Napa Valley in Northern California represents one of the most well-known wine-producing regions in the country, but Napa isn’t the only area in California where winemaking is a treasured art. The City of Temecula, which wasn’t incorporated until recently in 1989, represents one of the most exciting areas in California for new vintners and visitors interested in wine tasting.
Temecula Wine Country sits east of Interstate 15 in Riverside County, which is one of the counties that makes up the Greater Los Angeles Area. Interestingly, Temecula is closer to Downtown San Diego to the south than it is to Downtown Los Angeles to the north, but many locals still consider Temecula a part of the Greater LA area. As if LA needed to get any bigger!
Due to the rapid growth of new wineries and some excellent local golf courses, Temecula has emerged as a popular destination for Southern California weekenders, as well as an ideal place to relax on vacation and enjoy the Mediterranean climate of this grape-friendly region.
If you’re thinking about touring some of Temecula’s best wineries, you’ll want to know where to lay your head at night. Let’s explore where to stay in Temecula Wine Country.
TL;DR Our Favorite Accommodations in Temecula Wine Country
The reason Temecula Wine Country exists is its unique climate, which is a little different from the rest of Southern California. In addition to the region’s pocket of ideal wine-growing weather, Temecula Valley is also blessed with excellent soil for growing grapes, which has drawn the attention of winemakers from around the world. No matter where you stay in Temecula Wine Country, you’ll find some gorgeous views with its 11,000-foot mountain peaks and gorgeous rolling hills.
Areas to Choose Within Temecula Wine Country
Temecula Wine Country encompasses the valley on the east, where most of the wineries conduct business, as well as the city proper on the west, where you’ll find Temecula hotels, neighborhoods, and commercial shopping opportunities. Several resorts and homes featuring luxurious accommodations dot the hills in the east, while well-known hotels and eateries inhabit the west. Choosing the right spot for your Temecula getaway is easy when you know what you want out of your vacation. best hotels in temecula
- Best area for first-timers/tourists – Central Temecula Valley Wine Country
- Best area for budget travelers – Northwest Temecula
- Best area for luxury travelers – East Temecula Valley Wine Country
- Best area for safety – Temecula City Center
- Best area for families – Old Town Temecula
- Best area for golf – South Temecula
- Best area for weddings – Northeast Temecula Valley Wine Country
Where to Stay in Temecula Wine Country, California
1. Central Temecula Valley Wine Country – Best area for first-timers/tourists
Central Temecula Valley Wine Country features several wineries along Rancho California Road, and it’s an ideal and centrally located area from which to explore the valley. Not only are there a handful of resorts in the area, but you’ll also find some excellent opportunities to join wine tours in a variety of modes of transportation, like limousines, jeeps, and shuttle buses.
One of the most popular activities for those staying in Temecula resorts and hotels is visiting wineries, and the central road that runs through the hills passes almost a dozen wineries, some of which feature resorts or accommodations. These amazing Temecula winery hotels and the buildings that house the winemaking operations are often beautifully designed and offer excellent photographic opportunities.
Some of the wineries in Central Temecula Valley Wine Country area include Miramonte Winery, Lorimar Vineyards and Winery, and the Lorenzi Estate Vineyards & Winery. Consider booking a table at the nearby Pinnacle Restaurant, which serves upscale California fare, as well as fine wines from Temecula. The restaurant is located within the Falkner Winery off Nicholas Valley Road.
If you’re interested in seeing Temecula from the air, you’ll find a few hot-air balloon companies operating in the immediate vicinity. Get in touch with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides or SkyRider Tours and experience an amazing view of Temecula, as well as all the surrounding landscapes. If you’re thinking about proposing to your significant other, a hot-air balloon ride over Temecula is the way to go.
In case you missed it, top things to do in the central part of the valley include:
- Take a winery road trip
- Stay a few nights at some winery resorts
- Eat well at Pinnacle Restaurant
- Take a hot-air balloon tour
- Get some hiking in!
Where to stay in Central Temecula Valley Wine Country
You’ll find a few resorts in the central valley that will give you easy access to several wineries, so if you’re keen to visit Temecula for the first time for all the wine tours you can handle, take a look at the vacation homes and resorts along Rancho California Road and nearby, like the Ponte Vineyard Inn and the Carter Estate Winery.
See Related: Most Exotic Places in California to Visit
2. Northwest Temecula – Best area for budget travelers
Overall, Temecula Valley Wine Country represents a relatively affordable region for vacations, which means you can splurge a little on enjoying a wine tour and still find a hotel or resort at a good price. However, if you’re interested in the most affordable vacation possible, you’ll want to look at the northwest area of the City of Temecula near the convergence of Route 79 and Interstate 15, where a handful of the most affordable places to stay in Temecula are located.
You’ll find several places to eat and some opportunities for activities close to your hotel in the northeast area of Temecula, from chains like Chick-fil-A and (my favorite) In-N-Out Burger to local breweries and beer houses like 8 Bit Brewing Company and Solaris Beer & Blending.
Temecula’s claim to fame may be its wine, but nearby San Diego is known for its breweries, and some of those beermakers have set up shop in Temecula, much to the delight of travelers who enjoy a variety of alcoholic beverages. When you’re not enjoying the food, beer, and wine, you’ll also find some chill places to relax outside, like Harveston Community Park, which features some picnic tables and sports fields, and Long Canyon Creek Park, which has a few play structures for the kids.
Top things to do in the northwest part of town include:
- Long Canyon Creek Park for the kids to blow off steam
- Harveston Community Park for picnics and sport
- Take a break from wine and sample some local brews at 8 Bit Brewing Company and Solaris Beer & Blending
- Consider a day trip to San Diego for more beer
- Check off that obligatory In-N-Out you’ve been craving
Where to stay in Northwest Temecula
The most affordable hotels in Temecula are just south of Murrieta, which is the town that borders Temecula on its northern side. Enjoy convenient access to food when you stay in the northwest area of the city, as well as quick access to the freeways, ideal for day trips to Los Angeles or San Diego.
3. East Temecula Valley Wine Country – Best area for luxury travelers
As you travel to the east through Temecula Valley Wine Country, you’ll come upon De Portola Road, which runs north/south. You’ll notice several wineries along this road, as well as some excellent vacation homes with incredible views and luxurious features. If you’re interested in a luxurious stay, consider East Temecula Valley Wine Country.
Wineries close to your accommodations in East Temecula Valley include Danza del Sol Winery, Cougar Vineyard and Winery, Oak Mountain Winery, and Masia de la Vinya Winery. Consider bringing or renting a bike and hitting up a few in a day. That said, there are other ways to get around.
One of the interesting features of the Temecula area is the significant presence of horse ranches and other equine-related activities. Temecula is home to quite a few stables and equestrian centers, and you’ll find several of these businesses along De Portola Road.
If you don’t have experience with horses but are curious about riding, you might visit Rancho Pacific Equestrian Center, which houses horses and also offers riding lessons. Green Acres Ranch, just down the street from Rancho Pacific, also offers lessons. Depending on the time of year you visit, you might also want to see if there are any events happening at Galway Downs, which hosts weddings and also features a soccer complex.
If a luxury stay in the eastern part of the valley sounds like it’s up your alley, here are a few things you can get up to:
- Take some photographs of the scenery – it’s spellbinding
- Plan a responsible bike tour around a few of the local wineries
- Go horseback riding or take some lessons
- See if there’s a match playing at Galway Downs
- Kick back and relax with a good book and a glass of wine in your rental’s jacuzzi
Where to stay in East Temecula Valley Wine Country
When you choose to stay in East Temecula Valley, you’ll find your accommodations in one of the area’s beautifully luxurious vacation homes. These homes often have gorgeous views of Temecula and offer convenient access to all of the valley’s terrific wineries.
- Best Budget Vacation Rental in East Temecula Valley Wine Country: Hilltop Hideaway
- Best Mid-Range Vacation Rental in East Temecula Valley Wine Country: Le Grand Bleu
- Best Luxury Vacation Rental in East Temecula Valley Wine Country: Via De Oro Villa
4. Temecula Town Center – Best area for safety
Temecula has a reputation as a safe city, but if you’re looking for the safest area of town, you might want to search for accommodations in the city center of Temecula, which is just to the east of beautiful Old Town Temecula. Several well-known hotel chains offer accommodations in the center of town, and you’ll find it easy to find entertainment and food nearby.
One of the main features of central Temecula is the Temecula Town Center Mall, which is a sprawling property with all the major department stores you might expect in a large mall. If you’d like to balance your wine tours with a few visits to local breweries, you’ll find Oscar’s Brewing Company and the Refuge Brewery nearby, as well as all sorts of food, including Greek food at Daphne’s and Gourmet Italia for Italian food.
When you’ve had your fill of shopping, you can head over to the Temecula Duck Pond to spend a few minutes relaxing or people-watching. The small pond features all sorts of ducks, as well as some turtles. If you head northeast to Margarita Road, you’ll find Margarita Community Park, which is a fun stop if you’re traveling with kids and want them to expend some energy on the play structures.
Here’s a recap of what’s good in downtown Temecula:
- Enjoy some retail therapy at Temecula Town Center Mall
- Sample some brews at Oscar’s Brewing Company or the Refuge Brewery – or both
- Feed the ducks at Temecula Duck Pond immediately afterwards
- Grab a bite at Daphne’s if you need something light
- Stop by Gourmet Italia to line the stomach if you’re thinking of doing some more drinking
Where to stay in Temecula Town Center
The accommodations in central Temecula are right in the middle as far as price is concerned. You’ll find a range of hotels like the Hampton Inn at the medium-price area, which means it’s a great place to stay for a safe trip whether you’re on a budget or have more money to devote to your vacation. Several central Temecula hotels also feature complimentary breakfast.
5. Old Town Temecula – Best area for families
Old Town Temecula is one of the most entertaining areas of the valley outside of the wineries that sit on the hillsides above the town. You’ll find all sorts of antique dealers and restaurants, as well as a handful of nice yet affordable places to stay. Old Town features bike racks and is very walkable, too, so if you stay in Old Town, you won’t need to use a car until you go visit the wineries up in the hills.
Simply walking through Old Town Temecula is an ideal way to spend an afternoon or evening, especially if you enjoy fun attractions and learning about the history of an area. Start your journey at the Temecula Valley Visitor Center and then take a stroll to visit some of the attractions like the community theater, Temecula Valley Museum, and Pennypickle’s Workshop Children’s Museum.
You’ll find quite a few places to eat in Old Town, and you may want to start with the Old Town Pub & Grub for comfort food. Don’t forget to stop by the Old Town Sweet Shop for dessert and visit the many gift shops throughout Old Town, like The Gardener’s Cottage, the French Soap Shop, and the Old Town Boutique.
Some of the best things to do in Old Toen Temecula include:
- Temecula Valley Visitor Center and the Temecula Valley Museum are great sources of info about the area
- Enjoy a lazy stroll or a self-guided bike tour of Old Town
- Pennypickle’s Workshop Children’s Museum is completely charming
- The Old Town Sweet Shop is even more charming and an essential stop
- Get some souvenirs at the Old Town Boutique
Where to stay in Old Town Temecula
Old Town is a fun place to stay, especially for families who aren’t entirely focused on visiting the wineries and taking wine tours. Children are usually welcome at wineries, as well as the breweries throughout town, but choosing an Old Town Temecula hotel is a great option for a kid-oriented trip.
See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in California to Visit
6. South Temecula – Best area for golf
What’s the best activity to pair with an afternoon spent at a wine-tasting room? A morning spent at one of the golf courses in Temecula and its surrounding communities. You’ll find two golf courses quite close to the southern border of the City of Temecula. The southern edge of town is the best place to stay in Temecula for golf.
The two golf courses in the southern area of Temecula are the Redhawk Golf Club and the Pechanga Golf Course. You’ll also find the Temecula Creek Golf Club to the east and the Temecula Hills Golf and Country Club to the north. If you’ve never golfed before but want to learn how, you’re in luck because you can take classes at the Temecula Valley Golf School, which is just south of Old Town Temecula.
When you’re finished golfing and want a break from wine tasting, South Temecula offers a few outdoor venues, as well as several restaurants, like Horizon Buns Home Kitchen, a seriously yummy vegan joint. Visit Temecula Creek Trail Park, which features picnic tables and a hiking trail.
You can also jog or ride your bike on the trail. For adult fun, check out the Pechanga Resort Casino, which is just to the south, right over the border on the Pechanga Reservation.
Top things to do in the south side of town include:
- Play a few rounds of golf amid gorgeous surroundings
- Young kids will enjoy Atherton Park
- Get some vegan goodness at Horizon Buns Home Kitchen
- Hike around Temecula Creek Trail Park
- Try your luck at Pechanga Resort Casino
Where to stay in South Temecula
You’ll find some of the best hotels in Temecula in the southern part of the city, as well as some vacation homes that offer an ideal respite from busy day-to-day life. If you want to relax, drink wine, and golf, South City of Temecula is an excellent place to start.
7. Northeast Temecula Valley Wine Country – Best area for weddings
The beautiful hills of wine country offer an incredible venue for weddings, and Temecula Wine Country is no exception. Not only can you propose to your beloved from the picturesque basket of a hot air balloon, but you can also get married at any one of several wineries and venues in Temecula Valley Wine Country.
The wineries closest to your vacation home in Northeast Temecula Valley Wine Country are the Doffo Winery, Vitagliano Winery, and Wilson Creek Manor Winery; however, Temecula isn’t exactly huge, and most of the other wineries in the valley are within easy reach of a car or wine tour bus. When you’re not getting married or wine tasting, you’ll find some excellent opportunities for outdoor excursions.
If you travel just a few streets north, you’ll find the Lake Skinner Recreation Area, which features a marina and boat rentals. If you time your visit right, you might get to visit the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, which normally occurs in the summer and features loads of food vendors, a pair of music stages, and, of course, wine tasting. For a completely unique activity in Temecula, consider visiting the Sugarplum Zoo, which is a tiny petting zoo on Berenda Road.
If you plan on spending some time in the northeastern part of the valley, here are a few things to keep you occupied:
- Take a bus tour of local wineries
- Enjoy the water at Lake Skinner Recreation Area
- Take the kids to Sugarplum Zoo
- Hike around French Valley Wildlife area – don’t forget your camera!
- See the magical Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival if you’re visiting in late May/early June
Where to stay in Northeast Temecula Valley Wine Country
If you’re searching for a picturesque wedding or want to luxuriate in a beautiful vacation home with easy access to surrounding vineyards, Northeast Temecula Valley Wine Country is the best place to start your search for a place to stay. Your luxurious accommodations may feature a hot tub, outdoor pool, and private balcony.
Is Temecula worth visiting?
As someone who adores both California and wine: yes, yes, yes. The primary reason people visit Temecula is to tour the wineries, so having a modest level of interest in the art of wine is helpful. However, Temecula is a rather idyllic place, and you may find it a charming stop on your California vacation, even if you don’t consider yourself a connoisseur of fermented grapes.
Why do people go to Temecula?
With over forty wineries draped along its hillsides, the main draw of Temecula is its wine, but the landscapes and views here are simply mesmerizing in places. You’ll also find that the valley and its accompanying town offer some prime shopping and opportunities to enjoy the Southern California sun. There are several golf courses in the area that alternate wonderfully with wine tours.
How many days do you need in Temecula?
Three to five days should allow you to enjoy everything Temecula Wine Country has to offer, from wine tours to golfing to relaxing by the pool at your resort or vacation home. Los Angeles and San Diego aren’t too far away, so you may want to combine your time in Temecula with a Southern California road trip.
Can you walk from winery to winery in Temecula?
The best way to see Temecula’s wineries is with a tour bus or in your own car – drinking and driving responsibly, of course. A tour bus is usually the best route if you plan to imbibe along the way or want to see as many wineries as you can on your journey through the valley.
Some of the best places to stay in Temecula offer wine tours, too. There are also options for biking between wineries.