Living in California has made Andrew and I forever grateful for the diverse landscape the state offers. Visiting the Glamis Sand Dunes in the desert, surfing the Pacific in San Diego or the mountains at Big Bear. The state of California has so much to offer.
Given that Andrew and I live in the (hot!) desert at the moment, we try to get out and explore as much as possible. A short drive away is Julian, CA. We have been there more than a few times since it’s not too far away from our home. Now that we have a daughter, it is even more important to show her what adventures await her outside our four walls.
As most parents know, planning a trip with your children is vastly different from planning a trip when you’re single. (Check out our *ultimate packing list* for babies and toddlers here!) Not quite as many bars and late nights and definitely not as many adrenaline packed adventures. (Cliff jumping just doesn’t seem as smart now that you’re responsible for a tiny life).
In Julian, you’re able to do most things with kids as you were able to do without them. Luckily, the outdoors offers activities for all ages. While you might not be spending as much time at Julian Beer Company or Nickel Beer Co., there are certainly other ways to teach you’re children to appreciate the outdoors in Julian.
Here’s our list of Family-Friendly Things To Do in Julian, CA.
Go apple picking!
Fall in Julian is one of the most popular and busiest times of year to visit. People flock from all over Southern California to go apple picking. Make sure you check out the farm’s websites below for updates on this year’s pick, including prices and hours. A few places to check out:
This is a great pick because, in addition to apple picking, they also have a berry picking season! Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are available from July to late summer/early fall. Apple picking typically begins late September at Julian Farm & Orchard. There is also a pumpkin patch on site in the fall!
Another favorite orchard to pick from! Golden Delicious, Jonathan’s, Fuji’s, Gala’s and Empire apples to name a few. Dogs are welcome. Make sure you check out their Facebook page before visiting.
Crosscut Farm and Orchard offers Empire, Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples. Their website states that their apples are organic, and they do not spray their trees. Check out their website before visiting as well. In 2020, reservations were required for u-pick, so make sure you check out their page.
Every time I have been to Julian, I *have* to eat dessert at Julian Pie Company. My favorite are the dutch apple and strawberry rhubarb pies. Trust me, your kids will enjoy it too. Amelia ate way more than I had planned! If you go in the fall, there will be a looooong line. I have gone several times during the off-season and have thankfully walked right up to the counter. There are so many pies offered at Julian Pie Company, some fresh, some frozen and some ready to be baked! Also, get the cinnamon ice cream on top. You won’t regret it!
Now I haven’t done this one, and it’s not necessarily something I would think of visiting without kids, but Julian has several mining companies. Apparently, mining was popular in the 1870s– who would have thought? Now Amelia’s not old enough to pan for gold, but if she were, we would definitely check this out.
The most popular mining company in Julian is Eagle Mining Company. Tours of the property are available for all ages. There are even 1000 feet of underground tunnels and the opportunity to pan for some gold!
Another mining company to check out is Julian Mining Company which is affiliated with Julian Farm and Orchard (see #1!). If you visit in the fall, you’ll be able to pick apples as well as pan for some gold. If you just want to visit the mine, there is gem sluicing, gold panning, tomahawk throwing (!!!), a dig pit and even a mine tunnel train ride.
Honestly, I’m getting really sad knowing that we won’t be able to go here with Amelia anytime soon because tomahawk throwing sounds EPIC.
Visit a wolf conservation!
California Wolf Center is dedicated to wolf conservation in the state of California. The Center aims to return wolves to their natural habitat and educate the public on wolf conversation. The visitor center and nature store is located in the village of Julian, while the actual Wolf Center is located 8 minutes away where there is room for the wolves to roam. Tours are available by appointment only and start at $30 for a one hour tour.
Get outside & play!
There are two main parks for kids to play at in Julian: Jess Martin County Park & William Heise County Park. I have been to both and actually prefer Jess Martin County Park for the day. I would suggest coming to either park after the kids get a sugar high from apple pie!
Jess Martin County Park is a 9-acre park that has a skate park, a fenced playground and ball fields. Amelia loves to wander and go to the playground here!
In comparison to Jess Martin’s 9-acre park, William Heise County Park is a 929-acre park located 4,200 feet above sea level. The drive to William Heise is absolutely beautiful with the lush fields and mountain views. At this park, there is a campground for trail and tent camping, and even cabins to rent. There are also 11 miles of equestrian and hiking trails.
FYI: You need to pay to just go to the playground here. Had I known that Amelia and I would not have gone.
I absolutely love visiting Julian as it’s a day away high in the mountains. Nothing is better than breathing in that mountain air and enjoying a slice of apple pie outdoors with your kids. Enjoy Julian!
Interested in learning more about Southern California? Check out some of our other posts on California! The Glamis Sand Dunes | Southern California’s Best (not so) Hidden Secret, Fall Getaway in Big Bear Lake, California and You Don’t Want to Miss These Spots in Joshua Tree National Park.