Family Fun in Julian
The beauty of historic Julian (a gold mining town just 60 miles northeast of San Diego) is that many attractions are within walking distance of each other. It’s the perfect family day trip from San Diego! Explore on foot, sustained by apple pie, of course.
Eagle & High Peak Mine
2320 C St.
Before there was apple pie, there was gold and this original mine was one of its top producers. Tour guides lead visitors through an intricate path of tunnels in the hard rock mine and share tales of the early prospectors. Try your hand at panning for gold!
Julian Book House
2230 Main St.
Browse this quaint house-turned-bookstore filled with rare, new and used books in virtually every subject. There’s a children’s play area and a cozy fireplace to curl up in a winged-back chair with a good tome.
So many varieties, so little time. From sour cream apple and pumpkin apple to mountain berry combos, grab a slice at several eateries including Julian Pie Company, Mom’s Pies, Apple Alley Bakery, Julian Café & Bakery and most restaurants. Or take a whole pie home to enjoy later.
2129 Main St.
Stop by Town Hall and pick up the History Hunt questionnaire. Explore Julian on foot, visit the historic markers, and answer questions about Julian’s history. Turn in your completed card at Town Hall for a chance to win a monthly prize drawing.
Julian Mining Co.
4444 State Hwy. 78
Located in Wynola, just three miles out of town, this family destination offers gold panning, a gem sluice, tomahawk throwing, crafts, seasonal u-pick raspberries, u-press apple cider, hayrides and a pumpkin patch. Days and hours vary, so check website for details.
California Wolf Center
Tall Pine Rd. & KQ Ranch Rd.
Make reservations in advance for this large breeding and host facility that is home to an impressive pack of Rocky Mountain gray wolves and multiple packs of Mexican gray wolves. Private and public tours, special events and school/youth presentations are available.
Julian Pioneer Museum
2811 Washington St.
A former blacksmith shop and brewery, this charming museum houses mining and period artifacts. Next door is the Grosskopf House, a replica of a pioneer house. Admission with nominal donation. Open Thurs.–Sun.
2134 Main St.
Sidle up to the vintage soda fountain for an old-fashioned milkshake, malt, soda or phosphate. Try the nostalgic Purple Cow or a tasty rootbeer float. Breakfast and lunch are also served in this historic brick building built in 1886.
Julian Cider Mill
Corner of Main & B St.
Warm up by the wood-burning stove, taste samples, and shop for gourmet treats including apple cider, pumpkin butter, classic candy, caramel apples, raw honey, dried fruits and nuts, jams and more.
15027 Hwy. 79
Fish, rent a paddleboat, camp, picnic and hike around this 110-acre lake located nine miles from Julian. Look for the wooden bear statue and stone maze on Fletcher Island or hike to the remains of Stonewall Mine, the largest producing mine in Julian and once the site of Cuyamaca City, which had a population of 500. There’s a small cabin with an exhibit on its history.
Park in the Paso Picacho campground, cross the street and tackle this moderate 4-mile round trip hike up Stonewall Peak to an elevation of 900 ft. for an incredible panoramic view. Suitable for energetic youngsters on a well-graded trail through chaparral, oaks and incense cedar.
Gina Petrone is a freelance writer with two teenage boys who love Julian Pie Company’s cinnamon ice cream almost as much as its apple pie.
Want to go apple picking this fall? Find local apple orchards here and contact each directly for crop availability.
Updated August 2020