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Joyful In Julian, California: Day Trip Travel Guide

Thursday, May 18, 2017

When Matt and I first announced we were moving to San Diego last summer, multiple people immediately told me "When you get there you have to go to this little town not far from San Diego called Julian. They have the best apple pie you'll ever taste!" Well, the hype for Julian did not die down upon becoming a California citizen. When we meet locals, they too are quick to mention our dire need to make the road trip. Therefore, when I woke up on Saturday morning with a desire to go for a hike somewhere wooded, this apple-obsessed town popped into my brain. Matt was down for an adventure, so we piled the dogs into the car and hit the road for the 50 mile trip from San Diego to Julian!
Check out our recommendations for a day spent in Julian below:

Places To Dine (& Wine)

Julian Hard Cider - This was our first stop upon arriving in Julian. We ordered a flight of 8 different flavors of their hard cider, all of which were fan-freaking-tastic. We had a difficult time narrowing down which bottles to buy to bring home with us, but ultimately ended up choosing the Apple Pie -- we had to pick something apple-themed, seeing as we were in Julian after all -- and Pearanormal flavors. (Insider tip: Popping open a bottle when we got back home was the perfect end to a day on the road and post-hike.)

Granny's Kitchen - I was a little worried that a small town wouldn't have any solid vegan options, but a quick search on Yelp proved me wrong. I was able to get a delicious veggie wrap at this cute cafe and Matt had an apple (of course) grilled cheese sandwich that he loved.

Candied Apple Pastry Company - I asked around to see if anyone had vegan apple pie, but I wasn't able to locate any, unfortunately. (If you know of a place, please let me know!) Therefore, I can't speak from personal experience about the apple pie from this bakery, but Matt devoured their sour cream apple pie with cinnamon ice cream on top. He seriously ate it in about sixty seconds flat. (Even though I can't vouch for the baked goods, I can tell you that the ambiance of this little bakery was too cute!)

Turquoise necklace: c/o Buddha Blossom | Aviator sunglasses: Old Navy

Things To Do

Hike Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve - The views are stunning and the air is so crisp. But hikers beware: this is a pretty tough, uphill hike. There were also tons of red ants when we went, so if you are hiking with your pooches (like we were) be careful to look where they're stepping. Also make sure to check your pups for ticks before getting back in your car afterward. I say this because our dogs are treated monthly with Frontline and we also sprayed a second natural flea and tick spray on them before we hit the trails, just to be safe... and yet we still found a tick when we got home. Not cool, nature. Not cool at all. But, oh well. The sights totally made it worth it, so don't be swayed from the hike!

Stroll Around Town - Even if hiking isn't really your thing, there is plenty to see just walking around Julian. The streets of Historic Julian look straight out of a wild west story. The whole area is so idyllic. Plus, there are people who are journeying on the Pacific Crest Trail stopping through. Grab a slice of pie at one of the many bakeries in town and eavesdrop on tales of their PCT adventures. (I overheard more than one conversation involving people swapping blister horror stories... Thankfully, I wasn't eating at the time...)

Take A Joy Ride - The winding roads from San Diego to and around Julian are so picturesque. There are also tons of roadside produce stands, farms, and wineries that you can check out along the way!

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One of my favorite things about Julian is that no matter what your taste, you'll find something to do. From getting active on the mountain, to choking down as much apple-centric food as you physically can, to popping in and out of wine tastings, just about anyone can discover something they'll enjoy on their trip!

One of my favorite things about life in the Southwestern United States is how easy it is to road trip. Both Arizona and Southern California have so many different types of climates to offer, and most are just a quick drive away! When we lived in Phoenix, we loved driving north to Sedona for the best desert views in the world (in my opinion), but if we craved snow there was Flagstaff, too. Even though we haven't lived in San Diego County for long, we've taken a day trip to Idyllwild to play in the snow with the dogs, driven through the desert, and now gotten a taste of apple Julian which I am so excited to go back to for the fall foliage in a few months!

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Where are your favorite day trips near you?

PS: Don't forget to enter the $50 PinkBlush gift card giveaway before it ends in a few days!

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  1. Looks like a very refreshing trip and a beautiful place to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    | Heather

  2. This looks like so much fun! How was the Pearanormal Hard Cider?! Sounds yummy!

  3. Looks like a fun place! The pictures are beautiful! :) Thanks for sharing Allie! :) Have great weekend! <3

  4. Looks beautiful! Definitely going to add it to my list of places to visit in CA.

  5. I've never heard of Julian before but I'll have to check it out next time we are in SD. My kind of place!!


  6. OMG! I love Julian. It's been years since the last time I went there but yes, they do have the best apple pie in the world.

  7. What a cute little town! I've never heard of it. I must go the next time I road trip to San Diego.

  8. Hello! I am super curious where exactly is that trail where the tress bend over it with the dirt road? Also if you can give me the name of the trail and also if you know if you can drive on it or not. Thank you. Also my email in if you can reply there to. Thank you so much for your time

  9. Hello! I am super curious where exactly is that trail where the tress bend over it with the dirt road? Also if you can give me the name of the trail and also if you know if you can drive on it or not. Thank you. Also my email in if you can reply there to. Thank you so much for your time

  10. As a native Californian, I'm a bit biased, but believe it's the most exciting state to visit in the USA.
    See more about living in California visit

  11. Oooh it's nice to have a local read this. It is awesome!
    Reference: living in washington state

  12. I will keep all of these tips in mind when I visit eventually. Many thanks!
    living in Los Angeles


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