How to Make Caramel Apple Spiced Cider

& Experiencing Autumn in San Diego, CA

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Hello Fall! Are you ready for shorter days, cooler temperatures, and autumn colors? Living in southern California the change in seasons is often subtler than in other parts of the country. However, there are still ways to welcome autumn and celebrate the traditions of fall even in sunny San Diego. One of my favorite traditions is sipping hot caramel apple spiced cider. A few years ago, I found a recipe that is like an apple cider beverage offered at a famous coffee shop and it is the DIY inspiration for this post – look for the recipe at the end. Before we get to the recipe, let’s explore some ways to experience autumn in San Diego, California.

Hello Fall! Elaina Seebald creates wonderful artwork at Enchanted Type. Be sure to sign up for her newsletter at to receive free printables. Image used with permission.

Finding fall foliage in California, especially in the San Diego area, is sometimes a challenge. However, it can be found and the California State Parks website offers a page with a guide to California’s fall foliage. San Diego County features Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Palomar Mountain State Park, both located in east San Diego County, as the go-to destinations for experiencing autumn colors. If you enjoy hiking, you may find this guide to “Fall Color Hikes” in the San Diego area helpful. If you are looking for a day trip in the southern California area to see the fall colors, this “Fall Foliage Road Trips” write-up features destinations you may want to check out.

Fall colors at Cuyamaca Lake | Photo credit: Newf in My Soup Blog by Denise E. Jones

Another sign that fall is here? All things pumpkin everywhere, and in every type of food. Pumpkin patches are a fun day trip and in the San Diego area can be found inland and on the waterfront. Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center has a large pumpkin patch that is open daily. Check the Bates Nut Farm website for details. If you’re looking for a unique pumpkin patch experience, check out the special one-day event at Waterfront Park on San Diego Bay. The Waterfront Park Pumpkin Patch will be held on Sunday, October 29, 2017 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The park is located between Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive across from the San Diego Maritime Museum. More information about this event can be found here.

San Diego Pumpkin Patch | Photo credit: Claire Fraser (@theclairefraser on IG) via @countyofsandiego on IG – October 2016.

While I can appreciate the obsession with pumpkin spice foods, I am an apple spice fan – especially in my pies and autumn beverages. One of the best places in San Diego County to enjoy apple pie is a drive to Julian. Along the way, you will be able to check out the fall foliage of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Julian is known for its apples. Two of the better-known apple pie places in town are the Julian Pie Company and Mom’s Pies. It is not uncommon for these pie shops to have lines out the door, but the pies are worth the wait! Autumn is an ideal time to explore Julian. We visited a week before the first day of fall, which was deliberate to avoid some of the crowds and traffic. I had a slice of Caramel Apple Dutch Pie and a cup of caramel apple spice cider from Julian Pie Co. and both were delicious!

So now that we’ve reviewed some ways to experience the season of fall in the San Diego area, it’s time to bring home one of the flavors of autumn with a DIY beverage. As promised at the beginning of this post, here is a recipe for making Caramel Apple Spiced Cider. Enjoy!

How to Make Caramel Apple Spiced Cider recipe | | “Hello Fall” artwork courtesy of

What are your “must-do” autumn traditions? Are you an apple spice or a pumpkin spice fan? Does your hometown experience fall foliage? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments!

Happy Fall Y’all! First day of Autumn – September 22, 2017 – enjoying a Caramel Apple Spice at Liberty Station. | Photo credit: Krista

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