15 Best Things to Do in Julian, CA

15 Best Things to Do in Julian, CA

Julian is a popular and dynamic town in Southern California.

Located near big towns like San Diego and Los Angeles, this small town is as lively as its surrounding towns.

The town has a very charming aura and attracts a lot of visitors each year.

The town also has a number of historic attractions, mining sites, beautiful shops, and naturally abundant spots.

The town is also famous for its apples around the world, with more than seven varieties of apples grown in the nearby orchards using traditional methods of cultivation.

The town is not only great for vacations but also for weekend getaways.

The following article will help you in understanding how to plan a great and fruitful trip to this small town and make the full out of the trip.

Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca
Colorful Moments / Shutterstock.com


Lake Cuyamaca  was created out of a reservoir in the year 1888 as a result of the construction of the Cuyamaca Dam.

This dam is one of the oldest and still operational in California.

Covering an almost 110-acre area, the lake is a perfect place for recreational activities.

It is surrounded by Cuyamaca Rancho state park which makes the lake a very suitable place for activities like fishing.

The lake is heavily loaded with different fishes like trout, Florida bass, catfish, bluegill, sturgeon, etc.

Due to its fish population, the place is always filled with fishermen.

It also has a nice and well-maintained campground.

A small store, a café, and a tackle shop on the lake site are additional perks that make a visit to this lake a very comfortable one.

A large number of  hiking trails make the lake perfect for exploring some wilderness in the surrounding areas

California Wolf Center


A huge area dedicated entirely to the recovery and preservation of wolves, the California Wolf Center is more of a wolf sanctuary.

The Center provides a home for a large number of grey wolves, North American grey wolves and a few breeds of Mexican grey wolves.

Some of the wolves are also part of the educational programs devised by the Center.

The visitors are allowed to observe these animals and their activities on a day-to-day basis and understand their behavior patterns in normal life.

This helps the people to connect with them in a better manner and reduce the factor of fear.

All these contribute to increasing the interest of humankind in wolves and their conservation in the wild.

The Center offers a very natural and healthy environment for the inhabiting wolves so that they can live and grow without any challenges.

California wolf Center is also famous as the biggest breeding center for Mexican Gray wolves in the United States.

Santa Ysabel East Preserve


An unbelievably beautiful and scenic mountain nature sanctuary, Santa Ysabel East Preserve is located in between hills, oak woodlands, and grasslands loaded with wildflowers.

This preserve is spread over an area of 3800 acres and is a heaven for natural adventures like biking, hiking, and equestrian activities.

The preserve has beautiful and well-maintained trails spread over an area of 18.5 miles with a great elevation which are just perfect for light adventurous activities.

In addition to the well-groomed paths, these trails are home to a wide variety of plants and animals.

The preserve has a few picnic tables as well and it is perfect for spending some time in the lap of nature.

Volcan mountain wilderness preserve


Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve is located on the slopes of  Volcan Mountain.

This wilderness preserve was established to preserve and protect the mountainous range of the  Volcan Mountain and the diverse habitats in the nearby area.

This preserve is spread over an area of 2900 acres of evergreen forests, oak woodlands, and deserts.

The preserve has great hiking trails which lead to the Volcan summit.

The entire journey results in spectacular and unbelievable views of the surrounding landscape.

There are a large number of picnic areas, viewpoints, and hiking tours arranged by rangers for a more fulfilling experience of the preserve.

Julian Pioneer Museum

Julian Pioneer Museum
Seauton, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The Julian Pioneer Museum is a great place to experience traveling back in time and get an insight into the life of people living in small towns like Julian.

The museum is established in a blacksmith shop from the 1800s and is a very important attraction in town.

This museum provides a visual insight into the lives of Americans, their practices of mining gold, and the development of agriculture, and various agricultural practices over time.

The museum has an extensive collection of various Native American clothing, historic artifacts, mining equipment, Victorian pianos, equipment used for transportation like sleigh and buggy, and historically eminent photographs.

The museum is surrounded by a park as well which is quite a famous spot for a picnic in Julian.

Exploring the apple orchards

Apple orchards in Julian
Manuela Durson / Shutterstock.com


The town of Julian is not complete without its apples and apple orchards.

The perfect way of exploring the town and its tradition is to go for Apple picking in any of the apple orchards.

The season for picking these organically and naturally grown apples is quite short and changes every year.

So, to make sure that you are well on time, keep visiting the website of these orchards.

Apple Starr Orchard is the perfect place to go if you are looking forward to picking some organic apples and additional treats like pears.

The trees have long branches so that the shorter members of the families can also participate.

Calico Ranch Orchard is one of the oldest apple orchards in the town.

Established back in the 1930s, this orchard also sells fresh and extremely delicious cider.

Julian Farm & Orchard is a dynamic orchard whose produce is not limited merely to apples.

This farm is great for picking additional fruits like strawberries, raspberries, etc. Julian farm & orchard also have fun amenities like a zoo, archery ranges, hayride offerings, and axe throwing events.

Orchards are quite fulfilling places and make you feel lively with all the lush and colorful vegetation around.

A perfect place for picnicking, visiting an Orchard has to be a to-do activity on everyone’s list.

Julian Pie Company

Julian pie company
David Lafontaine / Shutterstock.com


Apples are not the only blessing to the town of Julian.

The town is also famous for its apple pies which are served warm and great for fulfilling all your food desires.

Julian Pie Company is one place that attracts a lot of visitors to this small town.

The apple pies at Julian have a delicious crust that will not only melt in your mouth but also melt your heart.

The pie company has a lot of various flavors such as crumb and chicken pot pie, peach apple crumble, etc.

In addition to the Pies, the place also sells Cookies, donuts, ice creams, and apple cider vinegar.

Everything at this place is delicious and mouthwatering.

The place is dog-friendly and allows you to have the best moments of your life.

You can also buy the pies and take them off to enjoy with your family and friends.

A very cute and friendly place, Julian pie company is definitely a must-visit in town.

Mom’s pies

Mom’s pies
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com


Mom’s Pies is the place to visit if you are looking forward to having not very fancy but basic apple pies which taste like the ones your mom used to cook when you were small.

This place has a variety of delicious Apple items such as Apple dumplings, apple crumbs, and Apple boysenberry.

Reasonably priced and traditionally cooked pies at Mom’s are a perfect way of making a place in someone’s heart.

Eagle mining company


Mining was a very famous activity in the town of Julian.

Even though it only ran for a short span from 1870 to 1900, the history of gold mining is still rich in the area.

Eagle mining company is a service provider which offers tours to various gold mines in the town.

The tours mostly involve visiting various museums, underground tunnels, and gold panning areas.

The most famous is the Eagle and High point gold mine.

This is a very famous and nicely restored gold mine that allows visitors to explore its original tunnels and pan gold.

The guides will help you in understanding the detailed process of mining.

The tours are quite popular among the visitors and are definitely worth checking out.

Julian Wines and Chocolates


Julian wines and chocolate is a small yet beautiful wine bar located in the restored historic station of the town.

In addition to the delicious wines, the place also offers handmade chocolates.

The wines at the bar are carefully chosen and produced by Californian artists for the unique labels.

You can also try the wines at the bar itself or buy the bottle home.

The wines can always be paired with chocolates for an enhanced taste.

Miner’s Diner

Miner’s Diner
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com


An old-fashioned diner in Julian, Miner’s diner is located in a historic brick building.

The building in which this diner is located was established in 1886 and is the oldest building in the town.

The building has been restored but many of the artifacts and original pieces were kept in the same form and used in the decoration of this diner.

The diner has wooden display cabinets and unopened bottles of medicines which give it a very quaint yet antique look.

The place serves a large variety of shakes, ice creams, malts, sodas, as well as comfort food like sandwiches and burgers.

The place also has a version of a candy mine where kids can get their favorite candies.

Definitely, a must-visit place in Julian, Miner’s diner is a perfect place to have your food.

Nickel Beer Company


A very popular spot among the locals as well as the visitors in Julian, Nickel brewing Company serves the best beer in the town.

The brewery as well as the taproom of the company is housed in a wooden green building giving it a very magnificent and rich look.

The company has 16 beer taps at present which serve a variety of beers with different seasonal as well as regular flavors.

The place is always enchanted with great live music performed by local bands making it a perfect place for casually hanging out with friends and family.

Julian Book House


A perfect place for all book lovers and bookworms, Julian book House is a charming bookstore.

This little bookstore was originally a house that was converted into a bookstore.

The entire environment of the bookstore is quite old, and the smell of old books is always persistent.

The books are quite neatly and alphabetically organized in beautiful stacks which make it easier for the visitors to reach for them.

The books are reasonably priced.

In addition to the normal books, the bookstore also has some rare editions which are available for some extra bucks.

Apart from buying the books, you can also read them through the shelves.

A great place, this tiny bookstore is definitely going to steal your heart.

Shopping in Julian


When it comes to shopping, Julian is definitely a sweetheart.

The town has a number of beautiful gift shops which sell not only antique and unique gifts but also locally produced items.

The town has great offerings for antique collectors.

If you are looking for some antique glassware, quilts, toys, tools, and other stuff, do check Wynola Junction antiques and collectables.

If you are looking forward to buying some cheap yet good-quality souvenirs for gifting, check out Warm Hearth.

The place sells locally produced gems, sauces, coffee, jellies, and other items.

Crow and Lilac is a perfect place for buying beauty and body products such as soaps, body scrubs, and lotions.

The quality of all these products is top-notch and the prices are reasonable.

Dark Sky Newton


If you are someone who is fantasized and amazed by the beautiful skies, Julian has got you covered. Julian is an exception when it comes to the visibility of the Milky Way.

The town has quite dark skies which are not greatly affected by pollution as a result of which Milky Way can be viewed.

In addition, the visitors can also see other stars and planets in the beautiful night sky.

If you are interested in taking up this adventure, become a member of the Dark Sky Newton and find yourself in an altogether different universe.

A breathtaking experience, this one is a gift that you should definitely give yourself.

Julian is a small town in Southern California that has never failed to amaze visitors.

This place is so rich and diverse that it has to be on the list of all the travel lovers.