Turn those California Dreams into weekend warrior reality! California is not only the most populous state in the country, it’s the most geographically diverse. Hop in the car and you can drive to any of these spots (some may take more than a weekend, if you’re driving) and explore castles, wine country, majestic mountains, ski vacations, apple picking, desert delights and more. These are our top ten picks for family road trips you’ve simple got to take while the kids are little.


This quaint, old-fashioned mountain town and historical district is as American as apple pie –– which it's famous for too. Julian was put on the map during the gold rush in the 1870's and the nostalgic vibe is what continues to make this locale a charming throwback to the simpler times of yesteryear. Families can pan for gold at Julian Mining Company, sip apple cider while exploring the many bakeries and shops that line Main St., or go off the beaten path to hike or go fishing. If you're in town during apple picking season, head to Apple Starr Orchard for bushels of fun. There are year-round festivities and festivals in this bucolic locale, from Grape Stomps and Apple Days to Country Christmas and Gold Rush Days––as well as impromptu entertainment that crops on Main St. like gunfight skits on Sundays! Don't leave without an apple pie or two to-go from Julian Pie Company and some candied or caramel apples from Candied Apple Pastry.

More details on what to do in Julian may be found here.

Online: visitJulian.com

photo: Chris Jepsen via Flickr


What’s your favorite California adventure?  Let us know in the comment section!

—Beth Shea, Erin Feher & Meghan Rose