This article originally appeared in Travel+Leisure.
Whether your favorite getaways tend towards lakeside camping, RV road trips, casual hotels, or luxury boutiques, you’ll find the perfect place to lay your head for the night in the Santa Ynez Valley. For that matter, your range of daytime activities is just as wide, from hiking and horseback riding to fine dining and wine tasting, with lots in between.
Just two hours north of Los Angeles and about four hours south of San Francisco, the Santa Ynez Valley towns offer world-class wineries, craft breweries, mountain biking and hiking trails, waterfalls, history, and ocean breezes. Nearby farms, orchards, and ranches supply local restaurants with the freshest ingredients, and seafood from the Pacific is just minutes away.
Six communities make up the Santa Ynez Valley, each a bit different. Old West-style Santa Ynez takes you back 100 years or so, and Solvang takes you thousands of miles away to northern Europe with its Danish bakeries and architecture. Laid back Los Olivos was founded in the 1860s, and historic buildings and Victorian homes are reminders of its days along the stagecoach route. Buellton offers breweries, wineries, and the unique attraction, Ostrichland. Los Alamos reflects its western heritage, and tiny Ballard is home to the “Little Red Schoolhouse,” a top performing school dating to 1883.