Located just minutes from Santa Clarita, the beautiful Heritage Valley offers spectacular views along its scenic drive and charming places to visit along the way. It’s a fun day trip adventure that is close enough to Santa Clarita that you will have plenty of time to return to one of our restaurants or wine lounges to enjoy some live music and dessert before heading back to your hotel.
Grab a coffee and head over to the 126 freeway located off Interstate 5 at the Newhall Ranch Road exit for your leisurely drive, with virtually no traffic, gorgeous mountains, and a delightful view all around. Along the way, be sure to stop by any of the local fruit farms which offer some of the freshest fruit and vegetables around.
First stop will be a visit at the Ranchos Camulos Museum. The museum features the diverse cultural heritage and agricultural history of Southern California from 1853 to 1943. It is one of the best remaining examples of a Spanish-Mexican rancho in its original rural environment and is noted for its literary significance as the setting for Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel “Ramona.”
You also don’t want to miss Bennett’s Honey Farm, which offers free honey tasting year round. The farm produces all honey locally, and packs and distributes the product themselves. In an effort of be environmentally and health conscience, the facility is 100% solar powered, and the honey is certified kosher and organic.
Next up is a visit to Fillmore. The area is home to luscious acres of citrus trees and other fruits and vegetables. Hop on a historic or themed train ride courtesy of Fillmore & Western Railway. The Railway offers a variety of scenic train rides, but also offers specialty trips such as a Heritage Valley Tour, Pumpkinliners, Headless Horseman adventures, North Pole Express trains, Cookies with Santa and Murder Mystery themed lunches and dinners. The passenger coach cars and dining cars are from the 1930’s and 1940’s, truly a step back in time for all who venture onboard. The many locomotives used to power the train are all pre-1950’s, but gently restored to meet the demands of the 21st century. You may even recognize the locomotives from films such as Water for Elephants andInception.
Back on the 126, just before you reach Santa Paula is the Loose Caboose, which in addition to selling fresh produce and nuts, also features stunning ponds with fish and beautiful garden pieces. Whether you’re interested in garden decorations, art, pottery, or aquatic supplies, Loose Caboose has you covered.
Next up is a visit to downtown Santa Paula. The city is home to various festivals throughout the year, including the Citrus Festival and the Citrus Classic Balloon Festival in July, Moonlight at the Ranch in the Fall. The city also boosts four museums; an art museum, oil museum, an aviation and agricultural museum. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with any of the historic restaurants in town such as Rabalais’ Bistro.
If you’re hungry and want to continue the adventure, drive up the 150 to the quaint town of Ojai and stop by Boccali’s on your way. This famous pizza and pasta joint also offers some of the best wine in Southern California. If you come at the right time of year, you must order the fresh strawberry shortcake and they even offer seasonal events such as the annual Tomato Festival or Haunted Hayrides. Boccali’s also grows a lot of their own fresh produce and offers wine tasting year round, and you can’t beat a nice stroll in their vineyards.
As your day in the Heritage Valley comes to a close and you drive back to Santa Clarita, perhaps call ahead and make a reservation at your preferred Santa Clarita Restaurant. There are plenty of restaurants and a plethora of cuisines to choose from. Lucille’s Barbeque offers some of the best southern cooking in town. Another option may be Karma Indian Cuisine serving up Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Coconut Curry and more. Rustic Burger is a fast casual restaurant serving up burgers and more, craft beer, and offering plenty of outdoor seating. Another option that may tempt your taste buds is New Moon the restaurant that serves up a finely balanced fusion of traditional Asian flavors updated and re-imagined for contemporary tastes.