Santee is a suburban city in San Diego County, California, with a population of 53,413 at the 2010 census. Although it is a part of the East County region, Santee is located just 18 miles (29 km) from the Pacific Ocean. The city is connected to the coastline by State Route 52, a six-lane freeway that runs from Interstate 5 in La Jolla to State Route 67 in El Cajon. The city is bisected by the San Diego River, a linear greenbelt that includes parks, trails and more than 1,100 acres (450 ha) of natural riparian habitat.
The region was the homeland of the Kumeyaay people. These original residents established the village of Sinyeweche on the banks of the San Diego River in the present day Santee area.
The city is named after Milton Santee, the second husband of Jennie Blodgett, whose first husband was George A. Cowles, a pioneer rancher and businessperson in the San Diego County area.