Lovers of fine wines can't resist this fantastic place
The lush, green Santa Ynez Valley lies just 35 miles from Santa Barbara's stunning beaches. It's just 125 miles along the coast from Los Angeles and 300 miles south of San Francisco. The little town of Santa Ynez itself is a proper vintage treat, a contemporary cowboy town with a difference. The town's period-style buildings look like they're fresh out of a Western movie, a real taste of the olden days.
Visit the Native American Chumash Casino Resort for 24/7 gambling, eating out and live entertainment.
You'll find a variety of cool restaurants serving up delicious foods, everything from excellent seafood to regional Italian, Latin fusion and local cuisine.
Lots of good art galleries and upscale shops
The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society Museum and the Parks-Janeway Carriage House
A host of colourful annual events including the Vaquero Show and Sale in November
Visit the town in June for the popular Old Santa Ynez Day, with its huge fair, parade and western-style entertainment. Or cycle your way around the region on a hire bike and discover the wonderful landscape at a leisurely place.
San Francisco and Wine Country Delights From £2929.00 (inc flights and hotels)
Taste some of the best wines in the world and make the most of the glorious site seeing opportunities along the way.
Past and present rub shoulders very nicely here, and every one of the tiny towns spread over this lusciously pretty valley offers its own attractions. There's Ballard and Buellton, Los Alamos and Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang, and each has its own distinct personality.
The entire valley is rich in Native American, Spanish and Mexican influences
There are several museums designed to help you discover the region's amazing history
Every town has its own artist community, which makes the entire valley an exciting art trail
Visit the Elverhoj Museum to explore nearby Solvang’s Danish heritage and history. Or find your inner artist at Gypsy Studios, where you can paint the scenery and drink fine wines while you're at it.
Los Padres National Forest is a heavenly place of huge, mature oak trees with endless miles of beautiful hiking trails, just 18 miles from Santa Barbara, perfect to explore on foot, horse or bike.
You can't visit Santa Ynez without sampling the local wines, and there's an absolutely huge choice of wineries in and around the town to do exactly that, all with friendly expert input from the owners and many with their own quirks. Roblar Winery in the town itself, a friendly place offering top class wine tours and tasting events. Gainey Vineyard provides a lovely Spanish-style Tasting Room, open every day for wine and barrel tastings. Grapeline -Tours, the best wine tours in town, provides a real insider view of the local wine scene - and you travel in spacious, cool deluxe shuttle coaches. For fresh, award-winning Mexican food and legendary margaritas head for Dos Carlitos, an excellent night out.
If you're there with little kids, Sunny Fields Park is fun. It's beautifully looked after, and the water mister, wooden playground equipment and BBQ pit make it special. A stroll around town is rewarding and takes you back into the region's cowboy past with its quaint late 1900s architectural facades, historic saloon and spotlessly clean streets. If you love great food, try the Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn, where sibling chefs Matt and Jeff Nichols are famous for experimenting with new dishes and innovative recipes. Whatever you choose, you'll experience real, home-cooked food at its finest.
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