Jamul - peaceful living in San Diego's backcountry

Tucked among hills and natural landscape of San Diego County's backcountry is the small community of Jamul. It is located in a large unincorporated area approximately 20 miles southeast of Downtown San Diego. Highway 94 passes through the center of this small town. Further south is Tecate and the Mexican border. For the 6,163 residents of Jamul, this is a quiet place where it's not uncommon to see coyotes, hawks, owls, frogs, snakes and other native wildlife.

"Jamul is very peaceful," said Marcia Parkes, a resident. "What I like best is the traffic is very limited. There is one traffic light and that's about it." Parkes is a Realtor with Century 21 and moved here with her family in 2004. "I went to list a home in Jamul and I actually fell in love with the home and ended up buying it," she said.

Jamul panoramic
Residents of Jamul enjoy the beautiful hills and natural landscape of San Diego's backcountry. Photo by Louis Shook.

According to Parkes there is a mix of homes here including ranches with room for horses, smaller older homes, mobile homes and newer custom homes. "Prices can range a lot. From the mid $200,000s to over $1 million," she said. "There are low-priced single-family homes that are perfect for first-time buyers as well as million dollar homes in gated communities."

"People think Jamul is way out there, but it's really not," said Parkes. "This is a nice place to live and it's convenient." She cites the large shopping center and brand new YMCA just five minutes away in Rancho San Diego.

Home for Sale in Jamul
There is a wide mix of homes in Jamul ranging in price from the $300,000s to over $1 million. Photo by Louis Shook.

There is a wide range of real estate prices in this community. There are single-family detached homes listed for under $250,000. At the high end, there are homes over $1 million. . Many homes here feature spacious lots, with plenty of room for horses or farming.

Bravo Cafe Jamul
The Bravo Cafe in Jamul. Owner Manoli Antonakakim, daughter Esmeralda and grand daughter Mia serve up large sandwiches, homemade soups, and smoothies. Photo by Louis Shook.

The Rancho San Diego Towne Center is located just west of Jamul on the corner of Jamacha Rd. (Hwy. 54) and Campo Rd. (Hwy. 94). The center has major retailers including Target, Staples, Albertsons, Staples, Party City, Payless Shoes and Discount Tire. Other boutiques in the center sell everything from clothes to electronics. There is also the Edwards Cinema that has 15 theatre screens to view the latest romance, comedy and action movies. There are also many options for dining in the shopping center. The center has many dining options including TGIF Friday's, Rubio's, KFC and Hooley's Irish Pub.

For dining in Jamul, there is The Sombrero Mexican-Greek Café, Felippi's Pizza, Reno's Pub & Grub and the Bravo Café. Manoli and Rose Antonakakim opened the Bravo Cafe 15 years ago and it has become a local favorite that serves sandwiches, homemade soups, and smoothies. Their daughter, Esmeralda Antonakakim, also works at the family-owned cafe. She grew up in Jamul and attends Grossmont College. "Jamul is quiet and safe, and the schools are great," she said.

Jamul Nursery
Brad Nobel, owner of Jamul Nursery, takes advantage of Jamul's climate to grow tropicals, cactus and mediterranean palms. Photo by Louis Shook.

Brad Nobel has lived in Jamul for 10 years and is the owner of Jamul Nursery. "We don't get the fog like the coast. We don't get much rain and it can get hot in the summer," he said. To conserve water in this dry climate, he uses drip irrigation to water the tropicals, cactus and Mediterranean palms that his nursery specializes in. Nobel grew up in the Pacific Beach area and it took a little getting used to the drier climate and quiet Jamul lifestyle. He says there's not much in the way of nightlife. "The Sombrero has cold beer and occasionally live music," he said and revealed that he has evening plans to go there for a gathering of the Jamul Tuna Club. "They're more drinkers than fisherman," noted Nobel who enjoys fishing.

Within the town of Jamul there are only a few businesses including a couple of gas stations, small grocery markets, 7-Eleven, Jamul Feed & Supply, Custom Cycle Works and Jamul Flowers. Other businesses in the area include the Jamul Haven Bed and Breakfast and the Steele Canyon Golf Course. The area also has trails hiking and horseback riding. "It's usually pretty quiet here," Nobel said. "Jamul is a great place to live."

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