The low rolling hills of Pauma Valley, located in North County off Interstate 15, have been home to Native Americans for centuries. Pauma is a Luiseño word meaning "I bring water” or “a place where there is water,” in reference to the San Luis Rey River that flows through the valley.
The town of Pala grew up around the Mission San Antonio de Pala. Established in 1816 as an extension of the Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, it’s the only mission in the San Diego area that continues to provide services to the native population. It is open to the public, and there is a daily Mass.
Pauma Valley is an unincorporated community in North County east of Interstate 15 about 50 miles northeast of San Diego. This largely agricultural area supports avocado and citrus farms, wholesale growers and nurseries and ancillary businesses. Home to Native Americans for centuries, Pauma Valley also has several reservations and gaming casinos.
Pauma Valley has not participated in recent Census counts; however, as of July 2007, the population was 7,475. Agriculture represents roughly 19 percent of industry, according to City-Data.com. The estimated median household income in 2011 was $53,972. About 18 percent of Pauma Valley residents fall below the poverty line.
Tucked away in the northeastern part of the county, there's more to Pauma Valley than the numerous nurseries and farms: One of the largest optical telescopes in the world, a historical mission, Vegas-style casinos and resorts, and several opportunities for exploring nature are all here.