19 Most Fun Things To Do In Julian, CA

Julian, California, is a charming mountain town in the Cuyamaca Mountains, just an hour’s drive northeast of San Diego.

The history of Julian dates back to the 1870s when gold was discovered in the area, sparking a gold rush that boomed the town as miners flocked to the region.

However, when the gold veins started to decline, the town’s economy shifted to agriculture. Today, Julian is renowned for its apple production and delicious apple pies.

It is located at an elevation of 4,226 feet, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

You’ll find cozy bed and breakfasts, charming cottages, and rustic lodges that capture the town’s quaint character. The main street has unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

Don’t forget to visit the apple orchards and cider mills, where you can pick your apples or indulge in freshly baked apple pie. 

Julian experiences four seasons, with cool winters and mild summers, making it an ideal year-round destination.

The best time to visit Julian is during the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant, and the apple orchards are in full bloom or abundant with a harvest.

With its rich history, pleasant climate, and various activities, Julian is a popular destination for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and those seeking a relaxing getaway.

1) Julian Pioneer Museum

The Julian Pioneer Museum, located in the heart of Julian, California, is a treasure trove of local history and a must-visit destination for learning things to do in Julian.

Julian Pioneer Museum
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The museum showcases the town’s rich heritage, preserving and displaying artifacts depicting the early pioneer days and the development of Julian.

The museum was constructed in 1897. The building itself is a piece of history and adds to the authenticity of the museum experience.

Inside the museum, you can explore a fascinating collection of exhibits, including photographs, documents, mining tools, clothing, and household items from the town’s pioneer era.

Knowledgeable docents can provide guided tours and share intriguing stories about the exhibits. Those amenities and facilities are available to enhance your experience. 

The museum features a gift shop where you can purchase unique souvenirs and books related to Julian’s history and avail yourself of the opportunity to immerse yourself in the fascinating pioneer heritage.

You can stroll along Main Street, explore charming shops, indulge in delicious apple pies, or even take a guided tour to learn more about the town’s gold rush history.


2811 Washington Street, Julian, CA 92036, United States

2) William Heise County Park

William Heise County Park is a Destination that offers a blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and picturesque outdoors, providing photographic things to do in Julian.

William Heise County Park
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The park’s history dates back to the early 20th century when it was established as a recreational area. It remains a popular destination for camping, hiking, and the great outdoors.

It was named after William Heise, a prominent San Diego County Supervisor who was vital in establishing and preserving the park for future generations.

It offers various campgrounds equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and restroom facilities, allowing you to enjoy a cozy stay amidst the beautiful natural surroundings.

The park also features playgrounds, basketball courts, and horseshoe pits, providing recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages.

For outdoor enthusiasts, William Heise County Park offers numerous hiking trails that wind through oak woodlands, meadows, and scenic vistas. 

The park hosts seasonal activities, such as guided nature walks, bird-watching programs, and stargazing events for you to further connect with the area’s natural wonders.


4945 Heise Park Road, Julian, CA 92036, United States

3) Volcan Mountain Winery

Volcan Mountain Winery has a rich history intertwined with the region’s winemaking tradition, producing award-winning wines and showcasing the region’s unique terroir.

Volcan Mountain Winery
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The winery was established in the early 1970s by local wine enthusiasts who recognized the area’s potential for grape cultivation and harvesting things to do in Julian.

The winery’s farmsteads advantage from the peak’s well- drafted soils and cold airs, pitching in to the extraordinary caliber of the grapes cultivated there.

The winery boasts a fascinating tasting space where you can savor varied handwrought wines while adoring the graphic views of the girding farmlands and peaks.

The familiar and informed personnel will direct you through the tasting, delivering perceptivity into the winemaking procedure and the special characteristics of each wine.

Volcan Mountain Winery frequently hosts events, such as wine pairing dinners, live music performances, and seasonal celebrations, offering you a memorable experience.

A visit to Volcan Mountain Winery offers the chance to sample exceptional wines, appreciate the region’s beauty, and engage in events.


1255 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian, CA 92036, United States

4) Blue Door Winery

Blue Door Winery is a charming boutique winery that offers a unique wine-tasting experience in a picturesque setting and guzzling things to do in Julian.

Blue Door Winery
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It is relatively new compared to other wineries in the area, and Blue Door Winery has quickly gained a reputation for its exceptional wines and welcoming atmosphere.

Its name was inspired by the iconic blue door that adorned the tasting room entrance. The blue door has become a symbol of the winery and adds a touch of whimsy to the overall ambiance.

To ensure a pleasant visit, the intimate tasting room provides a cozy setting to sample various handcrafted wines made from locally grown grapes.

In addition to wine tastings, it often hosts events and live music performances, creating a lively and entertaining atmosphere and providing you with great wine and live music.

Surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards, Blue Door Winery also offers scenic views, making it a delightful relaxing spot and taking in the area’s natural beauty.

With its delightful wines, unique ambiance, and engaging events, the winery provides a memorable visit for those seeking a taste of the Julian wine region.


2608 B Street, Julian, CA 92036, United States

5) Julian Pie Company

The Julian Pie Company is a beloved establishment that has become synonymous with delicious homemade pies providing tasty things to do in Julian.

Julian Pie Company
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The history of the Julian Pie Company dates back to the 1980s when Liz Smothers started baking pies using her grandmother’s recipe; it has become a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike.

Using locally sourced apples, the pies are made with love and attention to detail, resulting in flaky crusts and mouth-watering fillings that have won the hearts of pie addicts.

It offers a cozy bakery and café where you can savor a slice of pie and enjoy coffee. The aroma of freshly baked pies fills the air, creating an inviting atmosphere.

Beyond indulging in pies, you can also participate in entertaining activities such as pie-making classes that allow you to learn the art of pie-making and take home their creations. 

Are you a pie lover and seeking a delightful destination? Its rich history, delicious offerings, and warm atmosphere make it a must-visit spot in Julian.

Whether you’re enjoying a slice of their famous apple pie or participating in a pie-making class, the Julian Pie Company offers a memorable and tasty experience for all.


2225 Main Street, Julian, CA 92036, United States

6) Menghini Winery

Menghini Winery is a family-owned winery with a rich history and a reputation for producing exceptional wines offering striking things to do in Julian.

Established in 1982, the winery is nestled in the scenic countryside and is known for its commitment to crafting wines of the highest quality.

Menghini Winery
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It is situated on land in the Menghini family for over 50 years. The family’s Italian heritage and passion for winemaking have been passed down through generations.

The rustic tasting room provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you can sample various handcrafted wines, including reds, whites, and specialty blends. 

Are you ready for the secret of wine to reveal? The knowledgeable staff is always on hand to guide you through the tasting and share insights into the winemaking process.

It hosts events such as wine release parties, wine pairing dinners, and live music, allowing you to immerse yourself in the world of wine while enjoying the scenic surroundings.

You can explore the vineyard, take leisurely walks, enjoy picnic areas with views of the countryside, and a wine club membership provides access to exclusive benefits and special releases.


Orchards Drive 1150 Julian, CA 92036, United States.

7) California Wolf Center

The California Wolf Center is a conservation and education facility dedicated to preserving North American wolf species for exploring things to do in Julian.

The history of the California Wolf Center dates back to 1977, when a group of individuals came together to establish a captive breeding program for endangered wolves. 

California Wolf Center
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Today, the center is home to several species of wolves, including the Mexican gray wolf and the critically endangered red wolf.

With its commitment to wildlife conservation and engaging programs, the center offers a unique opportunity to learn about and connect with these magnificent creatures.

Guided tours provide a glimpse into the lives and behaviors of these fascinating animals, allowing you to gain a deeper appreciation for their role in the ecosystem.

The Wolf Center offers educational programs, workshops, and presentations that provide insights into wolf biology, conservation efforts, and the challenges they face in the wild. 

It hosts special events like “Howl Nights,” where you can listen to the haunting sounds of wolves howling under the night sky, creating a truly immersive and unforgettable experience.


K Q Ranch Road & Tall Pine Road, Julian, CA 92036, United States

8) Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve

The Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve is a pristine natural area that offers many outdoor activities, breathtaking scenery, and stupefying things to do in Julian.

It is home to Volcan Mountain, a prominent peak at an elevation of 5,719 feet and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, making it a popular destination for hikers and nature photographers. 

Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve
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Well-maintained hiking trails meander through diverse ecosystems, including oak woodlands, meadows, and chaparral.

You can enjoy picnicking at designated areas, and interpretive signs provide information about the local flora, fauna, and geology.

It is an excellent spot for birdwatching, home to various bird species. Binoculars and a field guide can enhance the experience of spotting and identifying different avian species.

The preserve often hosts guided hikes and special events, allowing you to learn more about the area’s natural wonders and immerse yourself in the beauty of the wilderness.

The preserve’s scenic trails, diverse ecosystems, and engaging events allow one to explore, learn, and appreciate the wonders of the Julian region’s wilderness.


1209 Farmer Road, Julian, CA 92036, United States

9) Nickel Beer Company

Nickel Beer Company is a small, family-owned microbrewery known for its handcrafted beers, laid-back atmosphere, and frolic things to do in Julian.

Nickel Beer Company
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With a rich history and a commitment to quality brewing, the brewery has become a popular destination for beer enthusiasts and visitors looking for a unique experience.

Founded in 2012, Nickel Beer Company has quickly gained a reputation for its creative and flavorful brews taking pride in using locally sourced ingredients.

It operates out of a historic building that once served as Julian’s blacksmith shop bringing rustic charm and including hops grown on-site to create its distinct beer offerings.

Regarding amenities and facilities, Nickel Beer Company offers a cozy taproom where you can sample a rotating selection of craft beers on tap. 

The knowledgeable and friendly staff is always ready to guide you through the tasting, providing insights into the brewing process and the unique qualities of each beer.

The brewery often hosts events, including live music performances, trivia nights, and special beer releases making your visit an entertaining, memorable, and enjoyable experience.


1485 Hollow Glen Road, Julian, CA 92036, United States

10) Eagle Mining Co.

The Eagle Mining Co. offers you a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the rich history of the region’s gold mining era and digging things to do in Julian.

With its fascinating history, interactive tours, and engaging activities, the Eagle Mining Co. is a popular attraction for history buffs and adventure seekers.

Eagle Mining Co.
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The history dates back to the 1870s when gold was discovered. The mine operated for decades, contributing to the prosperity and growth of Julian as a booming mining town.

The mine has been preserved and transformed into a living museum, allowing you to explore the tunnels and learn about the challenges and triumphs of gold mining in the past.

You can purchase a bag of sand enriched with real gold and pan for the precious metal, experiencing the excitement and thrill of striking gold firsthand.

The Eagle Mining Co. provides guided tours led by knowledgeable and friendly guides who share captivating stories and insights about the mining history of Julian. 

You can explore the mine tunnels, view original mining equipment, and gain a deeper understanding of the mining techniques used during the gold rush era.


2320 C Street, Julian, CA 92036, United States

11) Hubbell Studios / Ilan-Lael Foundation

Hubbell Studios, also known as the Ilan-Lael Foundation, is a renowned art and architectural studio in California for artistic things to do in Julian, CA.

The history of Hubbell Studios dates back to the 1950s when James Hubbell and his wife, Anne, established their artistic haven in the mountains of Julian.

Hubbell Studios Ilan-Lael Foundation
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Over the years, the studio has evolved into a unique sanctuary where you can discover art, architecture, and nature intertwine to delve into ancient knowledge. 

The buildings feature organic shapes, intricate details, and harmonious integration with the environment, reflecting James Hubbell’s philosophy of “organic architecture.”

Hubbell Studios offers guided tours that provide an in-depth look at the art and architecture created by James Hubbell, inspired by the surrounding natural landscape.

You can explore the studios, workshops, and the breathtaking Ilan-Lael property, which showcases stunning sculptures, stained glass, and other artistic creations.

Hosts art exhibits, workshops, and cultural events throughout the year, providing opportunities to engage with the art and learn from talented artists and artisans.


930 Orchard Ln, Santa Ysabel, Julian, CA 92070, United States

12) Julian Cider Mill

The Julian Cider Mill is a delightful destination celebrating the town’s apple heritage and offering a taste of traditional apple cider-making and savvy things to do in Julian.

The history of the Julian Cider Mill dates back to the early 1970s when the facility was established to process and press apples from the local orchards.

Julian Cider Mill
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Since then, the cider mill has been a focal point of the community’s apple production, producing high-quality apple cider and other apple-based treats.

It uses an old-fashioned apple press, a charming and nostalgic reminder of the cider mill’s traditional approach to crafting their delectable beverages.

The cider mill also features a marketplace to purchase fresh apples, apple pies, apple butter, and other apple-related goodies and sample various apple products.

Provides guided tours that take you through the cider-making process, offering insights into the history and techniques behind the production of their artisanal ciders.

With its rich history, mouthwatering products, and engaging experiences, the cider mill is a must-visit spot for entertaining and flavorful visitors who appreciate the magic of apples.


2103 Main Street, Julian, CA 92036, United States

13) Integrity Stables

Integrity Stables is a premier equestrian facility Committed to horsemanship and a serene setting providing riding things to do in Julian.

Integrity Stables
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The history of Integrity Stables dates back to its founding by passionate horse lovers who sought to create a safe and welcoming environment for riders and horses alike. 

The facility has since grown into a reputable establishment known for its high-quality equestrian programs and exceptional care for horses.

It is situated in the picturesque countryside of Julian, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys to spend your entire day gazing upon nature.

You can take advantage of boarding services, horse training programs, and lessons equipped with everything needed for a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Integrity Stables organizes trail rides that allow visitors to explore the scenic trails of Julian on horseback while immersing in the beauty of nature in the company of these majestic animals.

With its rich history, top-notch facilities, and enjoyable activities like trail rides, the stables offer an exceptional equestrian experience for riders of all ages and skill levels.


2323 Farmer Road, Julian, CA 92036, United States

14) Desert View Park

Desert View Park is located in Salton City and is a recreational area that offers stunning views of the Salton Sea and a variety of sensational things to do in Julian, CA.

The history of Desert View Park is closely tied to the development of Salton City as a resort community in the mid-20th century and established to showcase scenic vistas.

Desert View Park
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It sits at an elevation of approximately 235 feet below sea level, making it one of the lowest points in North America; that adds to the park’s allure and creates a unique geographical experience.

It offers picnic areas with shaded tables to enjoy a meal or relax while taking in the panoramic views of the Salton Sea with your selected group of people.

It includes hiking and nature walks, where you can explore the desert environment and observe the unique flora and fauna of the area by enjoying the peaceful breeze.

It organizes art exhibits, live music performances, and community gatherings, offering an opportunity to engage with the local community and appreciate the cultural aspects.  

With its unique location and natural beauty, Desert View Park allows one to explore the desert landscape and engage in entertaining outdoor pursuits.


423 Inspiration Point Road, Julian, CA 92036, United States

15) Julian Mining Company

Julian Mining Company, located in California, offers visitors a hands-on experience of the town’s rich gold mining history and excavating things to do in Julian, CA.

Its history dates back to the gold rush era of the 1870s when gold was discovered in the area. Today, the company preserves this historical legacy.

Julian Mining Company
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It is situated on a historic mine site, providing an authentic atmosphere to step back and experience the thrill of gold mining, known for its rich deposits of gems and minerals.

Julian Mining Company provides all the equipment for gold panning and gem sluicing, including pans, shovels, and screens for a barrier-free visit.

The company offers picnic areas to relax, enjoy a meal amidst the natural landscape, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the countryside with your friends and family.

It hosts special events throughout the year, like gold rush reenactments and live music performances, adding to the entertainment value and creating a festive atmosphere.

The Julian Mining Company provides a fun and informative destination for children and adults with its immersive activities, educational programs, and scenic surroundings.


4444 California 78, Julian, CA 92036, United States

16) Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca is located in San Diego County and is a serene and picturesque lake nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains offering camping things to do in Julian, CA.

The history of Lake Cuyamaca dates back to the early 1900s when a dam was constructed to create the lake as a water supply for the city of San Diego. 

Lake Cuyamaca
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Today, it is a recreational oasis, attracting nature enthusiasts, anglers, and outdoor adventurers, and it is home to one of the few freshwater marinas in San Diego County.

You can rent kayaks, canoes, or fishing boats to explore the pristine waters, enjoy the lake’s tranquil ambiance, and have fun with your compatible peer.

It accommodates campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails. You can set up their tents or park RVs in designated areas and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding forest.

It incorporates Picnic areas that provide a scenic backdrop for outdoor meals, while hiking trails offer opportunities to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the area.

Lake Cuyamaca hosts various events throughout the year, including fishing tournaments, bird-watching excursions, and educational programs on the lake’s ecosystem. 


15027 Highway 79 Julian, CA 92036 United States

17) Mom’s Pie House – Julian

Mom’s Pie House is a beloved establishment that has become synonymous with delectable homemade pies, providing sweet and savoury things to do in Julian, CA.

Its history dates back to the 1980s when Bruce and Valerie Strickland opened their doors, offering a delightful array of pies made from scratch using traditional family recipes.

Mom's Pie House - Julian
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Mom’s Pie House was originally operated out of the Strickland family’s own kitchen before growing into the beloved establishment it is today adds a touch of authenticity to the pies.

The charming dining area exudes a rustic and homey atmosphere, creating the perfect ambiance to savor these mouthwatering creations.

The house offers a wide variety of pie flavors, including classics like apple, cherry, and pumpkin, as well as unique creations like boysenberry apple and peach raspberry. 

Beyond the pies, you can explore the picturesque town of Julian, known for its rich history and charming Main Street and purchase whole pies to take home and enjoy.

It offers a range of activities, including exploring historic sites, shopping at local boutiques, and enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings of the area with your loved ones.


2119 Main St, Julian, CA 92036, United States

18) Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, located in Southern California, is a vast and diverse desert wilderness that offers a remarkable experience and outdoor things to do in Julian.

Its history dates back thousands of years, with evidence of indigenous peoples who once inhabited the area making it the largest state park in California, spanning over 600,000 acres.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
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The park is also named after the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza, who led an expedition through the region in 1774.

It is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including unique desert plants, bighorn sheep, and elusive desert tortoises.

You can also find various hiking trails, including the popular Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, which leads to an oasis of native California fan palms.

The park features interpretive exhibits and visitor centers where you can learn about the geology, cultural history, and wildlife of the area.

You can do stargazing, Wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and wildflower hikes as the park is renowned for its dark skies and ideal conditions for observing celestial wonder.


Borrego Springs, CA 92004, United States

19) Volcan Mountain Trailhead

The Volcan Mountain Trailhead is the starting point for an exhilarating hiking adventure up Volcan Mountain, incorporating stimulating things to do in Julian, CA.

In the 1990s, the Volcan Mountain Foundation acquired the land and established the trailhead to provide public access to the mountain’s trails.

Volcan Mountain Trailhead
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it serves as the gateway to the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve, which encompasses over 3,000 acres of protected land and its pristine ecosystem.

The preserve is home to diverse wildlife, including golden eagles, deer, and a variety of plant species to learn about the mountain’s natural and cultural significance.

The Trailhead provides a parking area and Interpretive signs along the trail offer educational information about the mountain’s ecology, geology, and history.

The trailhead offers access to several hiking trails, including the popular Five Oaks Trail and the Boucher Hill Loop Trail providing access to the breathtaking landscapes.

You can enjoy a moderate-to-strenuous climb to the summit, where breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys, mountains, and natural wonders await.

With its rich history, stunning views, and amenities, the trailhead offers you an opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding nature.


1107 Farmer Rd, Julian, CA 92036, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Julian, CA

These hotels offer a variety of amenities and facilities to cater to different needs and preferences. From cozy bed and breakfasts to charming inns and modern hotels, there are options to suit every traveler’s style.

These hotels are known for its friendly service and convenient location, providing comfortable accommodations and easy access to Julian’s attractions and shops.

  • Julian Gold Rush Hotel
  • Tucker Peak Lodge
  • Julian Lodge
  • Orchard Hill Country Inn
  • Butterfield Bed and Breakfast
  • Apple Tree Inn

The welcoming and friendly atmosphere of Julian’s hotels, combined with the town’s scenic beauty, historical charm, and apple-themed attractions, create a truly enchanting experience for those seeking a relaxing and memorable stay.