• Fam Diego

A is For Apple Picking in Julian: ALL The Orchards + Tips to Know Before You Go in 2021

(Updated 9/11/2021)

One of the first Fall traditions for many is Apple Picking in nearby Julian! This is a GREAT activity for kids to show them where food comes from and they can even pick their own apples right from the branch. Don’t forget your cameras and make sure they’re fully charged because there will be some cute photo ops in the orchards.

Check their socials and websites before you go to make sure they still have apples left on the tree! ;)

When you've got all the apples you can carry, come back here to turn them into the Best Apple Pie In The Universe (yes I'm giving away my grandma's homemade recipe and the secret is in the crust!) and Apple Raisin Muffins.

COVID Updates: Check with each place directly for their safety protocols, but be prepared to wear face masks at all entry points and when you can't socially distance from other households.


Since you're driving all the way out there, you'll want to make sure you know what to expect so you can have the best apple picking experience. Plan ahead to make sure apples are still left, bring some water & bug spray, wear closed toed shoes and send the kids to use the bathroom before you start picking. Read on for more tips to help make this a fun day for everyone.


Go early in the season before the apples run out and go early in the day before it gets too hot. Apple season runs until the end of Sept or early Oct and even though it's "Fall", it usually feels like hot summer days.

Make sure their apples are ripe before you go - they’ll usually announce it either on their websites, facebook or instagram pages.


Each of them have different apple varieties as well, so if you’re an apple connoisseur or want to pick those Galas or Gravensteins, check to see which orchards have what you want to pick. I made note of the apple varieties for each orchard below, but it may change. ;)


Check with each orchard first to find out which one you’re interested in because some even have pears, berries & pumpkins to pick!


There are only a few certified ORGANIC Orchards, others are in the process of getting organic certified, some don’t spray their trees & some don’t mention anything. I’ve noted this info below for each orchard, so if that matters to you then be sure to take note.


Apple picking costs a bit more than what you’d pay for at the grocery store, but it’s worth it to have the experience and memories with your kids. Costs vary from $5, $12, $13, $25 for about 5 lbs.


LOTS of water (see note above about summer weather), snacks, hats & sunscreen; these are always at the top of my list! But also wear sensible shoes like sneakers (not flip flops or sandals) to walk the orchards in, bring a picnic lunch, blanket (some places have picnic tables) and cash because that’s all that most apple picking places will accept. Except for nowadays some only accept cards so plan to bring both, but also check before you go.


After 1.5 hours in the car the kids will need to eat before they go apple picking, or it could be disastrous. Stop in Julian at one of the cafes before hitting the orchards or bring your own snacks and food to eat when you park. You'll likely find a place to hang out and eat on-site before walking into the orchard.


Each orchard has a bathroom option, most likely a port-a-potty, but just in case they don't or if the line is too long, bring some pee bags and portable potties so your kids can do their business in the back of your car. (If they have to go pee in the middle of the orchard, it's a loooong way back to the entrance so make sure they go pee before you go in.)


There are lots of bugs in the orchards, mostly little flies and some bees. Bring some bug spray and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and long socks to cover up well.

The little flies bothered my kids the most but I kept them moving and picking so after a while they forgot about the flies. You may want to consider rolling on some essential oils or other bug deterrent to keep the flies away. (Cinnamon, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Lemongrass are the most effective oils against pesky flies).


If you’re not too tired, check out the cute little town of Julian! There are lots of great bakeries (for fresh apple pie of course!), cafes to grab a meal, antique shops and the Julian Mining Company is a fun place for kids to pan for gold! There's an old jail cell you can walk up to, same for the old school house and a carriage house. We even saw some wild turkeys roaming about!


Try to get your cute pictures at the START of your apple picking; otherwise, you'll end up with some tired, hungry kids who have to pee and they won't stand still for any bribe, except maybe for some apple pie. Action shots are great and better than begging your kids to "stand still for just one more time I promise" photo. My trick: ask the kids to hug each other or take a bite of or smell their apple for a cute candid!


This is the most complete list of the best places to pick apples in Julian. It has every single apple orchard and lists which apple varieties they have: which ones are certified organic apples, which ones allow groups for scouts or play groups and even one where you can book the entire orchard to yourself for a truly private apple picking experience.

Remember to check with them directly before you go to make sure they still have apples left!

The info below is noted for 2021.

Quick at a glance info, click the name for more details!


private orchard experience ;)

Opens 10/2/21 until Thanksgiving weekend! - Hours: Sat-Tue 9-4. Click for special details!


cert'd organic apples & pears

Opens 9/4/21 - Hours: Sat & Sun 10-4:30. Open Labor Day. No RSVP req'd.


organic apples

Opens 8/28/21 - Hours: Sat & Sun 9-2. Open Labor Day. No RSVP req'd.


Opens 9/5/21 - Hours: Fri-Mon 9-4:30. Closed Tue-Thur. Open Labor Day. No RSVP req'd.


apples, berries, pumpkins + more

Opens 9/4/21 - Hours: Dates change, click link for details. Closed Labor Day. No RSVP req'd.


cert'd organic apples & pears

Opens: not opening this year (as of 9/10/21)


group picking only

Opens 9/10/21 - Hours: Sept. 10 - til they're gone; 1pm & 3pm time slots. RSVP required.


group picking only

Opens 9/11/21 Hours: One week only, Sept. 11 - 19 from 10-5. RSVP required.


Reserve the entire orchard for a private experience like no other! Choose the PB&J lunch option for 4 people that includes apple sundaes, a hands-on peanut butter press, fresh jam and a loaf of local bread and snacks. Each person will also get a bag to fill with 1/4 peck (about 4-5 apples). What a perfect way to spend a picnic day in the orchard picking fresh apples with your family. (You can add on two extra people.)

Or choose the Toast to Apple Season for 2 people that will include personalized bottles filled with fresh squeezed cider for toasting, snacks and 1/4 peck bag (about 4-5 apples) each for u-picking apples. How perfect would this be for a mommy & me date?!

APPLE PICKING opens Sat. Oct. 2, 2021 (ends Thanksgiving weekend!)

📆 Sat-Tues only. Closed Wed-Fri.

🕰 9-4

-->Advanced reservations & payment required

📩 RSVP required by email only


PB&J Lunch with apple sundaes:

$100 for 4 people, $25/person max. 2 extra

Toast to Apple Season:

$50 for 2 people

💳 Advanced mail-in check only


🍎 VARIETY: not listed

📍 1711 HWY 78., Julian

📞 760-484-2751

💻 EMAIL for reservations: ranchitadelreo@gmail.com

💻 visitjulian.com/u-pick-orchards

📲 IG: n/a

📲 FB: n/a


They are Certified Organic for both Apples AND Pears. They have lots of trees with low branches that kids can reach! Lots of parking, picnic tables, bathrooms, BYO chairs or blankets, red wagons are available for small children or BYO strollers and wagons. Ask for "picking poles" to reach apples on higher branches.

APPLE PICKING opens Sat. Sept. 4, 2021! Open on Labor Day too!

📆 Sat & Sun only (and open on Labor Day!)

🕰 10-4:30

-->Check website for updates before you go

📩 RSVP: None needed


$25/1 peck approx 12 lbs

$15/additional bag

💳 Cash or Check with ID

✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: Certified ORGANIC Growers (CCOF) since 1996

🍎 APPLES - Granny Smith, Jonagold, Roma, Arkansas Black, Red Delicious, Wealthy, Fuji, Gala; PEARS - Bosc, Anjou, Comice, Red Bartlett, Green Bartlett

📍 1020 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian

📞 760-305-2169

💻 apple-starr.com

📲 IG: n/a

📲 FB: n/a


Rumor has it this is where the oldest apple tree in Julian is, Granny Gravenstein. You'll have over 2 acres and 220 trees to choose from so I'm sure you'll find some good ones. Sometimes they have musical performers on weekends.

APPLE PICKING opens Sat. Aug. 28, 2021! Open on Labor Day too!

📆 Sat & Sun only (and open on Labor Day!)

🕰 9-2

-->Check website for updates before you go

🎶 End of summer concert Sat 9/18 from 11-2 with a musical performance by Haywire

📩 RSVP: None needed


$16/half peck aprox. 8-10 apples

Entrance fee charged on days with musical performers

💳 none stated, bring cash & card


🍎 APPLES - Gravenstein, Jonagold, Jonathan, Granny Smith, Red & Golden Delicious

📍 3803 Wynola Rd., Julian

📞 310-902-6321

💻 3803wynolaroad.com

📲 IG: n/a

📲 FB: n/a


This is the most popular and largest orchard in the area and is where most people come to pick apples. There are lots of low branches that make it easy for kids to pick. They also sell fresh apple cider & cold water. They have a few picnic tables & Port-a-Potties. Leashed, well behaved dogs are welcome.

APPLE PICKING opens Sun. Sept. 5, 2021! Open on Labor Day too!

📆 Fri-Mon each weekend until apples are gone (usually by Oct. 1st)

🕰 9-4:30; closed Tues-Thurs

-->Check socials for updates before you go

📩 RSVP: None needed


$15/bag (6-7 lbs) includes 1 admission

$5/person who don't buy a bag;

FREE for kids 5 & under

💳 Only cards are accepted this year

✨ CHEMICALS/PESTICIDES: Nothing noted about this

🍎 APPLES: Empires, Pippins, Jonathans, Galas, Golden Delicious, Gravensteins


Fresh apple cider for $4 cash only; selling apple wood too.

They have a few picnic tables to enjoy if you BYO food, using social distancing.

Well behaved dogs on leashes are welcome, please pick up after them

📍 1284 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian

Between wineries at Wynola Rd. and Julian Orchard Dr.

📞 760-302-4574

💻 visitjulian.com/u-pick-orchards

📲 IG: @volcanvalleyapplefarm

📲 FB: facebook.com/volcanvalleyapplefarm