Can a vacation destination be described as both rustic and luxurious at the same time? Can a place be equally appealing to adults who want to unwind and kids who are all about getting wound up? Yes, if it is the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. The Alisal is located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, just outside of Santa Barbara in California. Set on a 10,000-acre ranch, this unique resort blends the beauty and solitude of nature with exceptional golf, family fun, and first-class accommodations.
The Alisal features 73 guest rooms and suites decorated in a classic warm ranch design. Each room features a wood-burning fireplace, and to add to that cozy ambiance, there are no in-room televisions or telephones. (This was a much bigger deal 10+ years ago because really…who doesn’t have a cell phone these days?)
Recreation opportunities are varied and numerous. The Alisal is perhaps best known for its horseback riding. More than 10,000 acres are open for exploration on the Ranch’s 100 horses. Guests can ride through canyons, over hillsides, and past grazing cattle and giant sycamore trees on the Alisal’s guided rides. Not to be missed: the ranch’s famous Breakfast Ride.
Other activities include guided nature walks, archery, fishing, bike riding, boating, golf, swimming, tennis, and just relaxing on the Alisal’s beautifully kept grounds.
Just for Kids
One of the best things about this resort is the sheer number of family oriented activities and events offered throughout the year. If it’s a hands-on ranch experience you’re looking for, that’s what you’ll get – from daily egg gathering in the barnyard to horse grooming in the stables. There are also nightly barbeques, movies under the stars, an amazing ropes course, arts and crafts and a kids club.
California Ranch Dining
When you stay at The Alisal, breakfast and dinner are included with the room – a nice touch that offsets the somewhat pricey rates. Breakfast can be ordered via room service, enjoyed in the restaurant, or experienced on the Breakfast Ride. By the way, if horseback riding isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy this western experience via hayride to the breakfast site.
Lunch is available at the poolside Chuckwagon Grill or any of the resort’s three other restaurants. Note, this meal is not included in the resort’s package rate, so try to fill up on enough fruit and pancakes at breakfast to carry you through the day if you want to save a few bucks.
Dinners are a time to dress up. The Alisal’s Executive Chef, Pascal Godé, has distinguished the Alisal’s culinary style. His California fresh cuisine classics often come with a western flair, and include selections such as steaks, chicken, pasta, fish, or ribs. Vegetarians will love the wide array of creative vegetarian entrees and delectable sauces available.
After dinner, stop by the Oak Room for live entertainment and dancing, or just to enjoy an after-dinner cocktail and conversation.
Off the Ranch
The Alisal Guest Ranch is located in the heart of California’s central coast, 30 miles north of Santa Barbara.
The quaint town of Solvang is just minutes away from the Alisal. Take in the charming Danish architecture and ambiance as you stroll through Solvang’s more than 200 shops and boutiques. You’ll find everything from traditional Danish chocolates and baked goods, to quality European imports and collectables.
If wine is your passion, the Santa Ynez Valley produces some of the finest premium wines in the world. With over 9,500 acres of vineyards and 60 wineries, enthusiasts can enjoy the tours and tastes of one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country.
A drive down the coast to Santa Barbara provides the quintessential beach town getaway. Santa Barbara offers miles of sandy shoreline, a historic pier, kid-friendly shops, and some of the best seafood restaurants in California.
Whatever your passion, the Alisal and its beautiful surrounding region provides the perfect vacation destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.
Healthy Tip for this Destination
As you’d expect from any resort of this caliber, there is a state-of-the-art Fitness Center on site. But really, why would you want to stay inside when miles of scenic trails are right outside your door? The Santa Ynez Valley is a hiking and biking paradise. The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort offers bike rentals by the day, as well as guided cycling tours. They can even pack box lunches to take along so you won’t have to hurry back when tummies start to rumble.