Away from the commotion of urban living, the close-knit communities
of San Diego’s East County include towns such as El Cajon, La Mesa,
Alpine, Julian and desert destination Borrego Springs, where open
space, nature and slower-paced lifestyles can still be found.
Step into the past in this
charming mountain town
where the historical buildings
date back to the 1870s, and
happiness can be found in a
slice of homemade apple pie.
Julian Mining Company
Test your luck panning for gold
or sluicing for gems, followed
by tomahawk throwing and
time in the petting zoo.
4444 State Hwy. 78
Julian Pie Company
The Smothers family bakes
tasty pies with apples fresh
from their orchards.
2225 Main St.
Julian Hard Cider
Try the Razzmatazz or Black
and Blue hard cider at this
friendly tasting room.
4470 Julian Road
Julian celebrates the holiday
season with Victorian Christmas teas, costumed holiday
carolers, hot spiced cider,
carriage rides, Dickens’ A
Christmas Carol performances
and more. Starting Nov. 28.
ALPINE BEER COMPANY
Some of San Diego’s best IPAs are brewed
here, including Pure Hoppiness, Exponential
Hoppiness and San Diego Surprise. Come for
the suds, stay for the barbecue.
2351 Alpine Blvd., Alpine
OASIS CAMEL DAIRY
This 34-acre dairy farm is home to one-humped
ungulates and family fun. Check “riding a camel”
off that bucket list, enjoy creamy chocolate made
with fresh camel milk and take home some
lavender camel milk soap or silky skin serums.
Open on specific tour and festival days to the
public, or by booking a private group.
26757 Old Julian Hwy., Ramona
CALIFORNIA WOLF CENTER
Learn all about Mexican and Alaskan gray
wolves at the conservation center and get an
up close and personal look at these majestic
creatures. Reservations are required.
K Q Ranch Road, Julian
ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
With 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness
areas and endless hiking trails, this desert
oasis is the largest state park in California.
Hike the Pictograph Trail to see a boulder
covered in ancient pictographs or drive out
to Fonts Point to see San Diego’s spectacular
version of the Grand Canyon.
200 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs
Score everything from a red velvet cake donut
to an apple fritter bigger than your head any
time day or night at one of the county’s favorite
24/7 donut shops.
9031 Mission Gorge Road, Santee
LA MESA OKTOBERFEST
Who needs to fly to Munich when La
Mesa throws a fantastic festival with good
old German brats, cold beers, family
entertainment and more than 200 vendors.
La Mesa Blvd. between Acacia Ave. and Fourth St.
MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK
Enjoy hiking and exploring this beautiful 5,800-
acre park, which encompasses Lake Murray, the
Old Mission Dam and the Cowles Mountain Trail,
a popular climb that ascends to nearly 1,600 feet
above sea level. Bring the camera for the awesome
views. 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME