The bags are packed, and you’re all set for your California wine country getaway. You’re so close you can almost taste the crisp chardonnays and sophisticated pinot noirs that Santa Maria Valley is famous for. Though you’re geared up and ready for a long-overdue wine country weekend, consider this; once there, how can you safely get from one winery to the next without breaking the bank?
This summer, Santa Maria Valley invites travelers to leave the driving to someone else and explore local wineries and tasting rooms on the Santa Maria Wine Trolley. In line with its Beat Inflation Vacation, the cost to ride the trolley beats neighboring vacation destinations when evaluating strictly price comparisons. While not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison (some destination trolleys include lunch or more stops), the stark price difference makes the Santa Maria Wine Trolley a viable option for travelers looking to explore California wine country on a budget.
- Santa Maria Wine Trolley – $15 per person in advance, $18 per person at the trolley
- Napa Valley Wine Trolley – $125
- Sonoma County Wine Trolley – $125
- Livermore Wine Trolley – $99
- Temecula Valley Cable Car Wine Tours – $139
Starting at Costa de Oro Winery, wine trolley participants can explore Santa Maria Valley at their own pace, without feeling rushed or on someone else’s agenda. While the entire route takes approximately 60 minutes, passengers can step on and off at their convenience. A complete schedule of the Wine Trolley’s stops is available online. Decals on the trolley windows include a QR code directing back to the schedule on the Santa Maria Valley website as well.
Stops include Amplify Wines; Old Orcutt at Broadway & Clark, where travelers can explore quaint shops, delicious restaurants and inviting tasting rooms; Costa de Oro Winery, located next to a favorite barbecue pit stop–Cool Hand Luke’s; and Cottonwood Canyon Winery. Tickets can be purchased at a variety of easy-to-access locations throughout Santa Maria Valley.
“With 34 tasting rooms within a 30-minute drive, Santa Maria Valley is the perfect home base on the central California coast where you can eat, drink and do more for less,” Jennifer Harrison, Santa Maria Valley’s Tourism Director, said. “The Wine Trolley not only offers our visitors a great way to explore many of our amazing wineries, restaurants and shops in the area, but it is also a fantastic example of how much further our visitors’ dollars can go.”
With so much added value, it’s natural to be skeptical. Here’s what others are saying about Santa Maria Valley wine country:
- Wine Enthusiast: A Sustainability Leader, Santa Barbara County Is the Wine Region of the Year
- Forbes: Santa Barbara Is the Most Exciting Wine Destination In The U.S.
(Hint: Santa Maria Valley is home to one of the world’s most dynamic wine-growing regions on the northern perimeter of Santa Barbara County.)
The Santa Maria Wine Trolley runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 16, 2022, plus Labor Day Monday. Learn more about ways to save in Santa Maria Valley at santamariavalley.com/save.
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