Autumn wouldn’t be complete without a family jaunt to beautiful Julian. What better way to spend a day with your curious explorers than by taking a one-hour road trip to this quaint mountain town? Known for its homemade apple pie, picturesque apple picking, gold panning and old-fashioned flair, channel the simpler times of yesteryear by taking the kids to enjoy several autumnal activities they’ll love. From raspberry picking and feeding camels to gem mining, family camping and grape stomping, read on for what you must do in Julian this fall.

photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

What Not to Miss

1. Enjoy Berry Picking at Julian Farm & Orchard
From now through October, you can go to Julian Farm & Orchard for fresh berry picking fun on Saturdays and Sundays from noon-3 p.m. Here you’ll find a 25-acre farm filled with U-pick raspberries and blackberries that are ripe for the pickin’. This harvesting experience is perfect for little ones because the berry bushes are thornless and the farm uses organic farming methods. At a cost of only $5 per pint, this is bushels of affordable fun. If a weekday visit better suits your schedule, call or text 951-312-9940 for appointment availability.

Stay tuned to the Farm & Orchard’s events because they’re also open for apple picking, a pumpkin patch and more fall activities beginning Sep. 21 through Halloween.

Online: julianminingcompany.com

photo: Lauren F. via Yelp

2. Go Apple Picking
Nothing says fall like ripe, delicious apples––and there are so many luscious varieties of the fruit to choose from in the many locations that offer apple u-picking in Julian. Read our guide for where to take your little blossoms to pick a peck of apples––but don’t delay, because farms only stay open until all the apples are gone.

3. Do Kids Apple Crafts
When in Julian, make a keepsake apple craft to remember the trip. On Sep. 14 between noon-3 p.m., stop by Julian Town Hall so your kids can enjoy an easy apple craft. Crafting is free, but if you’d like to make a donation to the Julian Country Christmas Celebration, it’s appreciated.

photo: Kaydee W. via Yelp

4. Miner’s Day
Travel back in time to Miner’s Day at Julian Mining Company. This event takes place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays from now through October. Kids will love panning for gold, gem mining, axe throwing and searching for artifacts in a dig pit.

5. Julian Grape Stomp Festa
Sep. 7, kick off your shoes, roll up your pant legs and indulge in the age old tradition of stomping grapes at the Julian Grape Stomp Festa. Local wineries, breweries and cideries will be offering sips to sample and there will be food and shopping, great music and dancing. It will be a party to remember!

photo: bighornplateau1 via Flickr

6. Volcan Mountain Foundation’s Family Discovery Day
Sep. 28, join the fun of the Volcan Mountain Foundation’s Family Discovery Day! Come by VMF’s Volcan Mountain Nature Center with your friends and family to learn about the unique ecosystems and wildlife on Volcan Mountain. There will be fun educational nature activities throughout the day, including creating a rainstorm effect on a 3D watershed relief map, making a shelter from branches, and going on a gentle guided plant walk on VMF’s Watershed Trail. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy “wild” refreshments. This event is free. All ages welcome. No registration required. Bring water, snacks or lunch and sunscreen.

7. Build a Scarecrow
Fashion a scarecrow as a fam at Wynola Junction Antiques & Collectibles. There are multiple time slots available on Oct. 5, Oct. 19 and Nov. 2. Get your tickets now because this experience sells out fast. You can either build a scarecrow for free and leave it at Wynola Junction as decor, or pay $10 per family to take your scarecrow home with you. All supplies are provided, but you’re encouraged to bring special items like a shirt or hat to jazz up your creation.

photo: Johnny K. via Yelp

8. Eat Fresh Baked Apple Pie
No visit to Julian is complete without treating yourself to a slice (or whole!) apple pie. You’re spoiled for choice of bakeries and restaurants in the small town, where you can order up a delectable taste of Julian’s heavenly dessert. We’re partial to Julian Pie Company’s caramel Dutch apple pie topped with a heaping serving of whipped cream.

If apple pie isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll also find pie flavors including blueberry apple crumb, peach, boysenberry, cherry, rhubarb and more!

photo: Oasis Camel Dairy

9. Canoodle With Camels on Your Way to Julian
Make a pitstop at Oasis Camel Dairy on your way to Julian for their “Camels Love Apples” event. Their Animal & Bird show starts at 1:30 p.m. and features talking parrots, gobbling turkeys, lovable farm dogs and of course, camels. After the show, meet, greet, and feed camels a sweet, crunchy apple treat. There will also be camel rides for the kids, a mini-sheep feeding, exotic bird exhibits, a game and activity area and shopping in the Camel Dairy’s unique gift shop. Prices vary depending on activities you choose to do.

Aug. 31 and Sep. 1 from 1-4 p.m. (Gates open at 12:45 p.m. and last entry to the farm is 3:45 p.m.)

Online: cameldairy.com

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10. Harvest Weekend Family Camp 
Turn your trip to Julian into an entire weekend of fall fun. Camp Stevens offers a Harvest Weekend Family Camp Oct. 11-13 that your whole clan will love. Featuring seasonally-themed activities and food, past camps have included offerings like pretzel baking in a wood-burning cob oven and scarecrow building. You can also navigate camp classics like the climbing wall and enjoy cozying up by the campfire.

Online: campstevens.org

––Beth Shea

featured photo: Camp Stevens via Yelp

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