Laid-back libation outside of Santa Barbara.
Wine Tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley
Credit: © Jeremy Ball

Only a short drive from the city of Santa Barbara, the Santa Ynez Valley consists of six communities, encircled by picturesque mountains. Lush and fragrant, the landscape is dotted with boutique (read: affordable) wineries. So forget Pinot Noir—opt instead to follow the laid-back Syrah Trail through the Santa Ynez Valley.

Rancho Sisquoc Winery

Stop by this beautifully rustic winery, with its more than 300 acres of vineyards.

Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards

Sip six of this setup’s best wines, take in the view from one of the picnic tables, play a game of chess on the life-size chessboard, or walk along the connected hiking trail.

Full of Life Flatbread

The pizza bakery sells to the West Coast’s Whole Foods. Friday through Sunday, it morphs into a restaurant and serves the pies fresh. Look for toppings like wild chanterelles and nettles.

1880 Union Hotel

Check into this quaint, historic, and slightly funky 13-room hotel.