Ramona, California, is located within San Diego County and was once known as the “Turkey Capital of the World.”
This dubious honor was lost when the number of turkey farms declined at the end of WWII, though the area remained centered around poultry for years as the chicken egg business rose to take its place. Today, little is left of Ramona’s feathered past as vineyards now grow where farms once stood.
A forty-five-minute drive from San Diego, California, Ramona is home to a variety of shops, local restaurants, historical sites, and attractions that earn it a place on the area’s “must experience” list.
Temperatures are generally moderate year-round, with highs in the 60s and 70s during the winter and in the upper 80’s to low 90s in the summer. This makes the city an ideal vacation spot at almost any time of the year.
Though there are countless vineyards and wineries in Ramona, there are also a variety of outdoor adventures and excursions that are perfect for the entire family. From wine tasting and golf courses to horseback riding and history museums, there is something everyone can enjoy.
What We Cover
- What is Ramona, California, known for?
- 19 Best & Fun Things to Do in Ramona, California
- 1. Verlaque House and Guy B. Woodward Museum
- 2. Ramona Town Hall
- 3. Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery
- 4. Classic Rotors Museum
- 5. Total Raptor eXperience
- 6. Principe di Tricase Winery
- 7. The Oasis Camel Dairy Foundation
- 8. The Ramona Grasslands
- 9. The Sutherland Reservoir
- 10. Adventures on Horseback Ranch
- 11. The Wildlife Research Institute – Hawk Watch
- 12. Correcaminos Vineyard
- 13. Star B Bison Ranch and Hop Farm
- 14. The Mt. Woodson Golf Club
- 15. Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard and Winery
- 16. Vineyard Grant James
- 17. Milagro Winery
- 18. Woof’n Rose Winery
- 19. San Diego Day Trips
- How to Get Around Ramona, California
- By Bus or Train
- By Bicycle
- By Car
- Places to Stay in Ramona
- Is San Diego close enough to visit from Ramona?
- What is the weather like in Ramona, California?
What is Ramona, California, known for?
Today, Ramona is largely known for its many beautiful wineries, such as the Milagro farm vineyards. It is also known for the Woodson Golf Club, beer-tasting tours at local pubs, and other nearby golf courses.
The city’s proximity to San Diego and La Jolla, with access to the day coastal tour and the San Diego Explorer Pass, makes Ramona a popular destination.
Below is a list of the best things to do in Ramona, California.
- Most significant landmark – Verlaque House and Guy B. Woodward Museum
- Park to visit – Ramona Grassland
- Free activity – Sutherland Reservoir
- Activity for kids – Camel Dairy
- Activity for adults – Ramona Ranch Wines
- Place to eat – The Oaks Grill
- Nightlife – Reds, Whites, and Brews
- Place to stay – San Vicente Golf Resort
19 Best & Fun Things to Do in Ramona, California
1. Verlaque House and Guy B. Woodward Museum
Address: 645 Main Street, Ramona, CA 92065
Verlaque House and Guy. B. Woodward Museum is a historical attraction that offers a look at life in Ramona and the surrounding areas in the late 1800s and gives visitors of all ages the chance to view and interact with buildings and objects from the area’s past.
One of the more interesting history museums in the area, the Verlaque House is one of the oldest Victorian-style adobe buildings still standing in the San Diego backcountry.
Built by Theophile Verlaque, a French immigrant, the house currently holds several period displays as well as exhibits that reflect Ramona’s past turkey farm glory, mining history, and other historical and noteworthy events.
Located in and around the Verlaque House is the Guy B. Woodward Museum. It is owned and operated by the Ramona Pioneer Historical Society and includes a number of historical buildings that were preserved and relocated to the current museum site.
These buildings include the town’s first jail, the Barnett Barn, a one-room schoolhouse, a millinery shop, and a post office. Also displayed are period wagons, farm equipment, mining equipment, and buggies.
A small gift shop offers books, postcards, and some postal antiques for visitors. More information regarding hours suggested, donations, and exhibits can be found on their website.
See Related: Road Trip Ideas in California
2. Ramona Town Hall
Address: 729 Main Street, Ramona, CA 92065
Another great historical attraction in the area is the Ramona Town Hall. Donated to the city in 1894, the town hall has been used in a variety of capacities throughout its almost 130-year history and was the site of many of the city’s “firsts.”
It served as Ramona’s first movie theater, bank, high school, and library, fulfilling many of the early needs of the growing town.
The Ramona Town Hall was restored in 1993 to maintain its beauty and architectural integrity as a historical site. Sadly, in 1995, the town hall was purposely set on fire, and much of the original building and restoration work was lost.
Though it took more than ten years to obtain the funds needed, restoration work began again in 2008, and today, the Ramona Town Hall has been largely reconstructed to reflect its original appearance and heritage.
While it is not officially one of the area’s history museums, this historic building is still a fun place for pictures. It serves as an excellent reminder of the “then vs. now” of Ramona’s history.
For more information on the Ramona Town Hall or to view some of the city’s original historical documents, visit its website.
See Related: Day Trips from San Francisco
3. Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery
Address: 23578 Highway 78, Ramona, CA 92065
The Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery is in the heart of the Ramona Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA) and is known for its sustainable approach to winemaking.
It receives excellent reviews from locals and tourists and was recently awarded the title Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
This means a visit to the winery will entail local wildlife sightings, with quail, roadrunners, hawks, coastal rosy boas, and even golden eagles making regular appearances!
The Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery are committed to crafting their award-winning wines sustainably. They utilize solar energy from solar panels as well as wind energy from a wind turbine located on the property to power some of the vineyard’s needs.
They have also incorporated plants that attract beneficial insects into their landscaping to help improve the ranch’s plant and animal life biodiversity.
Visitors can bring their dogs (if they are friendly and remain leashed) to enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the tasting patio. Guests may also bring food and non-alcoholic beverages to accompany the ranch’s wines for a nature-filled picnic.
The winery is a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon or evening surrounded by some of Ramona’s most beautiful scenery. Check their website for more information on the Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery wine selection.
See Related: Places to Visit in Your 20s in the US
4. Classic Rotors Museum
Address: 2690 Montecito Road, Ramona, CA 92065
Classic Rotors Museum is dedicated to rare and vintage aircraft powered by rotor technology (rotorcraft).
One of the more unique Ramona attractions, the museum is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that seeks to educate those who visit on the various types of rotorcraft, the technology that makes them fly, and their various histories.
Classic Rotors feature rotorcraft, including the Vertol H21B and Kamov Ka26. Some of their rarer models include the MonteCopter model 15 tri-phibian and the Sikorsky H03S.
The Classic Rotors Museum maintains flight-worthy and non-flying crafts and features a restoration facility where several different rotorcraft are often restored.
Though the museum is free to visit, donations are encouraged and appreciated to aid in the museum’s continuing restoration and educational efforts.
For those who wish to contribute on a larger scale, memberships offer admittance to airshows and tradeshows, allowing participation in acquiring new rotorcraft and parts.
The museum has plans for a future expansion and a significant increase in rotorcraft on exhibit shortly. Anyone interested in volunteering for work or tours is welcome to apply!
Rotorcraft enthusiasts and curious travelers can learn more about this unique museum experience or inquire about a private tour.
5. Total Raptor eXperience
Address: 326 Oak Street, Ramona, CA 92065
With locations in Ramona, California, and La Jolla, California, Total Raptor eXperience offers visitors and local residents a chance to enjoy up-close encounters with falcons, hawks, and owls.
This falconry school provides interactive raptor experiences in a group or private setting. While the La Jolla location provides encounters with falcons and hawks, the Ramona location exclusively offers owl experiences with their Barn Owl and Eurasian Eagle Owl.
Total Raptor eXperience also provides a way to experience the unique combination of paragliding and falconry with their Parahawking encounter.
This allows visitors to free-fly with a trained bird of prey while being safely guided by a tandem paragliding instructor. More information on this San Diego-based experience can be obtained here.
Though a private owl experience at the Ramona location can set you back a couple hundred dollars, the encounter will not be forgotten. For more information on the opportunities available at the Ramona site of Total Raptor eXperience.
See Related: Things to Do in San Jose
6. Principe di Tricase Winery
Address: 18425 Highland Valley Road, Ramona, CA 92065
The Principe di Tricase Winery is one of those places to visit in Ramona, California, that you won’t want to miss. From the large outside patio to the small and secluded private tables and seating areas, the winery offers the perfect setting for couples and groups.
It also features live music, is dog- and horse-friendly (yes, horse!), and has a nearby children’s area for any kiddos in the group.
The winery also has an onsite Italian food cart that offers a delicious selection of menu items which include kid-friendly dishes like pizza and sandwiches as well as more adult fare such as charcuterie and cold cuts platters to go along with their wine.
All the wines at Principe di Tricase are gluten-free and vegan, with some gluten-free and vegan food choices also available. Principe di Tricase offers both walk-in visits as well as reservations.
Barrel tasting with the winemaker is also available by reservation only for more information on reservations or walk-in availability.
See Related: Things to Do in Napa Valley
7. The Oasis Camel Dairy Foundation
Address: 26757 Highway 78, Ramona, CA 92065
Yes, you read that right. It’s a camel dairy! The Oasis Camel Dairy Foundation is a farm, live animal encounter, training facility, and camel experience unlike any other.
It offers both group and private tours where guests can interact with a variety of animals, including camels, mini spotted sheep, turkeys, and even parrots and cockatoos.
Visitors can also schedule camel rides, feed the camels, and shop in the gift store, which features skin care products and even chocolate made from camel’s milk!
Though the camel dairy does offer some walk-in visit times, they are limited and only available on select days. Reservations for private tours are encouraged to enhance your experience and limit the stress on the animals by not exposing them to large crowds.
During May, the dairy offers a 3-day Camel Camp where guests can enjoy up-close interactions with the farm’s camels and learn about training techniques, camel grooming, camel riding, halter training, and veterinary basics.
Check out the Oasis Camel Dairy Foundation website to learn more about open farm hours, private reservations, camel rides, and the camel camp.
See Related: Things to Do in Northern California
8. The Ramona Grasslands
Address: Highland Valley Rd, Ramona, CA 92065
Located in the Santa Maria Valley, the Ramona Grasslands County Preserve is a 3,521-acre land home to a large variety of plant, animal, and insect species. Some more notable organisms may be spotted include mountain lions, coyotes, golden eagles, weasels, and raccoons.
Visitors are also likely to encounter one of the 23 butterfly species on the preserve or a few of the more than 100 species of birds.
Since the preserve is home to several habitats, including grasslands, oak woodlands, wetlands, and more, a visit may also include sighting one of six species of amphibians or a few of the 21 species of reptiles.
In addition to the varied plant and animal life on the preserve, there are several hiking, bicycling, and equestrian trails that lead to spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes.
These can be accessed as self-guided walks or through a docent-led excursion for a more in-depth nature experience.
It is important to note that though the Ramona Grasslands sit on thousands of acres of land, not all of it is available to the public, and some specific areas require a permit to access.
For more information on the park, you can view the brochure. You can also view the map for a closer look at the available trails.
9. The Sutherland Reservoir
Address: 22850 Sutherland Dam Road, Ramona, CA 92065
The Sutherland Reservoir is one of the best outdoor Ramona attractions. It was completed in 1954 and has a maximum water depth of 145 feet when full. It offers just over 5 miles of shoreline for picnicking, turkey hunting, fishing, and nature walks.
The area also allows gas barbecues in designated areas. Though the reservoir is free to visit for scenic walks, waterside picnics, and peaceful outings, there are fees required for watercraft, fishing, and hunting. Dogs on leashes are welcome.
Water recreation at the reservoir includes canoeing, boating, kayaking, float tubing, and row boats. While the reservoir does offer row boat and hunting blind rentals, all other watercraft must be brought in by the owner and are subject to an inspection for quagga mussels.
Those who enjoy fishing will be happy to know the reservoir is home to 5 different fish species, including Largemouth Bass, Catfish, and Crappie.
Hunters may be interested in the turkey hunting available during hunting season. Reservations are required and are sold through a lottery system during the “Turkey Tune-Up Event.”
See Related: Family Vacation Ideas
10. Adventures on Horseback Ranch
Address: 21123 Sutherland Dam Road, Ramona, CA 92065
Adventures on Horseback is one of Ramona, California’s most unique tourist attractions. Visitors can experience a trail ride, participate in a riding clinic, hang out with the horses and learn a few grooming basics.
The ranch offers opportunities for every level of rider, from beginner to advanced. In addition to riding experiences, Adventures on Horseback also offers Pet N’ Play, a chance for people who don’t wish to ride to interact with horses, pygmy goats, bunnies, donkeys, and miniature horses.
The Ranch offers a Vineyard and Winery Experience for a more adult excursion. This guided horseback ride wanders through the Milagro Farm Winery where guests see the beautiful vineyards and enjoy a wine tasting at the winery’s tasting room.
Visitors can even bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during the experience. For more information on the different riding experiences available, check their website, which provides more information on the Pet N’ Play experience.
11. The Wildlife Research Institute – Hawk Watch
Address: 18528 Highland Valley Road, Ramona, CA 92065
The Wildlife Research Institute is dedicated to wildlife preservation through education, research, and advocacy. This non-profit wildlife research center works with government agencies to protect the many wildlife species within San Diego County and welcomes those who wish to volunteer.
The institute offers a unique Hawk Watch experience during January and February to further research and education. On Saturdays during these months, nature enthusiasts of all ages come together to listen to presentations from biologists and their raptor companions.
The Hawk Watch talks provide visitors with engaging and educational content while giving them an up-close look at some of the Ramona area’s most beautiful birds.
Following the Biologists Talk, watchers can observe raptors and other wildlife from the roadside and learn to identify different bird species with a biologist and high-powered telescopes.
The entire Hawk Watch experience takes place rain or shine, is wheelchair accessible, and is completely free. For more information, visit this page.
See Related: National Parks to Visit in November
12. Correcaminos Vineyard
Address: 1941 Lilac Road, Ramona, CA 92065
The Correcaminos (Roadrunner) Vineyard focuses on the rural living experience of Ramona. As part of the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association, they support sustainable winemaking methods and the larger winemaking community.
They also offer their guests opportunities for wine tasting, vineyard tours, and information on joining their wine club. In addition to wine tastings, the Correcaminos Vineyard also invites guests with RVs or motorhomes to spend the night on the grounds. Reservations are required in advance, and only one-night stays are offered.
During their overnight trip, guests will experience a property tour, a chance to meet the vineyard animals, and an exclusive look at how Correcaminos wines are made. And, of course, they’ll also enjoy wine tasting!
The vineyard periodically hosts special events such as local chefs with their signature cuisines, Sellers’ Markets where craft and food vendors offer their products, and wine discussions with local experts. For more information on Correcaminos Vineyard or to book an overnight stay, visit their website.
13. Star B Bison Ranch and Hop Farm
Address: 28425 HWY 78, Ramona, CA 92065
The Star B Bison Ranch and Hop Farm has operated since 1979 and is the largest hops farm in Southern California. The ranch sits on 1200 acres and offers various products and services, including hops, hops consulting, bison meat, and bison consulting.
For bison and wildlife enthusiasts, the ranch also offers bison tours where visitors can experience these beautiful animals up close. Ranch personnel will take guests in a personal vehicle to the location of the bison herd, where they can observe the animals’ behaviors and take close-range pictures.
Visitors can also browse the ranch’s buffalo by-products, including robes, hides, bones, and skulls.
The Star B Bison Ranch strives to honor the Native American culture and history of the Ramona area by offering the same types of buffalo products the Native Americans used to craft.
Check out their website to book a bison tour at the Star B Bison Ranch and Hop Farm or learn more about their bison or hops products.
For more side adventures in California. Book a Hop-on Hop-off Narrated Tour in Old Town San Diego.
See Related: Things to Do in Three Rivers
14. The Mt. Woodson Golf Club
Address: 16422 N. Woodson Drive, Ramona, CA 92065
Whether you love to golf or want to experience a luxury getaway, the Mt. Woodson Golf Club is the place to be! Not only is this amazing 6000-yard golf course a perfect place to play, but it also offers stunning scenery and views of the surrounding canyons.
Tee times can be booked online and are available for 1-4 guests. Instructions can be provided for the half hour or a 9-hole game for those who would like to add lessons to their visit.
The Mt. Woodson Golf Course and Country Club also feature the highly-rated Stony Mountain Bar and Grill. Offering a delicious selection for any time of the day, the grill is a great place to grab a bite before or after a round of golf.
To enjoy a longer visit, overnight accommodations through the country club are available, where guests can hike, visit local vineyards, or even bring their horses to ride through the countryside.
The space includes a continental breakfast, patio, and outdoor areas and an option to add catering or meal delivery services. This is one of the area’s top golf courses and one you won’t want to miss! To start planning your Mt. Woodson Golf and Country Club experience, visit the website!
15. Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard and Winery
Address: 18351 Woods Hill Lane, Ramona, CA 92065
If you’re wondering what to do in Ramona, California, start with the Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard and Winery. Their unique name was inspired by the giant granite rock that overlooks their entire vineyard and provides a fun theme for a wine-tasting adventure!
The winery serves both red and white wines, many of which are award-winning. It has also been awarded the title of Best Wine and Tasting Room for seven years straight by the Ramona Sentinel Readers Poll. Turtle Rock Ridge utilizes organic practices in its winemaking and supports sustainable production methods.
Turtle Rock Ridge offers tours of their winery with in-depth information on their vineyards and how they are made. Tours should be scheduled in advance, and a small fee is required on top of the normal wine-tasting fee. Their tasting room is open Thursday-Sunday, though the hours vary depending on the day.
Whether you’re there for a tour, wine tasting, or to enjoy the scenery, the Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard and Winery won’t disappoint!
See Related: Bucket List Places to Visit in the US
16. Vineyard Grant James
Address: 25260 East Old Julian Highway, Ramona, CA 92065
A visit to Vineyard Grant James offers so much more than just wine tasting. Their beautiful vineyard and winery provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and valley, greet you with warmth and hospitality, and introduce you to luxury wine in a boutique setting.
Vineyard Grant James offers award-winning Rosés and white wines as well as a single variety of vintage-dated wines.
For a fun and unique experience, the vineyard gives winery members and non-members the chance to camp outdoors on the grounds for an overnight adventure in August.
This campout is recommended for guests who are 21 years and older as it features wine tasting as well as barbeque burgers, hot dogs, and s’mores. Many guests bring lawn games that everyone in attendance can enjoy.
Vineyard Grant James also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including a Sommelier Series and a cruise down the Rhine River through Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. For more information on these amazing events, visit their website.
17. Milagro Winery
Address: 18750 Littlepage Road, Ramona, CA 92065
The Milagro Winery answers, “is Ramona, California worth visiting?” with a resounding “yes!” This 110-acre vineyard and winery offer picturesque vines, an organic farm, fruit and nut orchards, a crush house, and a wine cave.
The views alone are stunning enough to warrant a visit. When paired with one of the Milagro farm vineyards’ selections of Chardonnay, Super Tuscan, Sauvignon Blanc, or Rosé, it becomes the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
In addition to the wine tasting and beautiful wine-tasting room, the Milagro farm vineyards’ winery also offers several diversions, including bocce ball, hiking, and horseback riding.
The lovely vineyards are the perfect setting for a leisurely walk or a delightful trip on horseback, offered through Adventures on Horseback (number 10 on the list above). For those who enjoy music along with their wine, live music is provided once a month in the wine-tasting room.
The winery also hosts pop-up events that feature local vendors and their merchandise. Check their website for more information on things to do while visiting the stunning Milagro farm vineyards and winery.
See Related: Things to Do in Sacramento
18. Woof’n Rose Winery
Address: 17073 Garjan Lane, Ramona, CA 92065
The Woof’n Rose Winery received its name due to the owners’ love of dogs and the rose bushes on the property. The owners have dogs and invite visitors to bring their leashed dogs to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the wine-tasting room.
The winery specializes in making Cabernet Franc but also offers other classic Bordeaux varietals. In addition to sipping some award-winning wines, guests can visit the owners to learn about their vineyards and winemaking process.
The vineyard and winery offer spectacular mountain views that are the perfect backdrop for wine tasting, relaxing, and good conversation. It is accessible by car and horseback, which means equestrian visitors can also enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting.
19. San Diego Day Trips
Address: San Diego and La Jolla
Visitors to Ramona, California, will also enjoy day trips to nearby San Diego or La Jolla, such as one of the local amusement parks, horseback riding, Balboa Park, specialty interest tours, a day coastal tour, an adult flight experience, or one of the educational zoos.
The San Diego Explorer Pass offers great value if you’d like to enjoy several of these attractions during your visit. A San Diego walking tour with outdoor attractions, food, and shopping can also provide a great way to enjoy the local culture.
San Diego and La Jolla offer visitors a chance to design a custom tour adventure. You can build family tours, adult tours, or a mix of both! Enjoy a beer-tasting tour and adult brewery, a visit to Del Mar Beach, local farmers markets, the Iron Mountain hiking trails, and adult food and beverage stops.
Visitors can also enjoy a variety of nightlife, water activities, wildlife viewing, one of the diverse park experiences, or a chance to take in the Balboa Park culture.
See Related: Northern California vs Southern California
How to Get Around Ramona, California
Relational transportation is a must when moving between Ramona, California, and tourist attractions. Though the larger city of San Diego, about 45 minutes away, has a more extensive public transit system, Ramona is rather limited in public transportation.
By Bus or Train
The BREEZE Bus System offers service throughout the North Country, including Ramona. However, specific stops and schedules for Ramona should be checked before the date of your travel plans. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System also provides service to Ramona on a limited basis.
It should be noted that these forms of transportation may not run all days of the week or may have special hours for stops in Ramona.
Some of the local bicycle shops in Ramona also offer bike rentals. With careful planning, it is possible to bike to some of the locations in Ramona that are close to one another.
Though many of the wineries are spread out around the surrounding countryside, some of the attractions within the city are within riding distance of each other. Since Ramona only experiences about 25 days of rain annually, the weather is generally suitable for an extended bicycle excursion.
The most reliable way to move around Ramona is by car. Many of the locations in Ramona are spread out, and some (such as the grasslands) don’t necessarily have a bus stop nearby, making them almost exclusively accessible by car.
A personal vehicle or rental car will also make it easier to visit destinations in San Diego or neighboring cities on your own time rather than waiting for one of the scheduled bus runs.
Places to Stay in Ramona
Riviera Oaks Resort & Racket Club provides spacious accommodations, a full-service spa and on-site dining. The Ramona, California resort is located in the San Vicente Valley. Accommodations at this resort are equipped with fireplaces, DVD players and cable TV. They include sofas beds, sofa beds and dining areas. Guests can enjoy their stay even more by using the WiFi, which is available in all rooms.
The San Diego Country Estates provides guests with a variety of modern amenities and facilities, including full kitchens, complimentary movie rentals and outdoor barbecue grill areas. Guests can also participate in the property's weekly social activities.
The San Vicente Golf Resort is situated in Southern California, just 20 minutes from Barona Casino and Barona Creek Golf Club. Featuring an 18 hole golf course on-site, the hotel also offers an outdoor pool, tennis courts and equestrian center. Cable TV, a small fridge and free Wi-Fi are available in the guest rooms at the San Vicente Golf Resort. The Oaks Grille Restaurant, featuring American cuisine, is on-site and breakfast is available.
Is San Diego close enough to visit from Ramona?
Yes! A short 45-minute drive will have you enjoying a San Diego walking tour, a visit to Del Mar Beach and Del Mar Beach attractions, information on how to save Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, and much more!
What is the weather like in Ramona, California?
Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the weather in Ramona is generally quite stable, with temperatures rarely exceeding the high 90s in the summer.
Fall, winter, and spring weather can be colder, though temperatures normally stay above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Ramona doesn’t receive much rain, usually only about 25 days a year, but during the non-summer months, it can be overcast, windy, and chilly.