Temecula, California, is a gorgeous, must-visit spot north of San Diego. This is wine-making country — there are more than 40 local wineries — but there are plenty of things to do here beyond touring the wineries and going to wine tastings. There are fun things to do in Temecula with kids, plus plenty of Temecula attractions designed for adventurers, outdoorsy types, art lovers, shopaholics, and history buffs.

One thing I think you need to be aware of as you plan what to do and where to go in Temecula is that the weather here may surprise you. Temecula, CA, sits at the midway point between Southern California’s beaches and deserts, but the climate leans more toward the latter. If you’re coming from San Diego or Los Angeles, be prepared for warmer, drier weather.

Below, you’ll find lots of ideas about how to spend a day (or a week) in Temecula Valley. Many are family-friendly, but there are a few that are best reserved for adults-only getaways. I also have a list of the best Temecula hotels as well.

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Fun Things to Do in Temecula

Here you’ll find the most popular activities that people we talk to tend to seek out the most on a trip.

1. Try Your Luck

Photo courtesy of Pechanga Resort & Casino

The largest resort casino on the West Coast — Pechanga Resort & Casino — is right here in Temecula. Go to find everything you love about the top Las Vegas properties but without the crowds, high prices, and sensory overload. It’s also smoke-free inside the casino, which is a major bonus. There are smoking areas outside.

The resort has more than 5,000 slot machines and all the usual games of chance. It also has multiple restaurants, a 4.5-acre multi-pool complex with waterslides (yes, there are kid-friendly activities on the resort) called The Cove, an award-winning golf course, celebrity performances, and a deluxe two-story spa. 

Tip: Buy a Pool Day Pass

You can have fun at Pechanga without being an overnight guest. Buy a day pass or rent a cabana at The Cove.

2. Tour Wineries by Carriage

Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

There are lots of ways to see Temecula Valley and to tour the vineyards. One of the most romantic involves taking an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage to go wine tasting at the many wineries of Temecula.

The Temecula Carriage Company offers relaxing winery tours of the valley with several options. You can book a private one-hour horse-drawn carriage for two people, and upgrades are available for more guests and a picnic option.

3. Tour the Valley on Horseback

A group horseback riding on a trail in Temecula Valley.
Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

Among the best things to do in Temecula is take a trail ride by horseback. Companies such as Wine Country Trails by Horseback offer 90-minute horseback wine country tours for families and romantic sunset rides for couples. Riders must be 7 years or older.

You can try others like California Ranch Company, which offers 90-minute sunset rides through the winelands. There’s nothing quite like looking out over the sprawling vineyards from atop the back of a well-trained horse. 

4. Shop the Farmers’ Market

There are now three different Farmers’ Markets in Temecula. The original Old Town Temecula Certified Farmers’ Market is held on 6th Street every Saturday morning, rain or shine, and it’s one of the most popular weekend events in the valley.

More than 40 California-certified growers set up stalls featuring organic and conventionally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a variety of local plants and beautiful flowers. Artists and craftspeople also set up stalls at the Old Town Temecula Farmers’ Market, and it’s a lot of fun to grab brunch from one of the food vendors to enjoy while you shop the morning away.

The two other Farmers’ Markets in Temecula are on other days and at different locations. The Promenade Temecula market is held every Wednesday morning, and the Vail HQ Temecula Market happens every Tuesday morning. Both of these markets run from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. The addresses for all Farmers’ Markets are listed on their website.

5. Listen to Some Beautiful Music

When you consider what to do in Temecula, “go to the symphony” may not be the first thing that springs to mind. The valley is home to a talented performance group, the Temecula Valley Symphony. The symphony is made up of 60 community orchestra members and has grown in both size and popularity over the years.

The symphony usually performs once a month, so check the schedule to see what will be on during your visit.

6. Visit a Speakeasy

In Old Town Temecula, there are two speakeasies: the Apparition Room and Thompson & Twain Prospecting Co.

Unlike Prohibition-era speakeasies, these are legal, though you’ll still have to sneak in — sort of. The entrance to Thompson & Twain Prospecting Co. is behind a curtain at Crush and Brew. To get into the Apparition Room, look for the wood panel at the Devilicious Eatery hostess station.

Note that reservations are required to sip cocktails at the Apparition Room because it has extremely limited seating. 

7. Go to Temecula Stampede

If country and western is more your speed, head over the Temecula Stampede (the West Coast’s biggest country and western music venue) after dark.

They’re open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights when guests can enjoy live music, line dancing, mechanical bull rides, and karaoke until 2 a.m.

8. Hike the Dripping Springs Trail

On the Dripping Springs Trail, you’ll get amazing views of four mountain peaks (Santiago Peak, Mt. Baldy, San Gorgonio, and San Jacinto), in addition to expansive views of Vail Lake, the Temecula Valley, and the countryside. You can choose from four trail connections or link them up if you’re keen on a longer hike.

Be aware that setting off on the Dripping Springs Trail is a commitment so plan your route ahead of time if you’d rather only take on a portion. Trail distances range from 10–30 miles, and there’s little shade, so this trail isn’t recommended in the hot summer months. Note that there is no water station and no restrooms.

9. Sip Wine Poolside

Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

Reserve an Italian-style cabine (Italian-style private changing rooms with showers) or chaise lounge for the day at BOTTAIA Winery’s Pool Club.

Enjoy Temecula sunshine while savoring local wines, craft cocktails and small plates and entrees from the poolside Cafe + Cocktail Bar. All ages are welcome. Just note that the pool has seasonal hours and isn’t open in the colder months, as I alluded to before.

10. Take a Spa Day

Embrace the slower pace of Temecula with a spa day at one of the area’s best relaxation facilities.

Escape to Spa Pechanga with its many luxurious treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, fitness facilities, and outdoor patios. The robust spa menu includes couples and prenatal massages, hydrafacials, hair and nail treatments, waxing, and much more.

Grapeseed Spa at South Coast Winery offers yoga classes and a heated saltwater pool for guests to enjoy, in addition to healing spa services that incorporate organic ingredients and sustainable products.

11. See a show

You can’t miss the Old Town Temecula Community Theater when strolling down Old Town’s high street. You enter this towering and contemporary, state-of-the-art theater through the landmark Mercantile Building on Main Street and shows are performed in one of two venues inside.

The eclectic schedule includes jazz performances, musicals, kids’ shows, country music, and more. The California Chamber Orchestra plays twice every month, you can watch ballet performances and stand-up comedy shows, and there’s even a Speakeasy-inspired Prohibition Jazz show every month.

12. Play a round of golf

There are two main golf courses in Temecula. The award-winning Journey course is at Pechanga Casino Resort but it’s open to all. Hotel guests get a discount rate. You can top up your golf gear at the course’s huge Pro shop and dine after playing at Journey’s End Clubhouse. You can also book lessons at Journey for all ages, including kids.

The Temecula Creek Golf Club has three courses for all abilities, from beginner to pro. Set among 300 acres of scenic beauty, the club is surrounded by mountains, ensuring a picturesque day out on the links.

13. Learn history at Temecula Valley Museum

For a $5 per person or a $10 per family suggested donation, you can go back in time at the Temecula Valley Museum and learn a lot about the history of Temecula Valley.

Knowledgeable docents serve as tour guides and can answer your questions about old farming equipment, historical photographs of the area, handcrafted artifacts, the Luiseno Indian era, the Mission San Luis Rey period, the establishment of the ranches, and the coming of the railroads.

There’s even an interactive discovery area for younger children with a pretend general store. They also feature interesting rotating exhibits.

Things to Do in Temecula with Kids

When you’re on a family trip in Temecula, check out these fun activities for all ages.

14. See the Valley from a Hot Air Balloon

Find the best things to do in Temecula, California
Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

You don’t have to be visiting Temecula with kids to enjoy a hot air balloon ride, but this is an activity that children who don’t have a fear of heights may love. Hot air balloon rides are one of the most popular things to do in Temecula, and there’s actually a hot air balloon festival every May.

From the basket of a hot air balloon, you and your family will get an amazing bird’s eye view of the valley’s vineyards, citrus groves, and the rolling hills that surround them. Some hot air balloon rides include a gourmet meal, champagne for the grownups, and photos of your group. 

15. Visit an Alpaca Farm

A little girl feeds a an alpaca in a corral with other people feeding alpacas in the background.
Photo courtesy of The Alpaca Hacienda

The Alpaca Hacienda in Temecula offers family-friendly meet-and-greets by appointment Monday through Saturday. Kids and their parents can get up close and personal with these interesting animals—and even hand-feed them. You can also take a picnic and pay extra for a set-up with a table and chairs.

All tours are private, and you can book up to 5 people for $100. You’ll pay $15 per extra person after that. You’ll learn lots of quirky facts about alpacas and how their yarn is used.

16. Fish and Camp at Vail Lake 

Vail Lake, which was created by damming in the 1940s, was once an important stopover on the Butterfield Overland Stage Coach Line. Today, it’s a popular place to fish for bass, mountain bike on lakeside trails, or hike through the woods.

If you’re a fan of camping, there are plenty of family-friendly spots to do that here, too, if you plan to stay in Temecula for more than a day.

17. Visit Pennypickle’s Workshop – Temecula Children’s Museum

For just $10 per kid or grownup, you can explore the home of Professor Phineas T. Pennypickle and his sidekick Beaker the field mouse (otherwise known as the Temecula Children’s Museum).

The fascinating museum is full of nooks and crannies filled with inventions, gadgets, and experiments designed to teach kids about science, engineering, and music through play. Be aware that Pennypickle’s Workshop is closed on Mondays. 

18. Stay overnight in a wagon

For a unique and authentic pioneer experience (albeit glamping-style), you can book an overnight stay in a Conestoga wagon at Old Town Ranch.

Designed as close to the real thing as possible but with a few home comforts like AC/heat, full bathrooms with walk-in showers, and a coffee maker, the wagons are great for families. You’ll enjoy games around the firepit under the stars with fellow wagon-dwellers, and kids will love the on-site farm animals.

You can choose from a romantic Couples Wagon or family options featuring either two queen beds or one queen bed plus bunk beds. The ranch also offers guided horseback riding tours.

19. Check out big horse feed and mercantile

Don’t be fooled by the name of this unique shopping experience. While the family-owned Big Horse Feed and Mercantile began as a horse-focused feed store, it has evolved into a fun rural-style destination to shop for all kinds of fun items for humans, animals, and pets.

Now covering 8,000 square feet, the mercantile sells everything from artwork and home decor to men’s and women’s fashion and jewelry. Horseback riders can peruse the riding section, which features English—and Western-style saddles, cowboy boots, and hats. They even sell John Wayne memorabilia and cowhides.

The Mercantile holds a Harvest Festival every October, during which kids 11 and over can run amok in the famed Big Horse Corn Maze. The festival also features plenty of other fun family-friendly activities, including a hayride, corn cannon, face painting, and a pumpkin patch.

20. Rent a pedal boat at Harveston Lake

This scenic 17-acre lakeside park has great jogging and walking trails. It’s surrounded by the Harveston Master Planned Community but features a beautiful lake with a tranquil vibe that’s a great picnic location. You can also rent pedal boats at the dock.

21. Go Strawberry Picking (Seasonal)

Visiting Kenny’s Strawberry Farm (originally called Temecula Valley Strawberry Farms) during strawberry season — roughly sometime in spring through July — is a real treat for kids.

There’s no charge to visit the farm, even when there are special events. You’ll only pay for the strawberries you pick. Check the website for opening hours.

22. Pick a Pumpkin (Seasonal)

Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

If you’re visiting in the fall, one of the most fun things to do in Temecula is visiting Peltzer Pumpkin Farm.

This family-run farm offers much more for little kids than just picking out the perfect pumpkin. They can pan for gems and gold, take a pony ride, pet pygmy goats, sheep, bunnies, and baby chicks, watch pig races, play carnival games, and drive mini John Deere tractors. 

Places in Temecula to Explore

Below, you’ll find some larger areas to explore.

23. Old Town Temecula

Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

This is the shopping district of the valley, but it’s also so much more. Old Town Temecula is home to fabulous Italian, American, and Mexican eateries, craft breweries, and shops where you can satisfy your sweet tooth with candy and ice cream. There are also boutiques, hotels, and entertainment venues.

There are lots of fun stores to visit in Old Town. Check out the quaint Temecula Lavender Co. for beautiful lavender-infused gifts and spa-type goodies. At the Temecula Olive Oil Company, you can sample many olive oil tasting varieties for free in the store’s tasting room and purchase olive-inspired food and bath products. Kids will love The Sugar Spot for all kinds of delicious sweet treats.

What makes Old Town Temecula so special, however, is the ambiance. When you walk under the arch, you feel like you’re walking into history.

There are wooden sidewalks, rustic Western-era buildings, and an old-fashioned horseshoe-shaped town square—all of which will make you feel like you’ve just strolled into the 1880s. The Old Town also often hosts various festivals and special events, so check the calendar online.

24. The Wineries of Temecula

A man and a woman each hold a glass of white wine with vineyards faded in the background.
Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

Today, there are almost 50 vineyards in Temecula Valley, but since about 2,300 acres of the valley’s 33,000 acres have been planted, that number is expected to grow to 70 over the next decade.

The climate and granite soil in Temecula wine country makes it a perfect location for growing nearly any varietal. The wineries of Temecula are one of the area’s main attractions. You can still visit the very first, Callaway Vineyard & Winery, and there are plenty of up-and-coming wineries to check out, too. 

Try South Coast Winery and other well-regarded wine tasting stops, including Hart, Ponte, and Leoness. There’s a great list of wineries in the Temecula Valley, plus more facts about which wineries are great for families or whether you’re allowed to take your dog or a picnic on the Temecula Valley website.

25. Santa Rosa Plateau 

Photo provided by Visit Temecula Valley.

This reserve is one of the most popular natural Temecula attractions. It has 9,000 acres of land dedicated to the preservation of local plants and animals. At an elevation of roughly 2000 feet, the climate tends to be mild.

You can see more than 49 different species of rare and endangered flora and fauna here, and you are welcome to hike the well-maintained trails to adobes and vernal pools. In some areas of the reserve, you can bike the trail or explore it on horseback. Its interesting historical origins date back thousands of years with the arrival of Native Americans, who hunted and harvested many of the plants you will find a spot while hiking.

A couple toasts with glasses of white wine in a vineyard.

Find Temecula Tours & Activities

As you can see, there’s a lot to do in Temecula and a variety of ways to explore. You can see what options are available through Viator.

What are your favorite things to do in Temecula?

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Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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