The mountain town of Julian is synonymous with apple pie. Head an hour East of San Diego and check out this charming small town – and bring your appetite.

I f you need a break from the busy city, costly lattes and billboards promoting dispensaries, you’ll find refuge in Julian. You’ll need a car to get there, and maybe some Dramamine, as the road up the mountain is full of twists and turns. In about an hour, you’ll end up in quaint and quiet Julian, California. The center of town is just three blocks of restaurants, speciality shops, and a few excellent options for apple pie.

Julian is a historic mining town founded in the late 1890’s. There are several historic sites to explore around the Pioneer town, including The Eagle Mining Co. that offers guided tours of their underground tunnels. The family-friendly town (dogs included!) has horse drawn carriage rides, old fashioned candy shops, and more activities that will take you back in time. If you want to maximize your time outdoors, the area has plenty of beautiful hiking trails – Volcan Mountain is one of the more popular paths.

Foodies will have a field day here, especially those with a sweet tooth. A warm slice of pie with a scoop of ice cream feels decadent anywhere else, but in Julian it’s essential! Julian Pie Company is the most well-known bakery in town, so be prepared to wait in line. Moms Pie House and Apple Alley Bakery are equally delicious; all three have whipped cream, caramel sauce, ice cream and sharp cheddar cheese as pie toppings, so pick your poison!

Feeling thirsty? There are a number of wineries around Julian, including Blue Door Winery just off of Main Street. (Heads up, they only serve red varietals.) Julian Beer Company is another fun place to unwind, with several options on tap including Julian Hard Cider. If you need caffeine, stop by Regulars Wanted Beanery is a cute cafe that serves breakfast all day and some of the biggest cinnamon rolls you’ve ever seen.

When you’re not eating and drinking your way down the main drag, peek in antique shops, specialty food and homeware stores. While Julian is typically a sleepy town, it can get crowded around the holidays and in August at the start of apple season. Plan ahead and check for special events online, and enjoy your trip!

Alexa Brynne

Alexa Brynne

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