Beautiful views in the Santa Ynez Valley of California

Visit California’s Santa Ynez Valley This Summer

Select Registry - July 26, 2022

A Hidden California Gem!

Beautiful views in the Santa Ynez Valley of California

If you’re never heard of the Santa Ynez Valley, keep reading! It’s one of the hidden gems of California, and this summer or fall is the perfect time to discover it. The Santa Ynez Valley is spectacularly beautiful and an excellent gateway for visiting the best Santa Ynez wineries and other fun adventures. 

You’ll find the Santa Ynez Valley along the scenic Central Coast of California, just off Highway 101. The Santa Ynez Valley, a former ranching haven-turned thriving wine destination, comprises six small but charming towns worth visiting. Whether you want to enjoy a little horseback riding, shopping, or laid-back wine tasting, there’s something for everyone in the fantastic Santa Ynez Valley. 

The heart of the Santa Ynez Valley lies about 2.5 hours north of Los Angeles. It’s bordered in the south by the Santa Ynez Mountains, with the San Rafael Mountains to the north and the majestic Pacific Ocean to the west. It’s easy to get here, but you’ll immediately feel at ease as you unplug and sink into the relaxing old-west heritage of the Santa Ynez Valley. 

Unplug further and enjoy the ambiance at our Select Registry Bed and Breakfast in the Santa Ynez Valley. Select Registry brings 50 years of excellence in hospitality to everything we do, which is reflected by the deep commitment to excellence demonstrated by each of our properties. Wherever you go in the country, seek out the best lodging and partner with Select Registry’s extensive network of Bed and Breakfasts. 

Beautiful views in the Santa Ynez Valley of California

Discover the Santa Ynez Valley

Though the Santa Ynez Valley might be best known for the incredible Santa Ynez wineries found here, that’s really just the Beginning of great things to do. The Santa Ynez Valley is also home to several excellent, off-the-beaten-path small towns that are more than worth visiting this summer or fall. 

The rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley are the historic homeland of the Chumash Tribe and have long been recognized as an agriculturally rich area. As settlers moved west, ranching became commonplace in the Santa Ynez Valley, followed by today’s extensive wine-growing operations. It’s truly a special part of California, filled with history, character, and plenty of fantastic things to do and see. 

The Santa Ynez Valley comprises six main communities: Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Buellton, Solvang, and Ballard. They’re clustered pretty closely together, making it easy to experience each – and with such distinctive character spread out between them, we assure you, each is worth visiting! 

Ballard

Ballard, California, has rightly earned its nickname as “the small town with big-time charm.” The population of this Santa Ynez Valley town is tiny – but don’t let that fool you. It’s home to the Little Red Schoolhouse, one of the county’s top-performing schools, not to mention several historic homes, churches, and more. 

It’s also the home of our Select Registry Bed and Breakfast, where you’ll enjoy a comfortable night’s stay and one of the best wine country meals at their restaurant.

Buellton

Buellton is home to some award-winning Santa Ynez wineries, not to mention Figueroa Mountain Brewing – but don’t stop there! 

In between visits to the Santa Ynez wineries found here, don’t miss the Santa Ynez Valley Botanical Garden, Ostrichland, Nojoqui Falls Park, and more. It’s also a great place to take a horseback ride along the Santa Ynez River.

Los Alamos

Los Alamos is one of the fastest-growing towns in the Santa Ynez Valley and is home to one of the best restaurant scenes in the area. This is also where you’ll find the most old-west heritage of Santa Ynez Valley’s ranching past. 

The town is named for the Cottonwoods that populate the area, and ranches surround it. Aside from the nod to its ranching past, you’ll find a burgeoning wine and food scene here and plenty of great shopping. If you want to experience the heritage of Los Alamos, tine your trip for September during the During the last weekend of September, Los Alamos Old Days festival. 

Windmill

Los Olivos

Los Olivos is one of the more developed towns in the Santa Ynez Valley, and it’s home to some of the top Santa Barbara wineries and offers access to the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. There’s also some great shopping in downtown Los Olivos, as well as some fantastic art galleries and local art. 

Los Olivos also happens to be one of the best places to taste sparkling wine in the Santa Ynez Valley. 

Santa Ynez

As its name suggests, the Santa Ynez Valley started in the wine-country town of Santa Ynez. With rolling hills, endless vineyards, plenty of history, and great food and wine to wash it all down, you can’t go wrong with a visit to this charming former ranch city. 

There are fabulous art galleries in Santa Ynez, and you’ll get an authentic feel for the Santa Ynez Valley’s Chumash Tribal history. Don’t miss a memorable horseback ride through the hills, either!

Solvang

When it comes to character, Solvang has it. This charming town in the Santa Ynez Valley is like stepping into a mini Denmark. Solvang was established in 1911 by a group of Danes searching for a bit of their homeland. The town is known for its quaint charm and architecture, fabulous Danish bakeries, and some of the best Santa Ynez wineries. 

There’s also excellent craft beer in Solvang and some fantastic shopping and exciting museums worth visiting. 

A woman enjoying Santa Barbara wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley in California

The Best Santa Ynez Wineries

The sun-soaked hills of the Santa Ynez Valley are home to some of the best wineries in California. Despite never having achieved the same world-famous status as Napa Valley to the north, Santa Ynez wineries offer some of the best wine-tasting opportunities in the country. In fact, some are calling Santa Ynez wineries the “new” Napa.  

You won’t’ find the busy crowds of Napa here, though. Instead, you’ll enjoy a relaxed tasting experience at some genuinely amazing Santa Ynez wineries, plenty of great food to go along with it, and unmatched views of the stunning Santa Ynez Valley. Below, find eight of the best Santa Ynez wineries worth visiting during your next trip to California. 

  1. Sunstone Vineyards & Winery in Santa Ynez
  2. Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez
  3. Rusack Winery in Solvang
  4. Foxen Vineyard and Winery in Los Alamos
  5. Barbieri Winery in Los Olivos
  6. Stolpman Vineyards in Los Olivos
  7. Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos

The Santa Ynez Valley is also an excellent place for biking, and it’s easy to combine this beautiful scenery with visits to the top Santa Ynez wineries when you take one of the Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling Tours

There are so many more great Santa Ynez wineries worth visiting while you’re here, and our Select Registry Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers will be more than happy to guide you to the best of them. Having this expert local knowledge is just one of the many perks of staying at one of our properties. If you’re ready for an exceptional trip to the fantastic Santa Ynez Valley, head over to our partner California Bed and Breakfast and book your getaway today!

The Best California Bed and Breakfast

The Ballard Inn

The Ballard Inn & Gathering Table, a romantic country bed and breakfast inn located just 35 minutes north of Santa Barbara California, offers outstanding upscale and elegant accommodations in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County’s renowned wine country. Our country inn, rated 4 diamonds and a member of the prestigious Select Registry, is the perfect weekend getaway, just a short drive from Los Angeles or other locations in southern California.

With comfortable guest rooms, many with fireplaces, fine wines, and delicious food, our inn creates a tranquil atmosphere that exudes romance. Whether you are looking for peace and quiet or an active and fun vacation, The Santa Ynez Valley has something to offer everyone. If you are so inclined, we can arrange for a wine tasting tour, visiting the finest wineries the neighboring towns of Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Solvang, and Buellton have to offer, including the beautiful and legendary area of the Santa Rita Hills.

The Santa Ynez Valley has much more than wine to offer its visitors. Our area has a long history of horse ranching; our staff can arrange for a horseback riding excursion to get back to the old west. In addition, the valley is becoming an acclaimed destination for cycling enthusiasts and is the site of many bicycle tours and races. If golfing is your game, there are three wonderful courses to play, including the celebrated Alisal and La Purisima courses. With the vast selection of activities and comfortable meeting spaces, the Ballard Inn represents a great place to hold your next family reunion or small business retreat in California.

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