(credit: Matthew Field/Wikipedia)

(credit: Matthew Field/Wikipedia)


You hear people say all of the time that “there’s so much to do in Los Angeles and Orange County.” However, there are also some pretty good things to do if you schedule a day trip somewhere in southern California. If you’re looking to escape for a day and you’re on a pretty tight budget, try these options. You’ll have a lot of fun without spending a lot of cash.
(credit: Ponte Winery)

(credit: Ponte Winery)


Ponte Winery
35053 Rancho California Road
Temecula, CA 92591
(951) 694-8855
www.pontewinery.com

If you’re planning a day trip on a budget, Ponte Winery is a great place to visit. The drive out to Temecula is a pretty easy one – particularly if you plan the trip around traffic. However long your drive is, you’ll enjoy some great wines for a very reasonable price. For just $15 (on weekdays) or $20 (on weekends), you can taste six wines that will make your trip worthwhile. That leaves you plenty of money to buy some bottles to take home with you.

Related: Best Breakfasts in Temecula Wine Country

(credit: Charlie Riedel/AP)

(credit: Charlie Riedel/AP)


Chumash Casino
3400 E. Highway 246
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
(800) 248-6274
www.chumashcasino.com

Perhaps a casino isn’t the best place to visit if you’re on a budget. However, if you’re looking for a change of scenery for a day, and you can control your gambling urges, then Chumash Casino is a great place to visit. It gives you all of the benefits of a casino setting without having to head to the Inland Empire. Besides, even if you blow your budget on gambling, you’re still in the Santa Barbara area, and looking at the scenery in this beautiful part of the state doesn’t cost anything. Also, you can reach this destination by train and drink on the train while you enjoy the ride.

(credit: Intersofia/Wikipedia)

(credit: Intersofia/Wikipedia)


Del Mar Fairgrounds
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 755-1161
www.delmarfairgrounds.com

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is the home to a variety of events year round ranging from horse races at the Del Mar racetrack to bingo, exhibits and much more. Throughout the year, the fairgrounds offer special activities such as their ‘Pumpkin Station’, which offers visitors a wide variety of pumpkins, gourds, squashes and Indian Corn to purchase. In January, the Gem Faire comes to the Fairgrounds offering a world-renowned marketplace for the finest gemstones, jewelry, beads, minerals, fossils and more at the lowest prices. Visit for a full calendar of events. Oh, and you can take the train to Del Mar and save yourself the fuel cost.

(credit: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway)

(credit: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway)


Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tram Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 325-1449
www.pstramway.com

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is one of those things that you just have to experience if you live in southern California. Granted, you can’t spend an entire day on a tram, but after the ride to the top you can enjoy a wonderfully scenic hike on your way back down. You can also enjoy a meal at 8,500-feet elevation at three different restaurants. The first tram leaves at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends and holidays. Palm Springs also offers a myriad of top attractions, great hotels, fine dining and more to round out your visit.

(credit: Stone Brewing Co)

(credit: Stone Brewing Co)


Stone Brewing Company and Bistro
1999 Citracado Parkway
Escondido, CA 92029
(760) 294-7899
www.stonebrewing.com

Stone Brewing Company in Escondido is the brewery that has sort of carried the banner for the San Diego craft brewing movement. For 18 years now, the brewery has put out extremely hoppy beers while declaring to fans of fizzy yellow beer, “You’re not worthy.” With a short drive (or train trip) to Escondido, you can get a tour of the brewery. More than that though, you can enjoy a meal at the Stone Bistro which is sure to make you satisfied. Sure, Orange County has its share of gastropubs, but not all of them have food that incorporates Stone beers. This is a great place to while away a day for a very reasonable price.

Related: Southern California’s Best Microbreweries

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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