Apple picking is a universally-adored activity that all the family can enjoy, and Americans are especially blessed in this regard, with literally hundreds of super apple picking orchards and farms to be found all around the country. Almost anywhere you go in America, you’ll never be too far away from an orchard, and when apple picking season gets going, a lot of fun is just waiting to be had. Apple orchards allow you to pay a small fee and fill up huge bags with freshly-picked apples that you can then take home and use in a myriad of recipes, from tasty apple sauces to scrumptious apple pies, ice creams, donuts, smoothies, and more.

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There are plenty of excellent apple picking locations in the state of California, especially out in the backcountry of San Diego near the beautiful little town of Julian. Just an hour away from San Diego, Julian is a mountain retreat well-known for its thriving apple and pear orchards and its world-class apple pies. A lot of Julian apple orchards offer U-Pick services, opening their doors to the public all through apple picking season and even including extra activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

Best Apple Picking Spots in Julian

Julian is one of the top apple spots in California, with a nice selection of orchards and farms to choose from. Each orchard is different, so it’s worth checking out more than one in order to get a new experience every time. Some of Julian’s apple orchards keep things simple, while others go above and beyond the call of duty, offering a myriad of extra activities for guests young and old. We’ve amassed some brief overviews and important contact information for the best Julian apple orchards.

- Apple Starr Orchard - 1020 Julian Orchard Drive, Julian, CA 92036, Phone: 760-305-2169

Located on Julian's aptly-named Julian Orchard Drive, Apple Starr Orchard was established back in 1982 and has been serving California with high quality organic apples and pears ever since. The extensive orchard features around 1,000 trees in total, many of which have been grown low to help young visitors take part in the fun. Picking poles are also available to help guests reach those high-up apples, and some of the varieties on offer at this location include Red Delicious, Roma, Arkansas Black, Wealthy, Gala, and Jonagold. The orchard is open every weekend and will open up during the week too if you call up and let them know you'd like to visit.

- Calico Ranch - 4200 CA-78, Julian, CA 92036, Phone: 858-586-0392

Offering beautiful views of the San Diego backcountry, Calico Ranch is another super apple picking spot in Julian. Apple picking season and opening hours at this location depend on the harvest and weather conditions, so it's important to keep up to date on the ranch's official site and get in touch by phone before heading out, but if you are lucky enough to walk up and down the apple trees at Calico Ranch, you're in for a real treat. Some truly tasty apples of multiple varieties are grown on this land, with the owners also producing both apple and pear ciders too.

- Volcan Valley Apple Farm - 1284 Julian Orchard Dr, Julian, CA 92036, Phone: 760-302-4574

Located on Julian Orchard Drive, this highly rated apple orchard is another very popular apple picking spot in the Julian area, attracting large amounts of visitors each and every year. What really stands out about Volcan Valley Apple Farm is the warm welcome you'll receive upon arrival. The staff here really care about each and every visitor and show a lot of appreciation for folks who make the journey out to the orchard. The apples at Volcan Valley are extra delicious and the friendly owners and staff will only be too happy to offer guidance and advice on how best to enjoy each variety you find along the way.

- Peacefield Boutique Orchard & Garden - 3803 Wynola Rd, Julian, CA 92036, Phone: 855-936-2775

As the name implies, this beautiful apple orchard and garden offers a peaceful setting for a full day of relaxing apple picking and other farm-based activities. Farmer-guided orchard and garden tours can be enjoyed at this location for respectably low prices and are a great way to learn all about the land and the intricacies of the apple growing process. Then, you can head out among the trees yourself and start filling up some apple bags with freshly-plucked fruit. Top class food options are also served at this Julian apple farm with fresh, local ingredients, and the location can be rented out for weddings and other special events.