A few hours on a zipline is practically a guaranteed family vacation crowd-pleaser. We experienced a zipline tour in Central California near Paso Robles that is as fun as it is unusual. The tour takes place on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, a vast private estate the size of Manhattan encompassing acres of vineyards and stunning wilderness.
The Margarita Adventures zipline tour offers families the opportunity to learn about California history and geology as the 2.5 hour experience includes a local guide and private transportation through the ranch. If all of this sounds too calm to you or your children, think again. Here’s a look at our 9-year-old going down the first of four ziplines, aptly named Renegade.
The Renegade takes riders 1,300 feet across an expansive valley into an oak forest.
Disclosure: I don’t like heights so I opted out of the zipline part of the tour. Although everyone else in our group leapt off the Renegade — loved it — and proceeded to giggle for the next hour, so clearly I missed out. After seeing the whole course, I just might give it a go the next time around. There are four ziplines and only the first one is daunting.
Each of the four ziplines has it’s own personality. This one is low and fast
Karl, one of the ranch owners, took us out on our tour and shared a bit about the fascinating history of Santa Margarita Ranch. Part of the California Mission Trail and inhabited by Native Americans for 13,000 years, the ranch is truly a historic landmark.
Now a good part of the ranch is used for wine production under the Ancient Peaks label. The tour includes a look at their varied and vast vineyards yielding 15,000 cases of wine (they sell fruit to other wine producers as well).
Part of Santa Margarita Ranch lies on an ancient sea bed
Part of what makes the vineyard soil rich with minerals and the tour so interesting is that Santa Margarita Ranch lies on an ancient sea bed and evidence of sea life is everywhere from fossilized oysters to whale bones.
Although the ranch has ziplines and vineyards, it’s also an active wilderness. It’s not unusual to see deer, eagles, and even bears on a tour.
Margarita Ranch is a fantastic spot for a multigenerational tour as they specialize in managing small groups and can really put together a special experience.
-Children must be at least 75 lbs to ride the zipline alone. Children who are at least 40 lbs can go tandem with a parent. 275 lbs is the maximum weight allowed to participate.
-Full property tour including ziplines: $99 per adult/$79 per child
-Property tour only without ziplines: $40 per person
-All tours include the opportunity to taste wines in the Ancient Peaks Winery tasting room. A stop is recommended as the wine is well-priced and delicious.
Advance reservations are required. Click here to book a tour.
Our party received a complimentary tour in order to review Margarita Ranch for Ciao Bambino. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy