Rancho Dorado

Rancho Dorado

Small, suburban neighborhood located close to the beach.


Welcome to Rancho Dorado

Small, suburban neighborhood located close to the beach.
Rancho Dorado is a small, suburban San Marcos neighborhood ideally located in the western part of the city closest to the beach. With roughly 280 homes, Rancho Dorado is a highly desirable neighborhood on the border between San Marcos and Carlsbad. Residents enjoy easy access to the best of both cities, with many nearby options for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Amenities close to homes in Rancho Dorado range from gorgeous outdoor recreation areas to dining on San Marcos’ Restaurant Row and popular Carlsbad tourist attractions such as Legoland California.
Rancho Dorado is one of San Marcos’ newer neighborhoods. Housing options consist of beautiful, contemporary single-family homes on wide-open streets. Attention has been lavished on all details inside and outside the home. Typical amenities include state-of-the-art kitchens and outdoor pools with Jacuzzis and spas.

What to Love

  • Beautiful, contemporary homes
  • Close to the beach
  • Many nearby shopping and dining options
  • Parks and hiking trails

People & Lifestyle

Rancho Dorado is a peaceful, residential neighborhood surrounded by trails and open space. The community is one of the jewels of North San Diego County, with both the hills and beach within easy reach. For young families, Rancho Dorado is served by the award-winning San Marcos Unified school district.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Homes in Rancho Dorado are just minutes away from the glorious Carlsbad coastline and all the downtown shopping and dining options of Carlsbad Village. The diverse eateries lining Carlsbad’s seaside downtown area include Paon Wine Bar & Bistro for French-Californian cuisine paired with boutique wines, 264 Fresco for wood-fired Italian fare and specialty cocktails, and Bluewater Grill for delicious fresh seafood.
Bressi Ranch Village Center is another nearby shopping and dining destination featuring close to 50 businesses. Highlights here include stylish womenswear boutique Bloom, craft beer and sandwiches spot Board & Brew, fresh seafood restaurant Fish District, and grocery stores Stater Bros. Markets and Trader Joe’s. Old California Restaurant Row in San Marcos features 15 eateries offering an eclectic array of international eats. Popular Restaurant Row dining choices include Fish House Vera Cruz for mesquite-grilled seafood, Cocina Del Charro for flavorful Mexican fare, and King & I for traditional Thai food. 
The golf and boating resort community of Lake Marcos is home to the dockside Amalfi Cucina Italiana. Overlooking Lake Marcos’ shimmering waters, this refined restaurant and bar serves authentic dishes drawing on the cuisine of Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Things to Do

Residents of Rancho Dorado enjoy an active lifestyle with many local hiking trails. Trails running through Rancho Dorado ascend to Simmons Family Park, featuring play structures, picnic tables, a gazebo, and a basketball court. You can also follow trails to the beautifully landscaped Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park. Nestled within a 27-acre canyon, this quiet and secluded park’s unique attractions include hand-built adobe buildings, antique windmills, a reflecting pool, and other historic structures steeped in Californian history. Carrillo Ranch Park is also home to a flock of peacocks that roam freely around the park. 
Rancho Dorado has a close-knit community feel, fostered through frequent community events throughout the year. These include food drives, garage sales, and various social gatherings.


Rancho Dorado is served by the award-winning San Marcos Unified school district.
  • Carrillo Elementary School, Public, K-5.
  • San Elijo Middle School, Public, 6-8.
  • San Marcos High School, Public, 9-12.
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