Julian, California, is a hidden gem tucked away in the mountains, where time seems to slow down, and fall colors create a magnificent backdrop. It’s an excellent destination for a weekend getaway, filled with charming small-town vibes, crisp autumn air, and mouthwatering apple pies. So grab your hiking boots, pack your flannel shirts, and let me take you on a thrilling 2-day adventure through Julian! If you want to see all of this in video form, here is a video of the journey.
Morning: Start your day off right with a hearty breakfast at Miner’s Diner. Step back in time as you enter this 1950s-style diner with jukebox tunes and vintage decor. This spot has all the diner breakfast options you would expect and is fun for the whole family. Be sure to head downstairs to the candy mine after your meal.
After fueling up, grab your hiking boots and head to one of the local parks. With young children, we recommend Inaja Memorial Park. This trail is only a half-mile round trip, and it leads up to a hill with beautiful views. With older kids, head to Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve. You can find many trails with breathtaking panoramic views of rolling hills, pine forests, and golden meadows here.
Afternoon: After working up an appetite during your hike, head into town for a delightful lunch at Julian Beer Company. This place has great pizza and BBQ, many places to sit, and is right next to the Julian Pie Company for dessert.
After lunch, you should dive into what Julian is known for: apple pie. I recommend heading to Moms or Julian Pie Company to try a slice. I can only imagine you will leave the city bringing some home; it is that good.
Once you’ve satisfied your hunger, it’s time to embark on a thrilling gold mine tour at Eagle Mine Company. Join a knowledgeable guide and journey deep into the depths of the earth, learning about the rich history of the area’s gold rush. The tour takes about an hour, and you can even pan for gold there.
Evening: If you are still up for adventure, end your day in Julian with a magical experience at the California Wolf Center. This awe-inspiring sanctuary is dedicated to preserving wolves and offers guided tours to learn about these majestic creatures up close. Be sure to book a tour in advance, as they often fill up.
If you want to spend the night in the city, then I recommend retreating to a charming bed and breakfast for a comfortable night’s sleep. There are a few right in downtown Julian. Or you can grab an AirBnb for a nice cabin in the surrounding area.
Morning: Start your second day off with a stroll through the charming downtown area of Julian. As you wander along the historic Main Street, step into quaint shops selling antiques, local crafts, and more delicious apple pies. There are many great breakfast places, including Julian Cafe, Purple Owl Cage, and even Kali’s Garden Cafe.
Afternoon: In the afternoon, head over to Wynola, which is about 5 minutes from Julian. If you are traveling with kids and it is open, head to Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures. This place is a paradise for children with mazes, things you can climb, reptile shows, and more. If it is closed, you can head to Julian Farm and Orchard to pick apples or take a hay ride to the petting zoo. Be sure to check both of these are open before going though.
Evening: As the sun sets, go to Julian Station, a rustic marketplace where you can indulge in local flavors. Within a short drive, you can have a flight of handcrafted ciders at the Julian CiderWorks or sample delicious wines at the Menghini Winery. Pair your drinks with delectable bites from the various food vendors, or even go for a classic wood-fired pizza at Heros. Plus, they often have live music at Heros on the weekends.
Julian, California, is truly a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Its charming small-town vibes, breathtaking nature, and mouthwatering apple pies make it the perfect destination for a fall weekend getaway. Be sure to let me know what I left off in the comments!