Santa Ynez California Wine Trip Pictures
There are hundreds of wineries in Santa Barbara County which include the towns of Solvang, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, and Buellton. The movie Sideways was filmed in this area and it's a lot of fun to take a self guided tour of the wineries, restaurants, and bars that were in the movie. You will discover beautiful scenery traveling throughout the area.
Touring the small towns you will find that each has its own named trail of wineries. There is the Foxen Canyon Trail goes through some gorgeous scenery as you make your way through about 11 wineries. The tasting rooms are scattered a bit though but that is the beauty of this trail as it takes you by farms and vineyards.
The Santa Ynez Trail has about 20 wineries and there are plenty of restaurants as you are making your rounds. Then there is the La Purisma Trail which is basically a loop so you can begin anywhere and see all of about five wineries.
Santa Ynez California wine trip was our first California wine trip. This area is now better known because of the movie "Sideways". We did see the movie but when we decided to travel to Santa Ynez we didn't realize that the movie was filmed here. After a couple of wineries we finally reached Main Street and picked up a few brochures and newspapers. Oh, what's this bright green brochure? Jason, this is where they shot the movie "Sideways". We stopped at Kalyra, Fess Parker, and Firestone, and ate the most delicious lunch I have every had at the Los Olivos Cafe and Wine Merchant. Oh my, I had their infamous brie and honey roasted hazelnuts in a cinnamon puff pastry with port syrup, and it was all mine. Other wineries we visited were Gainey and Sunstone. We ate at a bakery in Solvang, and dinner was at the Hitching Post. I wish we had gotten a picture of us eating at there, drats!
My mom lived in California for about seven years and as I was growing up she was always talking about California, the Danish village, the drive from Beverly Hills to San Francisco, movie stars she would see, her apartment on Wilshire, etc. Those were her best years. She totally loved California and it's weather and lack of bugs especially coming from Florida. So, to get to my point, one of the reasons for taking this wine trip was because of Solvang, the Danish Village. A place that I had heard about many times over the years.
Solvang is an authentic Danish Village and it has been named one of the "10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the Western United States". It was founded by Danish immigrants in 1911 and covers about 9,000 acres. The authentic village is marked with gas street lights from Copenhagen, 19th century timber and plaster architecture, thatched roofs and working windmills. When you are walking the streets you are just consumed by northern European culture, cuisine and boutiques.
In Santa Barbara County there are over two hundred wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms, and the numbers increase monthly. Santa Barbara Wine Country includes several small towns such as Solvang, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, and Buellton. It has a scenic countryside which is charming and rural. The small downtown area of Los Olivos includes several galleries, shops and dining places.
Touring the small towns you will find that each has its own named trail of wineries. There is the Foxen Canyon Trail goes through some gorgeous scenery as you make your way through about 11 wineries. The tasting rooms are scattered a bit though but that is the beauty of this trail as it takes you by farms and vineyards. The Santa Ynez Trail has about 20 wineries and there are plenty of restaurants as you are making your rounds. Then there is the La Purisma Trail which is basically a loop so you can begin anywhere and see all of about five wineries.
Now one thing that we have found while on our wine trips, not every winery is open for tastings during the week, and some are by reservations only. If there is a winery that you really, really have to visit then it would behoove you to call and make sure they are going to be open during your visit.
If you are driving from the south in California then we totally recommend you take the scenic road 154 off of Hwy. 101 into Santa Ynez. State Road 154 goes through Lake Cachuma Recreation Area. This is a wonderful place to set up your RV or tent camp. This park accommodates any size RV or coach. There are 90 full hookup sites and 38 RV sites with electrical and water, as well as 550 campsites for tenters. This park has just about everything - a marina, fishing piers, a general store, a nature center, a playground, and hiking trails. For the campers there are showers, restrooms, water, and coin laundry.
Jason's thoughts - Wine runs are fun when the weather is good which it is most times in California. If you are going to do this heavily day after day I recommend scheduling a recuperate day between each of your wine days. You will appreciate everything better and have a better experience long term.
Kelly's thoughts - Although we only spent one full day touring wineries and the streets of Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Buellton, and Solvang it was absolutely the funnest one day wine trip. We did so much but we didn't rush at all. It was really easy to get around for tastings, dining, and enjoying the scenery in just nine hours. Honestly, there hasn't been one wine tasting trip that I didn't like. Even if you don't drink wine it is fun to tour the wineries, walk and shop the towns, and enjoy the California scenery.
Travel Info - The above cities and wineries can be reached easily from Santa Barbara which is a major Southern California tourist destination. If you have traveled in California then you know how difficult it can be to maneuver a 40' coach or RV. In these small towns it can be a little frustrating so we suggest camping at the recreation area and driving in for your wine day or drive to the city of Lompoc where you might find ample size parking. Go back to main California Wine Trip or click for Paso Robles wine trip or Sonoma and Napa Valley wine trip. Also, check out our full-time rv diary. Travel 49 miles northwest of Santa Barbara to visit Santa Ynez California.
American Road Trips - reviews & pictures of places we visited on $20 a day - food, gas and lodging.