Take a Trip to Ramona, California

Check Out the Abundant Offerings in California’s “Valley of the Sun”

Ramona Wines

Tucked away within the Santa Maria Valley, where Highway 67 intersects with State Route 78, lies the quaint and amusing town of Ramona. From the magnificent restaurants to the numerous vineyards and wineries, not to mention the scenic hiking trails, Ramona seems to have it all. Featuring activities great for both couples and families, this area makes for a perfect day trip getaway or just a nice rest stop. Whatever the reason for your visit, Ramona promises great fun with captivating beauty. Here’s a list of some of our favorite places and things to do in the beautiful town of Ramona. 

The first place on our list is a wonderful activity for couples interested in some romantic private time. A scenic horseback ride through the Ramona hills with Adventures on Horseback from Big Schott Ranch is the perfect setting to spend some quality one-on-one time with the one you love. With wranglers that have years of experience leading guided horseback tours, you know you’ll be in good hands. In addition to their horseback riding skills, the wranglers are equipped with a plethora of knowledge regarding the land, plants and people that have used the land. 

Adventure on Horseback from Big Schott Ranch offers a variety of ride experiences in varied lengths. There’s the ranch trail, which rides through a private ranch on the majestic hills for an hour or two. The vineyard and winery experience ventures deep into a breathtakingly beautiful vineyard and features an explanation of the winemaking process and even allows you to partake in some wine tasting. The mountain ride exhibits unique sage and oak trees with occasional views of the land’s wildlife. The final option is the beach ride, which includes a stunning trail along the coast with the salty sea breeze blowing in your hair and the white sand glistening beneath you. 

Whether you’re ready to saddle up or not, our next venue will be sure to have you falling in love with the Ramona hillside. Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard Winery on Woods Hill Lane is an oasis for any wine enthusiast. The owners, Laurie Wagner and Ian Vaux, studied different varieties of grapes in order to understand what would thrive in the Ramona Valley. They ultimately chose plant varietals that they enjoyed and that would be well-suited for the Ramona weather, like Zinfandel, Merlot, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese Brunello. Their wines are very fruit-forward and flavorful, with each bottle paying tribute to the season. 

The vineyard came about as an aftermath to the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, which cleared the land and left open space available for new life. Wagner and Vaux put their extensive knowledge about plant varietals and winemaking to use and created the Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard Winery.

Their tasting room is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm with wine tastings priced reasonably for just $10 per person for four different wines or wine by the glass for $8-$10. The location is pet friendly and allows outside food to be brought in, making it a great place for a picnic lunch. Expect sweeping views of the wondrous Ramona hillside, a calming atmosphere and exquisite wine. They even have a fire pit for chilly evenings.

For nature enthusiasts, Ramona ensures spectacular hikes and grand views, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Cedar Creek Falls. This widely known trail features an incredible 80 foot waterfall with black oak, cedar and cottonwood trees that create a habitat ideal for bird or wildlife watching. Swimming is permitted in the pool of water, but be aware that jumping and diving off the cliffs surrounding the falls are not permitted. The entrance to the trails may be accessed by the east access, which is located near Eagle Peak Road, while the west access is located off of Thornbush Road. 

Please be aware that a permit is required to enter the area surrounding the falls and must be purchased prior to hiking. Each permit is $6 and can be used for up to 5 people. Since there is a maximum occupancy, permits are limited in quantity and often sell out. Rangers are on duty at all times and do check for the permit number and a valid government issued ID, which must accompany all visitors listed. As usual with hiking in the mountains, be sure to bring plenty of water (it’s recommended a gallon per person—it gets hot!) and lather on that sunscreen.

One of our favorite places to eat in Ramona is Marinade on Main, which (you guessed it) is located in the center of town on Main Street. This rustic restaurant features farm to table food with fresh ingredients, local produce and locally sourced beer and wine from Ramona and San Diego County. This modern American eatery produces exceptionally delectable food that is worth the drive to Ramona. As with most farm to table restaurants, their menu does change seasonally to highlight the very best offerings from the harvest. We recommend the tempura-fried farm fresh squash or their famous habanero marmalade wings, which are glazed with a pineapple orange habanero sauce and topped with chives and peanuts. But if you like comfort food, you have to try their mac’n’cheese with pulled pork or their rosemary fried chicken served with a creamy slaw and smashed potatoes. Whatever your reason for visiting, we know you’ll love Ramona just as much as we do!

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