Temecula Valley – Southern California Road Trip

Beep, beep! We’re only on stop #2 of this incredibly insane California road trip! I’m living like the true #CaliforniaGirl I am at heart and now all I want is to learn how to surf better and eat street tacos. Nonetheless, with this stop in Temecula Valley, it is only going to get better. California definitely is the best place for adventure – here we go!

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I am breaking my Southern California road trip into three posts for each of the main stops…Greater Palm Springs, Temecula and Huntington Beach. If you are looking for another California road trip blog post, check out my post about my adventures in Gold Country….California Road Trip – Gold Country.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares her southern California road trip. The second stop was in the Temecula Valley where she rode in a hot air balloon, ate great food and tasted lots of wine.

The Temecula Valley

As we kept up our travels through Cali, I became mesmerized by the incredible sunsets, chill vibes, and the long stretches of road that I never want to end. When we stopped in the Temecula Valley, I just wanted to keep going – but I quickly changed my mind. This gorgeous, sometimes overlooked area of California was just what the doctor ordered.

Ah, nothing soothes my soul quite like SoCal Wine Country. Well, maybe an actual glass of wine. Temecula Valley is home to hundreds of different vineyards – some renowned from around the globe. In fact, the South Coast Winery & Spa has been named the best California State winery 3 times out of the last 5 years! They are also one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit for wine travel destinations. Sign me up for a wine tasting or six.

If you are looking for help planning your next trip, check out my travel resource guide or The Best Road Trip Tips & Hacks.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares her southern California road trip. The second stop was in the Temecula Valley where she rode in a hot air balloon, ate great food and tasted lots of wine.

Hot Air Ballooning

Is it hot over here or is it just the hot air? Hot air balloons that is! Temecula is infamous for their adventurous hot air balloon festivals and I’m all about it. With picture-perfect sunsets (have I mentioned how perfect their sunsets are yet?) and miles of desert beauty, anyone can snap the most InstaWorthy pictures.

A special thank you to Brendan Williams for joining me on this trip and taking photos.

Home to creative entrepreneurs, free spirits, and the most driven of dreamers, Temecula Valley brings life to the wide open spaces of the Wild West. You can feel the passion of every person’s craziest dream here and you can’t help but to want to join in on the adventure.

Temecula Valley Tips

Some fun tips that I learned while running around the desert for those couple of days:

  • Old Town Temecula has so much rich history of this wine town. If you get a kick out of learning a bit of knowledge about random places or want to see what living like a true local is like, visit here for the day and you’ll feel at home in no time.
  • Explore the Temecula Valley website! They have amazing ideas for where to eat (they always have a restaurant of the month), places to visit, as well as events happening at the casinos. They’ll even send you a visitors guide to really give you a hands on experience.
  • There are about 3 million visitors each year which means lots of wine gets all drank up. SO – be aware that during prime weather months like March-June and October will be busier.
  • It’s within an hour or so of San Diego, Orange County, Palms Springs, and Los Angeles. So, if you’re staying here and have a day to kill – you have plenty of options if you somehow (you won’t) find yourself needing to take a drive!

Southern California Road Trip Vlog

Check out my Southern California road trip vlog below or on YouTube directly for better quality.

The Inn at Europa Village

Our whole trip began with our fabulous stay at The Inn at Europa Village. Right in the heart of the beautiful Southern wine country, the views of gorgeous and lucious vineyards and decorated trees were a complete 360 view for us everywhere on location. Located near award-winning golf courses, Old Town Temecula, and the departure area for hot air balloon rides, I knew that I wasn’t going to be spending much time in my room, even though it was so delicately beautiful and refined. The whole village has both a very comfortable, outdoors feel while also being as elegant as an actual rustic Italian village. With 30 acres of stunning property, it was hard to not get lost in the simple beauty of it all.

Wine Tasting & Ice Skating at Peltzer Farm & Winery

On one of our first days here, we were recommended to make a beeline straight to Peltzer Farm & Winery. They have pretty much all the fun things you could possibly think of to have an amazing day and night. From shopping, watch parties, winery tours, and live music – what more could you possibly need?

Well first, we did a little bit of a tour around their amazing wineries and got to learn about their wine-making process as well as some background and history about Peltzer Farm. After it was over, we were able to sample and try out some of their most popular and interesting wines. With wines of every color and taste, I was loving every sipping minute!

Outdoor Ice Skating…In California!

After that, I knew I couldn’t pass up one of their limited and very popular attractions – ice skating! Not only that, but we were ice skating at sunset which made for some super cool pictures that are over on my Instagram! The sky gave us its own light show and I gave everyone my own awesome ice skating show 😉

Wine Tasting at Europa Village Winery

Bring. Me. The. Wine! You think we’re going to wine country and skimping out on all these fun experiences to go wine tasting? I don’t think so! And the thing is, they’ve been doing this for so long, so they know how to ensure everyone is actually enjoying the wine and not just getting drunk. So it can be fun and a real learning pleasure for everyone there! And that’s exactly what we did at Europa Village Winery. Every tasting was an exciting delight of being able to taste new wines that I probably would have never tried before. Not only that, but how to properly drink it! They offer a variety of cooking classes, private dinners, and even weddings!

Hot Air Balloon Adventure by California Dreamin’

You want the best freakin’ view in all of Temecula Valley? Head on over to California Dreamin’ where you’re going to be reaching for the stars in some incredible hot air balloon rides! Being California’s top rated hot air balloon company, they ensure that you will have a safe and fun adventure in the sky. With brightly colored balloons (yep – just like the ones you see all over the movies and such!) and a carefully crafted experience for each rider, flying high has never felt so freeing. Depending on the occasion, they can have a little picnic in the sky or other cute things ready for you once you step aboard! We had a BLAST – I mean, who doesn’t love looking over wine country in incredible weather?

Temecula Olive Oil Campany Ranch Tour

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares her southern California road trip. The second stop was in the Temecula Valley where she rode in a hot air balloon, ate great food and tasted lots of wine.

Here’s a little something you may have never done before – an olive tour! Wanna find out how your olive oil is made and the exact products used to make it? As a family-owned and operated company, this insanely interesting tour through Temecula Olive Oil Company provided insight to one of the most essential cooking tools we all use in our kitchens! Not only did we get a tour of the olive trees around the property, but you are also able to taste different types of oil and see differences in age, olive type, and added ingredients like garlic or basil. And don’t worry, you’ll have the chance to eat whole olives and be able to purchase bottles of oil for sale, as well!

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares her southern California road trip. The second stop was in the Temecula Valley where she rode in a hot air balloon, ate great food and tasted lots of wine.

Breakfast at EAT Marketplace

If there is one thing I love more than a great glass of wine, it is breakfast foods!! Our breakfast at EAT Marketplace was beyond all my expectations. You know me, I love making sure all the foods I’m eating are healthy and can form to my special diet. This place was the literal epitome of that. They had special Fall Festival specials containing pumpkin and squash as the main ingredients – YUM! Everything is free of GMOs, artificial colors and flavorings, plus – it is all served fresh from local farms. We ate this amazing breakfast at the Inn at Europa Village …the owner is the chef at EAT Marketplace and cooked for us.

Holiday Taste of Old Town at Oak Grove Culinary Creations

Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit quite like taking a nice little stroll down a city’s old town neighborhood while sipping and tasting all of the amazing wines and foods the community has to offer. The Holiday Taste of Old Town Temecula was a fun event for the entire city to get everyone excited for Christmas, as well as providing some delicious and homemade last-minute holiday gifts! We were able to not just feast on some of the most fresh and yummy foods, but also all of the Christmas lights and decorations throughout the area!

Lunch at Miramonte Winery

I know I’ve mentioned the sunset about 87 times in this post alone, but nothing felt so peaceful than being able to sit in the mid-day sun while having lunch at Miramonte Winery. With tours around the property to view the grapes and processing units to create their house wines, Miramonte was such an elegant and beautiful way to end our trip. Their bistro included a divine winter brunch. Knowing me, if I see “brunch” anywhere I’m like “sign me up!” Every dish was crafted with local, fresh ingredients: from the cheeses, olives, and veggies! Each bite was as scrumptious as the last!

Needless to say, if you’re looking for a romantic getaway in the US or an awesome girls’ trip, Temecula Valley is all you need to look into to have the best adventure EVER in SoCal. I feel like I’ve drank bottles of wine, and I may have. #NoRegrets ! But I was able to experience some lovely and educational tours about what goes into making little things we take for granted. Not to mention, I was able to soar in the most colourful balloon and look all over my wine kingdom!

This California road trip blog post is brought you in collaboration with Visit California and Temecula Valley . Thank you for supporting the destinations that support me

Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.

Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.


Welcome to xoxoBella! You will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration and all the things that Bella loves.

Leave a Comment

  1. Sarah Afshar wrote:

    Amazing blog post about Temecula Valley. I havenโ€™t been to Southern California in a few years. Based on this blog, I think I have a good reason to visit. Thank you for sharing.

    Posted 1.21.20 Reply
  2. Megan wrote:

    Wow this is amazing! Its my dream to go hot air ballooning… and this looks like a stunning place to do so!

    Posted 1.21.20 Reply
  3. Catherine wrote:

    This looks like such a fun road trip! You sold me on the hot air balloon and the wine!

    Posted 1.21.20 Reply
  4. Heather Castillo wrote:

    I would love to visit Temecula Valley one day. It looks and sounds wonderful!

    Posted 1.21.20 Reply
  5. I have to admit, Cali does look tempting right about now. We want to see San Fran or LA as a family

    Posted 1.21.20 Reply
  6. JoyDellaVita wrote:

    How was your landing with the hot air baloon? I have once taken one in Australia and the landing was so heavy and bumpy, everyone thought the basked broke upon landing.. it didn’t but most of us had hit their heads.. So I’m definitely curious if this is “the norm”? :0

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  7. I have lived in Los Angeles for ALMOST 10 years at this point and I still have NEVER been to Temecula! Crazy, right?! Well, I guess it’s not THAT crazy because I don’t drink, but still – that doesn’t mean I can’t go and take a hot air balloon and eat tasty food!!

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  8. Ruth I wrote:

    After reading and seeing your photos, I think Temecula Valley is now one of my dream destinations. Wine tasting and Ice skating is a really cool combination to do. I already put it on my bucket list.

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  9. wanderlustbeautydreams wrote:

    I haven’t been to California yet but it’s on my list! Temecula Valley looks like an amazing place to check out and explore. Looks like theres so much to do and see. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  10. Celebrate Woman wrote:

    What a beautiful and memorable trip! You are so bold braving that hot air balloon ride! The pictures tell a colorful story.

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  11. Laura wrote:

    This looks like so much fun. I’m going to California next month. Maybe I should visit the Temecula Valley

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  12. What a great post Bella. I want to go there right now! ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks like a really great place to visit. And I’m green with envy that you got to go up in the balloon. Looks fun, but I’m wondering if I wouldn’t be scared to death. I seem to have an on/off fear of hights. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  13. Shayna wrote:

    Wow, hot air balloons, olives and wine tasting…this is definitely my kind of trip! Iโ€™m going to have to check Temecula valley out! And if you ever are in need of an extra buddy for the six wine tasting, lol Iโ€™d be happy to volunteer! Happy travels!

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  14. Erin Hynes wrote:

    I love all your photos! I’ve been thinking lately that I really need to do a road trip of California, especially southern California. Thanks for this added inspo – adding Temecula Valley to my list

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  15. Your photos are awesome! This absolutely makes me want to visit the area. I love California (grew up in the Bay Area!) but I haven’t been to SoCal all that often. I must plan a trip!

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  16. Eileen Mendoza Loya wrote:

    What a wonderful experience! Such wonderful views from a hot air balloon. I wish I had enough courage to do that too. Thanks for sharing your photos and I am happy to know you had a great time!

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  17. Lavern Moore wrote:

    Temecula Valley Is a great place to visit. I used to work in nearby San Marcos and visited often.

    Posted 1.22.20 Reply
  18. Rose Ann Sales wrote:

    Seema like you have a lot of fun..! The foods looks so so great,the burger is so mouth watering.. yum..!

    Posted 1.23.20 Reply
  19. Rinrainbow wrote:

    Seems u had lots of fun there! Beautiful blog about temecula valley! So much to do there! Thanks for sharing

    Posted 1.23.20 Reply
  20. Jay Mih wrote:

    I’ve heard so much about Temecula. So good to know that there are other activities that you can do other than wine tasting!

    Posted 1.23.20 Reply
  21. Bindu Thomas wrote:

    Temecula is just awesome. Nice to know you had such a fun time. Wine kingdom..lol

    Posted 1.24.20 Reply
  22. Jhentea Guzman wrote:

    You had such a very fun and colorful road trip,Temecula valley sounds cool,I’m jealous of the hot air balloon experience,hehe.๐Ÿ˜‚

    Posted 1.30.20 Reply
  23. What a great post about Temecula. You captured so many great things about the Temecula Valley! It’s a great place for young or old. So many things to do, and you did a great job showing those things.

    Posted 11.10.22 Reply