Blue skies and balmy temperatures welcomed me to the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California. That was all it took to place this location on my radar as a future destination to escape the cold Ohio winters. I hadn’t even finished my first visit to the Inland Empire before I began to formulate a plan to convince my husband of our need to fly across the country and stay not a few days, but a few weeks.
My stay in the San Jacinto Valley began by checking into the Golden Village Palms RV Resort. My husband and I have been discussing the possibility of returning to the full-time RV lifestyle. I admit, after my stay at this 1,000 site resort, my heart yearns to return to the nomadic life if only to stay at this property again.
You don’t need to own an RV to stay, the resort has several properties available to rent, including a large, two-bedroom apartment and “cottages” or park model campers. The cottages are adorable and confirmed my thoughts that I could indeed live in 399 square feet of space. In fact, I found my dream home while exploring the resort, an eco-friendly park model trailer that maximizes every inch of space for comfort and practicality.
The resort caters to adults only and is an active, friendly atmosphere. Unless you happen to play Pickleball or Shuffleboard, which I learned are both way more competitive than I am.
And you’ll find plenty to do near the resort and in the surrounding area.
Things to do in the San Jacinto Valley
Old Town Temecula
Old Town Temecula, a short drive from Hemet, is a quaint, easily walkable downtown with antique stores, great dining, and artsy elements. It’s the type of place that I could easily spend an entire afternoon, browsing boutique, after blissful boutique, exploring and shopping to my heart’s content.
Wineries in Temecula
Beautiful Temecula Valley offers more than 30 wineries to enjoy tastings, a bistro lunch with friends, or a romantic day trip with that special someone. I stopped at Monte De Oro Winery which features a glass floor with views to the barrel cellar and Bel Vino, a smaller, more intimate winery for tastings.
Both wineries offer award-winning wines and beautiful views of the surrounding rolling hills overlooking the vineyards. With so many other wineries to sample, one day to wine country could never be enough.
I also visited several historical attractions that piqued my interest to learn more about the history and people of the San Jacinto Valley. Hemet and the surrounding area offer unique attractions such as the Victorian Bridal Museum. Housed in the back of a consignment store, if you have an interest in fashion or history, this is one hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed.
The Ramona Bowl is the oldest outdoor drama in continuous operation. Celebrating its 97th season in 2020, this production that requires over 600 volunteers and seats an audience of over 5,000 is not a simple feat to pull off. I’m hoping to attend a 2020 performance after I finish reading my copy of Ramona, the book by Helen Hunt Jackson that inspired the pageant and attempted to awaken the country to the plight of the Native Americans.
The Estudillo Mansion is the most historic in the valley and one of the most significant. Seriously damaged in an earthquake in 1992 and deemed unsafe, the property has been lovingly restored to preserve the history of the Mission Era, Mexican California Era, and settlement of the San Jacinto Valley. Visitors will learn about the family that once occupied the mansion and their effect on the surrounding community.
I also had the pleasure of exploring the San Jacinto Museum and Water Conservation Education Garden on-site at the Estudillo Mansion, the Hemet Museum, housed inside the historic Santa Fe Depot and the Western Science Center which displays many of the artifacts and fossils found in the Diamond Valley Lake Excavation. With a state-of-the-art movie theater, adorable mascot Max the Mastodon, and plenty of hands-on exhibits to bring history to life, this museum is one history and science lovers of all ages can enjoy.
Where to Eat in the San Jacinto Valley
I haven’t even mentioned the food! I was introduced to a variety of restaurants and tastes in the San Jacinto Valley. The Anchor offers comfortable seating with Scandinavian inspired comfort foods and fun decor.
Sweet Baby Jane’s is said to have the best BBQ in the area, and after eating my way through one of their sampler platters, I certainly won’t argue.
La Michoccana will satisfy your sweet tooth with its incredible tasting 100% natural ice cream.
The Maze Stone at the Soboba Country Club with members of the community and Soboba Nation was a special treat and the perfect location for a quiet night out.
Before leaving town, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to check out Hemet’s Farmers Market and grab one last specialty coffee at the Downtown Deli & Coffee Company. I imagine if I lived in the area, I’d spend a lot of time in this varied shop writing and blogging. The artsy feel and colorful décor would be sure to bring out the creative side in me, wouldn’t you say?
The Real Reason to Visit the San Jacinto Valley
As a travel blogger, I find the destinations that I enjoy most are those where I’m able to make a connection with the people I meet. I did that in San Jacinto Valley and the city of Hemet.
Though I was initially enthralled by the gorgeous weather, it was the people that will draw me back to San Jacinto Valley for another getaway. I was welcomed to the area not as an outsider, but as a friend. So next time I visit, I’ll be sure to look up the people that I met on this trip.
Those that love the area they call home and work tirelessly to share their passion with others.
If you’d like more information about the San Jacinto Valley or any of the attractions I’ve mentioned, check out www.VisitSanJacintoValley.com.
Have you visited the San Jacinto Valley? What would appeal most to you?
© 2015 – 2019, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.