This guide to homes for sale in South Bay San Diego is intended to help those who are considering a move to the area.

Read on to:

  • Search for single-family homes, condos and townhouses.
  • Learn about the neighborhoods.
  • Find out about the public and private schools.
  • Locate the best parks, lakes, trails and golf courses.

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Where Is South Bay San Diego Located?

South Bay San Diego

South Bay San Diego begins 3.5 miles south of Downtown San Diego and extends in that direction for 6.5 miles to Imperial Beach, it’s southern border.

The “South Bay” (as it is referred to by locals) is bordered to the west by San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, to north by National City and to the east by the Otay Lakes.

South Bay San Diego Neighborhoods

BonitaChula Vista
EastlakeImperial Beach
National CityOtay Ranch
Rancho Del ReyRolling Hills
San Miguel RanchSunbow
Terra Nova

Living in South Bay San Diego


Bonita is located south of Route 54, east of interstate 805, west of Route 125 and north of Rancho del Rey.

Many of the homes were built in the 1960’s-1980’s, so among all of the newer master planned communities that envelope the South Bay, that definitely is a point of difference.

Also, if you are looking for a neighborhood that has some zoning for horse properties, then Bonita might just be for you.

Additionally, there are many trails in the surrounding area, including Sweetwater Regional Park.

Property values in Bonita are typically higher than in most other neighborhoods in the South Bay.

So, if new home developments just aren’t your thing and you’d prefer a more established neighborhood with some history to it, then Bonita should be on your short list.

Chula Vista

Chula Vista is very large. Many people (and this includes San Diego residents) when referring to the “South Bay”, think Chula Vista alone is South Bay. While that is incorrect, it’s easy to see why people get that wrong.

However, in the “old days”, Chula Vista was not nearly as big as it is today. In fact, it was confined between the San Diego Bay to the west, Interstate 805 to the east, L Street to the North and Route 54 to the north.

Then the expansion came (Eastlake, Otay Ranch, etc.).

So, when it comes to thinking about Chula Vista and where you might want to consider living, you first need to think about what part.

The original, older, more established sections or the newer, further from the bay and ocean, master planned sections?

Figure that part out first and it will be much easier to eventually zero in on a couple communities from which to pick.


First of all, just to set the record straight, there really is a lake in Eastlake. You know how developers can be tricky, there’s always a possibility that they just liked the name. But no trickery this time!

The Eastlake area is located on the immediate west and east sides of Route 125. It is bordered to the south by East H street and extends south to Olympic Parkway.

There are many master planned communities (Eastlake Greens, Eastlake Hills, Eastlake Shores, Eastlake Trails, Eastlake Woods, Eastlake Vistas and Summit at Eastlake) within Eastlake, and inside those a number of neighborhoods.

So, what you get with Eastlake is just about every housing option you can think of, and everything is newer.

And for those who love to walk, jog, run or bike, Eastlake is very close to all kinds of trails.

Search Eastlake Homes For Sale Search Eastlake Greens Homes For Sale

Search Eastlake Hills Homes For Sale Search Eastlake Shores Homes For Sale

Search Eastlake Trails Homes For Sale  Search Eastlake Woods Homes For Sale

Search Eastlake Vistas Homes For Sale  Search Summit at Eastlake Homes For Sale

Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach is the only town in South Bay San Diego that is located next to the Pacific Ocean.

It is bordered to the west by, of course, the ocean, to the east by 15th street, to the north by San Diego Bay and to the south by the U.S. border.

The beaches of Imperial Beach extend for approximately 4 miles and even allow horseback riding. Also, they are considered to offer up some of the best surfing in all of San Diego.

The neighborhood itself is on the older, more established side and offers different housing options including a number of Oceanfront single-family homes and condos.

Many residents of Imperial Beach have a military background, which is no surprise given its proximity to Coronado and the Silver Strand Training Complex.

National City

National City is the second oldest city in San Diego County and is only 3.5 miles south of Downtown San Diego.

It is bordered to the west by San Diego Bay, to the east by Paradise Hills and Paradise Valley, to the south by Route 54 and to the north by Division Street.

While National City does represent some value pricing options within the South Bay area, it is important to be aware that due to gang and drug related activity, it has often led San Diego County in the number of violent crimes.

Otay Ranch

Otay Ranch is the largest of the master planned communities within the South Bay and East Chula Vista. Developed since 1999, it consists of 5,300 acres.

It is bordered by Heritage Road to the west, Eastlake Parkway to the east, Olympic Parkway to the south and Telegaraph Canyon Road to the north.

Otay Ranch is comprised of Villages that are all named Otay Ranch Village. The only difference is the number that follows. For example, Otay Ranch Village I, Otay Ranch Village 6, etc.

As time has passed, some of the Villages have taken on the name of a particular neighborhood that is within the Village. So, for example, Otay Ranch Village 11 is referred to as Windingwalk.

Don’t worry if it sounds confusing at first, as it’s easy to get used to.

The following Villages are all part of Otay Ranch:

  • Otay Ranch Village 1 (also known as Heritage).
  • Otay Ranch Village 1 West.
  • Otay Ranch Village 6 (also known as Hillsborough).
  • Otay Ranch Village 7 (also known as McMillan Lomas Verdes).
  • Otay Ranch 11 (also known as Windingwalk).

Residents of Otay Ranch enjoy the pedestrian parks as well as strolling and biking along the extensive network of trails, streets and walkways.

Also, the community has a Town Center and its own private swim club facility, which is owned and managed by the village HOA.

Additionally, its residents benefit from being in close proximity to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

Rancho Del Rey

Rancho Del Rey is located south of Bonita, north of Otay Ranch, east of Interstate 805 and west of Otay Lakes Road.

It was one of the first master planned communities built in East Chula Vista.

There are a number of neighborhoods from which to choose a housing option, from condos to larger single family homes.

Also, the community was built in phases, so you’ll find Rancho Del Rey I, Rancho Del Rey II and Rancho Del Rey III.

Rolling Hills Ranch

Rolling Hills Ranch is located east of San Miguel Ranch, north of Otay Ranch, south of Salt Creek Golf Course and adjacent to Eastlake.

The master planned community is comprised of 1,687 single-family homes. In addition, there are 5 swim clubs, 9 playgrounds and 70 acres of common area space.

San Miguel Ranch

San Miguel Ranch is located on the east and west sides of Route 125. It is bordered to the west by Proctor Valley Road, to the east by the open space, to the south also by Proctor Valley Road and to the north by both Mt. Miguel Park and just north of San Miguel Ranch Road.

San Miguel Ranch is a master planned community comprised of single family homes and condos.

As with the other master planned communities in the area, there is easy access to parks and trails. Additionally, The Shops at San Miguel Ranch is in the neighborhood.


Sunbow is located just east of Interstate 805. It is bordered to the west by Greg Rogers Park and Parkview Elementary School, to the east by Horizon Park, to the south by Olympic Parkway and to the north by Telegraph Canyon Road.

Sunbow was one of the first master planned communities built in East Chula Vista.

It offers single family homes as well as a number of condos. Additionally, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center is part of the community.

Terra Nova

Terra Nova is the most northwestern located master planned community in East Chula Vista.

It is bordered by Interstate 805 to the west, Plaza del Cid Road to the east, Clear View elementary school and canyon to the north and just to the north by East H Street.

Terra Nova was one of the first master planned communities developed in east Chula Vista.

It is on the smaller side, compared to the other master planned communities in the area, in both acreage and number of units built.

Things To Do In South Bay San Diego

Imperial Beach

Want to go to the beach but don’t want to leave the South Bay? Well, you’re in luck, and then some, because Imperial Beach is South Bay’s ocean playground!

Imperial Beach is the southernmost beach town in California.

Complete with an iconic pier, its 4 miles of sandy beaches are ideal for swimming, jogging, horseback riding (yes, horseback riding!), tanning, surfing, sport fishing and sand castle building.

The Best Lakes In South Bay San Diego

Lower Otay Reservoir

It’s not everyday that a you share a lake with members of the U.S. Olympic team!

Lower Otay Reservoir is the home of the United States Olympic Training Center for rowing sports.

It is 1,100 surface acres has 25 shoreline miles. Allowed water activities include boating, float tubing, canoeing and fishing.

Sweetwater Reservoir

Located in Bonita. Access to the reservoir is via San Miguel Road. Only shoreline fishing is available on the 2.5 mile stretch on the south side of the reservoir. No water access is allowed at Sweetwater Reservoir.

Upper Otay Reservoir

Located just east of Otay Ranch. The smallest of the City of San Diego’s impounding reservoirs.

When full, Upper Otay Reservoir has 20 surface acres. No boating is allowed, but you can bring your float tubes. Fishing is also allowed.

The Best Trails In South Bay San Diego

If you love walking, jogging or hiking around, then you are in the right place.

In addition to its many trails scatttered all over the South Bay, you also have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of not one, not two, not three, but four National Wildlife Preserves.

So get out and enjoy these Preserves along with the other miles of trails.

Horseshoe Mountain Trail

Located off of the Proctor Valley Road Trail. It is a 3.7 mile, out and back, trail that rises to an elevation of 1,223 feet.

Mount Miguel Mountain Via Rock House Trail

Located near San Miguel Ranch, off of Mount Miguel Road. This is a 4.5 mile trail, out and back, that leads to a 1,213 foot peak. There can be some steep parts as well as loose rocks.

Otay National Wildlife Refuge

Located in eastern Chula Vista. The Refuge encompasses over 11,000 acres. There are 1.5 miles of trails.

Proctor Valley Road Trail

Located off of Proctor Valley Road, near where it intersects with Mount Miguel Road, just east of the 125 Tollway.

Proctor Valley Road Trail is a 7.9 mile, out and back, lightly traveled trail. It is good for hiking, trail running and mountain biking.

Rice Canyon Open Space Preserve

Located in Rancho del Rey. Rice Canyon Open Space Preserve is a 2 mile section of the California Riding and Hiking Trail in the middle of a large suburban residential area. This is an easy trail to walk or mountain bike.

South Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Located adjacent to Silver Strand State Beach in Imperial Beach, South Bay National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 4,000 acres.

It is a haven for protected birds and other animals. Birdwatching is good here year-round, but best in the fall and winter months.

There is a walking trail running parallel to the Bayshore Bikeway bike path, offering beautiful views of San Diego Bay and the Reserve.

Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge

Consisting of 316 acres of salt marsh wetlands, Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge is home to some highly endangered species of birds as well as offering trails.

It is also home to the Living Coast Discovery Center, a budget friendly aquarium and wildlife experience housing 350 animal and plant species native to the San Diego Bay habitat including a sea turtle lagoon, rescued birds, a shark and a ray exhibit.

Sweetwater Park Trail

Located in Bonita. It surrounds Rohr Park. The trail is a 3.3 mile loop. Depending on the time of year, there can be very pretty wildflowers.

Sweetwater Summit Regional Park

Located in Bonita. The park offers 15 miles of trails to hikers, cyclists and equestrians. There are some beautiful views.

The Best Golf Courses In South Bay San Diego

San Diego Country Club

Located in Chula Vista, west of Interstate 805 and adjacent to Chula Vista High School.

The 18-hole, 7,033 yard, championship course is a hidden gem and carries with it a lot of history.

It is almost 100 years old and has hosted a number of professional and amateur events. Also,  it is the home course of Mickey Wright and the late, Billy Casper.

It was designed in 1921 by William Watson and remodeled by Billy Bell. The San Diego Country Club is a private course.

Bonita Golf Course

Located in Bonita. It is an 18-hole, 6,150 yard course. It was designed by William F. Bell. Sweetwater River runs through the entire property. This is a public course.

Chula Vista Golf Course

Located in Chula Vista. The 18-hole, 6,760 yard, championship course, designed by Billy Casper, is one of the very few Par 73 courses in all of San Diego County.

The Sweetwater River and 3 lakes come into play on 14 holes. This is a public course.

National City Golf Course

Located in National City. This is a 9-hole course that features a par 5, par 4’s and Par 3’s. It is a public course.

Eastlake Country Club

Located in Eastlake. The 18-hole, 6,606 yard, championship course features 72 sandtraps, 1,000 trees, 6 lakes and 3 waterfalls. It was designed by Ted Robinson. It is a public course.

South Bay San Diego Public Schools

The entire area is served by:

  • Chula Vista Elementary School District
  • South Bay Union School District
  • Sweetwater Union High School District (Middle and High School)

The GreatSchools ranking system is used to determine above average, average or below average.

The schools comprising this list are public schools within the South Bay San Diego area only.

Elementary Schools 

27 schools rank above average.
10 schools rank average.

3 schools rank below average.

Middle Schools

2 schools rank above average.
2 schools rank average.

9 schools rank below average.

High Schools 

5 schools rank above average.
1 school ranks below average.
3 schools rank below average.

South Bay San Diego Private Schools

The following guide to private schools in South Bay San Diego, is only of those with populations of 100 or more.

Also, even if a school is one mile outside of the area, if it isn’t within the boundaries of South Bay San Diego, then it isn’t included.


Bonita Country Day School

Grades PK-6.

Bonita Learning Academy

Grades PK-K.

Bonita Road Christian School

Grades K-6.

Montessori American School

Grades PK-K.

Chula Vista

National University Virtual High School

Grades 9-12.

Pilgrim Lutheran School

Grades PK-8.

St. John’s Episcopal School

Grades PK-8.

St. Pius X

Grades K-8.

St. Rose of Lima School

Grades K-8.

Wee Care Preschool

Grades PK-K.


Green Hills Learning Center

Grades PK-K.

National City

San Diego Academy

Grades K-12.

Otay Ranch

Calvary Christian Academy

Grades PK-12.

Mater Dei Catholic School

Grades 9-12.

Rancho Del Rey

Montessori Hills Academy

Grades PK-K.

Victory Church & Christian Academy

Grades PK-12.

South Bay San Diego Colleges

The following list includes only those colleges that are actually within the South Bay.

Chula Vista

Southwestern College

Public, 2 yr.

South Bay San Diego Neighborhood Summary

Bonita• Population 18k.
• Built in 1960's.
• Glenn Abbey Park.
• A hidden jewel.
• Many custom builds.
• Golf course.
• Horse, walking trails.
• 91902 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 7 mi to Downtown.
• 8 mi to border.
• 7 mi to beach.
Chula Vista• Population 268k.
• Yacht club.
• Bayfront project.
• Sea World water pk.
• 60 parks & fields.
• 4 golf courses.
• 20,000 seat venue.
• Historic downtown.
• 91910 zip code.
• 91911 zip code.
• 91913 zip code.
• 91914 zip code.
• 91915 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 5 mi to Downtown.
• 7 mi to border.
• 5 mi to beach.
Eastlake• Population 26k.
• 3,200 acres.
• 1,100 acres of parks.
• Hill views.
• Otay Lake.
• 91913 zip code.
• 91914 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 10 mi to Downtown.
• 8 mi to border.
• 10 mi to beach.
Imperial Beach• Population 28k.
• "IB" Pier.
• Horseback on beach.
• 8 mi bike path.
• Top birding estuary.
• Annual events.
• 91932 zip code.
• South Bay schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 10 mi to Downtown.
• 5 mi to border.
• 4 mi of sandy beach.
National City• Population 62k.
• 2nd oldest in SD Cty.
• Large indoor mall.
• Victorian architect.
• Kimball Park.
• 91950 zip code.
• National schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 3 mi to Downtown.
• 10 mi to border.
• 7 mi to beach.
Otay Ranch• Population 52k.
• Master planned.
• Began in 1999.
• 5,300 acres.
• Pedestrian friendly.
• Network of trails.
• "Town Center".
• Private swim club.
• Private parks.
• Sharp Medical.
• 91913 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 11 mi to Downtown.
• 7 mi to border.
• 10 mi to beach.
Rancho Del Rey• Population 22k.
• Master planned.
• Built in 1989.
• 500 acres canyons.
• 114 acres of parks.
• 50,000 sq. ft. YMCA.
• 91910 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 8 mi to Downtown.
• 7 mi to border.
• 9 mi to beach.
Rolling Hills Ranch• Population 7.5k.
• Master planned.
• 40 acres common space.
• 91914 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 12 mi to Downtown.
• 8 mi to border.
• 11 mi to beach.
San Miguel Ranch• Population 17k.
• Master planned.
• 91914 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 9 mi to Downtown.
• 10 mi to border.
• 9 mi to beach.
Terra Nova• Population 3.5k.
• Master planned.
• 91910 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 8 mi to Downtown.
• 7 mi to border.
• 7 mi to beach.
Sunbow• Population 1.5k.
• Master planned.
• 91911 zip code.
• Chula Vista schools.
• Sweetwater schools.
• 10 mi to Downtown.
• 6 mi to border.
• 5 mi to beach.

Finding The Right South Bay San Diego Home

As a native San Diegan REALTOR® and South Bay San Diego market and community expert, I bring a local’s perspective to help you find the exact neighborhood and home that you are looking for.

If I can answer any questions, help you in any way or if you’d like to schedule an appointment to see a home or look around the downtown area, feel free to contact me.

I am here to serve you.

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