Explore the Suisun Valley: A Vibrant Emerging Family Destination

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Suisun Valley is a unique, rustic wine country and farming community located just north of the San Francisco Bay Area in Solano County between San Francisco and Sacramento. In the recent past most visitors made their way up to the area for the Jelly Belly Factory that is located in Fairfield. These days, there are a whole host of things bringing visitors like tasting rooms, nature escapes and so much more. Read on to find plan your next visit!

7 Unique Things to Do in the Suisun Valley

While many might know of the Suisun Valley as a destination worth exploring for wine aficionados, it is also quickly becoming a great destination for families with a variety of family friendly offerings worth checking out. Driving through the area you will see fields growing grapes for sauvignon blanc, petite sirah and cabernet sauvignon, fruit orchards and olive and nut groves as well. Below we share some of our top things to do in the area for families, couples and solo travelers alike. 

Western Railway Museum

Western Museum train car in Suisun ValleyThe Western Railway Museum located in Suisun City is a must visit in the area for folks who love all things train. While the museum itself is quite small, the big draw here is the opportunity to ride on an electric train. Every weekend, volunteers start up the interurban train to take visitors on a 50 minute ride through the agricultural landscape providing history on the train as well as the area itself. Train fans will love this excursion!

Back at the museum, there are over 50 historic cars on display, a cafe, and plenty of space to roam around or set up for a picnic lunch.  Don’t miss the holiday train events like the pumpkin patch train ride and the Santa train in December. 

Rush Ranch

Marsh Trail at Rush Ranch in Suisun ValleyRush Ranch sits on the edge of the Suisun Marsh providing recreational and educational opportunities to many in and around the area. Within the property’s boundaries is one of the best remaining examples of a brackish tidal marsh habitat in the United States, which is a great place for birders!

The ranch has historical buildings, self guided trails and offers a monthly festival that is something to plan your visit around. They have also recently instituted a Storybook walk that takes guests through 16 posts through the ranch. This month (November), for Native American Heritage Month, docents will share exhibits and activities from the Patwin Program. This is a unique place to check out especially when the blacksmith shop is open and offering tours.

Rockville Hills Regional Park

Local park in Suisun ValleyIf you have driven up to the Suisun Valley for the day and are looking for a little nature escape to stretch your legs, you should head to this beautiful locals park, Rockville Hills. Here you will see locals walking their dogs, mountain bikers and families exploring the area. There are a variety of trails on offer, although I will say the trail signage isn’t great.

Instead of relying on the signs, download one of the maps from AllTrails before you set out so that you don’t have to worry about getting lost. I downloaded the Green Valley Trail map which gives you a good overview of the park. This way, you can just explore as you wish and easily find your way back to the car.  If you follow the Green Valley Trail you will come across a cave high above the trail for the adventurous to explore as well as a small lake and pond filled with ducks.  This is a beautiful park for a quick 2-3 mile hike to stretch your legs. Parking is limited and there is an entry fee per person (and dog!) paid at the digital kiosk.

Cal Yee Farms

Cal Yee Farms in Suisun ValleyThis may seem like an odd thing to put on our top things to do in Suisun Valley list, but this remains one of our favorite stops of our trip! Cal Yee Farms is set amongst fields of vineyards deep in the Suisun Valley. This small mom and pop shop offers an outstanding selection of dried fruits and nuts that will have you wishing for more. The shop sells unique blends like Sesame Glazed Almonds, bags of walnuts, dried fruits and more. If you are local to the area and need a party platter or gift idea, they offer beautiful options perfect for this. They may also have some local olive oil on offer as well during certain times of the year. 

Larry’s Produce Stand

Larry's Produce Chicken statue in Suisun ValleyAnother local institution that is well worth your time is Larry’s Produce stand. This farm stand set among the fruit orchards in the area has grown over the years and is popular with both locals and visitors alike. During our visit the area was set up for Halloween offering a corn maze, an entire field of unique pumpkins for sale as well as plenty of Instagram worthy photo opportunities. I have a feeling on the weekends this place is happening as we saw a few food trucks here even on the week day!

Apart from the fun, the produce on offer was outstanding. We bought a selection of grapes, strawberries and persimmons and wish we had purchased more they were all so delicious and sweet. This was one of the best farm stands we have ever been to and should be on every Suisun Valley to do list, regardless of the season. Note, the stand is cash only. They do have an ATM on site if necessary. 

Wooden Valley Winery

For more than 85 years, family-owned, Wooden Valley Winery has been producing award-winning fine wines and wine grapes in the perfect mediterranean climate of the Suisun Valley. While this isn’t the world-famous Napa valley wine country, the Suisun Valley has a rich agricultural history of producing world-class wines.

Open daily from 10-5, visitors have various tasting opportunities, can purchase specialty gifts or explore the picnic area. Tastings are $20 per person (refundable with the purchase of wine) and held in a beautiful wine tasting room.  This winery holds various events throughout the year such a chocolate and wine pairings and dinner events. Check their website often to keep up on the latest happenings.

Jelly Belly Factory Tour

Jelly Belly FactoryI would be remiss to not include a visit to the Jelly Belly Factory while you are in the Suisun Valley. Located in Fairfield, the Jelly Belly Factory tour is a fan favorite with kids and adults. This self-guided tour is quite interesting to learn more about the process of how a jelly bean is produced. Throughout the tour, guests are moved along the top floor of the actual factory with videos offering insight and detailed descriptions on what is happening below. If you happen to visit on a weekend, the factory will not be operating, however you can still see where everything below you. 

Along the tour route, make sure to play some of the interactive games where you guess the jelly bean flavor based on a question as well as playing goalie to a jelly bean bonanza! When you have finished your tour, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on your interest level, be sure to stop in the shop to purchase some goodies.

There is also a cafe on site if you need to refuel before you eat all your treats.

Where to Eat in the Suisun Valley

The Suisun Valley is quite spread out, offering a variety of options throughout the area. From cute boutique spots in the middle of the vineyards to more well known chain restaurants there is something for everyone here. Below are a few of the spots we checked out during our quick stay and would highly recommend. 

BackRoad Vines @ Village 360

We popped into BackRoad Vines for a quick breakfast before heading back home, so we weren’t able to get the full experience of the food on offer. For breakfast on the weekdays, this location turns into a small coffee shop with a few pastries, avocado on toast (always delish!) and yogurt parfait options. We heard from the locals that this is one of the best coffee shops around. At 11 a.m. it opens for lunch and offers a whole host of delicious varieties. We were told this is a popular spot on the weekends, so do plan on booking in advance. 

Saffron Indian Cuisine

After living in India for a decade, you know we are picky about our Indian food. Saffron Indian Cuisine was a surprise in how tasty and authentic it was. They even serve our favorite kheer which as a hit. Try the paneer tikka, dal tadka and butter naan and think of us!

Rustwater Kitchen & Taproom

We didn’t have time to make it to Rustwater Kitchen, but it was on our eeny meeny mo for dinner when Saffron won out. This local place looked great and was hopping on a Sunday night. The food on offer is what you would expect to find on a pub menu, however the beers on tap are what lures you in! The beers on tap are switched out often so check their menu for the latest, but in general there are usually several local varieties from the area as well as some further afield. 

Joy of Eating Cafe

If you happen to spend the night or arrive early, we highly recommend popping into the Joy of Eating Cafe in Suisun City overlooking the Suisun Bay. This cute little diner has delicious homemade bread that is used for their french toast. They also offer massive portions of everything – omelets included. Definitely a spot to hit when in the area. 

Dave & Busters

I usually don’t love to recommend chain restaurants, but sometimes you just gotta let loose and have some fun. It’s not often we see Dave & Buster’s where we live, so we had to check it out. The food here is actually really tasty and worth checking out if you are looking for something quick and easy for the whole family. We enjoyed the chicken sandwich and a seasonal special of Cajun Shrimp and grits. While you wait for your food, why not play a few games to pass the time too! 

If you are looking to make a weekend of your adventure, you could look into staying at the Suisun Valley Inn which is located just near all the happenings in the Suisun Valley wine region on the historic 27-acre Monroe Ranch.

Have you been to the Suisun Valley? Have we missed your favorite things to do?

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