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Things to Do in Julian, CA

Updated: Mar 10, 2022


Attractions, activities, and things to do in Julian, CA.

What is there to do in Julian? A lot actually! Julian offers locally-owned restaurants, charming shops, scenic hikes, animal attractions, historical must-sees, agrotourism, craft distilleries, and so much more! I promise you, Julian is more than just apples.


Before you hit the backcountry roads, I have shared all my local knowledge on everything one should know before visiting Julian, here.


Check out this list of all the things to do in Julian, CA!


 

I Spy

 

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.


 

Shopping

 

The Julian Historical District, Wynola, and Santa Ysabel have unique shops. Here you can find art galleries, antiques, candy, and souvenir shops.


 

Eating

 

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.


Julian is famous for its apple pies. Everyone wants to know where the best place to get pie is in Julian. You can't get a bad pie in this all-American town. Learn all about Julian Apple Pie here.


Apple pie isn't the only apple treat you can find in town. Check out these mouth-watering apple treats and beverages.


 

Julian with Kids

 

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.


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.

  • The drive to Julian is long. To help keep the kids entertained, here’s a fun Eye Spy game.

  • 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.

Learn more about exploring Julian with kids here.


 

History Hunt

 

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. Head to Pioneer Park at the corner of Washington Street and 4th Street.


 

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.


 

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.


 

Camping

 

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 at 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.


 

The Judith A Bassett (JAB) Canid

Education and Conservation Center

 

In memory of Judith A Bassett, David and Amy Bassett founded the JAB Canid Education and Conservation Center in Santa Ysabel, CA. The center is focused on both wolf and dog-like animals (canines) and fox-like animals (vulpines). Here you can find Russian domesticated foxes and many other gorgeous animals. Visitors can schedule appointments for close encounters.