San Diego may be famous for palm trees, but if you are craving some botanical-based harvest colors, there is no need to travel to the east coast. Believe it or not, you are just a short drive from some of the most spectacular fall foliage.Less
San Diego’s 1200-acre backyard filled with art, science, botanical gardens, and museums but this time of year, it’s where to go to get your fall fix. Get dazzled by the fiery red of the sweetgum trees on the corner of 6th and Quince St. at the park’s edge. (That alone is worth the trip)! Then stroll the park with the littles in tow and see vibrant shades of gold, yellow and green.Finally, make a day of it at The San Diego Air & Space Museum or the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Littles will sprint to see the giant koi fish swimming in the ponds. You can take a breather and enjoy the beautiful fall colors of the garden. The Japanese maple trees run in shades of red, plus you’ll see bursts of yellow, orange, and green. Stroll the garden and then explore the latest exhibit.
Pack a picnic and drive up to Palomar Mountain to see all the fall colors. This state park features over 11 miles of trails through oak forests, chaparral, expansive meadows, and staggering fir and cedar woodlands. From the brightly lit golden yellow of the black oaks to the surrounding red shrubs, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in New England. And, if you’re up for a hike, try the French Valley Trail, it’s a relatively flat 3.8-mile trail that littles will love.
If you’re on a mission to see the best fall foliage experience you can in Julian, we recommend hiking the 1.65-mile Canyon Oak Trail within William Heise County Park for views of the great oaks towering above. Don't forget to stop by the historic gold mine town of Julian—famous for its fall colors, U-pick apples, apple pie, and apple cider. Head to a U-pick farm to pluck apples from the trees, then make your way to downtown Julian and look through the adorable gift stores.
Sleep under the stars with the crew at Paso Picacho campground and experience fall up close and personal. The state park is home to 24,700 acres of oak and conifer forests, and at an elevation of 5,000 feet, the seasons come and go like Northern California. This is a great family campground where you can secure a spot through Reserve America. Your happy campers will love the fresh air, the climbing trees, and lots of easy hikes from the camp spot. Weekends are busy, so book early.
Bring a picnic lunch to sit under the autumn trees, or grab a wheelbarrow and stock up on your fall decor. Shop the central store (be sure to grab some homemade fudge!), then head home and chalk up a fantastic fall day.
Hike Mt. Laguna’s Kwaaymii Trail—a half-mile loop trail with a small hill. About a 50-minute drive on 8-East, you’ll appreciate being surrounded by the black oaks’ golden leaves mixed in with the green pine trees. Bring a lunch to munch. The trailhead starts at and loops back around to the Visitor’s Center. You’ll need to purchase a $5 adventure day pass to access the forest.
This fall, enjoy a family-friendly hike at Volcan Mountain. This mountain provides a home to some rare plant and wildlife species. View the changing yellow and red leaves of the black oaks that are abundant in the area. They offer guided hikes and educational children’s events for visitors. It’s the makings of a perfect fall family day.