This entire adventure all started with Saturday morning apple pancakes. Next thing we knew, we were looking up apple orchards and on the hunt for the best apple pancakes in the state of California! That deep google dive lead us to Julian, CA, home to all things apple. With a last minute hotel booked, we set out to explore this small town, its orchards, and apple eateries. Here is more from our weekend trip to the apple capital of California:
WHEN TO GO:
We enjoyed our time picking apples but because we were late in the season many of the apples had already been picked so I highly recommended going as soon as the season starts! Apple picking season typically begins in September (can be as early as August) and continues through October. The season changes yearly so make sure to keep an eye out for the start of the season!
WHERE TO GO:
Julian is home to dozens and dozens of apple orchards and pumpkin patches. And, on a fall weekend they can be quite packed with people. We settled on Volcan Valley Orchards and Farms, and while there were quite a lot of people enjoying their Sunday here, the orchards are large enough that you can make private space for yourself to enjoy the experience. Additionally, there are a few orchards that allow for apple picking and each has their dates and info on their websites updated annually. We chose Volcan Valley Farms, but here are a few other options as well: Apple Lane Orchard Country Estate, Apple Starr Orchards, Apples & Art Orchards, Julian Farm & Orchard, and Calico Ranch and Cidery.
WHERE TO STAY:
We chose to stay in the Julian Gold Rush Hotel. It is a quaint spot located at the start of the town’s main drag. Everything about this place made us feel like we were going back in time. From the rooms, to the details, to the complimentary tea in the parlor room, the Julian Gold Rush Hotel was a fun change of pace from urban life and a neat place to stay in town. Crazy enough, our room just so happened to be named the “Bailey Suite,” so it was perfect for us!
WHERE TO EAT:
Aside from visiting the orchards, eating was by far our favorite thing that we did in Julian. As previously mentioned, the town is quite small so there aren’t a ton of places to eat, but the options that are available are really good! Our top two favorite places were the Julian Pie Company and Mom’s Pie House. Both were delicious and a great way to try out the local fruits and baked goods! If you have a chance, try all of the pies from all of the places! You might only be in Julian once, so live it up! You won’t regret it!
WHAT’S NEAR BY:
Julian is quite close to San Diego if you are looking for an extended weekend spot. Due to LA traffic being quite heavy on our way home, we popped over to La Jolla just north of San Diego city and enjoyed a late afternoon on the water waiting out the heavy traffic into Los Angeles. If you have time however, I highly recommend staying a few nights in San Diego. It is such a beautiful city along an even more breathtaking coastline that you won’t want to miss!