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San Diego Bay (photo) in San Diego, CA
San Diego County, officially the County of San Diego, is a county in the southwestern corner of the state of California, in the United States, covering 4,261 square miles (11,036 km2) and has a population of 3.3 million residents, making it California's 2nd most populous county and the 5th most populous in the United States. Its county seat is San Diego, the 2nd most populous city in California and the 8th most populous city in the United States. It is the southwestern most county in the 48 contiguous United States, and is a border county.
San Diego County comprises the San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is the 17th most populous metropolitan statistical area and the 18th most populous primary statistical area of the United States. San Diego County is also part of the San Diego–Tijuana transborder metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico.
From north to south, San Diego County extends from the southern borders of Orange and Riverside Counties to the Mexico-U.S. border and the Baja California municipalities of Tijuana and Tecate. From west to east, San Diego County stretches from the Pacific Ocean to its boundary with Imperial County.
San Diego County has more than 70 miles (113 km) of coastline. This forms the most densely populated region of the county, which has a mild Mediterranean to semiarid climate and extensive chaparral vegetation, similar to the rest of the western portion of Southern California. Precipitation and temperature extremes increase to the east, with mountains that receive frost and snow in the winter. These lushly forested mountains receive more rainfall than average in Southern California, while the desert region of the county lies in a rain shadow to the east, which extends into the Desert Southwest region of North America.
Torrey Pines Golf Course (photo) in La Jolla, CA
There are 16 military installations, of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard in San Diego County. These include Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (featured in the 1986 motion picture hit - Top Gun - photo), Naval Air Station North Island, and Coast Guard Air Station San Diego.
San Diego County is also home to 18 Native American tribal reservations, the most of any county in the United States.
Tourism plays a large part in the economics of the San Diego metropolitan area. Tourists are drawn to the region for a well rounded experience, everything from shopping to surfing as well as its mild climate. Its numerous tourist destinations include SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California as amusement parks. Take in a Major League Baseball (MLB) game in Downtown San Diego at Petco Park (photo), home of the San Diego Padres. Golf courses such as Torrey Pines Golf Course and Balboa Park Golf Course. Museums such as the San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Museum of Art, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, USS Midway Museum, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Historical places such as the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Wildlife refuges, zoos, and aquariums such as the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, San Diego Zoo and San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park. Surfing locations include Swami's, Stone Steps Beach, Torrey Pines State Beach, Cardiff State Beach, San Onofre State Beach and the southern portion of Black's Beach.
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