San Jacinto Valley hosts national bloggers

Bloggers visit San Jacinto Valley

Bloggers arrived from across the country to enjoy the San Jacinto Valley this past November.  Eight bloggers were hosted in the Valley for three days and produced over 13 million timeline deliveries while they were having fun learning all about what the area offers.

This was the first blogger press trip since the inception of Visit San Jacinto Valley (the area’s destination marketing program) three years ago.  To host a “national” blogger press trip is a little unusual for a first time venture but thanks to the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism committee and Snowbird blogger Deb Thompson, this special trip has launched the San Jacinto Valley onto the national stage as a tourism destination in a big way.  Bloggers attending were a good mix from Michigan, Ohio, Washington, and California.

Bloggers produce results

During the press trip the entire #VisitSJV experience was documented across multiple social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The 8 bloggers are respected writers and photographers covering travel, family, food, and entertainment.  Their combined social media following at the time of the event was 433,500 people.  The bloggers created 450+ original posts over the three days.

As part of the agreement to attend, each blogger will now write 2 stories that will appear on each of their own websites/blogs, so in addition to the publicity generated while they were in the valley, there will be much more publicity over the next several months.

The itinerary for the three days the group spent in the San Jacinto Valley included visits to Ramona Bowl, Estudillo Mansion, Hemet Depot, Victorian Bridal Museum, Old Town Temecula, wine tasting, attending the Healthy Hemet reception at the Historic Hemet Theater where they met a variety of local residents, Western Science Center, Diamond Valley Lake, and meeting with members from the Soboba Tribal Council.

Golden Village Palms and Super 8 (now the new Best Western Plus) housed the bloggers. The Anchor, Downtown Deli & Coffee, Marie Callendars, Sweet Baby Jane’s, La Michoccana, and The Maze Stone restaurants all hosted meals for the group. Courtesy transportation was provided by Gosh Ford.

Initial estimated return on investment

The monetary PR value of the online coverage the San Jacinto Valley received, just during the three day trip, is worth thousands of dollars and that’s just the beginning.  The stories that each blogger will be writing and sharing will continue to keep the spotlight on the Valley for a long time ahead.

We want to thank the following bloggers for visiting with us and providing such awesome content to help us spread the word about the San Jacinto Valley:

You can find a roundup of all the blog posts that were produced from this trip here.

The blogger press trip could not have happened without the donations of the wonderful local businesses who took part in the trip as well as countless volunteers who gave up their time to help showcase our special valley.

A quote from blogger Donna Biroczky’s first story about the area sums it all up:

“…the community alone is a big reason to visit San Jacinto Valley. In all the places I’ve lived, I’ve never run into a tightly knit group of people who truly care about each other and their neighbors and cities as much as the people of the San Jacinto Valley. From the friendly smiles, the welcoming hugs and the excitement in sharing their home with us, their love for the San Jacinto Valley was readily apparent the entire time.”




Snowbird banner in the San Jacinto Valley


Living in Michigan my entire  life I wasn’t sure what to expect about life in the San Jacinto Valley in the heart of southern California. It’s one thing to visit an area for a week, it’s a completely different story when you live there and you have to find grocery stores, favorite coffee shops, the library, and so many more of the the everyday mundane parts of life.

My teen daughter and I made the drive from Michigan to San Jacinto Valley to explore the area and discover for ourselves if San Jacinto Valley is a good snowbird destination.

San Jacinto Valley Welcomes Snowbirds

The San Jacinto Valley welcomed Deb with a special reception

We only had a few requirements for a snowbird destination. There had to be warm weather and sunshine, good food, a lively arts & culture scene and decent shopping. San Jacinto Valley not only met our requirements, but exceeded them.

After being there for six weeks I created a list of things a first time snowbird needs to know about living in the San Jacinto Valley. These are my insights into the area and how things are different in the land of the sun.


1. Cactus and gravel instead of grass: I think this is one of the most noticeable things about coming from the midwest. In Michigan every lawn is green grass, or, if it’s winter, lots of snow. In the San Jacinto Valley the majority of yards are created from a combination of gravel and cactuses.  I like it because it seems pretty low maintenance to me and I love low maintenance.

2. Lots of stop lights: There are quite a few stop lights on the main roads. Be sure to plan extra travel time to go from point A to point B. A 10 mile trip took us about 30 minutes due, in part, to all the lights. Plan accordingly and you’ll be fine.

3. Taco shops: We tried to count the number of taco shops in the area, but it proved to be a bit challenging. There is almost one on every city block. If you love Mexican food this is a great place to live.

4. Beware of the Dips: The main roads in San JacintoValley don’t have speed bumps, but travel down any side street and where there is an intersection there is, most likely, a dip in the road, or, as we started referring to them, inverted speed bumps. Caution is advised because, at times, these sneak up on you quickly and if you don’t slow down for them you will be traveling Dukes of Hazard style across the intersection. We have been informed that these are actually flood control measures, but they will forever remain in our minds as inverted speed bumps.

5. Arts & Culture Scene: There is always something happening in the valley. Concerts, theater, plays, art shows, art classes, film festivals, galleries, and so much more. I love the variety of opportunities available. Since we’ve been here we’ve gone to a 70’s cover band concert, jazz concert, listened to dueling pianists and explored art galleries.

6. High(er) gas prices: If you are coming from the midwest be prepared to pay a bit more for gas, California is consistently one of the highest states for gas prices.  During my visit it was running about 30-40 cents more per gallon than in my hometown. By the way, it’s completely worth it to pay more to enjoy living without snow. The prices of groceries and eating out, however, is about the same as home. This has to be one of the most budget-friendly cities in southern California.

Farmer's Markets in the San Jacinto Valley7. Year round farmers markets: My favorite thing about the area is that there are two farmers markets that run year round. Hemet has more flea market type vendors in addition to fruits, veggies, and prepared foods and is open on Saturday mornings behind the Hemet Public Library. San Jacinto farmer’s market, at the corner of Menlo and San Jacinto Roads,  is certified organic and is open on Thursday morning and offers a great selection of fruits, veggies, fresh flowers, olive oil, fresh squeezed juice, mediterranean food, and more. It is a bit surreal shopping at farmer’s markets in January.

8. Easy drive to beach or mountains: If you are missing the snow San Jacinto Valley is a short drive to the mountains where you can go skiing and then drive back to the land of the sun. If you prefer spending the day at the ocean then you are in luck as that is also an easy drive. Each of them are within 90 minutes, depending on traffic.

9. Great location for day trips: The San Jacinto Valley provides a great, affordable, home base for unlimited day trip opportunities. Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Temecula, San Diego, Los Angelas, and Disneyland to name a few. Additionally, there are great destinations to visit within a 4 to 5 hour drive including Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Death Valley.

10 Friendly people. Everywhere we have visited during our stay we have been greeted by incredibly nice people. They are always welcoming and have a smile to share. In my opinion, the locals can make or break a destination and the locals definitely make this a place I want to stay.San Jacinto Valley's Diamond Valley Lake

Of course, there are cons to every destination and the San Jacinto Valley does have room for improvement. The commercial areas look tired and rough around the edges. Fresh coats of paint, some landscaping, and litter control would go a long ways to making the area look more welcoming.

However, as with most things in life, you get exactly what you pay for. Living in the San Jacinto Valley is very budget friendly and there are many great reasons to stay here (see list above and read my posts on However, if you are looking for a shiny, gorgeous destination like Palm Springs or Temecula you won’t find it here. My advice, stay here for the cost and visit the more expensive destinations as day trips.

Overall, I have found San Jacinto Valley a great location to snowbird. It is small town enough to make getting around easy, yet it is within easy driving distance to wonderful attractions and destination. I love that San Jacinto Valley is budget friendly and doesn’t come with the high costs that seem to infect many parts of southern California.

If you haven’t looked at the San Jacinto Valley as a snowbird destination come on out for a visit and see for yourself why this is the perfect winter location!

Deb ThompsonDeb Thompson is a lifestyle, travel, snowbird and food blogger at 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,,, or

For more information:
San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce (951) 654-1645
Hemet/San Jacinto (951) 658-3211