme in the Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe Bistro, Rancho Santa Fe Sandwich Shop, Caffe Positano, Delicias Restaurant, Mille Fleurs and Morada at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.
There is also the Del Rayo Village Shopping Center located at 16079 San Dieguito Road in Rancho Santa Fe. This small shopping center is home to Ranch Cycles, Le Dimora Home Furniture & Decor, Kitchen Debonaire, Mobil, Dolce Pan E Vino and GSB Men’s Clothier. It is also home to the weekly Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market, which takes place Sundays from 9:30am to 2:00pm.
The nearby community of Solana Beach, as well as other shopping centers in the area, offer expanded shopping, dining and entertainment options, including Lomas Santa Fe Plaza, Fairbanks Village Plaza, Flower Hill Promenade and Del Mar Center.
The Fairbanks Village Plaza is mostly home to services, such as law offices, financial services, doctors, real estate offices and contractors. In this small shopping center, there is also the Fairbanks Ranch Deli, a salon and a tailor.
The Lomas Santa Fe Plaza is located in Solana Beach on Lomas Santa Fe Drive and is a convenient spot for most Rancho Santa Fe residents to complete everyday errands or meet friends for lunch. In this shopping center, you will find Starbucks, The Habit Burger Grill, Samurai Restaurant, Primos Mexican Food, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Einstein Bagels, Pizza Nova, Baskin-Robbins, Vons, HomeGoods, Big 5 Sporting Goods and 24 Hour Fitness. There is also a dry cleaner, tax services, a dance studio, a jewelry store, salons, banks and other essentials.
Del Mar Center offers favorites, like Starbucks, Pier 1 Imports, Radio Shack, Petco, PostalAnnex+, Albertsons and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Across Via De La Valle, the Flower Hill Promenade offers Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Sienna Cafe, Taste of Thai, Rare Earth, Geppetto’s, Sweetpea Children’s Shop, CorePower Yoga, Madison Leather & Luggage and Beach Bungalow Designs. Around these two shopping centers, you will also find Armstrong Garden Centers, U.S. Bank, Chase Bank and California Bank & Trust.
Parks & Recreation
Rancho Santa Fe residents living in the Covenant have access to two private sports fields under the care of the Rancho Santa Fe Association. Rancho Santa Fe Field has a regulation-size soccer field and baseball field, as well as a playground. Richardson Field has a youth soccer field and baseball field. Covenant residents also have access to Osuna Ranch, which is a historic property owned by the Rancho Santa Fe Association that consists of 27 acres with an adobe home from the Rancho Era and an equestrian facility.
The Covenant is also home to more than 50 miles of private walking and riding trails, some of which can be found on the Rancho Santa Fe Arroyo property, which is a 68-acre open space with trails, a fishing pond and campsites for residents and their guests to enjoy.
Covenant members have exclusive access to community organizations and clubs as well. This includes the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, which is home to a 6,940-yard course designed by Max Behr, and the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club, which has 10 hard-surface courts and two Har-Tru clay courts. There is also the Rancho Riding Club, which offers boarding and horseback riding lessons, the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation for philanthropic residents, the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society for those interested in the area’s history and the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center, which offers summer camps, after-school programs, supper clubs and other social activities.
Those living outside of the Covenant can only access these recreational opportunities as a guest of a resident; however, there are plenty of country clubs, parks, equestrian facilities, golf courses and outdoor recreation areas nearby that other Rancho Santa Fe residents can enjoy.
Nearby golf courses and country clubs include The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, The Farms Golf Club, the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Morgan Run Resort & Club, The Santaluz Club, Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, Del Mar Country Club and the Lomas Santa Fe Executive Golf Course.
The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe is a private country club located within a gated, residential community. Membership is by invitation only and is open to residents and non-residents. At the club, members enjoy a par-71, 18-hole golf course designed by the Robert Trent Jones II Group, golf practice facilities, a pro shop, fine and casual dining, a fitness center, a lap pool, a children’s wading pool, spa services, organized social activities, and a recreation center with tennis courts, a bocce court, a squash court, a multi-purpose sports court, a playground, a basketball court, a volleyball court and a paddle tennis court. Members also enjoy access to day camps, sports clinics, innovative medical facilities and travel services that include the use of private jets.
The Del Mar Country Club features a golf course designed by Joseph Lee, fine and casual dining, tennis courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool and organized social activities. At the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, members enjoy a golf course designed by William Bell, golf practice facilities, clubhouse dining, a heated lap pool, a children’s pool, 15 tennis courts and social activities. At The Farms Golf Club, members will find elegant clubhouse dining and a remodeled golf course.
At The Santaluz Club, members have access to tennis courts, an indoor basketball court, a fitness center, a golf course, a swimming pool, casual and fine dining, spa services, youth camps and youth activities. The Fairbanks Ranch Country Club offers its guests three nine-hole golf courses, a croquet court, tennis courts, a fitness center, casual and fine dining, and organized social activities. Members of the Morgan Run Resort & Club have access to tennis courts, a fitness center, fine and casual dining, social activities, spa services, a resort-style swimming pool and a 27-hole championship golf course.
Equestrian facilities in close proximity to Rancho Santa Fe include the Ridgemar Equestrian Center, the Rancho El Camino Equestrian Center and the Concord Equestrian Center, which is part of the Del Mar Horsepark in North City. This 65-acre facility is home to boarding stables, four training arenas, four show arenas, two grass jumping stadiums and a dressage arena.
Public recreational areas located nearby include San Dieguito County Park and Black Mountain Open Space Park. San Dieguito Park, which is located on Lomas Santa Fe Drive, is a 125-acre community park that is largely comprised of open space with hiking trails and picnic areas. The park is also home to a playground, basketball court, a gazebo, picnic pavilions, barbecue grills, exercise stations and Miracle Field, which is an accessible baseball field designed for the inclusion of players with special needs. A printable park trail map is available online to help you plan your visit.
The 2,352-acre Black Mountain Open Space Park is home to the 1,554-foot Black Mountain, miles of hiking and riding trails, and exceptional views. The printable trail map is a great resource to help hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers plan their trip.
Other outdoor recreational opportunities can be found at the nearby Torrey Pines State Reserve and the beaches of Del Mar and Encinitas.
Public school students living in Rancho Santa Fe are served by the Rancho Santa Fe School District and the San Dieguito Union High School District. Most will attend the Roger Rowe Elementary and Middle School followed by Torrey Pines High School.
Private schools serving this area include La Jolla Country Day School, Diegueno Country School, The Grauer School, Cathedral Catholic High School, San Diego Jewish Academy, Cal Coast Academy, Santa Fe Christian School, Horizon Prep School and Francis Parker.
Rancho Santa Fe shares its western border with Solana Beach and the Olivenhain neighborhood of Encinitas. The Elfin Forest is to the north, North City is to the south and Fairbanks Ranch is to the southeast. It shares its eastern border with Black Mountain Ranch and the Del Dios neighborhood of Escondido.
To learn more about nearby North County neighborhoods, check out these previous articles:
- North County Neighborhood Guide: Fairbanks Ranch
- North County Neighborhood Guide: North City
- North County Neighborhood Guide: Black Mountain Ranch
- Encinitas Neighborhood Guide: Olivenhain
- Escondido Neighborhood Guide: Del Dios
Photo Credits (in order of appearance): Rancho Santa Fe Association; Wikimedia Commons/Tuxyso/CC-BY-SA-3.0; flickr, Christie; flickr, Ken Lund; flickr, Ken Lund Real estate and demographic information gathered from Point2Homes.com, Zillow.com, city-data.com, TheBridgesRSF.com and Redfin.com.