- Our luxurious bathing amenities are made in the USA by William Roam, a company with a tenacious commitment to protecting the earth.
- Our new coffee and tea trays have been hand crafted by a local carpenter using primarily reclaimed wood.
- All hand soap, sponges, trash bags, laundry detergent and dish soap are sourced from recognized eco-friendly companies.
If you’re not yet planning to spend Valentine’s Day, a honeymoon, or simply a romantic weekend getaway in the Santa Ynez Valley this year, you should be! For starters, the most cozy, romantic, private vacation rental homes are right here in the Santa Ynez Valley.
But also, we put together this amazing list of the nine most romantic things to do in the Santa Ynez Valley with your significant other while you’re here!
The Santa Ynez Valley has amazing wineries, equine ranches, lavender farms, beatific landscapes, and so much more to offer couples who want to escape for a romantic weekend together.
Take a glider ride from the Santa Ynez Airport.
Santa Barbara Soaring has several different glider tours to choose from, two of which glide over the Santa Ynez Valley. Take one of these phenomenal glider rides to take in the spectacular view above the gorgeous Valley. Not to mention, the Santa Ynez Airport is next door to Gainey Winery. The scenery is breathtaking, and you should share this experience with your spouse!
Have a romantic date night for two at Petros restaurant.
This fabulous little dining spot is set at a greenhouse in the center of Solvang. The Petros Restaurant eloquent menu is a blend of Greek cuisine with fresh Mediterranean ingredients. So plan to have a romantic date night dinner for two and make sure to ask to sit by the fireplace when you make your reservations!
Enjoy a wine tasting series on bike.
Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling Tours combines cycling beautiful scenery and the quaint towns in the Santa Ynez Valley with great wine and food to create the perfect Valley experience. The rides are custom-tailored to you and your level of comfort, and day tours can include a romantic gourmet picnic lunch within the wine tasting and cycling routes. This makes an especially great double date with your couple friends!
Go horseback riding through the Valley.
Vino Vaqueros has daily horseback riding and wine tasting tours in the gorgeous Santa Ynez Valley. The scenery is breathtaking, and what more romantic way to travel from vineyard to vineyard than on horseback with your loved one? Every private horseback ride is led by a knowledgeable guide with access to gorgeous scenery, ranches and vineyards in the Valley. After the horseback ride, you and your spouse can relax and enjoy vineyard and pond views or a game of bocce ball while sampling local wines.
Get a couples massage at Champagne Spa.
What could be more romantic than getting a relaxing, soothing couples massage together? Santa Ynez Wine Country Massage has been a Santa Ynez Valley favorite for years.The best thing about Santa Ynez Wine Country Massage is that they’ll even come to you! You could schedule the couples massage in the privacy of your vacation rental home. Schedule a couples massage with your loved one and enjoy some peaceful, relaxing, quiet time to unwind with one another.
Stroll downtown Los Olivos together.
Walking from door to door in downtown Los Olivos will take you to numerous boutique wineries and shops to sip on the best wine the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer. Walking in quaint Los Olivos is the perfect food pairing for Los Olivos wine, shopping local to support small business with unique and memorable purchases, and so much more. Strolling together hand-in-hand through Los Olivos will be sure to build memories you’ll cherish.
Book a private chef at your vacation rental.
Want to cozy up over dinner and wine just the two of you? How about holing up in your cozy, romantic vacation rental property and dining in? Hire a private chef to cook you and your loved one a dinner to remember. Your private chef could even use locally sourced ingredients, bring local bottles of wine, and ensure a romantic evening with flavors you will love. Many of our vacation rentals have gorgeous patios for al fresco dining, too!
Have a romantic dinner at Grappolo Trattoria.
The only thing more romantic than dinner for two is a gourmet dinner for two that supports local farmers and wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley. Trattoria Grappolo in Santa Ynez does just that, serving the most delightful and unforgettable gourmet food. Ask to sit on the patio for more privacy, peace and quiet to bond with your loved one!
Take a hike and picnic at Nojoqui Falls.
The Nojoqui Falls Park has a short trail to gaze at the falls in a gorgeous outdoor setting. The park has plenty of places to enjoy a picnic for two after you’ve taken in all the beautiful scenery. We recommend bringing a light picnic with a blanket and a bottle of wine to enjoy after your short hike to the serene Nojoqui Falls!
Book that romantic getaway!
If you’re hoping to get away on Valentine’s Day or simply for a romantic getaway any time of year, come to the Santa Ynez Valley. Book a private vacation rental home, and plan on one or more of these romantic date ideas! Contact our travel concierge for help finding the perfect vacation rental and planning the ideal romantic getaway for you and your spouse. We’re here to help!
The weather forecast may be no indication, but the fact is that autumn has arrived in the Santa Ynez Valley. The Celebration of Harvest Festival marked the closing of the Central Coast’s most prominent harvest: that of wine grapes. While the wine industry may be slowing down, other local harvests are just amping up.
The Bounty of Local Valley Harvests
The bounty of the Central Coast presents itself in countless ways. Farm stands dot most major roadways in the Valley. Some, like Finley Farms on Refugio Rd., operate on the small town honor system where you weigh your own produce and deposit money in a rusted metal depository. Others, like Summerset Farms on Edison St. at Hwy 154, are full service, offering an opportunity to engage in the season with colorful pumpkins and U-Pick apple orchards. Some local farms don’t sell directly to the public but rather distribute to local grocery stores and restaurants.
If you’re dining at one of our favorite local restaurants, you’re likely to be enjoying food grown from soil just a few miles down the road. Many visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley are members of local wine clubs and attend annual post-harvest winemaker dinners. These events are where visitors can truly begin to appreciate the intersection of both the wine and farming industries which are so deeply embedded in our community.
Intimate Private Fall Dinner Gatherings
One of our favorite ways to celebrate the autumn harvest is by hosting an intimate private dinner at home or in your vacation rental. In a community so full of farmers and winemakers it’s only natural that chefs congregate to assist in bringing the Central Coast’s bounty from field to plate. There are many talented chefs in the Santa Ynez Valley: two of whom bring unparalleled expertise, ingenuity and charm to every occasion.
Chef Jake O. Francis
When seeking a chef to craft an inspired menu utilizing local produce for a winemaker dinner, many winery owners enlist Jake O. Francis, both a heritage breed pig farmer and incredibly skilled chef. His depth of understanding the farming process from start to finish is apparent in his rustic yet refined approach, and showcasing locally grown and raised produce and meat. Chef Jake has left many of our guests eager to plan another dinner party with him again, just take a look at this menu he did for some of our past guests.
Chef Giorgio Curti
Hailing from Calabria, Italy, Chef Giorgio Curti brings global inspiration to his locally sourced menu items through both his Los Alamos restaurant Craft Kitchen and Amaranto Catering Co. This year he’s offering to cook and deliver Thanksgiving dinners anywhere in the Valley. That means no fussin’ and fightin’ with family in the kitchen! We love this idea and think many of our Thanksgiving guests will enjoy the utter convenience of dinner delivered to your door.
As you drive out of the gate at vacation rental Circle L Ranch, just across the street is an industrial tank with a rustic wooden sign casually slung around one of it’s posts. It reads, “Community.” It struck me as a sweet reminder that while most homes in the Valley are located on multiple acres, there is no less a sense of community here as in a tight suburban neighborhood.
I also considered that the placement of the “Community” sign, being directly across the street from a vacation rental often occupied by visitors, might be a gentle reminder from a neighbor to our guests that while they enjoy their home away from home, to keep in mind that they are kindly being welcomed into a ranching community, in hopes that quiet hours may be observed. (Only recently did I realize that the sign simply, and admittedly obviously, designated the tank as belonging to the community.) Nonetheless, this “Community” sign has allowed me to ruminate regularly on the concept and importance of community.
The business ethos at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals has long been one that revolves around community and social responsibility. To begin with, the carbon footprint of a stay in a hotel is 50% greater than that of a stay in a vacation rental home. Simply in offering an alternative to a stay in a hotel, we’ve created an opportunity to travel with less impact on the planet. Further, the decision to use eco-friendly products whenever possible, albeit a bit more expensive, has been paramount to Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals.
To echo this commitment to social responsibility in a broader, more universal scale, we’re happy to announce that we’re in the process of joining 1% For The Planet. Their mission is to “build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet” and have invested more than $100 million in positive environmental change. Beginning this year, 1% of our revenue will be donated to this colossally compassionate organization. Bonus: The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia and Jack Johnson is one of their biggest advocates! How cool is that?
As a small business working within a small and very special community such as the Santa Ynez Valley, we’ve begun to see possibilities of how our ethos and social contributions can extend beyond the limits of our own company. In an effort to increase our involvement in community-related issues and activities, we’ve decided to begin this New Year with a pledge to contribute quarterly to local philanthropies.
Our contribution for the first quarter of 2015 was a grant to People Helping People. People Helping People is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of community members by “addressing emergency and basic needs, furnishing comprehensive integrated family and individual support services, and acting as a catalyst for positive community change.” They provide health services, domestic violence prevention services, connect eligible families with Cal Fresh, and facilitate applying for MediCal through their several Family Resource Centers throughout the area. They are an extremely deserving organization and we are happy to contribute to their many causes.
Also, we value the insight of both our homeowners and loyal guests, if you are involved with or supporters of any local, esteemed organizations, please share with us! It is our hope that the essence of a shared community permeates not only our own company, but our community, society, and humanity as a whole. Because, that’s what this whole living “business” is all about.
You’ve heard of Napa Valley, you know all about Sonoma County, and now your next stop as a wine country enthusiast is Santa Barbara county and the Santa Ynez Valley wine region. If you plan to visit the countless vineyards, wineries and wine tasting rooms that the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer, you may want to have somewhere a little more special to stay than the usual hotel.
Sure, a Santa Ynez Valley hotel may be “good enough,” but let’s face it – there’s nothing truly special about a hotel room. If you’re looking for lodging in the Santa Ynez Valley that is more remarkable and will give you memories you will cherish for years to come, then you should consider accommodations at a luxury vacation rental property.
Shaped like a dolphin as it faces the Southern California shoreline, Santa Cruz Island is part of the five-island group called the California Channel Islands National Park, and it lies just 19 miles off of the coast between Santa Barbara and Ventura. With its unique species and virtually untouched ecosystem, Santa Cruz Island is a microcosm of ancient California, allowing visitors the opportunity to travel back in time to experience what the coast might have been like before the introduction of exotic species.
Family vacations create some of the best, lifelong memories! Vacation rentals are uniquely appointed to accommodate families of any size. Rather than being crammed in a small hotel room, vacation home rentals offer space and amenities that allow for the whole family to spread their wings, get comfortable, and happily enjoy the company of one another. When deciding where to stay, you will likely want to look for a vacation rental home that is deemed “kid-friendly.” We believe that a child-friendly vacation rental should provide amenities that cater to children under 12, but also have some special safety considerations in mind. Below are our criteria for what makes vacation rental homes children-friendly!
Safety is of the utmost importance, and it requires special diligence when it comes to vacation rentals with pools, jacuzzis or hot tubs. So when we categorize a vacation rental home as “kid-friendly,” we also consider whether the property’s pool has a cover or if the pool area is gated. Having kids swim toys, water wings or other child-friendly water activities is an extra bonus, but because each child is different, it’s always a good idea for you to bring these items for your children if you plan to stay at a home with a pool.
Fun & Games
We don’t feel that the a property providing activities and games for children is critical to make a vacation rental kid-friendly, but we think they’re an added bonus to keep an eye out for! Some vacation rentals may have swing sets, playgrounds or other outdoor games for the kids to romp outdoors. Some homeowners even provide a library of movies, books or games suitable for children of varying ages. Be sure to ask!
A feature that would be great for the kids is rooms with twin beds or bunk beds for the little ones in your life – some vacation rentals even have rooms designed just for kids with fun themes and toys in the space. Also keep an eye out for movie dens or game rooms that can help keep the younger crowd occupied during your stay.
Infant & Toddler Supplies
At Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals, we always offer our guests infant and toddler supplies upon request to help make your stay child-friendly. These infant and toddler supplies typically include a high chair with a tray, a Port-a-crib with sheets and blankets, toddler potty, and removable safety locks for cabinets, booster seats and Pack-and-Plays. If you are traveling with a child under 4, be sure to ask for these amenities!
Taking the kids on vacation, but what a night out with just the grown-ups? Not to worry! There are a number of providers in the Santa Ynez Valley that offer babysitting and childcare services. These licensed child care providers often come to the vacation rental and offer their babysitting services on-site, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
So if you are planning your next family vacation to the Santa Ynez Valley, consider these five criteria when choosing one of the our kid-friendly vacation rentals to accommodate your whole family. With these tips in mind, you will be able to provide a fun, safe and memorable vacation for family members of all ages!
Summer and fall in the Santa Ynez Valley offer perfect weather for outdoor activities and al fresco dining. Enjoy a first class meal or a casual BBQ on a greenery-draped patio, for example, and let the sunshine and gentle breezes of the Valley create a dining ambiance for your guests unlike any other. The Santa Ynez Valley has a year-round mild Mediterranean climate perfectly suited for relaxed, outdoor dinners. Diners enjoy the clean air and rustic beauty of wine country. Imagine the smell of smoked BBQ combined with the verdant countryside and the sounds of laughing guests. Combine a little imagination and a lot of gorgeous scenery to create a memorable backyard dining experience.
Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals has many private vacation rental homes that include outdoor kitchens, BBQs or wood-fired pizza ovens to make backyard BBQs even easier. Nothing compares to al fresco dining on a warm summer evening than on the grounds of a luxury home, sipping a bottle of small-batch local wine with family and friends.The backdrop of your backyard BBQ is beatific, with ancient oaks and olive trees dotting the countryside amid vineyards and rolling hills of wildflowers. Spend the day in town shopping for organic produce at one of the several local farmers markets, and enjoy some of the local wine trails and wineries, selecting some of the finest California wines for dinner. You could treat BBQ guests to a BBQ burger or vegetarian kabob made from ingredients grown just up the road.
Need a few ideas for the perfect backyard barbecue? Keep backyard BBQ decorations simple with local produce, flowers and Valley lavender displayed in wicker baskets or Mason jars tied with twine. Decorate simply draped tables with candles and centerpieces of tiny olive trees in individual pots. String lanterns or white Christmas lights for added ambience. Some guests might relax in a hammock with their Santa Ynez vintage wine while others gather around the grill, sharing stories of the day’s adventures. Several of our homes feature outdoor fireplaces or fire pits, perfect for taking the chill off a sometimes cool, idyllic Central California evening. At many of the vacation rentals, guests can marvel at the Milky Way after dark, untouched by lights from town.
Hosts and hostesses could take decorating cues from the style of the vacation rental home for an unrivalled summertime shindig. Not up for cooking? There are numerous local chefs who can cater artful and delicious cuisine made from the finest local ingredients and paired with the ideal wine, if you’d rather socialize and enjoy the company than cook. Some other ideas may include setting up grilled foods at self-serve stations beautifully labeled with the course and ingredients, or making the meal memorable with innovative glassware and a signature drink, complete with shaped ice cubes of juice or berries. Top off the feast with a sundae or shortcake creation station, perhaps from one of the artisan bakers or sweet shops in the Valley. Guests will leave with full stomachs and peaceful minds after an amazing evening, realizing there is nowhere else they would rather vacation than right here.
Stumped for backyard barbeque recipe ideas? We selected a few of our favorites from Delicious Magazine that we think would make perfect dishes for your event:
If hosting a beautiful and memorable barbecue or outdoor party is on your mind for your next vacation, these vacation rental homes feature fantastic outdoor dining options such as patios with outdoor dining furniture, grills or smokers, wood-burning pizza ovens and more:
CIRCLE L RANCH – Traditional California Board and Batten home, remodeled to have amenities including pool, pool house, outdoor pizza oven, landscape and outdoor lighting and custom landscaping. Stay and enjoy the feel of the Old West. You may even spot a Palomino horse in one of the pastures. Reserve the Circle L Ranch
OAK VALLEY RANCH – Newly built, spacious custom craftsman home boasts quality! Features four full bedrooms, over-sized with en suite bathrooms and floor to ceiling French doors opening onto private patios. Fifth bedroom also doubles as a theater room with floor to ceiling French doors and a private patio. Reserve the Oak Valley Ranch
BAR Z RANCH – Bar Z Ranch Truly one of a kind. This, newly built, farmhouse style home is located on the renowned Foxen Canyon wine trail, perched atop over 900 stunning acres. While the serenity and privacy of this ranch may have you rooted, downtown Los Olivos is a short ten minute drive for those who want to explore. Reserve the Bar Z Ranch
ESTELLE RANCH – View of the Santa Ynez Valley unlike any other. Newly remodeled 6 bedroom 4 ½ bathroom home located on the desirable Roblar Avenue atop a hill that overlooks neighboring vineyards. Complete privacy, yet just a 10 minute drive to downtown Los Olivos or Santa Ynez. A perfect location for those who like to bike as well. Reserve the Estelle Ranch
GOODGAME RANCH – Newly restored Dutch farmhouse, located on 5 gorgeous acres in Santa Ynez. Close to town, this home features lush park-like grounds with a pool, spa, and a beautiful rustic barn and corral. This comfortably charming home is excellent for entertaining, inside and out, with attention to detail and plenty of amenities. Reserve the Goodgame Ranch
FOLDED HILLS RANCH – 600-acre ultra private retreat located 10 minutes from the quaint Danish town of Solvang and provides serenity and unparalleled relaxation in nature. It is the perfect getaway for families and friends. Enjoy the many activities this property has to offer: a pristine lake and dock for sun bathing, lunching, fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Reserve the Folded Hills Ranch
JD RANCH – Situated on five perfectly private acres, JD Ranch offers its guests a spacious 5,300 square feet to call home when visiting the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s just a few miles down the road from Gainey Winery, and you are a short bike ride away from wine tasting fun and only a few miles from downtown Santa Ynez. JD Ranch was built with views in mind. Reserve the JD Ranch
RANCHO MAROMA – Contemporary Mediterranean design, an architectural masterpiece built by noted vineyard architect, Robert Mehl. Situated on a hill top overlooking the entire Santa Ynez valley, the serene 270 degree views simply take your breath away. Relax in the beautiful courtyard next to the fireplace or sunbathe by the pool and hot tub. Reserve the Rancho Maroma
A unique summer vacation awaits travelers in California’s Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Summertime weather in Santa Barbara County features perfect daytime temperatures and cool, comfortable nights. Mere minutes from some of the best beaches and surfing along the Central California Coast and nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara County wine country, the Santa Ynez Valley is a one-of-a-kind summer vacation destination. Plan to revel in sunshine, outdoor activities, wine, and world-class dining.
For starters, visit the annual Santa Ynez Valley Polo Classic mid-July to indulge in a champagne reception and three-course luncheon. Dress for the occasion, including creative hats for the ladies. Celebrities judge the Hat Contest, and the polo tournament begins. The Polo Classic isn’t an isolated event, either – plenty of estates and wineries throughout the area host dinners and wine pairings on beatific summer evenings.
Outdoor lovers who visit the Santa Ynez Valley can stay busy basking in the perfect summer climate. Horseback tours wind through the countryside as water lovers fish and kayak on Cachuma Lake. Hikers can visit the vineyards, explore the more than 1,257 miles of trails in the Los Padres National Forest, and climb in the nearby mountains. Cycling companies offer a variety of tours such as half-day winery rides, mountain biking excursions, or multi day trips from the vineyards to the sea!
Golfers visiting the Santa Ynez Valley enjoy courses for all skill levels. The Alisal Guest Ranch near Solvang has two 18-hole championship courses. The legendary Billy Bell Jr. designed the Ranch Course, situated among huge oaks, sycamores, and eucalyptus trees. The River Course enjoys a secluded and serene riverside setting with an uninterrupted panorama of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The Rancho San Marcos Golf Course near the town of Santa Ynez is considered the premier golf experience in the region. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Rancho San Marcos wanders along the San Marcos Stagecoach trail under ancient oaks. One of America’s best-designed courses, the La Purisma Gold Course designed by Robert Muir Graves, sits at the heart of wine country in Lompoc
Oenophiles will find Heaven on Earth in the Santa Ynez Valley each summer. Between the wine trail events and tours, and meet-the-vintner events occurring outside in the peaceful summer air, there’s something for every wine enthusiast here. Take a stagecoach or horseback tour along one of several wine trails in the idyllic summer sun. The Santa Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance welcomes visitors mid-August to the historic La Purisma Mission courtyard when two dozen wineries pair outstanding Santa Rita Hills wines with local culinary specialties.
Over 42 vineyards, wine-tasting rooms, wine bars, and winery operations lie among the stunning summer landscape. Wine enthusiasts, outdoor adventure lovers, and people simply seeking time away from day-to-day life can find bliss in the offerings of the Santa Ynez Valley with an unforgettable summer vacation. Don’t forget to check out the Wine Country Summer Pass offered in the Valley to get tastings at 13 wineries.
Need a place to stay for your summer vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley? Consider one of our beautifully appointed luxury vacation rental homes that will take your summer getaway to the next level. Many are appointed with swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking trails on the property and many other outdoor activities to take full advantage of the gorgeous Valley weather.
We are thrilled to welcome an all-new luxury vacation rental into the Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals family. We are proud to introduce to you the Folded Hills Ranch, our most premier property yet, near the town of Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley!
About Folded Hills Ranch
Folded Hills Ranch is an expansive 600-acre private retreat, providing serenity, peaceful quiet and relaxation to all its guests. It’s easy to kick back and have a great time with all the activities Folded Hills Ranch has to offer, including a pristine lake with a dock for sunbathing, fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding. For the active guests, the grounds feature a tennis court, basketball court, and 16-acre manicured sports field for soccer, softball or golf. If nature is on your mind, there are hiking trails for scenic adventures on-foot. The estate even features an organic farm bursting with organic local produce where you can pick your own berries. To connect with family or friends, enjoy a meal together using the outdoor BBQ, have a glass of wine at the cozy outdoor fire pit, or share memorable conversations in the rocking chairs on the porch overlooking Folded Hills Ranch.
In the Heart of the Santa Ynez Valley
Folded Hills Ranch is just a 10 minute drive from Solvang, a quaint danish town nestled in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Nojoqui Falls Park, a must-see site in the Valley, is a leisurely walk from the property. Gaviota Beach is a short 10-minute drive away, as are the many wineries and delightful local businesses, shopping and restaurants of the Santa Ynez Valley. The bustling city of Santa Barbara is just over a half hour away.
Perfect for Large Groups
Folded Hills Ranch can sleep 17 people, but can accommodate up to 20 people for a meal together in the large dining room. This expansive vacation rental is perfectly suited for large groups. Its size is great for dinner parties, corporate events, family reunions, housing wedding parties, special retreats and more. If you are vacationing with a large group, this vacation rental is a great way to keep everyone together and provide a unique and memorable getaway to the Santa Ynez Valley.