Updated: Dec 29, 2020
Julian is very kid-friendly. The close-knit and community-centered culture make it a great place to raise children. Being a short drive east of San Diego, Julian is an ideal day or weekend trip for many families. Kids are welcome everywhere, so you will have no trouble finding things to do with them. I want you to have the best time possible, so on behalf of every parent who has forgotten or wished they’d known about something prior to their trip to Julian, I am overloading this guide with must-haves and don’t-forgets. You can thank me later. I am excited to share with you some of my favorite places to take the little ones.
Before you leave... I have just a few tips to help make your experience the best it can be.
Be prepared for anything. I mean anything. If you might need it, bring it with you. Chances are you won't find it in a local store when you need it.
Make sure the kids have closed-toed shoes on. I can’t tell you how frequently kids forget shoes or break a flip flop while here.
Check the weather beforehand and dress your family members appropriately.
Have your children use the restroom right before the drive. Be prepared to stop in Ramona for a bathroom break if needed. There are no restrooms along the 23 miles between Ramona and Julian.
The drive is also very windy. I highly encourage you to bring extra clothes, barf bags, wipes, and some drinking water. If there is a mishap, Julian Mercantile has a very small selection of kids’ clothing.
Bring snacks and drinks. During peak tourism days (August through New Year, on a holiday weekend, or on a snow day) restaurants have long wait times. A snack to hold the kids over will keep everyone happy.
Lake Cuyamaca Recreation Park
Lake Cuyamaca is a local hub for outdoor recreation. You can camp, hike, fish, take a boat ride, and spot wildlife here. You just can’t swim in the water. The lake has many onshore fishing spots to give you an all-around fun fishing experience. It’s stocked with bass, catfish, trout, bluegill, crappie, and sturgeon all year long, you never know what you might catch!
Julian has been famous for its apples since 1907. Apple-picking is a great family-fun activity for all ages! Each year, multiple U-Pick orchards open to the public. The orchards open when the fruit is ready (usually mid- to late August) and close when they sell out (typically early October). Make sure the orchard of your choice is open before you make the drive. I definitely recommend coming during the week. If you can come only on a weekend, try to arrive at the orchard when it opens for the day. By noon, Julian is crowded during apple season. Closed-toed shoes are a must. P.S. Many of the orchards accept only cash. You can learn more about the apple season in Julian here.
Julian Branch Library
For years the local library has been a place where kids can read books and partake in fun learning experiences. The library hosts storytime, crafts, movie parties, and fun interactive presentations. The library is closed Sunday and Monday.