8 Must-Do Things When in Idyllwild (2022)
Idyllwild is a small mountain town nestled in the charming San Jacinto Mountains. Its proximity to San Diego, Santa Ana, and other famous Californian cities makes it an ideal weekend getaway destination for the locals of the state. Idyllwild is known for plenty of trails, the Rocky Mountains, tall pine trees, and the authentic small mountain-town ambiance. Though unlike the regular mountain towns in California, you might not find a glittery town-like feel here but the pine-scented air and friendly downtown here will surely keep you entertained and engaged.
Idyllwild is not well spread amongst visitors like Big Bear or other mountain regions; however, it won’t sound wrong if we classify it as a hidden gem in Southern California. Depending upon how much the peace here holds upon you, a quick day off, a weekend getaway, or a week-long holiday anything goes well when you are in Idyllwild.
8 Must-Do things When in Idyllwild
To know more about this charming little destination, have a look at our list of the 8 most popular things to do when in Idyllwild.
1. Explore Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness
There’s nothing better to start your Idyllwild exploration than from the Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness. It is located in the San Jacinto Mountains at an elevation of 10,834 feet and is one of the most topographically prominent peaks in the USA. The state park covers over fourteen thousand acres of land and is easily accessible via Highway 243 in Idyllwild. The famous hiking trail that can provide you access from the town is the Marion Mountain Trail that meanders across rocky outcrops, pass through conifer forests and mountain meadows. Winters dump Idyllwild into knee-high snow and spectacular views all around. However, before you step up to explore Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness, make sure you have your permit in hand.
2. Do Some Fishing at Lake Fulmor
A great fishing lake only 10 minutes away from heart of Idyllwild, Lake Fulmore is all worth praises. Lake Fulmore is more than what meets the eyes and what captures the heart. Even though it is nearly 3 acres, but its serene surrounding and breath-taking sights add up to the absolute charm of the region. Lake Fulmor is famous fishing and picnic getaway amongst the locals of Idyllwild, and for trying the fishing skills here, one does not need any special permit. There are a few walking trails that loop around the lake, passing by an Overlake bridge and fishing pier. You can often spot birdwatchers, photography enthusiasts, and nature lovers spending their time here. Though Lake Fulmor does not offer a lot of water recreation, if you are seeking some peace amidst nature, this indeed can match your vibes.
3. Visit the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum
The Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum offers an excellent opportunity to know and learn about the town’s history. Located in the heart of Idyllwild, the museum is housed inside a rustic 1930s-era cabin and is free to explore. This small but quaint museum displays several exciting photographs and other features like wood flooring, handmade dining table, and fireplace still intact in their original settings and conditions. Some of the highlights of the museum include Idyllwild Inn and the Emerson Family Legacy, Elvis Presley’s ‘Kid Galahad,’ and the history of Tahquitz and Suicide. A quick 45 minutes to 1-hour visit to the Historical Society Museum in Idyllwild is fine enough for spending some quality time.
4. Relax and Rejuvenate At The Idyllwild Wellness Waters & Massage
A holiday is completed with two most important features, relaxing and rejuvenating. And to seek them in Idyllwild, what’s better than visiting the Waters & Massage Center. This therapeutic center amidst the mountain town of Idyllwild offers several types of relaxing and healing massages, including deep tissue, Swedish, retreat, couple massage, and whatnot. The owner and operator, Lori Davey, is genuinely one of the best professionals who will ever come across in SoCal, who is not only friendly and polite to the clients but also helps in healing a lot of physical ailments via her massage techniques. Some of their best and most recommended packages include the Kangen Water massage and Ayurveda Bodywork massage. Considering the center is close (within a short walking distance) to downtown Idyllwild, you can pay a quick visit here anytime.
5. Idyllwild Nature Center
A mile away from the town, Idyllwild Nature Center offers Idyllwild outdoors to the full of extents. It provides an ideal combination of education benefits and outdoor explorations via field study trips, learning programs, and guided tours customized to meet special interests and needs. The learning program and educational topics here include local flora and fauna, the Cahuilla Native culture, mountain ecology, and the history of the San Jacinto Mountains. You can also be a part of their seasonal events that goes all through the year, including lemon lily restoration day, wildflower day, butterfly daze, and many more. However, if you are not interested in learning and events, you can spend your time here hiking over the various difficulty-level trails or picnicking around with your friends and family.
6. Spend Some Time At The Unique Middle Ridge Winery
Known as Idyllwild’s own wine room, the Middle Ridge Winery offers award-winning finest wines in SoCal. However, it isn’t the typical wine tasting place like those in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, or Temecula. Middle Ridge Winery is basically a combination of an art gallery and a tasting room comprising 4000 sq. feet. This blend of Art Alliance and Winery offers art exhibits & live music in a rustic yet elegant environment along with premium wine and tasty bites. The venue has enough capacity to host birthday parties, work meeting, and other events whereas the interiors and the entire build-up is all worth the praises. When here, do make sure you walk throughout the art galleries and do not forget to climb upstairs.
7. Stop and Shop at the Merkaba Tea
If “Tea” holds a special place in your heart and menu, then Merkaba Tea is a place you cannot afford to miss when in Idyllwild. It is generally a Tea Room serving Teas like nowhere other, mainly the organic ones in their menu. Here you can taste, smell, buy, learn, and basically do everything possible about tea. They have a massive selection of teas, and they even offer customized blends if desired. Presenting different varieties from the world, including Chinese tea, Indian Masala Chai, Tibetan tea, English tea, and whatnot, the options here are endless. You can also shop for various other products, including incense, music for meditation, teapots, mukluk slipper sock, and more. Also, while you are here, make sure you check the Tibetan water bowl and grab your share of good energy and positive vibes.
8. Dine at the Cozy and Beautiful Local Restaurants
Being a mountain town and a hub for tourists, Idyllwild hosts a number of local cafes and restaurants. Some of them which you must not miss include the La Casita Restaurant, the Mile High Café, and the Gastrognome restaurant. Gastrognome is a cozy nook offering mini pizzas, eggplant sandwiches, and chicken fajitas. It is more of three restaurants combined into a large one entertaining and providing for guests of all taste and need.
Another is the Mile High Café, indeed the most famous café in Idyllwild that offers entertainment, food, and a dog-friendly outdoor patio. Their menu includes both American, Japanese, and Korean delicacies like beef bulgogi, eggs benedict, bibimbap, and jalapeño burger. And last is the La Casita Restaurant, a fine-dine Italian restaurant nestled amidst an array of palm trees. From nachos to tacos and fajitas, quesadillas, tamale, chimichangas, and burritos, everything from their menu is hell delicious. However, what makes La Casita unique is its forested vibe and cozy setting.
Idyllic is a cozy little town and a place worth visiting. When you are done exploring all the above-mentioned things, make sure you stroll around the mini downtown and shop from the locals. Also, art affairs and art galleries in Idyllic are unmissable; hence next time you are here, spare some time for appreciating the spaces.