Fall always brings changing tree colors, delicious apples and grapes and cooler temps. Celebrate everything you love about the season in Julian. What started as a gold rush town morphed into the charming apple pie-cute shops version today is well worth the one-hour drive. From gold and candy to apples and wine tasting we have the family insider’s guide to the quaint town of Julian.

julianpie_laurahamilton_creativecommonsphoto: Laura Hamilton via creative commons

5 Fun Julian Facts:

1. 10,000 apple pies are baked in October.

2. The entire township of Julian is designated a Historical District.


3. Julian was born during the 1870’s gold rush.

4. The total amount of Julian gold (lode) found was about 220,000 ounces.

5. For a time the Julian jail was the only indoor toilet.

Explore Downtown
Cute shops, candles, bakeries, old-fashioned pictures, historical buildings, food and more. Park under a weeping willow tree (or anywhere you can find) and walk-about town. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, sip a free cup of apple cider at Julian Cider Mill, head for history at the Pioneer Museum or browse the quaint Old Julian Book House. If you need a quick pick-me up: a pastry, sandwich, tea, or coffee step into the Candied Apple Pastry Company (it’s reasonably-priced).

Julian Pioneer Museum
2811 Washington St.
Julian, Ca
Online: julianpioneermuseum.org

Old Julian Book House
2230 Main St.

Candied Apple Pastry Company
2128 4th St.
Julian, Ca
Online: candiedapplepastry.com

applejulian_mandie_creativecommonsphoto: Mandy via creative commons

Julian Mining Company
Little Forty-niners will let out a little, “Eureka!” when finding gold and gems at this fine family establishment. Not only do they get to try their hand at panning for gold and sluicing for gems, the prospects of things to do are golden: petting zoo, fossil digs, apple and pumpkin picking, tomahawk throwing. You’ll get a little quiet and relaxing time; little miners will be focused and have fun!

Insider’s Tip: Check the website for what’s happening for the weekend.

4444 State Hwy 78
Julian, Ca
Online: julianmining.com
Hours: Sat. 10 a.m–5 p.m.; Sun. Noon–5 p.m.

julianminingco_robertS_yelpphoto: Robert S. via yelp

Apples and Grapes
U-can pick apples and drink wine all within a small area. Volcan Valley Farm is the largest in the area with seven types of apples: from Gravenstein, Red Delicious to Granny Smith. Grab a cute bag for $12 bucks and run through the fields to fill’er up. Are little snackers hungry? It’s okay to taste the apples as you pick them. Mom, Dad, what about you, thirsty? Head over to the (very close) Volcan Mountain Winery to do some tasting of your own.

Insider’s Tip: Hit the apple orchard early in the season for less crowds and more apples!

Volcan Valley Farm
1284 Julian Orchards Dr.
Julian, Ca

Volcan Mountain Winery
Julian Orchard Dr.
1255 Julian Orchards Dr.
Julian, Ca
Online: volcanmountainwinery.com

juliangirl_aaronfulkerson_creativecommonsphoto: Aaron Fulkerson via creative commons

Julian Pie Company
Follow the fresh smells of pie wafting in the air. Julian’s main event has arrived: the humble apple pie. A favorite at this pie hot spot: Dutch apple with a scoop of cinnamon on top—mmm, good. (It’s a big slice so little dessert eaters can share). The Julian Pie Company, a family operation, has been serving pie for close to 30 years and they have it down pat.

Insider’s Tip: There’s seating in the front, inside, and in the back. Expect a line, but it moves quickly.

2225 Main St.
Julian, Ca
Online: julianpie.com

julianpie_via_ScottB_yelpphoto: Scott B. via yelp

Miner’s Diner
Let’s face it. After a day of prospecting little ones get hungry. This old town 50’s diner has a cool soda fountain with yummy shakes, malts and sundaes. For lunch it tends toward the basics: grilled sandwiches, big burgers and fried chicken. If little diners get fidgety send them downstairs to check out the delicious old school candy bins.

Insider’s Tip: It does get busy; so bring some toys that can be played in line.

2134 Main St.
Julian, Ca
Online: minersdinerjulian.com

What are you insider Julian tips? Let us know in the comments below.

— Nikki Walsh