A Day Trip to Julian, CA
Julian is an hour/hour & a half drive from San Diego. Known for their apple flavored everything and ‘San Diego’ snowy days, Julian is the perfect day trip!
Here is my guide to Julian in a day:
If you haven’t heard of the town Julian and you are local, you have most likely had one of their famous apple pies! The town is lined with several pie shops along their main drag, attracting tons of tourists. In fact, their apples & pies are the key-highlight of the town!
Apple picking is one of the highlights to do in Julian. There are 7 different orchards that offer u-pick apples, some of which are organic! The main apple picking season is late July-October, but some orchards close early when their crops are all out.
Peacefield Orchard, which is an all-organic farm, brings their guests on farm tours, as well as educates them about the right type of apples to pick and which are the sweetest. They are convinced the sweetest apples are the ones that you will find worms in. They even have their guests do a taste test and determine it for themselves! Peacefield Orchard is one of the first orchards to close during the apple season, which is common with the organic farms. Since they are not using any bug repellent, a large amount of their apples get affected by the bugs, which means there are less apples to be picked. Peacefield only takes reservations, so plan accordingly if you would like to visit! They are also open during the summer months leading up to the apple season, offering other fruits like pears and peaches!
One of the largest orchards in Julian is Volcan Valley Apple Farm. Here, they are not an organic farm, but they allow walk-in’s. They cater to a lot more people, as they have over 50 rows of trees to find apples in! ProTip– Right across from this orchard is a winery, Volcan Mountain Winery. Start your day at the winery, and take a glass of wine to go. You can stroll through the apple orchard while sipping on your wine. The winery has two different types of white apple wine, so you fully get the apple experience. They also have local apple ciders and juices that you can sip while picking apples too!
Volcan Valley stays open well through September, making it the perfect Fall outing!
Along with apple picking, some other local apple activities include Julian Hard Cider, famous for their hard apple cider! Peacefield educated us that many of the local cider companies will go to the orchards and pick up all the apples on the ground. They test them to see if they are still juicy, and use them for their cider! Julian as a town is very eco-friendly, and they do not like to see apples go to waste! Since tourism is big here, a lot of people will come, pick a couple of apples, and throw them on the grounds of the orchards. Luckily for the cider companies, they get these for their product, and no apples get left behind!
If you are wondering what to do with all your apples, stop by the Chamber of Commerce, or most of the big shops in town to get an apple cookbook! Let the apple-loving locals give you their favorites, as their recipes are showcased in this cookbook!
Apples are such a big thing up here, they even have their own weekend! Julian Apple Days Festival has grown over the years, and is now the talk of the town! The festival is filled with apples (duh), foods, games, activities, and even a Mr. & Mrs. Apple King & Queen, who get crowned at the festival! This upcoming weekend (9/23-9/24) is when you can catch all the fun at the annual festival!
The main street in Julian is very small, but filled with local shops, as it reminds me of Seaport Village (for all you locals). There are old diners, specialty food shops, candied apples sold on the street, gold mining tours, and historic buildings to take photos with! One of my favorite stops was another chance to have wine, because wine not? Orfila Winery (located in Escondido), has a wine tasting room in Julian. This is a perfect place that not too many people go to, if you want to relax and have a glass of wine in-between activities! They also have meats and cheeses available to snack on!
Wynola Flats Produce
Wynola Flats Produce, a small shop on the side of the road, just before you hit the main street in Julian, located off the 78, has to be added to your list! Here, you can find all local products, fruits, veggies, pumpkins, jams, jellies, honey, tomatoes sauce, apple butter, candies, chocolates, and so much more! They also make fresh squeezed apple juice, which is beyond delicious. A really neat thing about this place is their cooler. In the back of the shop, they have section for chilled items like fresh salad mix. This fridge is actually an old-working railroad cooler train car. A true authentic antique, this shop is a must see gem, and you will most likely need lots of road trip snacks for the drive back!
On the way back down the mountain is the iconic Julian Pie Company shop. From the second you park your car, the smell of sweet, fresh apple pie fills the air. They have seasonal favorite pies (like pumpkin-apple pie currently), in addition to their classics! Dutch apple has always been a favorite with the crumb topping. They also have a natural apple pie with no sweetener added to the pie. This one allows the sweetness of the apples to stand out. They sell whole pies for take out or in-shop eating, in addition to slices of pie which can be enjoyed there or taken to go as well! Next to this shop is a famous bread and sandwich shop called Dudley’s. Pop on over to this shop while you are here for countless unique flavors of homemade breads that are beyond yummy!