Southern California, known for its beaches, its festive atmosphere and its beautiful weather, also has a lot of educational opportunities, including many community colleges. Community colleges in towns such as San Diego, Oceanside and El Cajon allow you to earn an associate degree or prepare for further studies.

San Diego Community College District

San Diego Community College encompasses six continuing education centers and three two-year college campuses: San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College and San Diego Miramar College. Between these learning facilities, the San Diego Community College District serves more than 100,000 students per year. These campuses offer a variety of academic programs, ranging from digital music technology to dance to nursing. The community college system sponsors honors programs, athletic programs and many student organizations.

Southwestern College

Southwestern College, located between San Diego and the United States border with Mexico in extreme southern California, offers more than 130 associate degree programs. This community college confers the third-most associate degrees for Hispanic students of any college in the nation. Academic programs include computer science, anthropology, music and several foreign languages. The college also operates an aquatic center where kayaking, swimming and life guarding courses are taught.

Grossmont-Cuyamaca

Both Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College are part of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, which is based in El Cajon in southern California. Grossmont College offers more than 150 academic programs and is expanding, with two new buildings slated to open in 2012. Cuyamaca College offers about 100 programs and is also expanding; "Community College Week" magazine named Cuyamaca as one of the 20 fastest-growing middle-sized community colleges in the country.

Mira Costa College

Mira Costa College, with campuses located in the southern California towns of Oceanside and San Elijo, was founded in 1934 as Oceanside-Carlsbad Junior College. Combined, the two campuses service about 15,000 students. The community colleges are situated near the ocean (Oceanside campus) and a nature preserve (San Elijo). Popular majors are music, law enforcement, art, business administration and nursing. The college has several athletic teams, including a collegiate surfing group that has earned several national championships.