Even though fall isn’t entirely different than other seasons in San Diego when it comes to weather, we still like to enjoy all the fun that comes with it. The promise of fresh apple cider and hot apple pie makes a day trip to Julian well worth the hour and 15-minute drive from central San Diego. Though several larger orchards are staying closed due to the drought this year, there are still a few options out there for apple picking in San Diego and Julian.
Note: Apple Starr Orchards, Calico Ranch, Gastil Mountain Farms, and Odell’s Pear Orchard are closed for the season.
Volcan Valley Farm
As Julian’s largest orchard, this beautiful space comes alive with 7,000 trellis-grown apple trees. Choose between seven different varieties, including Gravenstein, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith. A bag is $12 to fill up yourself. Bonus – you’re allowed to sample as you go along to ensure you’re getting the ripest pick. Open Thursday-Monday from 9am-5pm daily. 1284 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian 92036. (760) 807-1816.
This beautiful orchard has a variety of red and green apples available for u-pick, including Gravenstein, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Jonathon, Red Delicious, and Transcendent Crab Apple. The orchard will also be selling French plums and Bartlett Pears, as well! This is a great spot to spend the whole day: bring a packed lunch and use the picnic area or relax in the Meditation Garden, then take photos with the farm tractors on site. Also be sure to visit the Gravenstein Apple Tree, which has been with the family orchard for 115 years! Admission is $10 per person (kids 3 and under are free), and includes 1/2 peck farm bag for picking apples plus an educational orchard tour. Each additional person is $5. Be sure to bring cash, as this is cash only. Open weekends by reservation only, 9am-2pm. 3803 Wynola Road, Julian. (769) 443-3930.
Other Spots to Visit…
Julian Cider Mill
The Cider Mill has been open since 1975, and still sells a great variety of apples, pears, preserves, raw honey, French prunes, Italian plums, dried fruits, nuts, candy, caramel apples and gifts! Enjoy this old-fashioned spot and grab some hot cider while you shop. Corner of Main and B Streets, Julian CA 92036. (760)765-1430.
Oasis Camel Dairy
Arguably one of the best/quirkiest places to visit in the Julian and Ramona area! Explore a real, working camel farm and choose from all kinds of goodies: hand-crafted camel milk soap, lotions, and even camel milk chocolate. They offer tours of the farm – and for the more adventurous, camel rides. Located between Ramona and Julian on Highway 78. 26757 Old Julian Highway, Ramona 92065.
Wynola Flats Produce (no U-Pick)
Wynola Flats sells fresh fruit and produce directly from farms year-round (both conventional and organic farming). They sell a great variety of produce, including local honey and honey from small apiaries, Balsamic vinegar, olive oils, dates, and nuts. There’s also a separate dry goods room with a small amount of supplies. Open Friday through Monday. 3962 Highway 78, Julian 92036. (760) 765-1868.
Julian Mining Company
Because no visit to Julian would be complete without visiting this classic spot! Mine for gold, gems and minerals using gold pans and peruse the gift shop. The pumpkin patch, featuring vine-ripened pumpkins, tractor-drawn hayrides, u-press apple cider, and farm animals, opens October 1st; raspberry picking (if available this year) will also begin sometime in October. Open Saturdays 10am-5pm and Sundays 12pm-5pm. 4444 State Hwy 78, Julian/Wynola 92036. (951) 313-0166.
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