Try Coronado.....beach, bay, biking, theatre, military bases, ferry to downtown San Diego, short commute to city college, south western, grossmont etc. shopping, exceptional schools, concerts in the park, community events, water polo, great library, new movie theatre, shopping, minutes to Petco park & Gaslamp. superb fire & police services.
I've put a link below to to a resource guide for people moving to the area, that includes some links to sites with good information about housing and schools. If there is anything else you need, please let us know how we can help.
Happy to answer any questions you may have.
In North County, MiraCosta College at San Elijo is situated in a very desirable area http://(www.miracosta.cc.ca.us). It's just across the I-5, so easy driving from Del Mar, Encinitas, Leucadia, Solana Beach, and more.
A quick search of area rentals shows a 3/2 home in Del Mar Heights renting for $4000/mo. I didn't see too much else, but I just had a quick look. I think you'll find a very nice home here.
Further south in the city of San Diego is Mesa College (http://www.sdmesa.edu). It's a little more inland, but not far off the freeway either. There are houses in La Jolla and Pacific Beach to the west, and you should have no problem finding homes under $4000/mo, depending on where you prefer to live.
I hope this helps. You'd love San Diego!
Cory La Scala, Realtor
Lic # 01443391
If you want to discuss in more detail feel free to call me at 858-272-9123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org