To do: The season at Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif., usually runs from March through mid-May, open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ($11 per adult; 1-760-431-0352; www.theflowerfields .com). Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs has 600,000 acres, with desert plants usually blooming between January and March. For updates, call the wildflower hot line, 1-760-767-4684 (1-760-767-5311; www.parks.ca.gov).
Where to stay: Pine Hills Lodge offers lodge rooms and cabin rooms tucked into the woods outside Julian. There's a brunch on Sunday ($80-$190; 1-760-765-1100; www.pinehillslodge.com). Orchard Hill Country Inn offers a more upscale option in Julian with 22 lodge and cottage rooms, plus breakfast ($195-$375; 1-800-716-7242; www.orchardhill.com).
Dining: Candied Apple Pastry Co. serves fresh breads, with spreads such as artichoke-feta, and salads, but the star is the tempting array of desserts. Cases display pear lavender and caramel apple tarts, raspberry almond pastries, sourdough crostini chips, or the signature apple-blackberry pie with a woven crust (1-760-765-2655; www.candiedapple pastry.com). Bailey Woodpit Barbecue smokes Texas-style meats served with a rustic-cut slaw and served with cider, beer or local wine (1-760-765-3757; www.baileybbq.com).
More info: San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau (1-619-236-1212, www.sandiego.org).
LISA MEYERS MCCLINTICK