No visit to the Santa Ynez Valley would be complete without hopping into nearby Santa Barbara, CA for at least a short day trip. Just 40 minutes down Highway 154 from Buellton and 45 minutes from Solvang, Santa Barbara offers something for everyone in the family. From beaches to boats, food, and drink to history and more, Santa Barbara will wow you every step of the way!
Start the day with a leisurely drive through the stunning rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley into Santa Barbara itself. Because the Central California coastline and geography is so similar to the French Riviera, Santa Barbara is known as the American Riviera. Nearly all the city’s attractions are within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean, and you’ll never be far from the cooling ocean breezes. The city itself mixes casual and elegant, world class with eclectic, and historical with modern.
Enjoy breakfast and visit Stearns Wharf.
Head to 1017 State Street and the Lilac Patisserie Gluten Free Bakery & Café for a breakfast to remember. Only the freshest organic produce goes into the food at the Lilac Patisserie. They serve breakfast from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. every day, as well as lunch from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Their carry-out bakery, full of tasty treats like cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, tarts, pies, and the most amazing gluten-free cakes is open 8:00 until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 to 8:00 Friday through Sunday.
After fueling up on delicious food, the opportunities for adventure in Santa Barbara abound. Park your car and rent a bike at Wheel Fun near Stearns Wharf for the best way to see the town. Santa Barbara encourages environmentally-friendly transportation, so trolleys are also available. The city is also very pedestrian-friendly. Bike and walking paths are common, from the beach boardwalk to State Street and side streets.
Stearns Wharf is a must-see during your day trip to Santa Barbara. The historic pier features unparalleled views of Santa Barbara, the mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. Restaurants, shops, the Ty Warner Sea Center are some of the activities to enjoy on the Wharf, where State Street meets the ocean.
Enjoy the outdoors at the zoo and on the water.
From the Wharf, walk or ride a bike along the paths to the Santa Barbara Zoo, rated the best mid-sized zoo on the West Coast. The Zoo houses over 600 animals on 16 acres, with a train that circles the park. The Zoo is open daily from 10:00 until 5:00.
Beach lovers revel in the Santa Barbara offerings year-round, whether you love surfing, swimming, kayaking, or just enjoying the sun and sand. East Beach, just off the Wharf, has volleyball courts on the beach, and local surfers like the Point to the north and Rincon Beach to the south of town. Other favorite beaches include Leadbetter Beach, located between the Harbor and Shoreline Park, Carpinteria State Beach, and Santa Claus Lane Beach.
Get out on the water for a lunchtime cruise aboard the Double Dolphin, a 50-foot catamaran sailing from the Santa Barbara Sailing Center at the Harbor. The boat features 1,400 square feet of deck plus an expert crew, making it a comfortable, fun and safe experience for people of every age. Out on the harbor, you’ll see California sea lions, dolphins, and maybe even migrating gray whales! You will also see beautiful Santa Barbara, luxurious coastal homes, and the mountains as a backdrop.
See Santa Barbara from the sky.
If you would rather see Santa Barbara and the surrounding area from the air, take a 30- or 45-minute helicopter tour of the area. The skilled helicopter pilots will show you all the sights including the city, the harbor, and all the major landmarks. Your pilot will show you breathtaking views of the beaches, mountains, and the nearby Channel Islands during your tour. The helicopter pilots are even skilled at spotting whales and dolphins in the Harbor and educating guests about the history and points of interest in Santa Barbara County.
Visit Mission Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Whether you see it from the sky or on foot, you must visit the Mission Santa Barbara, the iconic and most photographed mission in California. This beautiful Spanish mission is open seven days a week and features both self-guided and docent-led tours. Just one mile north of the Mission is the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, another must-see stop on your itinerary. The garden features native California plants in stunning landscape designs. Trails meander through the gardens, so you can take your time and visit at your own pace.
Stop for lunch at one of Santa Barbara’s tastiest restaurants.
By now, your appetite will have you ready to take in more of Santa Barbara’s famous cuisine. Scarlett Begonia, located at 11 West Victoria Street #10, serves organic, sustainable, innovative food with an ever-changing menu. Breakfast and lunch offerings are served from 9:00 until 2:00 Tuesday through Saturdays, and dinner menus begin at 4:00 p.m. Christa Fooks, the owner, claims to be a “professional food nerd.” Patio seating at Scarlett Begonia is even dog-friendly!
Another favorite lunch-into-dinner wine bar and cafe is Satellite SB at 1117 State Street inside the Impact Hub Building. Here, Drew Cuddy, founder and self-described “food and wine junkie” serves locally-sourced food and hand-selected local and international wines and beers. Satellite SB is open Monday through Saturday 11:00 until 10:00.
Find fun and exploration at Moxi Museum.
After a leisurely lunch, head to 125 State Street for some serious fun and exploration at the brand-new Moxi Museum of Exploration and Innovation. Open daily from 10:00 until 5:00 p.m., visitors should purchase timed-entry tickets in advance when possible. The Moxi challenges visitors to interact with exhibits, centered around arts, engineering, technology, math, and science.
The Moxi Innovation Workshop lets visitors design and test creations using an array of tools and technologies. Step outside to the Fantastic Forces Courtyard and learn about propulsion, gravity, and magnetism. Conduct your own test flights, launch an air rocket, or learn about magnetic fields. Exhibits and experiences change constantly, so this will be a place you will want to visit again and again.
Shop the Santa Barbara local markets.
Once a week, Santa Barbara hosts a Certified Organic Farmers Market. There are three locations: lower State Street between the 500 and 600 blocks on Tuesdays from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m.; E. Cota Street on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; and in Montecito between the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Coast Village Rd. on Fridays from 8:00 to 11:15 a.m. Local organic farmers, dedicated to sustainable farming practices, bring their best produce to this enormous marketplace rain or shine.
Be sure to visit the SB Public Market at 38 West Victoria Street, at the intersection of Victoria Street and Chapala. SB Public market sits in the performing and cultural arts area of Santa Barbara and features a diverse group of merchants offering locally and regionally sourced wines, beers, and food all under one roof. The Market is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. However, the individual merchant hours may vary.
Relax and unwind after sunset with dinner followed by cocktails or local beer.
Once you are done with sun, sand, sightseeing, and shopping, the sun begins to set over the Pacific. Take a moment to relax and unwind. Now is the time when the city begins to flock to the numerous Santa Barbara evening dining and drinking establishments, many of which features the wines and beers born in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley.
For Spanish tapas or an amazing Sunday brunch menu, check out Loquita at 202 State Street in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. Open for Sunday Brunch 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and every night for dinner 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., Loquita showcases traditional Spanish cooking with a variety of hot and cold tapas, paella, grilled meat, and wood-fired seafood. Executive Chef Peter Lee pairs the food with Spanish wines and a few select local wines that pair perfectly with his cuisine. Farmers’ market sangria, gin and tonics, Spanish vermouths, and hand-crafted cocktails round out the experience. Inside Loquita, the dining room is lively and exciting. Outside on the patio, diners enjoy a more romantic and quiet setting around the fireplace. A separate pintxos bar, Poquita, serves small snacks, cheeses, and charcuterie.
Up the road at The Good Lion, 1212 State Street, enjoy a modern, intimate fusion of South-West Europe, Mediterranean Africa and the “American Riviera” atmosphere of Santa Barbara. The Good Lion offers a rotating cocktail menu featuring the area’s best herbs, spices, produce, and fruit. They also offer local craft beers and natural wines. Neighboring restaurant Sama Sama offers Spanish tapas and small plates food to Good Lion visitors. The Good Lion is open nightly from 4:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. Reservations are recommended for parties of six or more.
For people who like craft beer, the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company at 137 Anacapa Street, Suite F, is the place to go. Father and son Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer started the brewery in 2010, naming it after the mountain they could see from their home in Los Olivos. The first taproom of the Figueroa Mountain Brewery opened in Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley and has become one of the fastest growing craft brew companies in America. Enjoy either indoor or outdoor table seating, or grab a bottle or growler to-go. The Santa Barbara location partners with the Lucky Penny for delicious wood fired pizza delivery to the brewery.
A day trip to Santa Barbara is the perfect addition to your stay in a Santa Ynez vacation rental home. At just a 35-minute drive away through scenic mountains and vineyards, make a day of it. We hope you enjoy your visit.
During the warm summer months, many of our guests search specifically for vacation rental homes that have a pool and/or a jacuzzi and spa. We certainly can’t blame them! Nothing beats lounging poolside with a glass of wine here in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Having access to a pool or jacuzzi at your vacation rental home adds a special touch of luxury to make your trip even more memorable. If fun in the water is your thing, below is a list of all the vacation rental homes we list that have pools, spas or jacuzzis on-site!
- Casa de la Vista – Spa
- Circle L Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Copenhagen Court – Spa
- Copenhagen Court Unit – Spa
- Elegant Ranch Retreat – Pool, Spa
- Estelle Ranch – Pool, Spa
- The Farmhouse at La Purisma – Spa
- Figueroa Mountain Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Folded Hills Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Goodgame Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Greystone Manor – Pool, Spa
- Guesthouse at Elegant Ranch Retreat – Pool, Spa
- Lavender Oak Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Lefthand Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Newport Farms – Pool, Spa
- Oak Valley Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Rancho de los Colores – Pool
- Rancho Los Venados – Pool, Spa
- Rancho Maroma – Pool, Spa
- Rancho Santuario – Saltwater Pool, Spa
- Royal Oaks Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Wine Country Cottage – Spa
- Zaca Creek Ranch – Spa
We are here to help ensure your vacation rental meets all your needs and exceeds all of your expectations, and if you have any questions about the pools or spas at your vacation rental, we are happy to answer them.
On June 6, 2017, The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Short-Term Rental Ordinance at the County Board of Supervisor’s Hearing Room, 105 East Anapamu Street, 4th Floor, Santa Barbara, California.
We are hopeful that the hearing on June 6 will determine the final outcome of this long-awaited decision concerning the use of short-term rentals in Santa Barbara County. As always, your support is extremely important to us.
Our Take on the Issue
At Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals, we specialize in Agritourism and it is our goal to provide guests with an authentic farm or ranch stay experience through a carefully curated selection of breathtaking agricultural properties in the Santa Ynez Valley. We believe that the most appropriate and desirable location for short-term rentals in Santa Barbara County is on agricultural land, all agricultural land, as opposed to residential zoned areas.
A stay at one of our properties is not only a unique, rural experience for guests, but also a means to help sustain and keep agriculture alive in our community. These beautiful agricultural properties are integral in maintaining the rural character of the Santa Ynez Valley, that locals and visitors alike are so drawn to. They keep the bucolic rolling hills of the Valley uninhabited. They allow for 360-degree views of pure, wide-open space. They allow for a place where animals can survive and thrive as ever-increasing development continues to take over.
All of this doesn’t come free. Landowners of agricultural properties need alternative income sources to help offset their operating costs of these expensive, yet extraordinary, properties that we all love and feel a connection to. It isn’t until something is gone that people start to miss what once was.
Agricultural properties cannot survive without using the land, conscientiously, to generate income.
Not taking advantage, but allowing for operations that are a compatible use of agriculture. Just as organic farming, raising llamas, or selling homemade honey from a modest farmstead are all considered a healthy, productive, use of agricultural land, the same is true for short-term rentals on an agricultural properties – it’s all wholesome Agritourism.
The beauty of these stays is that they do not require any new development, there is no negative impact to the land or community, and they are environmentally responsible. Guests are simply sleeping in a structure that already exists on the land. Land where they can wake up to the sound of farm life, brush a horse, walk down a cow path, through a vineyard, star gaze with their kids, pick fresh vegetables, collect chicken eggs, and merely slow down and take it all in with family and close friends.
A few key points in the debate about short-term rentals in Santa Barbara County:
- AGRICULTURE CANNOT BE COMPARED TO RESIDENTIAL: When managed with integrity, short-term rentals on all agricultural properties (AG I & AG II 5, 10, 20, 40, 100+ acres) do not negatively impact the community unlike some residential zoned short-term rentals. Plain and simple, agricultural parcels are much larger than residential parcels and have larger setbacks from neighbors, which help offer more privacy and tranquility for all.
- REVENUE TO COUNTY: Santa Barbara County has a fiduciary responsibility to the community. The Transient Occupant Tax (TOT) generated from short-term rentals on agricultural properties helps contribute significantly towards the budget crisis.
- AGRI-TOURISM: Short-term rentals on agricultural properties provide income to land owners, which in turn, helps keep agriculture alive in our community. These are not your typical, “crash pad” style rentals. Short-term rentals on all agricultural land are intended to offer a farm or ranch stay experience; connecting people with nature and agriculture operations, and do not negatively impact the community or neighboring properties.
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!
If you are planning a vacation to beautiful Solvang, California in the Santa Ynez Valley, you may need some ideas from a local to make the most of your trip. These are our top three recommendations for things to do in Solvang, CA as you’re planning your vacation itinerary.
1. Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang Area Wine Tastings
Perhaps you have heard of the movie Sideways, a film about a week-long road trip through California wine country – and that includes Solvang, California. There are many wine tours in the Santa Ynez area that you absolutely must look into, and we even have a map of the Sideways wineries.
One great place to visit in Solvang to go for wine tastings is Alamo Pintado Road, where many of the top wineries on the Santa Ynez Wine Trail can be found Also, if you are a wine connoisseur and want to enjoy some wine tastings in Solvang, consider visiting the quaint downtown Solvang area to enjoy all the small boutique wineries in the area.
There are more than 20 downtown tasting rooms in Solvang with wine products from more than 125 area vineyards. You may even find yourself meeting the winery owners and winemakers at their tasting rooms in Solvang! So whether you prefer to sip on a chardonnay or prefer a sauvignon blanc and enjoy a glass of wine on your Solvang vacation – you deserve it.
2. Bike Riding on Solvang Trails
If you are a fan of nature and the outdoors, there is no shortage of outdoor recreation in Santa Ynez Valley and the Solvang area. In fact, taking a leisurely bike ride is one of the best ways to experience Solvang when you’re visiting.
There are many simple bicycle trail loops that begin in the city of Solvang that carry bikers through the back country and many beautiful sights of the valley. Solvang is also home to the Solvang Century Cycling Festival and the Solvang Prelude Ride events every year.
There is no shortage of bike-friendly parks and other outdoor activities to do in Solvang if you just love to enjoy nature, including Solvang Park, Sunny Fields Park and Hans Christian Andersen Park.
3. Shopping, Dining, Music & Danish History in Downtown Solvang
Founded in 1911 by Danish educators who were traveling west to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest, Solvang is packed with the history and food (especially the pastries and æbleskiver!) of Denmark. Be sure to enjoy the downtown Solvang area and look for Danish icons like the Little Mermaid Fountain near Mission Dr. and Alisal Rd., the five Danish windmills, and the giant red clog outside the Solvang Shoe Store. Also be sure to check out the Round Tower of Solvang, which is a replica of the Rudetaarn in Copenhagen at 1/3 the scale. There are also a number of must-see museums, including Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, The Wildling, Hans Christian Andersen, Vintage Motorcycle, Old Mission Santa Inés, and the Amber Museum & Hall of the Danes.
There are tons of wonderful shops and boutiques in the Solvang area that are perfect for folks who need a little retail therapy on vacation. There are more than 150 one-of-a-kind shops and small businesses to visit in the Solvang area, so there is no shortage of interesting shopping to do.
Find a boutique for any of your interests – antiques, the arts, clothing, kids, wine, gourmet gifts – you name it. And after you shop till you drop, one of my favorite Solvang restaurants is Root 246 on Alisal Rd. Their dinner menu updates often and is based on what current, seasonal ingredients are available and fresh at the market. It is delicious food with an excellent wine selection, and it is a must-taste if you are in the Solvang area.
Being in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, downtown Solvang is also a hot spot for live music events. From the Solvang Summer concert series on Wednesday evenings, to Soirée Thursdays at Refugio Ranch each week, to live music on the patio of Root 246 every Friday night, to the Sunday Concert Series at Zaca Mesa Winery, there is no shortage of sounds in the area for the music-lovers in your group. Enjoy live music, great food and perhaps a glass of wine surrounded by the Danish history of Solvang.
That makes up our travel concierge list of the top three things to do on your Solvang vacation! Of course if you decide on Solvang, CA for your trip – consider one of our Solvang vacation rental homes. Make sure to visit these Solvang attractions for the most memorable Santa Ynez Valley vacation possible.
A time for endless sunny days, new vegetation and wildflowers painting the rolling hills. With the recent eruption of color in Santa Ynez, the Valley is as magnificent as ever. Local restaurants are hauling in the cartons of locally foraged mushrooms for their seasonal menus. The clumsy foals are taking their eager first steps on the pastures along the country roads and the bright orange poppies are in bloom.
Springtime is one of the most exquisite times to plan a vacation to the Santa Ynez Valley. The weather is pleasantly warm and sunny, the landscapes and vistas are awe-inspiring and picturesque, and the food and brews are in their prime as our local farmers’ markets and seasonal events are springing into full bloom.
We have so much to offer at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals this season including three NEW vacation rental properties. We cannot wait to see you this Spring.
Book your stay now and embark on your journey of luxury, adventure and relaxation!
Upcoming Events in the Santa Ynez Valley
- SB Vintners Spring Weekend – April 20-23rd
- The Neal Taylor Nature Center’s 22nd Annual Fish Derby – April 21st
- Solvang Datsun Classic Car Show – April 21 & 22nd
- Mad & Vin Music by Connor Cherland: The Landsby – April 22nd, 6-8pm
- Spring Vineyard Walk & Scavenger Hunt: Buttonwood Farm Winery – April 23rd
- Solvang Farmers Market – April 26th, 2:30-6:30pm.
- “Wine & Wisdom” Trivia Night at Sevtap – April 28th, 7:30-9:30pm.
- Spring Fling: Friendship House – April 30th, 12-3pm.
- Spring BBQ: Wilding Museum – April 30th, 3-6pm.
- Riders in the Sky Concert: Solvang Festival Theater – May 5th
- Buellton Brew Fest – May 6th
- Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon – May 13th, 7am.
- Santa Ynez Valley Earth Day: River View Park – May 21st
Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals is a valuable contributing member of our local community in many ways. Below are just six of the most important ways we impact our county and the towns within!
1. Job Creators
We provide jobs for a full-time staff, and 10 part-time housekeepers – your neighbors in the Santa Ynez Valley community.
2. Local Loyalists
3. Small Business Supporters
Through our business, we support local small businesses like pool service companies, plumbers, appliance repairmen, landscapers, gardening companies, designers, print shops, transportation companies, bike rental companies, babysitters, grocery stores, local farms, and more. We also support the 40 homeowners who depend on short-term rental (STR) income.
4. Community Philanthropists
We believe in giving back to our community. SYVR donates considerably to charitable organizations such as People Helping People, Angels Foster Care, Santa Barbara Youth Project, Environmental Defense Center, Solvang School, and the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation.
5. Environmental Advocates
We are an eco-friendly business and we promote environmentally friendly practices, including plant-based amenities and cleaning products. We are huge advocates of solar power, low flow water systems, and native/drought tolerant landscaping for all of our properties.
6. Revenue Creators for the County
Our business contributes significantly to the county’s “transient occupancy tax” (“TOT”), which collected more than $1.2 million in 2015 for our community.
Help us stop the ban on vacation rental homes and achieve fair regulation in the Santa Ynez Valley. Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals is dedicated to being an honorable and valuable contributing member of the Santa Ynez Valley community. We thoroughly screen our guests and provide a comprehensive, professional, rental contract to protect all parties. Many of our guests are repeat renters with excellent rental etiquette, and we are proud to have them as customers.
Read more about the proposed short-term vacation rental ban legislation in Santa Barbara County here:
- 8/27/2015 – Help Achieve Fair Regulation for Short-Term Rentals in the Santa Ynez Valley
- 9/2/2015 – Support Continues to Grow for Short-Term Rentals (STRs) in the Santa Ynez Valley
- 3/9/2016 – Santa Barbara Planning Commission Votes to Allow Short-Term Rentals
Summer in the Valley provides a plethora of outdoor activities, including wine tasting, brewery tours, equestrian events, summer celebrations, farmers markets, and even cool restaurants to check out. You may have to visit the Valley more than once to really get a taste of what it has to offer!
Schedule Your Vacation to Santa Ynez
Not sure of what to do on your vacation? We’ve got some suggestions! Beer lovers can beat the heat and party at the Figueroa Mountain Brewery, and find the humor in life at the brewery’s comedy night.
Summer Arts in the Valley
Theatre and film enthusiasts alike can get lost in fairy tale land at a musical performance under the California stars at the Solvang Festival Theater or screen a movie at the Buellton Oak Park in Solvang. Fans of visual art can browse the finest local art available at the museum, and even purchase local Santa Ynez Valley art the second Saturday of every month. Dance a little and blow some bubbles with your little ones during kid-friendly Music on the Green in Solvang.
Food and Drink
With all of the picturesque vineyards in the area, you’d be amiss not to sample some of the finest local wines of the Valley. Pick out your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers market to plan a great picnic.
Indulge in a handcrafted cocktail at the S.Y. Kitchen, or engage in the best people watching with some great food. The Farmstead allows visitors to forage for fruit for a rewarding experience and have Chef Jake Francis prepare it. Think “gourmet hot dogs” is an oxymoron? Think again! The Doggy Door in Los Olivos is perfect for all ages and attitudes. Wake up and get your caffeine fix at our coffee shop in the Valley.
R&R in the Valley
Take a drive through pristine central coast hill country to a remote Santa Barbara County beach with the world’s best burger.
Spend the day in Los Alamos digging for funky finds, tasting wine, and eating at the hippest new restaurants. Book a massage therapist or get needled by an acupuncturist to deepen your vacation relaxation, many of whom will go right up to your door.
The Great Outdoors
Rent a bicycle and get route tips from the pros, or live out your Old West fantasies at Vino Vaqueros — with wine, of course. Hike a local favorite, Figueroa Mountain, or just turn the A/C on and take the “long way” from Los Olivos to Santa Ynez through the mountains. Get a bird’s eye view of the Valley in a hot air balloon ride. If you’re getting out (or staying in) and getting active, go for some paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking or indoor rock climbing. Pet owners can take their pups to the only Santa Barbara Country off-leash dog beach around to play with his/her peers.
The Valley is a haven of summertime fun, adventure, and relaxation. For suggestions or to book a home in the heart of it all, contact us today!
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.
Temperatures during the beautiful summer months in Santa Ynez are inclined to creep steadily towards the triple digits. Many find this an opportunity to throw on a summer dress and take advantage of the dozens of fine wineries in the area; slowly sipping their way up the Foxen Wine Trail or down Grand Avenue in Los Olivos. Others, when the temperatures hit supreme, find the heat oppressive and rather uncomfortable. Here, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite “cool” summer hang outs, some of them only the locals know about.
After traveling 14 miles off of Hwy 1 down rural, winding Jalama Road you may be surprised to arrive at this incredible secluded place with outstanding views, miles of beach and prehistoric bluffs to enjoy. Once a Chumash settlement called “Halama” (this is still how you pronounce the name), the land was donated in 1943 to the County of Santa Barbara. Since then it has provided respite to those looking to enjoy California beaches without the chaotic crowds. Grab a burger and fries at the general store (my favorite burger on the Central Coast) then take a long walk south to the point and watch the surfers; bring a blanket or a jacket as it tends to get quite windy in the late afternoon.
Santa Ynez River
It’s best to consider the Santa Ynez River as a large creek in a vast, dry riverbed with pools gathering every mile or so. Red Rock, about a 1/3-mile hike at the end of Paradise Road, is one of the largest and most popular swimming holes along the Santa Ynez River. Further up the river bed are a few smaller, quieter swimming holes ideal for picnics and long afternoons dithering between lounging in the sun and dipping in the cool waters.
More accessible are the small swimming holes dotted along the western part of the river, running directly through the Santa Ynez Valley. After the first few rains, when the weather is still warm, these waters are cool, clean, and much closer to town. Some easy access points are near the bridges at Refugio Road and Alisal Road, and some good swimming holes are found when walking the river bed between the two bridges. Please be aware of your surroundings when in the wilderness, especially water sources, and never venture out alone. We live closely with wildlife here.
Grassini Family Vineyards
The Grassini Family Vineyards are some of the most splendid grounds in the entire Santa Ynez Valley. A grand old oak provides shade for the picnic tables sitting on the banks of a small lake. The lake is actually a reservoir so it’s incredibly clean, and also filled with bass for catch & release. This special place truly feels like a lush oasis during the dry, golden months of summer. The caveat here: the grounds are private. However, you can rent the site for a fee, so if you’ve come to Santa Ynez with a large group to celebrate something special, I’d suggest checking out Grassini Family Vineyards. Plus, they make some real fine wines.
Figueroa Mountain Tap Room
Throughout the world, indulging in a frosty pint of beer is the preferred way to cool off; consider it no different here. Figueroa Mountain Brewery’s tap room tucked away on Alamo Pintado Avenue in Los Olivos offers a reprieve from the sweltering sun. Chill with the locals over a mug of Hoppy Poppy or Paradise Road Pilsner in this funky, vibrant, air conditioned tap room.
The easiest and simplest way to cool off in Santa Ynez? Rent one of our many homes with a backyard pool and spa. There’s nothing quite like mixing your own margaritas with family and friends, then walking the 10 yards from kitchen to poolside.