There are so many places to discover in the state of California. We love to travel but within our own state, we’re constantly uncovering new places we love. We’ve been to Los Olivos and Los Alamos before which has a special place in our hearts because we spent our latest weekend anniversary there but our friend Amy truly grew up in the Central Valley and knows everything about everything there (and bonus, the wine there).
There are a couple of areas you can choose to stay or explore even here: Solvang, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Buellton and more. We stayed right in Santa Ynez for the good times, great airbnb and even better Syrah. Some tips below and of course at the bottom our full list of recommendations.
Find a great home base (in our case an Airbnb)
You can really choose to stay anywhere but we found an Airbnb with what seemed like the right criteria: a kitchen we could cook in, two bedrooms, horses ambling about, a few doggos and cats that liked to cuddle. Now, when picking an airbnb you might not need a petting zoo but I would say that you should really think about why you’re taking this ridiculous stance against ultimate happiness.
Sample some local wines
One of the best things about the Santa Ynez Valley is the wines and specifically the Syrahs. We tried one tasting room in Los Olivos called Stolpman Vineyards (weirdly I liked a lot of wines there that weren’t the Syrahs, all of them were delicious) and then we went a bit further (on our way to Buellton for dinner) to Sanford Winery. I’d almost recommend Sanford just for the ambiance over the wine. It was nice and quiet and a perfect cap to the day after the bustle of Solvang.
Other very good plans
- Lunch at Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe. It’s always busy so try to swing by early.
- A jaunt through the insane garden and home store that is J. Woeste
- The Jedlicka’s Western Wear store (note: we bought a great $1 leather repair here that I use on shoes and our couch)
- It’s a forever stop at Bob’s Well Bread. We love everything there. So many gluten free, fresh baked options and small important treats that we miss.
- There’s always time for a quick look around the Antique Mall Depot, and for those that are completely uninterested, there is also a bar in there that serves alcohol and coffee.