There’s something special about the days that stretch between Christmas and New
Years – rare moments with families home from work and school. It’s also the perfect time for a quick trip!
In this neck of the woods, wine-getaways are the tried and true option, but among the region’s rolling vineyards, a few quirky neighbors offer the makings of a perfect Santa Ynez Valley family getaway. Whether your calendar lets you skip town for a few days or a few hours, these family-friendly trips will make the most of your time in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Family Fun in Santa Ynez Valley
The universal rule that everything is cuter in miniature form comes to life at Quicksilver Ranch. Few people know that SYV carries the nickname, “Kentucky of the West,” but this ranch lives up to the label by inviting visitors to visit their miniature horses up-close. Gentle, mild-mannered and patient, these miniature hosts will be the perfect company for an afternoon in the sun-soaked hills of Santa Ynez Valley.
While the Santa Ynez Valley is dotted with lavender fields, Clairmont Lavender Farms is one of the few that actually invites visitors to peruse its fields and picnic on its lush, sweetly-scented grounds. A family-owned farm, Clairmont is five acres of sun-soaked Grosso lavender and 300 year-old oak trees. Also, their essential oil, lavender based personal care products and homemade soaps are all organically made and available for purchase in the farm’s shop.
Seein’ Spots Farm
A family-owned farm in Santa Ynez Valley, Seein’ Spots Farm became famous in recent years for Zeyore, a donkey-zebra cross. Otherwise filled with miniature donkeys (yes, you read that right) that are never more than 36 inches tall, the farm is a barnyard delight. Also, originally an apple farm, the land still holds over 800 apple trees that can be picked from late August to November. Loyal, sweet and affectionate, the miniature donkeys welcome visitors of all sizes into their petting areas and encourage the smallest of these to take part in the farm’s kiddie rides.
Ostrich Land USA
If miniature horses and donkeys (or even a zonkey) aren’t tempting enough, perhaps Ostrich Land USA is calling your name. The ostriches and emus that parade the property are available for visiting, feeding and petting. Bonus: the lush land that they roam is reminiscent of their natural habitats, lulling in you into the feeling that you’re on safari. The site’s shop also sells intriguing keepsakes including ostrich and emu egg shells, emu oils, feather dusters and ostrich meat
Hike in Los Padres National Forest
Mountains, streams, rivers and beaches – Los Padres National Forest holds beauty that will take your breath away. Stretch your legs and let yourself wander some of California’s natural sites as you take one of the park’s numerous day hikes. While most campsites are closed for winter, this is one place to bookmark for warmer weather romps.
Nojoqui Falls Park
A short trail walk away, Nojoqui Falls is a secluded 100-foot waterfall fit for a quiet afternoon retreat. The falls are viewed best after rain, but are available to visit any time of year. Pack a lunch, blanket, board games and books to make an afternoon of it!
Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is the perfect home-base for your California adventures. When you return from a hike at the falls or a picnic in lavender fields, relax with a book and glass of wine next to our fireplace or take a dip in the heated pool before meeting your family for dinner at our Starting Gate Restaurant.
No matter the size of your clan or length of your stay, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is ready to help you get away with those you love the most.