Julian, California

One of the benefits of living in San Diego are the many cool destinations that are just a short drive away. From unplugging in a nature-inspired getaway, to getting wet and wild with some serious water sports in neighboring beach towns, or hitting the snowy slopes, adventure always awaits. So when the autumn months arrives and the so-cal temperatures continue to rise, it’s time to head straight up the 8 and 79 highway to enjoy Julian’s fall foliage and cooler temps.

Just an hour away from sunny San Diego, the historic gold rush mining town offers mountain vistas, hard cider tasting rooms, and all of the pumpkin picking, apple tree climbing, corn-mazing, and trick-n-treating yourself to some sweet treats (hello, iconic apple pie!) you can think of. Not to mention, the charming and quaint town looks like a scene straight out of the Wild Wild West; AKA your IG feed just hit the Julian jackpot.

Here, I’m rounding up a checklist of some Julian to-dos for your next road trip!  


  • Julian Pie Company: For the town’s signature dish, head to this quintessential spot for a slice with flavors ranging from classic apple to boysenberry. The proportions of flaky crust, soft apples, and aromatic cinnamon are perfect! I get mine extra crumby, because.. why not? Apple pies and good times; I promise, you won’t leave without bringing a full pie (or two) home.
  • Julian Farm & Orchard: The farm has your fall checklist of apple cider making classes, a corn maze, hay ride, and pumpkin and apple picking. There's something for the entire family!
  • Blue Door Winery: The town’s former horse stables have been converted into a rustic tasting room, serving reds, whites, and a can’t-miss sangria.
  • Mom’s Pies:  Mom’s pies make grandma proud! If you’re looking for a pie that’s not too sweet, but still incredibly delicious, you’ve met your match.
  • Lake Cuyamaca: Camp, boat, hike, and fish at this 110-acre lake surrounded by the expansive Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
  • Julian Mining Company: The activity center offers gold and gem mining, candle making, an apple cider, and more.
  • Julian Station: Housed in an apple-packing facility built in 1943, this marketplace includes tasting rooms, shops, eateries, and an arts center. Sip on Julian Hard Cider and Golden Coast Mead before sitting down to street-style tacos at Mr. Manitas Taco Bar & Fruteria. There’s also a patio barbecue on weekends and live music on Sundays!

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