Take an Adventure This Weekend and Drive to Julian
Written By: Justine McGrath Julian Day Trip
Located roughly 60 miles northeast of San Diego is an idyllic mountain town—Julian. Southern California natives have long known the appeal of the area; the city is home to nearly 1,500 full-time residents, and the rustic mining town is an official California Historical Landmark that’s teeming with modern-day attractions. Whether you’re craving a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city, or just looking for the best apple pie on the West Coast, spending a day in Julian will cure whatever ails you.
Julian Day Trip
First Stop: Pies
First things first, when you get to town, there’s no point in waiting to get a warm slice of pie. There are a few contenders in town, but you can never go wrong with the classics. The Julian Pie Company, Mom’s Pie House and Apple Alley Bakery are all stocked and ready to go with fresh flaky pastries. The reason that apple pies are so sacred around these parts is because the apples are grown in the region, meaning you’re getting your sugar fix straight from the source.
Native Knowledge: Don’t forget to request a scoop of cinnamon ice cream from the Julian Pie Company if you plan on enjoying your treat a la mode.
Walk Main Street
Perusing the town’s main walkway will give you a glimpse into the juxtaposition of past and present that dominates the area. Pop into colorful candy shops that are housed in buildings from the 1800s, peruse a quaint bookstore that’s stocked with modern thrillers, or grab a cup of coffee from a local diner. There are endless shops and restaurants to explore, the only question is, which one will you check out first?
Grab a Piece of History
There’s more to Julian than apple pies and oak trees. Visit one of the sites that offers up a piece of the city’s history. From the Pioneer Museum that features relics from the city’s origins and was built in the late 1800s, to The Eagle Mining Company, which is one of the town’s original gold mines, there’s a location with a backstory to excite even the most iPhone-immersed traveler. Looking for a touch of the past without the rich context? Pose for a photo with your family or friends at Julian Olde Time Photos.
Eat and Be Merry
Whether you want to feast on casual fare, such as the scrumptious food served at Julian Café & Bakery, or want to enjoy a sit-down feast fit for royalty, like the fine dishes offered at Jeremy’s on the Hill, there’s a restaurant in Julian to satisfy every appetite and budget. With tasty places lining the town’s Main Street, as well as delicious dining options further off the strip, you’d be remiss to not sit down for a meal in Julian. If anything, it’ll give you a solid base to soak up all that sugary pie.
Get Your Blood Pumping
Julian is prone to high temperatures in the summer and cold conditions in the winter, but if you happen to make your way to town when moderate temperatures persist, try hiking. The area is full of scenic hiking trails that are accessible to novice walkers and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts alike. The Volcan Mountain Preserve, Inaja Memorial Park or the Old Banner Toll Road are all great places to get some dust on your shoes.
Wine Until Sundown
In addition to boasting beautiful apple orchards, Julian is also home to some out-of-this-world wineries. There are roughly a dozen wineries in the immediate area, and each one offers different views and vantages for the day-trip explorer. Sip a sumptuous cabernet at Volcan Mountain Winery, taste a chardonnay at Blue Door Winery and end your day of wine-induced discovery at Julian Ciderworks where the art of fermentation and the region’s famed apples come together.
Julian is a scenic town brimming with things to see and do all year round. The next time you find yourself itching to get out of town, but can’t take too much time away from your schedule, consider visiting the beautiful mining town.
You Know You Want a Famous Julian Apple Pie
Justine McGrath is a freelance writer who was born and raised in San Diego. While Southern California will always be her home base, she enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures. When she's not posted up behind her laptop or somewhere across the globe, you can find her hunting for the latest and greatest restaurants in San Diego, attending yoga classes, and drinking more caffeine than is probably healthy.