Autumn is the perfect time for some outdoor adventures. One of our favorite destinations is the charming town of Julian, just an hour east of San Diego and in the heart of the Cuyamaca Mountains. Here are our recommendations for a rustic weekend getaway!
Where to stay
Lake Cuyamaca Recreation & Park District is great for family fishing trips and offers a free fishing class every Saturday. Another campground is Lake Henshaw. At the bottom of Palomar Mountains, there is a beautiful lake for fishing along with hiking and a recreation area for bigger groups. For those who like to stay in a more comfortable setting, the Julian Lodge Bed and Breakfast or Orchard Hill Inn, both located in the heart of Julian on Main Street, are great options. Built in 1885, the Julian Lodge Bed and Breakfast was designed after the Washington Hotel and has a vintage feel. The Orchard Hill Inn is craftsman’s style and offers luxury dining and amenities.
Things to do
- Presented by Julian Tea and Cottage Arts, Thursday, November 3rd through Monday, November 7th, join residents for the 22nd anniversary of the Julian Cottage Classic Tea served at a charming turn-of-the-century home. Enjoy finger sandwiches, scones with whipped cream and homemade jam and desserts.
- The Eagle Mining Co. offers tours of the original mines in Julian. Walk through tunnels and learn about the life of residents during the Gold Rush. Another favorite is the Julian Mining Company where you can pan for gold and minerals. Other historical tours include the Julian Carriage Company and Julian Tours.
- On Main Street is where the charm of Julian lies. It is a great location for one-of-a-kind boutiques and antique shops such as Wayne and Tom the Antique Finders. There are specialty food shops like fudge, sweets and pies from Julian Candy Basket. We recommend pie at California Mountain Bakery and Julian Cafe and Bakery to take home treats.
- Drive about 3 miles west of Main Street to the Julian Station. Similar to a public market, Julian Station is housed in an old large warehouse that has shops, food, and tastings. Choose from Julian Hard Cider, Mead, Julian Wine and Chocolate. They also have a bar called the Cooler that features California beers and games to play.
Romano’s, family owned and operated, is located in downtown Julian and has served traditional Italian dishes since 1982. Wynola Pizza and Bistro is the best pizza in Julian, with wood-fired entrees, vegetarian dishes and signature salads and desserts. The true gem of Julian is Jeremy’s on the Hill California Bistro. Chef Jeremy Manley’s menu changes according to seasonal and local produce and sustainable proteins – must haves are the Famous Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Star B Ranch Bison Burger. A great place for lunch is at Mr. Manitas Taco Bar & Fruteria at Julian Station on Main Street.
Wineries/ Tasting Rooms
If you are an oenophile and staying on Main Street, head to Orfila Vineyards and Winery and Blue Door Winery. About 2 miles north of Main Street, take a hike at Volcan Winery and reward yourself with delicious wine. A great way to experience wine tasting in Julian is to take the Julian Backcountry Wine tour for an afternoon of fine crafted wines and gourmet food.
Julian’s charm brings you out of the hustle and bustle of the city and into a simpler lifestyle. Whether your fall getaway is for food and wine, camping or strolling Main Street, Julian is the premier mountain destination.