Updated: 2 days ago
There's a common misconception that there aren't many things to do in Julian. I constantly get asked, "What is there to do in Julian?" Good news! We have a variety of fun and unique things to do. I promise you, Julian is more than just apples. Check out this list!
Long drives can be boring with few entertainment options. As you make your way out of the city, there are lots to see on these backcountry roads so let’s play a game of I Spy on your way to Julian!
I Spy My Way To Julian along Highway 78 East, linked here.
I Spy My Way to Julian: Highway 79 North, linked here.
Feeling like Mexican, Italian, American, or BBQ? Julian has your cravings covered. Our local restaurants offer a variety of tasty restaurants for you to choose from.
Update: As of July 31st, 2020 the Julian Carriage Company is closed.
The Julian Carriage Company offers a wonderful educational tour of historic downtown Julian.
Stop by the Julian Town Hall to get the History Hunt answer card. Historic landmarks throughout the Julian historic district have plaques with a brief history of that building. Answer the questions about the buildings on your card. Before you leave town, drop your answer card back at the Town Hall to be entered for a chance to win $50. (Not too many people know about this opportunity so your chances are good.)
Julian Historical Society
The Julian Historical Society has three fantastic historic locations open to the public: The Witch Creek School House, Julian Stage Line, and the Washington Mine.
Julian Pioneer Museum
This museum was once the town's blacksmith shop. Today, it displays local artifacts, Native American history, animal mounts, and much more Julian history. Thanks to volunteers, the museum is usually open 10am to 4pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. To confirm that the museum is open, you can call ahead: 760-765-0227.
Historic Tours of Julian
Fourth-generation Julianite, David Lewis, has spent the last 10 years researching discover the history of Julian and surrounding areas. Whenever locals have a history question, he is our go-to person. Lucky for you, David offers private tours of Julian. "Julian’s history is a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. How they did them and why they did them is what I strive to understand. History is so much more than dates and places. It is a human story, a story I hope to see through their eyes." -Lewis
Julian Backcountry Quilt Trail (JBQT)
Since 2014, the Julian Woman's Club has been working with property owners and businesses to create a Southern California's first quilt trail. Each of the over 30 painted quilt squares shares something about local history, the owner, and the property. For those looking to see the whole collection, a nice drive through the San Diego Backcountry is required. If that's not for you, there are 6 quilt squares all within walking distance of each-other hanging in store windows in the town of Julian.
Fort Cross (Wynola)
Take a step back in time at Fort Cross Old Time Adventures. This unique, locally run attraction is full of hands-on historic, fun, and one-of-a-kind activities. Doreen and Jesse Cross along with their friends and family are dedicated to giving their visitors an experience they will never forget.
Julian Mining Company and Julian Farm & Orchard (Wynola)
Come pan for gold and gems at the Julian Mining Co. They are open weekends for tomahawk throwing, hayrides, panning for gold, and more! At their sister company Julian Farm & Orchard you can pick berries, apples, and pumpkins depending on the season.
Eagle Mine Tour
Ever wonder what it was like to work in an 1870 gold mine? Come tour the Old Hardrock Tunnels, The Eagle Mine, with their knowledgeable staff. Just 5 blocks up C Street from Main street will make you truly feel like you stepped back in time. Explore the mine and see the equipment required to mine for gold.
Doves and Desperados
Julian's own re-enactment group, Doves and Desperados, roam the streets of the historic Main Street Julian every Sunday. At 1 and 2 p.m. The famed group performs a historic and hysterical gunfight skit.
Apple Picking (Only in the fall)
In 1907, apples grown in Julian, CA won the Bronze Wilder Medal from the America Pomological Society at the Tri-centennial Exposition held in Jamestown, Virginia. This event became a major turning point in our town's economy and legacy. It has become very popular to go apple picking in Julian. Apples are available sometime between August-October.
There are so many beautiful campgrounds to choose from you might just have to come back and try them all out! Be sure a take some time to enjoy our beautiful night sky. It is sure to take your breath away.
Fishing/Boating (Lake Cuyamaca)
Lake Cuyamaca has many onshore fishing spots as well as boats available to give you an all-around fishing experience. You never know what you might catch! With Lake Cuyamaca being stocked with bass, catfish, trout, bluegill, crappie, and sturgeon all year long, there's always fish.
California Wolf Center
California Wolf Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping wild wolves return to their natural habitat. The center offers a variety of public and private tours (reservations required for all tours).
Oasis Camel Dairy (Witch Creek, 13 miles west of Julian)
Camels in San Diego? Yes, that's right! Once a month Oasis Camel Dairy holds Open Farm Days. You can feed, pet, and ride the camels. How cool is that? The camels even have their own skincare line made right on the farm. You can buy Milk Soap, Camel Milk Lotion, Camel Milk Bath Bombs, Camel Milk Lip Balms, and Camel Milk Serum. Check their website for more details.
What better way to see the backcountry than from the back of a horse? I can't think of one. Integrity Stables is owned and operated by Jennifer Smith. Jennifer offers riding lessons for all ages and abilities. For more information, call (760) 484-2929.
With a beautiful mountain comes stunning views. Hiking in our local mountains is popular all year long. If you do decide to take a stroll in the fresh air, please pay attention to the weather and hike during the cooler times of the day. Just to name a few hiking spots; try Stonewall Peak, Green Valley Falls, Lake Cuyamaca, Volcan Mountain, and Santa Ysabel East and West. We don't recommend Cedar Creek or Three Sisters despite their growing popularity. (See our blog post for additional information.)
Each season Julian organizations and the Chamber of Commerce hold different events. For more details on those events check out our posts on fall in Julian, winter in Julian, spring in Julian, and summer in Julian.
Social Distancing Activities in San Diego County
Since March of 2020, the San Diego Mountains have been a safe haven for SoCal residents looking to escape COVID-19. The region is filled with a diverse array of geography, attractions, and culinary experiences. The low population is just a bonus…The catch is, the region may have a low residential population, but the pandemic has boosted tourism. The good news is that as long as everyone doesn’t go to the same places, the backcountry has room for everyone to spread out. Click here to learn about some of the best social distancing activities in the San Diego Backcountry.
21 and Over
Alcohol has played an interesting part in Julian’s 150-year history. As in any mining town in the early days, saloons were as much a part of the community as gold was. It wasn’t long before the townspeople earned a reputation for drinking too much. As the gold ran out, so did the alcohol. Locals often joke about how nonexistent bar-hopping is in Julian. We do have some great specialty alcohol brands and multiple establishments where you can enjoy a drink, but your options for getting served hard liquor across the bar are still limited.
Julian has multiple beautiful wineries for you to enjoy. Check out Menghini Winery (Julian's first winery), Volcan Mountain Winery, Blue Door Winery (walking distance from Main Street), and Julian Wine & Chocolate.
The microbrewery revolution has come to Julian. With Nickel Beer, Julian Beer Company, and the Cooler there are plenty of unique beers for you to try.
Southern California's first Hard Cider company, Julian Hard Cider, has built a wonderful reputation for itself. Nestled in an old apple processing plant with over 10 flavors on tap, the Julian Hard Cider Miner's Saloon is a must-see.
We are very grateful for everyone who financially supports our community through purchases made at the local businesses. The revenue tourism brings in isn’t enough to keep up with the tourism demand the region receives. We ask that you please help us maintain a clean environment for the animals and the generations to come. Please, please take everything you bring with you back home.
I hope you found a few things on our list that you're interested in doing! Have a safe and fun trip to Julian.
**All information provided in this post was correct to the best of my knowledge at the time the post was published. Information provided in this post may change without notice. Please double-check with the individual business for the most up-to-date information.**