Winter blues got you down? Looking to escape muggy summer days at home? A long weekend in the exploring Baja's wine region may be just the answer.
Travelers based in the western United States can reach San Diego, Ensenada , Loreto , La Paz , or Los Cabos  by air in a matter of hours. From these international airports, a variety of weekend itineraries are possible.
Cross the U.S.–Mexico border at San Ysidro after the morning rush hour and head south through Tijuana  and onto the toll road. Stop in Rosarito  for lunch at El Nido . Sit in the shaded back patio if it’s not too hot and try the locally raised quail and venison dishes. Walk off lunch by cutting through the Rosarito Beach Hotel and onto the pier that runs 600 yards out over the Pacific.
The total driving time from Tijuana to Ensenada  will be less than two hours on the Cuota (toll road) and around 2.5 hours on the Libre (free road), depending on traffic. When you arrive in Ensenada, check into the Corona Hotel . Hit the downtown area for dinner, and then head north to Hussong’s Cantina  for a beer. If the spirit moves you, walk to the corner and join the party at Papas and Beer  until the wee hours of the morning.
If you weren’t out too late and you’ve called ahead, hop on a chartered fishing boat with Sergio’s Sportfishing Center . Back on the docks, take your catch to vendors in the Mercado de Mariscos  to have them cook up a custom batch of fish tacos.
Spend the afternoon strolling the shops along López Mateos  and visit La Esquina de Bodegas for some preliminary wine tasting. In the late afternoon make your way north out of Ensenada to Route 3. A green overhead sign will welcome you to the Ruta del Vino . Check into the Tuscan-style La Villa del Valle  for the next two nights, and grab a casual dinner at La Casa Vieja  winery.
After breakfast at the Villa, hang out by the pool until you are ready to explore some of the surrounding wineries. Enjoy tastings at Baron Balché, Monte Xanic, and Chateau Camou . Carefully choose the single bottle you’re allowed to take back home.
Retreat to the Villa del Valle for some much-earned rest. For dinner, get directions to Restaurant Laja .
An after-breakfast massage at the hotel will prepare you for the drive home. If you have time, grab a lobster roll in Puerto Nuevo  on your way north. Get to the border crossing before 3 P.M. on a weekday. If you’re crossing on a Sunday, you’ll have plenty of time to reflect on your trip as you crawl through traffic back into the United States.