Stops on the Way

7 Things to Do in the Central Coast Town of Buellton

Peel off the California coastal Hwy. 101 to wine country on your way to Yosemite.

Head inland from California’s Central Coast for a stunning drive to Buellton, Calif., in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley for off-the-beaten path experiences that are affordable from blueberry picking to trail rides. 

1. Do a Trail Ride through the Sta. Rita Hills

Horseback riding in Buellton, Calif.
Horseback riding in Buellton, Calif. (Photo: Discover Buellton)

Why go: See this beautiful Santa Ynez Valley on a one-hour trail ride with Santa Ynez Valley Trails Rides. It’s a great way for people ages 6 and up to be outside and see a gorgeous corner of the Central Coast. You’ll cross the Santa Ynez River, looking for wildlife and taking in the views.

Tip: The stables offer one-hour lessons for children ages 2 and up and includes how to groom, tack, lead and ride a pony.

2. Santa Barbara Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch

Blueberry picking near Buellton, Calif.
Blueberry picking near Buellton, Calif. (Photo: Tori Peglar)

Why go: Located just a few minutes from Buellton, this family-owned, 1,000-acre blueberry farm, cattle ranch and retreat offers a down-to-earth, u-pick experience. Fill up your silver pail with pesticide-free blueberries while enjoying being outside in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. santabarbarablueberries.com

Tip: During blueberry (June and July) and raspberry season (August through October), u-pick hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

3. Sideways Tour

Dining at the Hitching Post II Restaurant famous for its BBQ, wine and film location. Photo courtesy of Buellton Visitors Bureau
Dining at the Hitching Post II Restaurant famous for its BBQ, wine and film location. Photo courtesy of Buellton Visitors Bureau

Why go: Trace the steps of the characters who sipped their way around the Santa Ynez Valley, including Buellton’s Hitching Post II, in the 2004 hit film Sideways.

Tip: Pick up a Sideways map at the Buellton Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, 597 Avenue of Flags or follow the links online at www.discoverbuellton.com/travel-style/sideways-the-experience/

4. Industrial Eats Restaurant & Butcher Shop

Why go: Eat locally grown food and wood-fired pizza at this wonderfully creative restaurant and butcher shop. Located in a repurposed warehouse, this fun spot has communal tables wit a wonderfully inventive menu that includes entrees, sandwiches and pizzas that can be topped with gorgonzola, apple and bacon and more. 

Santa Ynez Botanical Garden in Buellton
Santa Ynez Botanical Garden in Buellton (Photo: Discover Buellton)

Tip:  Afterwards, walk through the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden at RiverView Park. 

5. Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant

Enjoying the signature dish at Pea Soup Andersen's. Photo courtesy Buellton Visitors Bureau
Enjoying the signature dish at Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn. Photo courtesy of Buellton Visitors Bureau

Why go: A mainstay for decades, this iconic restaurant in Buellton has been serving travelers and locals for 94 years. www.peasoupandersens.net

Tip: Jump on the bandwagon and order one of the 2 million bowls of pea soup this restaurant serves per year.

6. Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground

Camping in a vintage trailer at Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton, Calif.
Camping in a vintage trailer at Flying Flags RV Resort. (Photo: Discover Buellton)

Why go: Hip vintage Airstreams, luxury safari tents, wine cottages with grapevines growing between the backyard and national park-themed cabins offer an amazing lodging experience in Buellton. There are also more than 300 RV spots and an outdoor pool and two jacuzzis. highwaywestvacations.com/properties/flyingflags

Tip: Play bocce ball or horse shoes before heading to the Friday night BBQ at the hip Campfire Cafe.

7. Visit OstrichLand USA

Feeding the ostrichs at OstrichLand in Buellton
Feeding the ostrichs at OstrichLand (Photo: Discover Buellton)

Why go: See and interact with emus and ostriches at Ostrichland USA. You can even feed them.

Tip: Stop by the gift store for unique ostrich and emu-related gifts, including fresh ostrich eggs.