Sideways Tour: From Napa Valley to Santa Ynez

Hop aboard your RV and enjoy a scenic California road trip, from the famous wine region of Napa Valley to the picturesque beach city of Santa Ynez.

Few movies have had a bigger impact on the wine industry than Sideways. Following the film’s 2004 release, sales of Pinot Noir jumped by 16% while those of merlot dipped 2%. One study even estimated that in the decade since the film hit theaters, the merlot segment of the wine industry dropped by a staggering $400 million because of the main character’s such vocal disdain of the varietal. 

The movie has inspired countless road trips and is naturally an industry favorite. Overall wine consumption has increased and more people have discovered the incredible beauty of California’s less famous wine region of Santa Ynez Valley since its release fifteen years ago. This great RV road trip gives wine and nature enthusiasts an amazing taste of California. Beginning in San Francisco, you’ll head out into Napa then curve down across the Sierras before winding up in Santa Barbara in some of the same wineries as the cult classic. 

Day 1: San Francisco - Napa Valley

Golden Gate Bridge

There are few places better to begin a road trip then the incredible cosmopolitan city of San Francisco. Before hitting the road, be sure to check out the incredible places like Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Haight-Ashbury. Then it’s time to start the engine and take your RV across one of the most beautiful bridges in the world—the Golden Gate.  

Day 2-3: Napa Valley 

Napa Valley

There are dozen of great RV campgrounds in the Napa Valley region. As America’s favorite wine region, you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to savor delicious wines, soaks up the gorgeous landscapes, and create romantic memories. As a bonus, you’ll save so much money with your RV as an accommodation so you can use the extra cash on a very special bottle. Check out the wine tasting passes which even include transportation so you can enjoy all the wine you want and not have to worry about driving. 

Day 4: Napa - Lake Tahoe 


After a couple of days in Napa, head out to Lake Tahoe. Tahoe is an all season destination. In winter, it’s home to incredible ski resorts while summer offers hiking, kayaking, boating, and swimming. From Tahoe, you might even want to dip into Nevada to try your luck at one of the casinos in Reno or Carson City Nevada. Tahoe is one of the best RV regions in the country, so take time to explore the lake and find the perfect campsite for you. 

Day 5: Tahoe - Yosemite 

No trip to this region is complete without visiting Yosemite. The scenic drive between Tahoe and Yosemite down Highway 395 is truly hard to beat. You’ll enjoy snow-capped mountains, redwood and sequoias trees, and picturesque vistas. The drive itself makes the journey just fantastic. But wait until you arrive in Yosemite. 

Day 6: Yosemite 


Yosemite National Park encompasses 748,000 of the most beautiful actress in America. From the incredible panorama above Bridalveil Fall to the towering cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome, it’s truly a spectacular site. There’s no better way to enjoy the park than by spending the night under the stars in your own RV. There are more than 12 options to choose from. Whether you want to hike across the valley, cast out nearby the famous fish camp or snooze in the quieter Mariposa Campground, you’ll find one the perfect spot for you! 

Day 7: Yosemite - Santa Ynez 

Santa Ynez Valley

Time to head out of the Sierras and down to SoCal. This is what you’ve been waiting—a taste of the lovely Santa Ynez Valley. Santa Ynez is an excellent complement to Napa Valley. Napa is a little bigger and showier, while Santa Ynez definitely soaks up the relaxed surfer vibes of nearby Santa Barbara. If you’re interested Solvang Winery even offers a “Sideways Tour” that takes you to many of the most famous spots from the film. If that’s not your style, you can create your own itinerary. Santa Ynez is not just a wine growing hotspot, but full of other exciting activities like hiking, food tours, and exploring the nearby California coast. 

Day 8-9: Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Beach

You don’t have to try far from Santa Ynez to then be in stunning Santa Barbara. So far you’ve seen the beautiful wine regions of Napa and Santa Ynez along with the beautiful nature of Tahoe and Yosemite. Santa Barbara is the perfect combination of all this is one incredible beach city. The Santa Ynez Mountains actually set the backdrop to this Mediterranean-style city complete with Spanish colonial buildings. You’ll enjoy great local restaurants, more of the delicious local wines, and gorgeous beachside camping.

Day 10: Cruising Down to Los Angeles

Los Angeles Sunset

What better way is there to end a great road trip than taking the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Barbara down into LA. Along the way, you might choose to stop off for a night or two in the surfing community of Malibu. Malibu is another phenomenal place to enjoy beachside camping, a little grilling, and maybe even some surfing. Then you can wrap up your whole RV rental adventure by toasting your road trip in one of the eclectic bars and restaurants of Los Angeles. By this time, you might even be ready for one of California’s famous microbrews or even a cocktail to finish up your vacation! 

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