Date Day on a Budget: Julian, CA

John and I love to make day trips to Julian (about 1.5 hours away from us) throughout the year – it’s a perfect spot to head to if you’re wanting to have a ton of fun without spending a ton of money. Here’s how to have a great experience together in Julian if you’ve got several hours to kill and a few bucks in your wallet:

first stop: Julian HARD cider + Julian station
start time: 1:00pm

We love great cider, and Julian Hard Cider delivers! John’s favorite cider is their classic Harvest Apple, and mine is their Apple Pie Cider. They even give you a free flight of 5 tasters if you check in on Yelp! If you go from 11-5pm on select days during Thursdays through Mondays, you’ll also have a chance to walk through the Julian Station shops complete with vendors selling homemade and local goods, a wine + chocolate tasting room, a pool table area (.25 cents a game!), and a super yum taco bar! John and I grabbed a variety 4-pack of hard cider brews to take home, played some pool, and walked around the antique shops before venturing into the town of Julian, just 10 minutes further down the road.

next stop: town of Julian

I love Julian every time of year, but my favorite time is the end of summer when the air is starting to feel crisp, the leaves are changing, and fall is just around the corner. The crowds are usually really low at Julian after August rolls around, which makes for little to no lines for apple pie and all the shops to yourself! 🙂 Here are some of our favorite spots to romp around the town:

the warm hearth

The Warm Hearth is in my top favorite Julian shop to stop at. They have a h u g e assortment of gifts, kitchen things, decor, and local edibles (homemade jam and honey…yum!). I always purchase something when we stop in – whether it be a new cookbook, seasonal decor, or garden related items. John also loves to check out their toy guns and (real) knives section, of course.

Julian cider mill

Another favorite stop of ours is the Cider Mill – best for cider samples, mouth watering syrups, jams, honeys and fudge. It’s a very cozy nook, so it’s best visited on those less crowded days. In the winter time they sell a cup of hot cider for a dollar outside! You can pick up your own homemade fresh cider seasonally September through January, and during the rest of the months they feature berry flavored ciders.

the old well

^I loved this huge disco ball for $5 bucks…if I had a place to put it, I would’ve totally kept it.

Another great stop for found treasures, records, and an old 50 ft deep well. This house/shop lies on the outskirts of Main Street, just like the Birdwatcher and Crow & Lilac do. They have a variety of popular records, clothing, and treasures you can snag for great prices, and they’re always willing to bargain too!

the birdwatcher

John and I love this store! We have a bird feeder and a birdbath from here, and always pick up small bird related things each time we come. They have fun mini birdhouses, quality birdseed at a great price, seasonal items, and a great book selection on birds.  I love this letterpress “Birds and Blooms of the 50 States” book that I picked up at the Birdwatcher a few months back.

crow & lilac

Another fun girly nook along the outskirts of Main Street in Julian: Crow & Lilac. Here you will find lovely custom made jewelry, homemade scrubs and soaps, and bath bombs that rival Lush. The owner, Sonja, also sells her own original paintings which are amazing. Her rustic storefront and shop aroma draw me in every time!

the graveyard (aka: Julian pioneer cemetery)

John and I love walking around Julian’s cemetery (…not as creepy as it sounds), especially during the later hours of the day. You’d walk north up Main Street past Julian Pie Co. an the bookstore, the cemetery will be on your right. Hardly anyone is ever up there, there are trees and benches galore, and you get a great view of the whole town. We saw a wild turkey roaming about on our last trip up there a week ago! It was so nice to sit on a bench, listen to the wind in the trees while we took in the views, and relax a bit before we went back down for some pie.

“lunch” stop: Julian apple pie

Now this is probably the reason many people come to Julian…their apple pie! cinnamon).

We have eaten at every place Julian has for pie in their town, and each one delivers its own amount of charm and yumminess. Depending on the day, you’ll find lines out the door at Mom’s and Julian Pie Company, but Apple Pie Alley has the shortest lines and you can sit and eat your pie under apple trees. They also stay open a smidge longer than the other pie places, which makes for major brownie points if you’ve lost track of time at the end of the day there (like we usually do!). Pies to try: Raspberry Apple, Apple Boysenberry Crumb, Bumbleberry and Apple Caramel Crumb. Also, opt for the cinnamon ice cream instead of vanilla – you won’t regret it!

ending the day + Heading out to hike stonewall peak

John and I are avid hikers and we love a good hike no matter what time of day. After a long day walking and shopping around Julian, most people would probably want to call it and head home – but not us! 🙂 We head south on Main Street saying bye to Julian, and drive towards Cuyamaca Lake for a fun hike up Stonewall Peak.

Head on over to my post about hiking Stonewall Peak if you want to end your Julian date day in an adventure! Also, make sure you show some love to the Julian Facebook Page, where they shared my post with their readers! Otherwise, enjoy your new itinerary for a fun and inexpensive date day trip to Julian ❤

If you have visited Julian before and have your own favorite spots to check out while you’re there, let me know in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Date Day on a Budget: Julian, CA

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