The U.S. Census Bureau estimates San Diego County's population in 2012 to be 3,177,063 people, making it the second most populated county in California. It is home to miles of beaches with a mild Mediterranean climate. The county has a varied terrain with beautiful coastline to the west, forested hills to the north-east, and the desert to the far east. Cleveland National Forest occupies the central portion of the county, while Anza-Borrego Desert State Park occupies most of the northeast. The climate varies along with the terrain. In the desert areas, temperatures can fluctuate as much as 30 degrees in one day. At the coast, temperatures are mild and more constant. Severe weather is rare and annual precipitation is low.
San Diego has a racially diverse population. Census estimates for 2012 indicate the White/Non-Hispanic population comprised 47.6 percent of the county. Nearly 33% of the population in San Diego county is of Hispanic descent, 5.6% are black and 11.6% are Asian. There are numerous annual events throughout the county that are designed to celebrate a variety of cultures.
The San Diego economy is lead by manufacturing (shipbuilding, industrial machinery, computers, metal production, toys, and sporting goods), military and defense, high-technology industry (bio-tech), aerospace and aviation production, agriculture and tourism. The San Diego-Tijuana border is the busiest border crossing in the world. San Diego regularly ranks as a top-10 U.S. vacation destination for domestic and international travelers. Popular tourist attractions include the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Legoland, and Sea World.
The San Diego community has diverse offerings in the arts. Drama, music, and the visual arts can be found throughout the county in all different forms. Musical offerings range from operas and symphonies to small outdoor concerts and huge arena-sized rock concerts. Dozens of museums, as well as a number of small art galleries, cater to those so inclined.
The Pacific Ocean and its bays provide a wide range of water activities including swimming, sailing, waterskiing, deep sea fishing, and snorkeling. Mission Bay Park is the largest aquatic park in the nation. San Diego's public park system houses many recreational facilities, including public pools, jogging paths, and playing fields. There are numerous public tennis courts and golf courses. Hiking, jogging, and biking are popular activities. Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are available in the nearby mountains just a few hours' drive away. For those of you who prefer the "arm-chair sports," San Diego is home to two professional sports teams, the Chargers and the Padres.
There are many dining options in San Diego, with seafood and authentic Mexican food being just a couple of the area's specialties. Restaurants range from small family owned establishments to sidewalk cafes, family-oriented chain restaurants to upscale dining. A large number of ethnic restaurants offer variety, with choices such as Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Indian, Greek, and Persian—just to name a few.