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Dave Lauridsen

Julian

Julian
Visit a surprising mountain town that’s as American as apple pie

Poised between the desert and the coast, a little more than an hour’s drive east of San Diego, this surprising mountain town makes a great day trip. Set at an elevation of 1,228 metres in the Cuyamaca Mountains, Julian has its roots in gold mining; tours of the Eagle Mining Co. take visitors into underground tunnels, and you can try your hand at gold panning—a surprisingly subtle and challenging art.

This region, known as East County, has also long attracted artists, and it’s fun to wander along Main Street to see works by local painters and craftspeople. Hopefully all that browsing will make you hungry for the town’s signature foodstuff: apple pie. Apples, planted for income after the gold ran out, thrive in the surrounding orchards, and the town has now turned into a magnet for apple pie fans (and, really, who isn’t an apple pie fan…). Where to start? Try the delectable crumb-topped Dutch apple pie and other treats at the Julian Pie Company.

Outside the town, visit pick your own orchards and fruit stalls selling crisp apples and apple products, especially from September to mid-October, during the Julian apple harvest. Another local product is wine, and you can join in with a grape stomp at Menghini Winery at the Julian Grape Stomp Festa in early September.

For a good walk, visit Volcan Mountain Preserve, where paths lace native grasslands and oak woodlands. For something more strenuous, take the challenging hike to the summit of 1,989-metre Cuyamaca Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, or take in the panoramic views from the Desert View Trail in William Heise County Park.

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Myles Mcguinness

Southern California

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September
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
22°
High
15°
Low
Sept - Nov
22°
High
15°
Low
Mar - May
19°
High
13°
Low
June - Aug
23°
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18°
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Imagine 70 miles of sun-drenched coast, an inviting ocean, and a year-round daily forecast of 70°F, and you’ll understand why this southernmost stretch of the state is all about outdoor fun. Discover top theme parks and attractions like Seaworld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and LEGOLAND California.

The first European explorer to land in California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, came ashore in San Diego in 1542.

Relax at legendary retreats like Hotel del Coronado, find art and culture in San Diego and surrounding cities like luxurious La Jolla, and enjoy world-class golf at Torrey Pines, and enjoy culture and diversity, all at the edge of a sparkling blue sea.

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