HOT HISTORY: While the western slope of the Sierras is definitely gold lore central -- hi, Sutter's Mill -- Julian and its San Diego-close environs also saw lots of miners waving picks and looking to make a mint overnight. If you've been to Julian, you probably can avow to two things. One, you ate apple pie, and two, you were charmed by its 1800s-y look. But we'll add a third must-do for every visitor: Get to know the area's gold history. That must-do is made quite easy during the town's Gold Rush Days, which happen on Father's Day in 2011 (making it Gold Rush Day).
DATE DETAILS: There's an old-fashioned picnic on -- oh yeah, sack races and cake walks -- and some "historic comedy skits" presented by the Julian Doves & Desperados. Good stuff, all, but we're betting your dad would jump at the chance to go inside a mine and see how those gold-rushers plied their picks. And look at this: The Eagle and High Peak Mine and Museum will be running tours. The hours are short and midday-ish, so you'll want to read all before making for the postcard-pretty mountain burg. But if Dad's a history buff, and doesn't mind a bit driving, and he adores apple pie, you may have your Father's Day mapped out. Just be warned that Julian love is a strong love. We're not alone in our feelings here, we know that. Dad'll want to go back, we bet.