Get Away From Your Everyday in Temecula Valley
Now that life involves an inordinate amount of time at home, our everyday has gotten a little, well, mundane. When you’re ready to travel again, head to Temecula Valley, where you can trade in your daily routine for an opportunity to unwind. Located just two hours from Los Angeles and an hour from San Diego, Southern California's wine country offers championship golf courses, cozy hotels, options for the outdoor enthusiast and award-winning wines—in fact, Wine Enthusiast named the destination one of the best in the world in 2019.
Read on for eight ways Temecula Valley can enhance your everyday (at least for a few nights).
Add a vista to your glass of wine
Much of the wine tasting in Temecula Valley takes place on vineyards, under big skies with panoramic views. Wine came to this region just over 50 years ago, and now it's the largest viticultural area in Southern California. The climate allows for an array of varietals to thrive, so alongside California staples Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, you'll find wines less common for the state like Tempranillo, plus some that are downright unusual (we're looking at you, Falanghina).
Of the area's 40+ wineries, a few of our favorites are located on the De Portola Wine Trail. A must-taste spot is critical darling Monte De Oro Winery, who has—in just 10 years of operation—received 210 wine awards. Cougar Vineyard & Winery focuses mostly on Italian varietals and has a knack for working with unusual grapes; they currently produce the world's only single-varietal Lambrusca di Alessandria. Another award-winning spot is Oak Mountain, home to Southern California's only mined wine cave.
Skip your usual commute
Why drive when you can whisk around town by balloon? Soar over vineyards and rolling hills on a sunrise flight with California Dreamin' (who also owns Vindemia Winery), A Great Escape or Magical Adventure. Once back on terra firma, toast with a glass of sparkling wine. If you're looking to save a few dollars for a second glass later, your best bet is to book a midweek flight since weekends tend to be busier here. Not drawn to heights? The Valley offers plenty of outdoor adventures to keep you occupied, including horseback riding, and hiking or biking in Vail Lake or Lake Skinner.
Play in a bigger backyard
Temecula Creek Inn’s 27-hole championship golf course offers players stunning views while winding through the property's 300 acres. Awarded a Four-Star rating from Golf Digest’s “Places to Play,” three distinct courses feature the beginner-friendly Creek layout, classic tree-lined fairways on the aptly named Oaks course, and the challenging Stone House course that includes pronounced elevation changes. Back at the Inn, you'll find spacious guest rooms and true farm-to-table, creek-side dining at Cork|Fire Kitchen where the chef’s own garden provides the restaurant's herbs and veg. We hear tell that the pistachio-crusted lamb sirloin is a can't-miss.
Swap solitaire for poker
When you're looking for a different way to play, head to Pechanga Resort & Casino, home of the largest casino floor in California. The 188,000 square foot space hosts thousands of slot machines and more than 150 table games. The casino is taking several precautions to ensure guests' safety including temperature checks, partitions at game tables, mask requirements and slot machine spacing. While you could get there from most of SoCal on a day trip, Pechanga is a good overnight option; it's one of only two properties in the area to receive AAA's Four-Diamond rating. And it's certainly worth paying Pechanga another visit next summer when their top-notch entertainment schedule resumes with musical acts (The Go-Go's play on June 27) and comedians (Sebastian Maniscalo on Aug. 27).
Shop in Old Town
Old Town Temecula has buildings that date back to 1882. The original structures have been given new life as shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, breweries and museums. Perhaps no spot portrays this revitalization better than Vail Headquarters, a former cattle ranch, where local purveyors now sell wares from the century-old buildings. You'll also find hip (and delish) dining spots and cocktail bars here. If the vintage Levis vibe in this part of town speaks to you, consider bedding down in one of Old Town's hotels.
Read poolside instead of on the couch
One of California's best vineyard resorts is located in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. The private villas at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa feature fireplaces and private patios with direct access to the vineyards. The onsite spa is open (book the CBD Massage for ultimate relaxation), as is the heated outdoor saltwater pool. For a real treat, sip the vineyard's wine from the comfort of your own poolside cabana.
Trade your bedroom for a casita
Since a vacation to Spain isn't likely in your immediate future, you can instead steal away to the new winery and hotel Bolero at Europa Village, where a Spanish refuge awaits. Their casitas' vaulted ceilings, spacious ensuite baths and private courtyards rival even the most luxurious bedroom. Spanish wines are a specialty of the house, and the Restaurante focuses on tapas-style dining with traditional foods on offer including jamón and paella. So, yes, it's paraíso.
Give the whole family some elbow room
If you're traveling with a larger pod, or simply want the entire run of a property for your own family, one of the area's short term rentals might be a good fit. You could occupy a manor, take up (temporary) residence on a vineyard or laze in an estate—the choice is yours and you'll have plenty of them.