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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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Windansea Beach by Myles McGuinness

Southern California

Discover San Diego County

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23
July
Average (°C)
June - Aug
23°
High
18°
Low
Sept - Nov
22°
High
15°
Low
Dec - Feb
18°
High
9°
Low
Mar - May
19°
High
13°
Low

Imagine 70 miles of sun-drenched coast, an inviting ocean and a year-round daily forecast of 21°C and you’ll understand why this southernmost stretch of California 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 Resort.

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 . 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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Stretching 1,942 feet, the historic Oceanside Pier is the longest wooden pier on the Pacific Ocean.
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Giraffes at the San Diego Zoo

Spotlight: San Diego Zoo

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See rare and endangered species

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Too darned pretty. Everywhere you look out there, everything's just too danged pretty! I'm usually the prettiest thing!
musician Little Richard on San Diego
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Courtesy of L’Auberge Del Mar

L’Auberge Del Mar

Beachy vibes meet high-end elegance at this luxury resort just north of San Diego

L’Auberge Del Mar creates the illusion that you’re staying at your own personal seaside villa, but has all the amenities of a...

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Your trip begins in California’s largest city. LA has non-stop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

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Famous for their giant sequoias, soaring mountains, deep canyons and roaring rivers, this tandem set of parks have plenty to see, even though they are less well known than Yosemite, roughly 75 miles north. Within the borders of Sequoia & Kings Canyon are Mount Whitney, the highest point in...

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Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of the Golden State’s most appealing destinations....

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Lucas Himovitz
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Gwynne Spann

Where to eat, what to drink

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John/ Flickr
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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Legoland California by Lucas Himovitz

Spotlight: Legoland California

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Magical Recreations, Rollercoasters & Smiles

It’s hard to say who enjoys Legoland more: the little ones running around in a magical world created by 60 million LEGO plastic bricks or...

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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate play lands

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone, from tots and teens to film buffs and daredevils. Find out what is...

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Lucas Himovitz
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The historic 101 Café in Oceanside is the oldest continuously-operating restaurant on historic Highway 101.
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San Diego Zoo Safari Park by Miller

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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Find out where the wild things are

Like a journey to Africa, a day at this spectacular park lets you see some of the world’s most magnificent—and endangered—animals at close range...

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
Thanks be to God, I arrived here...at this Port of San Diego. It is beautiful to behold, and does not belie its reputation.
Father Junipero Serra
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Make memories at some of California's family-favourite beaches

Sand, water, and children-it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. These sandy beaches offer appealing, family friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for...

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Alex Farnum
Surfers on a San Diego Beach
San Diego by Dave Lauridsen

San Diego Surfing & Surf Culture

Try your hand at hangin’ 10—or at least get the look

Sometimes it seems as if everyone surfs in San Diego County. When the surf is up, there’s a steady stream of dudes (and plenty of dudettes,...

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Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class hotels and resorts. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills,...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
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Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
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From a pastel coloured pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Dave Lauridsen

San Diego Golf

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Perfect weather, challenging courses and incredible settings make San Diego County a golfer’s dream destination. It’s not surprising that many of...

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Jacques Yves Cousteau
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Courtesy of Anchor Brewing

Anchor Brewing

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Anchor Brewing’s extended history dates back to 1871, when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle purchased an old saloon near Russian...