Yup, summer weekend trip season is still in full swing around here at Optimizing Adventure. After a relaxing and luxurious (for us) trip to Palm Springs, we were ready to rough it a little more and be active – more of our usual style. Our destination: Julian, the small mountain town a little over an hour’s drive from San Diego. Originally a mining town, Julian is now a fairly sleepy local’s getaway (you’ll run into mostly fellow San Diegans) famous for its Apple Pie. It should be at the top of anyone’s list looking for a SoCal weekend getaway, as there’s something for everyone: foodies, art-lovers, outdoors lovers, etc. will all be happy here. We partook in a wide range of the activities that are available in the area, so read on to find out more.
Our trip started on Saturday morning as we headed out to Julian on the I-8 route, to grab a campsite in the Cleveland National Forest before heading into town. I’d highly recommend camping for your trip to Julian if that’s your cup of tea – it’s a great way to enjoy the beauty of this area. A word of warning though: San Diegan’s that enjoy 70 degree plus temperatures year-round should understand that it snows up here during the winter, meaning it isn’t four season camping for everyone. Check the weather before you head out, as it can also be scorching hot as well! If you do decide to camp, I heartily recommend the Laguna campsite, which is certainly one of the best and most beautiful car camping spots I’ve been to. There are 100 single tent/RV sites here, about half of which can be pre-booked online for an additional fee beyond the already costly $23/night fee. If you’re either a. coming on a busy/holiday weekend in the summer, b. planning on arriving late in the day, or c. the cautious type, I’d recommend booking online. Otherwise, just show up and take a first-come, first-served site. All of the sites are huge, giving you a big buffer between you and your neighbors. Trails into giant meadows leave directly from the campsites, affording you views like this:
If you camp at Laguna or one of the other campsites in the National Forest, you’ll likely be heading to Julian on the Sunrise Highway. Even if you’re just heading to Julian as a day-trip, I’d highly recommend driving up on this route for the beautiful scenery. As you drive, you’ll climb from the brushy and rocky terrain near the interstate to the pines pictured above. The route then skirts the edge of the Laguna Mountains, with a view down to Anza-Borrego thousands of feet below. Continuing, you’ll pass above treeline and travel through wide open rolling terrain.
Our trip continued with hiking, a trip to Julian Cottege Arts & Tea, and of course the famous Julian Pie. Stay tuned for more!