Bonita is an unincorporated community in southern San Diego County, California, nestled between the cities of Chula Vista, National City, and San Diego. It is also a Census-designated place defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city is great for work, but if you want to live somewhere with more of a community feeling check out Bonita, a family-friendly area located just a short ride from downtown San Diego.
Bonita, California 91902 Community Information
While Bonita is politically designated as an unincorporated community, bounded by the incorporated cities of Chula Vista, San Diego, and National City the community of Bonita is more closely associated with the geography of the Lower Sweetwater Valley. Thus considered, Bonita occupies about a five mile (8 km) stretch of the Sweetwater River, its valley, and surrounding hills on either side, bounded upstream (east) by the Sweetwater Reservoir, and downstream (west) effectively by Interstate 805. The community crosses west of I-805 — an area less than 160 acres (0.6 km²) — reaching as far south and west as East H Street and Hilltop Drive. Its northern boundary is State Route 54 and its southern extent reaches approximately one mile (2 km) south of the river. Nestled in the Sweetwater Valley lies the family community of Bonita, an unincorporated area bordered by state route 54 on the north, Madre Grande mountain in the east (state road 125), Telegraph Canyon on the south, and Interstate 805 on the west. Early settlers were gentlemen farmers raising lemon trees. Some of these old trees still exist in the Sweetwater Regional Park. You can see our humble rural beginnings watching the many horses and riders along the miles of riding and hiking trails crisscrossing the valley.
There are enough places here to call home, from condos and townhouses to single-family residences. Outdoor types will love the recreational trail that winds its way through central Bonita (and circles the Chula Vista Golf Course). Hundreds of residents bike and walk this route every single day, and it’s perfect for that early morning run. The Sweetwater Reservoir offers a different option with equestrian trails and yet more paths to explore. Plus, there’s enough golf for everyone (is that even possible?). For indoor types, there are shops, cafes and restaurants. Every autumn, just about the whole the town—that’s almost all of the 13,000 residents—turns out for Bonitafest, an annual celebration with parades, marching bands and live entertainment that all ends with an amazing barbecue.
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From a slow two lane country road, to a busy four lane city street today, Bonita Road showcases several churches, shopping centers and professional buildings. Two accredited 18 hole golf courses line the river valley. Large portions of modern Bonita consist of housing tracts built throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including: Bonita Downs, Bonita Fairways, Bonita
Glen, Bonita Highlands, Bonita Long Canyon, Bonita Woods, Emerald Ranch, Lynwood Hills and Ames Ranch.
In 1888, the Sweetwater Dam was built, creating the Sweetwater Reservoir and forever changing the geography of the region. Soon after, in 1906, the dam broke as a result of extensive rains which overfilled the reservoir, and the Lower Sweetwater Valley was completely flooded.
Bonita has experienced minor flooding throughout history, generally as a result of high seasonal rains attributed to El Niño. The floods most affect the Central Avenue river crossing, as no bridge has ever been built, unlike the Bonita Road and Willow Road crossings which are bridges, the former of which was rebuilt in the late 1990s.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the development of State Route 125 (The South Bay Expressway) became a major issue to Bonita residents, much as Interstate 805 and State Route 54 did during their development. Opponents argued that
Bonita’s rural nature would be compromised without benefit while proponents argued that the highway would reduce the significant increase in surface-street car traffic the community had seen since the 1980s when the eastern Chula Vista communities surrounding Eastlake were developed. The tollway opened in November 2007. The Bonita Historical Museum is the principal repository of historical information for the Lower Sweetwater Valley.
The climate in Bonita is a combination of the coastal and inland valley climates of San Diego County. Warmer (and sunnier during the May Gray and June Gloom periods) than areas directly adjacent to San Diego Bay or the coast, but not as hot as inland valleys such as El Cajon, or even nearby Spring Valley. In summer, Bonita’s climate is pleasant.
Parks and Recreation
To visitors and residents alike, one of the most visible features of Bonita recreational life is the walking trail which loops the Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course in central Bonita. Hundreds of residents walk, run, and ride this trail every day for pleasure and fitness, and the trail has become a vital component of Bonita life for many residents. In the late 1990s the Sweetwater Regional Park was expanded and significantly improved, extending the walking and equestrian trails to an even greater number, and introducing a camping area at Summit Meadow Road. Now, virtually the entire valley from the reservoir to I-805 formally serve recreational purposes as either park or golf course. Equestrianism has long been a part of the Bonita community, and many trails exist throughout the Lower Sweetwater Valley. There are a number of connections to trails external to Bonita as well. In fact many residents still keep their own horses and can be seen riding the trails regularly. The Bonita Valley Trails organization monitors and supports the network of trails throughout the valley.
The following parks serve the Bonita community:
Fred H. Rohr Park https://www.chulavistaca.gov/departments/public-works/parks/locations-features-amenities-photos/rohr-park
Sweetwater Regional Park http://www.sdparks.org/content/sdparks/en/park-pages/SweetwaterSummit.html
Sweetwater Reservoir Riding and Hiking Trail https://www.sweetwater.org/271/Sweetwater-Reservoir-Riding-Hiking-Trail
Bonita Golf Course http://bonitagolf.net/
Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course https://chulavistagc.com/
Clubs & Organizations
Bonita Kiwanis Club https://www.bonitakiwanis.org/
Bonita Optimist Club (http://bonitaoptimist.org/)
Bonita Road Runners (https://twitter.com/bonitarrunners)
Bonita Valley Garden Club http://californiagardenclubs.com/content/bonita-valley-garden-club
Bonita Valley Trails (https://www.alltrails.com/us/california/bonita)
Las Primeras (charity organization) (http://www.angelfire.com/nf/spectreroms/lp/index.htm)
Sweetwater Valley Civic Association (http://www.sweetwatervalleyca.org/)
Sweetwater Valley Little League (https://www.svllbaseball.com/swvll)
Sweetwater Women’s Club https://www.sweetwaterwomansclub.org/
Sunnyside Saddle Club http://www.sunnysidesaddleclub.org/
Bonitafest is an annual community event, held in early autumn, highlighted by a parade and street fair along Bonita Road which includes crafts, music, entertainment, and food. The Kiwanis Club hosts a Bonitafest Golf Tournament in conjunction with this event. Bonita Business & Professional Association was informally founded in 1971 by the tireless efforts of Emily Ritter who organized a group of 30 local business and professional people. Early morning meetings were held at the old Brookside Winery, and it was there where Bonitafest was born. Bonita Business & Professional Association is the proud sponsor of Bonitafest. This annual event lines Bonita Road with craft, game, and food booths, and is highlighted by a parade with marching bands and hometown entries. With the rolling hills, parks and open spaces, friendly people, and near perfect weather, there could not be a better place to raise your family or have your business.
Bonita Museum & Cultural Center – https://www.bonitahistoricalsociety.org/
San Diego Better Business Bureau – https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/san-diego
South Bay Expressway – www.southbayexpressway.com
South Bay Family YMCA – https://www.ymcasd.org/locations/south-bay-family-ymca
San DiegoLion’s Club – https://www.sandiegolions.org/
Chula Vista Golf Course
5540 Sweetwater Rd
Bonita, CA 91902-2137
P: (619) 267-1103 / F: (619) 267-1146
The 18-hole “Bonita” course at the Bonita Golf Club facility in Bonita, California features 6,287 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. The course rating is 68.8 and it has a slope rating of 117 on Bahia grass. Designed by William F. Bell, ASGCA, the Bonita golf course opened in 1954. Robert Scribner manages the course as the General Manager/Supt.
The following schools serve (or served) the local Bonita community:
Chula Vista Elementary School District https://www.cvesd.org/
Ella B. Allen Elementary School https://allenelementary.org/
Sunnyside Elementary School http://schools.cvesd.org/schools/sunnyside/Pages/Home.aspx#.XorBUXJ7mUk
Tiffany Elementary School (Chula Vista) http://schools.cvesd.org/schools/tiffany/Pages/default.aspx#.XorBhnJ7mUk
Valley Vista Elementary School http://schools.cvesd.org/schools/valleyvista/Pages/default.aspx#.XorBn3J7mUk
Sweetwater Union High School District http://www.sweetwaterschools.org/
Bonita Vista Middle School (Chula Vista) http://bvm.sweetwaterschools.org/
Bonita Vista High School (Chula Vista) http://bvh.sweetwaterschools.org/
Southwestern College (Chula Vista) https://www.swccd.edu/
Bonita Country Day School http://bonitacountryday.org/
Bonita Rd. Christian Academy https://www.facebook.com/christianunifiedsouth/?rf=660509600732524
Bonita Learning Academy http://www.bonitalearningacademy.com/