There is one thing that cannot be overstated—the people of California love Julian in October. The leaves are changing, the temperatures are cool without being too cold, the apples are ready for picking and pie is on everyone’s mind.
This historic gold rush mining town has managed to do what many old mining towns didn’t—turn their other assets into big business. People come from all over the state (and outside of it) to enjoy the fall in Julian. And while there are many activities there (mine tours, train rides, pioneer museum, antiques shopping and carriage rides, to name a few), in October it is all about the apples.
Apple picking, apple orchard wandering, apple cider drinking and apple pie buying were all top of the list for the thousands of people who flocked to Julian this weekend. Take warning, even though this is a charming place to visit in October, unless you want to deal with long lines and big crowds, try to go on a weekday (or a weekend that is not in October). However, the town is used to the influx of humanity at this time of year, and does provide a $5 a car lot in the southern part of town, so don’t despair if you can’t find street parking.
Julian, California is approximately 156 miles southeast from the Westside of LA. Maps claim that it should only take you two hours and forty minutes to land in this town, but you should plan for at least three to three and a half hours, even without heavy traffic. From Los Angeles, this is a day trip that takes some commitment. If you are based in San Diego, this is an easy jaunt of about an hour.
Is this a safe trip to take alone? Yes. The town is charming and well-policed. The locals are friendly, and if you can get a table for lunch, make certain to chat with the waitress for tips about what to do with your day. Walking tours are encouraged and supported by maps provided by the Chamber of Commerce (located in the landmark Town Hall building). The only downside is that it is a long drive from Los Angeles, and if traffic hits you, it becomes even longer. If you don’t love solo, long drives, you might want to grab a buddy before heading off to this apple haven.
Be sure to check out the photos to get a taste of the beauty and charm that is Julian, California.