20 Best Things to Do in Santa Ynez, CA

Santa Ynez, CA
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Seated in Santa Barbara County is the small town of Santa Ynez.

Tucked in the middle of hills and valleys of Santa Barbara lies the wine community of Santa Ynez Valley, where vineyards and wineries line up in the area.

Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views, heritage, and fine culinary experiences in the area.

Take a walk around the town and admire the architectural designs from the 18th century and discover other captivating attractions and other marvels offered by Santa Ynez.

Savor the finest wines offered by over 50 wineries in Santa Ynez with picturesque sceneries.

Stay at luxurious hotels and feel at home in some of the establishments in Santa Ynez.

If you’re ready to explore this place, here are the 20 best things to do in Santa Ynez, California:

Revisit the Past at Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Janeway-Parks Carriage House

View of Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Janeway-Parks Carriage House
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum is home to a collection of carriages, stagecoaches, and horse-drawn wagons that are dated more than a century ago.

It features different kinds of carriages and wagons where horses are attached.

The purpose of the wagons was to carry supplies and people from one place to another.

Carriage at Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

During your visit here in Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Janeway-Parks Carriage House, you’ll have the chance to recognize the differences between a wagon, buggies, and carts.

The museum also provides a glimpse of the past through its exhibitions and activities that highlight the place's historical past.

Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum also offers a multitude of activities where you can experience various lectures, tours around the museum, and events that you will enjoy.

View of Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Janeway-Parks Carriage House
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Sip, Smell, and Swill Wines at Crown Point Vineyards

Crown Point Vineyards strives to excel and provide the best quality to its customers by crafting the finest wines in Santa Ynez.

The winery boasts world-class, high-quality Cabernet-based wines, which are the most-sought drink here in Crown Point Vineyard.

Have a great tasting experience in its own wine tasting room and tickle your taste buds with a broad selection of wines.

The 90-minute session for tasting aims to educate and enlighten guests about the history of the winery and its journey to being one of the best in Santa Ynez.

There are many activities to try in Crown Point Vineyards aside from the wine tasting.

You can also join a private workshop with the winemaker of the Crown Point Vineyard and then be preceded by a guided tour and tasting of their wine collections, their newly introduced wines, and the wines that are stored in cellars.

Experience a Luxurious Stay at Santa Ynez Inn

Looking for a luxurious place to spend your days while in Santa Ynez?

Santa Ynez Inn got the most glamorous suites and rooms for you!

Because of its Victorian-themed building design, Santa Ynez Inn is rated as a four-star hotel that features an elegant and sophisticated aura.

This hotel is strategically located near establishments like restaurants and scenic destinations that you can easily go to.

Enjoy the perks of staying in Santa Ynez Inn and indulge in their luxurious amenities, such as their delicious breakfast in the morning, wines, and tasty desserts served in their classy food hall.

The hotel provides a tasting passport for guests for free wine tasting available at the hotel’s local winery partners.

You can spend your nights sipping a glass of wine in Santa Ynez Inn’s fireplace.

Join the Fun in Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours

Established in 2001, the Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours continues to provide educational tours in the spectacular wine region of Santa Ynez.

You can join and enjoy a fun-filled tour that includes wine tasting and paying a visit to Santa Ynez’s wineries, tasting rooms, cellars, and local vineyards.

The tour also provides a delectable lunch served in a great picnic setting.

Be one of Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours’ guests and have an exclusive look at the stories behind each winery’s crafts.

Ride a Horse in Vino Vaqueros Horseback Riding

Experience a one-of-a-kind tour around the mesmerizing valleys of Santa Ynez while riding a horse.

Vino Vaqueros Horseback Riding provides privately escorted tours that last for about one and twenty-five minutes to half an hour.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while you pass through the mountains, the wineries and their vineyards, and the charming valley of Santa Ynez.

You don’t need to have the experience to ride a horse; Vino Vaqueros Horseback Riding has a knowledgeable staff that will guide you all throughout the tours.

If you want to have a romantic getaway with your partner or have fun with your friends and family, Vino Vaqueros is the ideal place to spend the day.

Place a Bet in Chumash Casino Resort

Performers at Chumash Casino Resort
Dwight McCann / Chumash Casino Resort / www.DwightMcCann.com, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Try your luck in Santa Ynez’s Chumash Casino, where you can win exciting prizes or go home penniless.

You can feel at home here in Chumash Casino Resort with luxurious rooms and amenities, numerous relaxing spots, a lobby bar, and top-rated customer service.

Performers at Chumash Casino Resort
Dwight McCann/Chumash Casino Resort/www.DwightMcCann.com, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The hotel presents a 135-foot tower where you can catch a beautiful view of Santa Ynez Valley.

The expansive casino of the resort houses more than 2,000 new slot machines and over 45 widely known Vegas Style Table Games, a poker chamber, and a magnificent Higher Limits room.

You can enjoy all of these fun activities in this 115,000-square-foot casino of Chumash Casino Resort.

Take a Bite in S.Y Kitchen

If you’re in Santa Ynez, S.Y Kitchen is one of the many restaurants that you should try.

This fine-dining restaurant features a beautiful outdoor space where you can dine, but you can also choose to sit in the front room or the dining room.

You can choose from a great selection of mouthwatering, delicious meals from the menu that showcases Italian cuisine.

S.Y Kitchen will provide you with meals that you can pair with the best tasting wines from Santa Ynez.

With their scrumptious food, good ambiance, and friendly staff, you won’t regret spending your money here.

Explore Sedgwick Reserve

This 5,896-acre natural reserve is located in the heart of Santa Ynez and is considered as a homage to the agricultural legacy of the valley.

The reserve provides a glimpse of what California was once after the years had passed.

The remains found in the reserve suggest that it was once home to residents and a route in between two villages.

In the present years, the Sedgwick Reserve is now a site for research studies and educational programs.

Sedgwick Reserve also provides opportunities for the public to visit the Reserve.

You can join the “Walking Ecology Program,” where you can take pleasure in observing the different biodiversity in the area.

It is one of the fascinating sites in Santa Ynez that you should definitely visit.

Reach the Clouds in Sky’s the Limit Ballooning

Have you ever dreamed of being up in the clouds?

Here in Santa Ynez, you can make your dream come true with Sky’s the Limit Ballooning.

Hop in this lighter-than-air craft of Sky’s the Limit Ballooning and let it take you high up in the sky.

Make unforgettable memories as you soar and watch the picturesque views of the valley and the majestic peaks of the San Rafael mountains.

As the hot air balloon floats over Santa Ynez, you can also see the many ranches and vineyards in the wine country.

You shouldn’t miss this unique experience made possible by Sky’s the Limit Ballooning!

Buy Flowers in Forage Florals

Forage Florals is one of the specialty stores located in Santa Ynez with its locally sourced flowers from nearby floral farms.

The flower shop boasts its unique style of presentation and artistry by showcasing its custom arrangements.

If you want to learn more about floral arrangements, you can join in their workshops in an outdoor setting.

You can purchase a bouquet of flowers for your special someone and brighten their day.

Forage Florals also provide service for different occasions and events, such as weddings, birthdays, and many more.

Taste Olive Oils in Rancho Olivos

This 7-acre ranch is a family-owned business where the primary product is olives.

Rancho Olivos is an olive farm in Santa Ynez that offers daily tasting in their tasting stand.

You can stop by the tiny farm stand of Rancho Olivos and experience their award-winning product, which is the extra virgin olive oil.

The olive oils are also available in small sizes, so you can try some other flavors.

If you like olive oils, this is the perfect spot to grab a bottle of locally-grown olive oil.

Have fun tasting different flavors of olive oils in Rancho Olivos when you visit Santa Ynez.

Try Brander Vineyard's Premier Wines

The Brander Vineyard is a family-owned and operated business in Santa Ynez, and it is one of the pioneers in winemaking in the area.

Located on the 52-acre field, The Brander Vineyard was established on the site chosen by the owner, Fred Brander, because of its excellent soil, position, and temperature, perfect for growing a variety of grapes.

Brander Vineyard boasts its world-class facility and rich vineyards, believing that “great wine starts in the vineyard.”

You can select among the many wine products, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, that The Brander Vineyard produces.

The vineyard also has a museum named “The Brander Museum of Folk Art,” which focuses on Latin American Folk Art.

You can sip a glass of premier wines from The Brander Vineyard while looking at the art pieces featured in the museum.

Delight in Italian Cuisines at Trattoria Grappolo

Established in 1997, Trattoria Grappolo is a casual, welcoming Italian eatery in Santa Ynez, California.

Admire the rural scenery of the valley while relishing a traditional Italian lunch.

Enjoy the aroma of a freshly made pizza or a cup of authentic espresso.

Some specialties include Spanish octopus carpaccio, salmon, prime new york steak, wood-fired specialty pizzas, handcrafted pasta, and vegan entrees.

Trattoria Grappolo has a magnificent wine list and numerous private dining rooms that may suit your small or big dinner gathering.

It is an excellent venue to visit with your family and friends and is only a 40-minute trip from Santa Barbara.

Discover What Roblar Winery and Vineyards Has to Offer

Roblar Winery & Vineyards shows visitors what it's like to be in the Santa Barbara wine region.

There is no other Santa Ynez winery like Roblar, with its broad array of exquisite wines, farm-to-table treats, a locally sourced food menu, and amazing estate-driven encounters.

The estate's convenient location includes a magnificent 5000-square-foot tasting room, lovely vineyards, and a cutting-edge winemaking facility.

Roblar Winery and Vineyards, a 40-acre vineyard dotted with oak trees in the center of Santa Barbara County, embodies the vibrant, authentic, and rustic essence of Santa Ynez Wineries.

They provide their guests the chance to sample all Roblar has to offer, including superb wines and fresh and innovative meals, through informal tastings at outdoor pergolas and specially designed private parties.

Grab High-Quality Products from Summerset Farm

At Edison Street and Baseline Avenue lies a hidden agricultural gem called Summerset Farm.

The pesticide-free farm aims to generate high-quality food that everyone may experience.

At Summerset Farm, you may pick your berries, purchase regional honey and handmade jams, and explore the produce section.

They are presently displaying their pumpkin patch, where you may select your pumpkins from various colors and forms.

Their pumpkin garden offers a vast assortment in the Santa Ynez Valley, whether you prefer green and crunchy or orange and smooth, big or small.

The ideal pumpkin for baking and decorating will be easy to discover!

Search for the Perfect Outfit at Plenty Boutique

In California's stunning Santa Ynez Valley, Plenty Boutique is a brick-and-mortar women's store.

Close friends Julie White and Stephanie Braly connected over a passion for jewelry and put up their physical and mortar-company in 2010.

Since then, the business has increased and developed into an amazing, unique boho babe's ideal store.

Plenty Boutique exudes a bohemian, western, and retro vibe.

They produce their stunning one-of-a-kind jewelry in addition to sourcing their specially selected old items from around the world.

Visit Plenty Boutique, one of Santa Ynez's hidden jewels, to browse for anything from dresses to outerwear and everything in between!

Unwind and Grab a Drink at Santa Ynez Billiards & Cafe

Searching for somewhere to play billiards, foosball, or darts?

Santa Ynez Billiards & Cafe is a great place to unwind with friends or make new ones.

Food is crafted in an American-Mediterranean style for your delight.

Salads, burgers, chicken strips, sandwiches, shawarma, hummus & tabouli, and falafel are all available on the menu.

They feature more than 100 craft beers, over 16 ice-cold beers on tap, and a wide selection of wine by the glass or bottle.

Enjoy the exclusive outdoor patio or chill indoors in front of their four big-screen TVs.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Santa Ynez is not the only place in the world that has attractions and thrilling destinations.

Below are the nearby places you can also visit.

Tour around the Wildling Museum

Exterior of Wildling Museum
Jllm06, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Just 6 km away from Santa Ynez, the Wildling Museum is a place where art meets nature.

This museum displays artwork that showcases nature and wildlife.

Aside from art exhibits, you can also experience the museum’s hands-on activities with your family and friends.

Wildling Museum also includes a gift shop that features beautifully crafted items.

Stop by the OstrichLand

OstrichLand is a roadside attraction located in Buellton, California, which is 12 km away from Santa Ynez.

You can stop over on the side of the road to feed these gigantic birds.

This experience only lasts for 30 minutes, but you won’t get disappointed by this entertainment.

The birds of OstrichLand are enclosed with a hedge, so you should pay for the fee if you want to see and feed the ostriches.

It’s just a few dollars, so why not stop by and take pictures in OstrichLand?

Final Thoughts

Whether you like staying in luxurious hotels, trying new and exciting activities, or simply having fun, you’ll find it all in Santa Ynez.

Santa Ynez might be known for its wineries and vineyards, but it also offers more than that.

You can choose from a wide range of daytime and nighttime activities to do in this wine country.

Undoubtedly, Santa Ynez is a must-visit destination if you’re searching for a place to spend your vacation.

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