The Perfect Day Trip to Temecula Valley in California

temecula valley wine country people drinking wine together
Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley

Just one hour from San Diego is Temecula Valley, considered to be one of the best wine regions in California. Temecula Valley is one of the most convenient wine regions to get to in southern California.

The wine region is perfectly situated within close driving distance of Orange County, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, making for an exceptional day or weekend trip with family, friends, or that special someone. The nearest airports are Carlsbad Airport (CLD). Other nearby airports include San Diego (SAN) and Los Angeles (LAX).

In addition to over fifty wineries across Temecula Valley Wine Country, the region is also known for its championship golf courses and stunning scenic hot-air ballooning. With so many things to see and do in the picturesque Temecula Valley, you will want to come visit again and again!

Fast Facts About Temecula Valley

  • Temecula is over 160 years old
  • Temecula Valley spans a 32-square mile area
  • 22 miles from the Pacific Ocean
  • Climate region is semi-arid, Mediterranean
  • Number of Wineries: Nearly 50
  • Harvested Acres: 2,530
  • Grape Yield: 8,700 tons
  • Tourism Economic Impact: $1.1
  • Number of Annual Visitors: 3.3 million
  • There are currently two distilleries, 13 breweries, and 6 golf courses
explore the historic old town temecula valley california
Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley

Explore the Historic Old Town

Take a step back in time! Old Town Temecula, originally established in 1869, is one of the most historic communities in southern California.

The vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, hip and historic, 12-block encompasses Temecula Valley’s rich history with casual, contemporary downtown Temecula style. Visitors enjoy Old Town Temecula for its festive special events, lively nightlife, live entertainment, farm fresh dining options, welcoming wine and brewery tasting rooms, and unique, specialty shops.

Many of the buildings in Old Town have been preserved from the 1800s. These historic buildings have been repurposed as restaurants, hotels, museums, and retails shops. During your visit to Old Town, visit Temecula Olive Oil Company for an olive oil tasting and purchase some of your favorite olive oils as gifts for friends and family back home.

Other made-in-Temecula products featured include Temecula Lavender Company and Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants.

Old Town also has a weekly farmers market. The California-Certified Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning in Old Town, Tuesday morning at Vail Ranch Headquarters, and Wednesday morning at Promenade Temecula.

temecula vally california hot air balloons
Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley

Wine Country

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is boasts stunning rolling hills with high mountains forming a dramatic backdrop. Discover the nearly 50 wineries that thrive in one of California’s most stunning regions. For the perfect day trip, we recommend visiting two wineries. Or, stay between three and five days to really experience the authenticity and diversity of Temecula.

We recommended visiting these five wineries during your first few visits to become most acquainted with Temecula Valley Wine Country.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Callaway Winery is the oldest commercial winery in Temecula Valley. They offer an extensive line of premium wines. Enjoy a gourmet alfresco lunch at Meritage overlooking the sweeping views of the vineyards. Be sure to say hello to Executive Chef Anthony Bar!

Carter Estate Winery

Carter Estate Winery and Resort features gorgeously designed Mediterranean-inspired bungalows and suites with private balconies overlooking their vineyards. They are well known for their sparkling wines, the only style wine produced at their wine production facilities. Carter Estate also offers farm-to-table cuisine at The Vineyard Grill.

Monte De Oro Winery

Monte De Oro Winery is well known for their unique variety of wines as well as their vintage wines including the 2016 Cabernet Franc and 2015 Petite Sirah Reserve. their stunning Main Tasting Room features cathedral ceilings, 3 tasting bars, and a glass floor that looks down on their barrel cellar. Monte De Oro host a variety of events throughout the year including a Family Style Italian Dinner.

Ponte Vineyard

Ponte Vineyards is the largest vineyard in Temecula Valley. In 2011, they achieved the Certified California Sustainable Winegrower (CCSW) designation, the first in Temecula Valley Wine Country. Their wines are made in small batches or typically 1,500 cases per year for each of their 21 varieties. The Restaurant at Ponte offers seasonal and locally sourced dishes in their beautiful garden setting. They also have a restaurant at Ponte Vineyard Inn called Bouquet Restaurant.

Wilson Creek Winery

Wilson Creek is a very family-oriented winery with an onsite restaurant and stunning accommodations at Wilson Creek Manor. Their restaurant, Creekside Grille, is considered to be one of Temecula’s best restaurants. Wilson Creek Winery is famous for their Almond Sparkling Wine. They regularly feature live music and other events like a Tahitian Luau.

Dining in Temecula Valley

Begin your day with breakfast at Le Coffee Shop. Le Coffee Shop is a modern cafe with outdoor tables and is known for their latte art, authentic French Toast, and Pita à la Grecque.

For lunch, visit The Goat & Vine, known for their pizzas, sandwiches, and photogenic desserts. Top choices include the Popeye & Olive Oil salad, Hatch Chili Honey Chicken pizza, and Sourdough Bread Pudding for dessert.

Enjoy dinner at 1909 Temecula, a popular gastropub in Old Town. They are known for their craft cocktails, specialty burgers, and innovative New American cuisine. Try their Bison Burger, Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos, and House Chili with Blue Cornbread. 1909 Temecula is even pet friendly! They offer a specialty Four Paws menu served with dishes for fido served in a recycled paper bowl.

Where to Stay

We highlight four notable hotels and resorts for families and couples in Temecula Valley.

Bolero at Europa Village

Escape to Spanish luxury in the heart of Temecula Valley. Stay in one of Bolero’s private casitas, featuring luxurious vaulted ceiling, generously sized bathrooms with a walk-in shower, and a private courtyard. During your stay, indulge in tapas and microbrews at Bolero Restaurante and savor an olive oil tasting at their Spanish boutique, Brio.

Inn at Churon Winery

Inn at Churon Winery is a French chateau-style hotel featuring 24 luxurious suites. All suites feature panoramic views, an individual private terrace or balcony, large marble 2-person spa tubs, and more. Complimentary breakfast and a glass of wine is included during a stay.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is a country vineyard hotel with elegant suites and villas. The resort has a pool and on-site beauty and wellness treatments. Family owned and operated since 1995, South Coast Winery offers outdoor tasting experiences and wine tours at their breathtaking retreat. Treat yourself at their GrapeSeed Spa and indulge in wine country cuisine at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant.

Temecula Creek Inn

Temecula Creek Inn is a notable golf resort featuring at 27-hole championship golf course and laid-back lodging for couples and families. This charming hotel is perfect for a weekend getaway surrounded by 300 acres of awe-inspiring natural scenery. Temecula Creek Inn has 126 hotel rooms and suites as well as a private 3-bedroom house.

Temecula Valley’s Notable Annual Events

Temecula Valley hosts events for couples and families throughout every season.

Between the months of March and May, enjoy: the Chocolate Decadence & Wine Festival, Old Town Temecula Rod Run, and Craft Brew Month in May, to name a few.

In the summer, or between June and August, visit for the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, and MicroBrew Festival & Chili Cook-off.

Autumn showcases the most events. These include but are not limited to California Wine Month—Temecula Style (throughout September), CRUSH Wine & Culinary Showcase, the Greek Festival, and the Big Horse Feed Corn Maze & Harvest Festival.

In the winter, celebrate the season at Holiday Taste of Old Town, one of their three open air ice skating rinks, and ring in the New Year with their New Year’s Eve Grape Drop. There is also California Restaurant Month (January), and Valentine Romance (February).

horseback riding in temecula valley
Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley

Your Temecula Valley Bucket List

How many bucket list adventures will you check off during your visit to Temecula Valley?

  • Ride a hot air balloon.
  • Go horseback riding.
  • Blend your perfect bottle with a wine blending experience.
  • Pamper yourself at one of Temecula Valley’s spas.
  • Enjoy a tasting and take a cooking class with Temecula Olive Oil Company.
  • Play golf at one of their six golf courses. Partake in challenging play at Temecula Creek Inn’s 27-hole golf course.
  • Shop at Promenade Temecula.
  • Bring the kids to Temecula Children’s Museum.
  • Enjoy the outdoors at Santa Rose Plateau’s Ecological Reserve.
  • Laugh out loud at The Comedy Club at Pechanga Resort Casino.

Learn More About Temecula Valley

Visit Temecula Valley’s tourism website here to learn about more ideas for your day trip or weekend getaway.