20 free and inexpensive Snowbird activities in San Jacinto Valley

Welcome San Jacinto Valley Snowbirds


Boredom is never a problem when you’re a Snowbird in the San Jacinto Valley. There are so many activities for a Snowbird and most are free or have a very minimal fee.

The problem won’t be wondering what you’ll do during your stay, but how you’ll get everything done while visiting San Jacinto Valley.

1. Bird watching guided tours: Held on the property of the Eastern Municipal Water District on the fourth Saturday of each month. Arrive between 7:45-8:00 a.m. These free tours are approximately 2 hours long and have a very easy, flat walk of less than a mile. Pastries, coffee & water are available prior to the tour. If you need binoculars they provide them for use during the tour. The guides are very knowledge about birds in the area and helpfully point out a variety of birds in the wetlands.

2. Continuing education classes at Mt. San Jacinto College. There are select classes that are offered free through the Continuing Education program at the college and perfect for a Snowbird. Ceramics, watercolor, writing and music to name a few. To learn more and register go to www.msjc.edu. Dates and time vary.

3. Golden Village Palms RV Resort hosts a variety of events throughout the winter all geared to the Snowbird. Concerts, car shows, farmers market, art show, Taste of the Valley, and more. Check their monthly calendar. Some fees may apply.

4. Hike: So many great hiking trails, so littleSan Jacinto Valley hiking time. The lakes, mountains, and parks all provide extensive hiking trails that are free to use.  Learn more here.

5. Valley Wide Recreation: Valley Wide offers a variety of classes to the public that are perfect for the Snowbird. Dance, exercise, and sports classes are offered throughout the week for minimal fees. They also offer a few guided day trips throughout the winter. Click on the link to learn more.

6. Art Galleries: Stroll through local art galleries and admire works by local artists. Exhibits change regularly.  Hemet Valley Art Association 144 N. Harvard St. Hemet, Esplanade Arts Center 2181 W. Esplanade Ave., San Jacinto , CA 92583. Check the Esplanade Arts Center website for special events in addition to their gallery, Mt. San Jacinto College Art Gallery  1499 N. State Street, San Jacinto. The Art Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 10 – 4pm. Bronze Sculpture artist Max DeMoss resides in the area and has a gallery on his property that you are welcome to visit. Gallery is open by appointment or by chance. Weekends are your best bet if you just want to drop in.

7. Villagefest in Palm Springs: Every Thursday night Palm Springs hosts a Villagefest downtown. Music, entertainment, food, and fun await you. Villagefest is pet friendly so feel free to take your four legged Snowbird friend with you. 6p-10p

8. Diamond Valley Lake Visitors Center: Learn about water and the building of Diamond Valley Lake through hands-on exhibits, a map of California’s aqueduct systems, a small sample of ice age fossils, a solar panel exhibit and more. 2325 Searl Parkway, Hemet, Ca., 92543 Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No charge.

9. Wine Tasting in Temecula: A short 30 minute drive and you can be in the wine country of Southern California. Temecula is home to 35 wineries that welcome guests to come over and spend time tasting their wine, taking tours, or just enjoying the ambiance of their vineyard. Tasting fees vary by vineyard. Most of the wineries are open daily for visitors from 10a to 5p.

10. Western Science Center: A hidden gem in Hemet the Western Science Center displays relics that were discovered during the construction of Diamond Valley Lake including the largest Mastadoon ever found in the Western United States. After visiting the museum walk around the outdoor gardens. $8 per person.

11. Estudillo Mansion: A preserved historic home in San Jacinto. The Estudillo Mansion is a beautifully restored home with friendly docents that share stories of life in San Jacinto during its early days. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and there are picnic tables for the Snowbird to relax and enjoy an afternoon lunch. Suggested donation: $2/per person. The Estudillo Mansion is open to the public every Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. Located at 150 S. Dillon Ave, San Jacinto, CA

12. San Jacinto Museum: Located on the grounds of the Estudillo Mansion the San Jacinto Museum offers visitors a look into the past through a large collection of photographs and memorabilia. Open Friday through Sunday from 11 am – 4 pm. Located at 150 S. Dillon Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

13. Concerts at Mt. San Jacinto College: A collection of jazz, big band and community orchestra concerts take place at the campus theater. Ticket prices are $6 general admission, $5 seniors, and $4 students, under 12 are admitted for free. Check the college calendar of events for up-to-date information.

14. Browse Farmers markets: A Snowbird favorite – every Thursday the San Jacinto Certified Farmers Market, located on San Jacinto and Menlo streets in the Farmer’s Corner plaza, provides a Hemet Farmer's Marketnice selection of organic certified fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, flowers, olive oils and more. The market is open from 8 am to 1 pm. Every Saturday the Hemet Farmers Market, located at 217 N Harvard St, is more of a flea market than farmers market. Vendors offer everything from used books, purses, hand crafted goods and fruits and vegetables. The market is open from 9 am to 2 pm.

15. Library: Apply for a library card and enjoy an unlimited supply of books and dvds for free. San Jacinto Public Library 500 Idylwild Dr, San Jacinto Monday-Saturday hours vary. Hemet Public Library 300 E. Latham Ave., Hemet. Wednesday – Saturday hours vary. Valle Vista Library 25757 Fairview Ave, Hemet. Monday – Saturday hours vary.

16. Hemet Train Depot/Museum: One of the oldest structures in Hemet. The museum showcases local history through photographs and artifacts and includes displays for the Ramona Pageant, Native American heritage and agricultural history. Open 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

17. Spend the day at Lake Hemet or Lake Perris State Recreational Area: These lakes are multi-use recreational lakes for boating, fishing, camping and swimming. Lake Hemet has a $12 day use fee and is located at 56570 California 74, Mountain Center, CA 92561. Lake Perris State Recreational Area is open 7 days a week from 6 AM – 8 PM and is located at 17801 Lake Perris Drive Perris, California 92571.

18. Visit the San Jacinto Wildlife Refuge: Approximately 20,000 acres comprise the San Jacinto Wildlife Refuge. To access the refuge take I-215 to Ramona Expressway and then east to Davis Road. Open seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

19. Shore fishing at Diamond Valley Lake : The water stored in Diamond Valley Lake serves as drinking water for some of Southern California making this is a no skin contact lake. However, boating and fishing are allowed. If you don’t have a boat shore fishing is allowed; a fishing license is required. A one-day license is $14.96. Learn more here.

20. Visit a museum. Discover everything from petroglyphs to Victorian bridal gowns at over 16 different museums in the region.


21. Join a community organization: There are many active community organizations in the San Jacinto Valley. Organizations include History, Art, Model Master, Computer Club, Harmony, Woodcarvers, Women’s Club and more.

Deb Thompson is a lifestyle, travel, snowbird and food blogger at JustShortOfCrazy.com. She traded corporate America for living life on her terms. She is proof that you can live your dreams if you let go of the fear. She is a traveler, foodie, sun chaser, lover of fluffy dogs and sometimes cats, photo taker, baker, pr friendly influencer, brand ambassador, Michigan resident and much more. Follow her adventures at www.JustShortOfCrazy.com, www.facebook.com/JustShortOfCrazy, www.twitter.com/debthompson, or www.instagram.com/debthmpsn



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For more information:
San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce (951) 654-1645
Hemet/San Jacinto (951) 658-3211
Email: info@visitsanjacintovalley.com