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About HemetA cattle ranch in the early 1800s, the town of Hemet was not incorporated until 1910. The town is the primary commercial center of the region. Its status as a retirement community is changing as younger families seeking entry-level housing are moving in.

Visitors can learn more about the city’s history at the Hemet Museum , which features historic maps, vintage photos, Native American artifacts, antiques and local memorabilia as well as a mastodon tusk discovered in the area. The museum is housed in an 1898 freight house, part of the historic Santa Fe Depot at Florida Ave. and State St.; phone (951) 929-4409.

Ramona Bowl Amphitheatre, 27400 Ramona Bowl Rd., is home to one of America's longest running outdoor dramas, “Ramona.” The dramatization of Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel features a cast of more than 400. The amphitheater also hosts summer concerts, Broadway musicals and community events. The pageant runs on weekends from late April to early May. Phone (951) 658-3111 or (800) 645-4465.

Hemet is in an interesting setting—a valley, with the rugged hills to the north and east composed of large boulders. Diamond Valley Lake , one of the largest drinking-water reservoirs in southern California, has its north edge formed by the hills south of town. The three dams that formed the lake comprise the largest earth-fill dam project in the country. Because the lake is part of the Metropolitan Water District, its use is severely restricted and body contact with it is prohibited.

Currently there are boating (water levels permitting) and fishing uses only, and the boats must pass a one-time inspection before being allowed onto the water. A rental fleet is available at the marina; phone (951) 926-7201.

The Clayton A. Record Jr., Viewpoint at the west dam, off Winchester Road south of Domenigoni Parkway, provides a spectacular view of the 4.5-mile-long lake. Views to the west are of farm and ranchlands and hills.

The road to the overlook is a bit steep but is paved. The pedestrian path is paved to the top of the overlook; a gazebo partway up provides some shade while viewing the lake. The viewpoint is open Thurs.-Sun. 8:30-4. The East Marina is off Domenigoni Parkway via Searl Parkway at 2615 Angler Ave. The visitor center, 2325 Searl Pkwy., offers hands-on exhibits detailing the lake's history; phone (951) 765-2612.

South of Diamond Valley Lake is the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve. These more than 11,000 acres of open space are home to many plant and animal species, including 16 sensitive, endangered or threatened native species.

Visitor Centers Hemet/San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce 615 N. San Jacinto St. Hemet, CA 92543. Phone:(951)658-3211

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Hemet, CA

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Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton

3700 W Florida Ave. Hemet, CA 92545

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