You’ll love the fun & unique things to do in Buellton, California! Just a 2-hour picturesque oceanside drive from Los Angeles, this under-the-radar town is perfect for your next So Cal getaway.
I recently visited the rustic and under-the-radar town of Buellton, California as a media guest of Discover Buellton. A small group of travel influencers were invited to this quaint cowboy town to experience all of the unique and special things that Buellton has to offer.
Since I visit the Santa Ynez region often and I went to college at UCSB, I thought I knew all of the special things there were to do in this area, however, I was delighted and pleasantly surprised to discover that Buellton is a noteworthy destination on its own and it is filled with many wonderful and unique things to see and do that I have highlighted below.
Need more than just 5 ideas, you can also visit the classic Pea Soup Anderson Inn, take painting lessons in a vineyard, wine taste at gorgeous wineries and tasting rooms, and don’t skip the Danish pancake house!
What to do in Buellton
1. VISIT MENDENHALL’S MUSEUM OF GASOLINE PUMPS & PETROLIANA
The Mendenhall Museum is a visually spectacular mind-blogging private collection of one of the west coast’s largest petroliana collections of gasoline pumps, globes, and porcelain gas, oil, and road signs.
They also have race cars, racing memorabilia, license plates, gas and oil items and other miscellaneous antiques. This impressive collection was started over fifty years ago by the late Jack Mendenhall and his legacy has been carried on by his son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Vickie.
What I Loved About It: I have never seen anything like this vibrant, fun colorful collection of signs and memorabilia anywhere before. It is a feast for the eyes and the senses and an incredible place to take stunning keepsake pictures. Definitely one of my favorite unique things to do in Buellton!
If you are an influencer or social media lover like me, you will be in photographic heaven when you visit Mendenhall’s and you won’t know what to take a picture of first, I absolutely LOVED it!
Insiders Tip: You need to make a reservation in advance in order to visit the Museum. They provide wonderfully interesting and informative private tours for both individual and group visits. There is a $15 recommended donation per person for tours and you can book your reservation HERE.
2. GO HORSEBACK RIDING THROUGH RIVERS & PICTURESQUE TRAILS
Step back in time and enjoy a tranquil, rustic picturesque horseback ride immersed in nature riding along the Santa Ynez River with the seasoned and passionate horse guides at Santa Ynez Valley Horseback Rides.
SYV Horseback Rides offer intimate year-round river trail rides on retired champion show, rodeo and ranch horses, which are perfect for both seasoned riders and beginners.
Riders are given simple safety instructions and an opportunity to get comfortable on their horse before they depart for their hour-long ride.
During this wonderful experience, you get to experience various terrains and several river water crossings around Buellton as well the opportunity to encounter wildlife like eagles, deer and beavers flourishing in their natural surroundings.
What I Loved About It: I haven’t been on a horse since I was a kid and they made sure to pair me with a gentle horse named Dollar who was the sweetest soul and he gave me an incredible, safe, and comfortable ride.
Later, I learned that when Dollar arrived at the ranch he was terribly abused by his former owner and the trainers at SYV Horseback Rides rehabilitated him and gave him a new life! Knowing this made my experience even more special and I can’t wait to go back!
Insiders Tip: If possible, try to schedule a ride during March through May when the wildflowers are in bloom and everything is much more vibrant, colorful and visually stunning and ideal for picture taking. Book your Horseback Ride HERE.
3. THROW SOME POTTERY & SIP LOCAL WINES AT COMMUNITY CLAYWORKS
After a fun-filled day exploring Buellton, bring your favorite bottle of wine that you bought tasting in the area and unwind with fun-filled evening at Community Clayworks BYOB Sip-N-Spin pottery making experience.
During this interactive experience, a seasoned ceramics artisan takes you back to your crafty youth while teaching you how to throw clay on a potter’s wheel and showing you how to create a keepsake piece of pottery.
Your masterpiece is then fired and glazed and can be picked up at a later date or shipped for an additional fee.
What I Loved About It: I felt like a kid again laughing and giggling while I fumbled through creating a matcha tea bowl. I loved digging my hands into the soft pliable clay and getting messy and dirty while sipping local wine and creating my masterpiece.
I really enjoyed Veronica’s (the owner) encouraging teaching style of modeling the steps on her wheel in front of us and then shadowing us just like the movie Ghost so that we could get the ‘feel’ of the right technique.
Clayworks is all about reigniting your relationship with clay and allowing you to tap into your inner artist and I highly recommend it when you visit Buellton!
Insiders Tip: Make sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and remember to take off your rings and watches too! Truth be told you are going to messy and dirty and you are going to love every minute of it! Check out all of their class options HERE.
4. VISIT DORWOOD DISTILLERY & TASTE SMALL BATCH HANDCRAFTED SPIRITS
Typically when you visit the Santa Ynez region, you think about tasting wine and beer (thanks, in part, to the movie Sideways), however, I recommend putting DorWood Distillery on your itinerary as an alternative the next time you visit Buellton, California!
DorWood is a hands-on, family-owned and operated distillery that makes high-quality, small batch handcrafted spirits.
Everything at this boutique distillery is made onsite and the affable and charming owner Jay is a wonderful host who happily takes you on a fun and informative tasting journey of his award-winning spirits.
Your tasting includes 6 pours, but my favorite sips were the G7 Gin made from their grape-based vodka and I loved that it had unexpected spicy notes of cardamom, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and a hint of lavender and citrus zest on the finish.
I also loved the Habapeño Limoncello which is made with DorWood’s Signature Limoncello that is infused with a wonderful combination of habanero and jalapeño peppers. It is one of the best and most unique Limoncello’s that I have ever tasted, not too sweet with a nice kick of heat. Soooo good!
What I Loved About It: I loved that it was a nice change of pace from wine tasting! For a modest $15 tasting fee (which is FREE if buy 2 bottles!), you get to 6 small tastes of DorWood’s current spirits and I really enjoyed tasting a variety of unique and interesting spirits made from grapes, barley, and agave.
For me, the highlight of this tasting experience was learning that the benchmark way to test the quality of a spirit is to taste it at room temperature in order to know how good and smooth it is. The warmer a spirit is, the more flavors you taste! So interesting and it’s something that I can continue to use moving forward.
Insiders Tip: After your tasting, make sure to order one of their yummy craft cocktails which really showcases their fabulous spirits. I highly rec ordering the HabapeñoRita made with a delish chocolate cinnamon-dusted rim and while you sit back and sip your cocktail ask Jay to show you his Prohibition Era bottle of Whiskey that he keeps behind the counter, so many fun stories behind it!
5. VISIT OSTRICHLAND USA & FEED THE OSTRICHES AND EMUS
I have driven by OstrichLand USA countless times when visiting Santa Barbara County but have never visited it before and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to check it out during this visit.
OstrichLand is home to over a hundred ostriches and emus that roam their vast property and when you visit you can feed them or just stand back and watch the fun antics of these intriguing birds.
What I Loved About It: Visiting OstrichLand is a fun place to visit! These birds have so much character and personality which makes them really entertaining to watch, fun to interact with and just being in their company makes you happy.
I felt like I was immersed in a bird documentary because while we were there we saw one of the ostriches do a funky mating dance and it was so fascinating and entertaining to watch!
Insiders Tip: Don’t forget to take a picture in front the fabulous wing murals, very insta-worthy! Also make sure to visit the wonderfully curated gift shop to buy unique ostrich and emu-related items like Emu Oil and gorgeous colorful bird feather fans to name a few of my fun finds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Buellton is typically known for its wine but this small town is so much more! With hikes and really unique restaurants and activities, it’s a great destination for families.
Buellton is 10 miles from the ocean and just a short drive north of Santa Barabara.
Surrounded by Solvang, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, Buellton is a great place to base your trip. With comfortable accommodations and delicious restaurants, you’ll have everything you need.
Need more than just 5 ideas? You can also visit the classic Pea Soup Anderson Inn, take painting lessons in a vineyard, wine taste at gorgeous wineries and tasting rooms, and don’t skip the Danish pancake house!
These unique things to do in Buellton, California are a great way to experience all that this small town has to offer. With its variety of eclectic attractions, there is something for everyone in this charming town.
- 5 Reasons You Need to Visit Riviera Nayarit
- Inspired Things to do in Temecula, California
- Sacred Mayan Experience at Xcaret, Mexico
- A Shopping Getaway to The Forum Shops at Ceasars Palace
Subscribe to Romy Raves
Click the link below to subscribe and be in the know for every Rave-Worthy find!
BY SUBMITTING YOUR INFORMATION, YOU’RE GIVING US PERMISSION TO EMAIL YOU. YOU MAY UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.