Wine Country Road Trip to Paso Robles, California

By on September 1, 2011
Mission San Antonio

By Donna L. Hull –

Are you ready for a wine country road trip? Although we’re still in the last days of summer, harvest season will be here before you know it. Why not add a visit to California wine country to your fall travel schedule? For a trip that’s flavored with cowboy culture and historical Spanish missions, skip the old standbys like Sonoma or Napa, and head for central California’s Paso Robles.

Let’s start with cowboys

Aroma By 1 Give 1

Harris Stage Lines

Did you know that Paso Robles is a long-time ranching community? At Harris Stage Lines, Tommy and Debby Harris are committed to fostering the traditions of the Old West. Through horsemanship camps for kids to entertainment programs for adults, they’re keeping the cowboy culture alive in central California. Tommy Harris will even teach you how to drive a stage coach.

But the Spanish came first

When the Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan missionaries arrived in California around 1797, they brought a grape growing tradition with them. You can still see the fermentation vats at Mission San Miguel a few miles north of Paso Robles. For a stunning day trip, combine the visit with a drive to Mission San Antonio de Padua located on Fort Hunter-Ligget Army Base.

Okay, you’re here for the wine

Steinbeck Wines

What’s a trip to wine country without tasting the wine? Did you know that more than 200 wineries are located in Paso Robles? Adelaida Road, on the west side of town, offers a scenic drive with plenty of boutique and family-owned wineries to visit.

For a different twist, stop by Steinbeck Wines, one of Paso’s east side wineries, where Cindy Newkirk, shares her family’s knowledge of grape cultivation. Ride through the fields with Cindy in one of the winery’s 4-wheel-drive vehicles for a Crash Course in grape growing and land stewardship. As a fifth generation grower, Cindy has plenty of family and Paso Robles history to share.

Paso Robles Wine Country Events

Winemakers Cook-off: August 6, 2011

Savor the Central Coast: September 29 – October 2, 2011

Harvest Wine Weekend: October 21 – 23, 2011

Where to stay

La Bellasera Hotel and Suites: luxurious accommodations that include wine tastings in the lobby, a relaxing pool area, well-equipped fitness center and complimentary wireless from the comfort of your room.

Dining Choices

Thomas Hill Organics Market Bistro and Wine Bar: innovative dishes focusing on organically raised produce from the Thomas Hill Farm

Artisian: located in downtown Paso, serves seasonally inspired dishes

Enoteca: located at La Bellasera Hotel and Suites, the setting for a relaxing wine country dinner


Disclosure: My visit to Paso Robles was partially provided by the Travel Paso Alliance


Donna L. Hull writes about active travel for baby boomers at My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel where her articles and photographs inspire boomers to get up off the couch and go.

About Donna Hull

Donna L. Hull is so obsessed with travel that it makes her feet itchy when she’s not out exploring the world. Since 2008, Donna has been checking off adventures one trip at a time at My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel, her popular website about active travel for baby boomers. She’s also the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure and the boomer travel expert at My Well-Being Presented by Humana.


  1. Vera Marie Badertscher

    September 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Oh, I love getting all the details of a trip like this. I appreciate your hotel and restaurant recommendations, and an introduction into a lesser-known area of California. I love wine country, even though this over fifty woman has been told she can’t drink wine any more 🙁

  2. Donna Hull

    September 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Vera, even non-wine drinkers will find plenty to do in Paso Robles. Glad you enjoyed the information.

  3. Alexandra

    September 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I would so enjoy a trip like this. Love the way you weave in the history.

  4. Donna Hull

    September 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks, Alexandra. Adding in history gives more depth to a visit, in my opinion. After all, we can’t drink wine all day :-).

  5. Living Large

    September 4, 2011 at 1:42 am

    This sounds like a very fun trip. I hope to do some wine country road trips in the future.

  6. Donna Hull

    September 4, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Wine country trips are tons of fun. Hope you get to go soon.

  7. Jane Boursaw

    September 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I’m not much of a wine connoisseur, but I absolutely love the lush vineyards and the whole process that goes into growing and harvesting the grapes, then turning them into wine. What a great tour this would be.

  8. Donna Hull

    September 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Jane, I think the wine industry is fascinating, even if you don’t drink the product. I especially enjoy the lesser known wine growing areas such as Paso Robles. They have so much natural character and charm.

  9. merr

    September 5, 2011 at 11:46 am

    My husband has done a few bike tours in Nor Cal and he says the scenery is amazing, and taken in beautifully on a bike. The wine country is pretty and sprawling, and though I don’t imbibe much at all, just a lot of fun to see.

  10. Donna Hull

    September 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Merr, maybe next time your husband will consider a biking tour of the Paso Robles wine country.

  11. [email protected] Food. Stories.

    September 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    The only way you’ll get me near a horse is if I drink a bottle of wine first – but while everyone else is out riding, I’d be happy to sit around learning more about the history of the area and of winemaking. Win-win!

  12. Donna Hull

    September 6, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Casey, visiting Harris Ranch is fun even if you don’t ride a horse. Listening to Tommy Harris share stories of the Old West is a treat. And you could always ride IN the stagecoach.

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Wine Country Road Trip to Paso Robles, California