Activities and Attractions in Santa Maria
Not too far from the magical coast of Southern California, Santa Maria sits in Santa Barbara County. With a population of just over 100,000, it’s the largest city in the county.
Nearly midway between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, the Santa Maria Valley blends its historic ranching and farming traditions with a reputation as one of California’s best wine regions. Unsurprisingly, tastings of premium wines along the Santa Maria Valley Wine Trail are a major draw!
The Santa Maria Valley is home to over 15 wineries (link: https://santamariavalley.com/attractions/?c=wineries ) including 6 designated American Viticultural Areas. There are over 34 tasting rooms, and a growing selection of local breweries. Visit any to try Pinot Noir, as well as Chardonnay and Syrah—some of the varieties that thrive in the Valley’s unique climate, with hot days and cool nights
Visit a contemporary winery
It’s unfair to choose just one winery but you should make time to visit this strikingly modern Presqu’ile Winery (link: https://www.presquilewine.com/) is as surprising as its distinctive name (it’s Creole for “almost an island”). Enjoy the views over the Santa Maria Valley while sampling the winery’s celebrated Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. The incredible tasting room is constructed of beautiful woods with walls of hand laid local stone. The winery also hosts concerts and events so take in some culture while sipping your Syrah!
Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/vyygvj36HiN2
Do the Wine Trails
Within Santa Maria lies the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail (link: www.foxencanyonwinetrail.net ) stretching between Santa Maria Valley and Los Olivos. There are rolling hills and breath-taking views with tucked-away vineyards all along the 30 mile road. Home to 16 wineries, it’s the perfect way to sample wine from the oldest appellation in Santa Barbara County. Most wineries offer picnicking space, so pack some snacks and spend the day exploring
History: Step back into the past
La Purisima Mission State Historic Park (link: http://www.lapurisimamission.org/) is just outside Lompoc. The most fully restored of the state’s missions, step inside buildings with terracotta walls, wood beamed ceilings and sacred art that dates to the early 19th century. La Purisima hosts over 200,000 visitors each year for recreation and a chance to explore California’s heritage. Check the calendar for events as often the park provides a re-creation of life at the Mission during the early 19th century, when the residents worked at weaving, pottery making, candle making, blacksmithing, livestock production, and leatherwork. You can hike trails that explore the park’s nearly 2,000 acres, a landscape little changed over the centuries.
Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/iByLfXYUMbx
Tee off at a top golf course
Celebrated as one of America’s 50 Toughest Golf Courses by Golf Digest, La Purisima Golf Course (link: http://lapurisimagolf.com/ ) near Lompoc is both challenging and beautiful. Designed by acclaimed golf course architect Robert Muir Graves, you can play among the rolling hills and oak trees on 309 acres and 18holes created to be the finest pure test of golf imaginable.
Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/6CndSeWKwny
Go hunting at a huge antiques mall
With more than 35 leading dealers, Deja Vu Antiques Mall (link: http://www.dejavuldantiques.net/
) in Old Orcutt has everything from rustic traditional furniture to cool mid-century modern designs. Wander among the dealers displaying their stock in a huge building built as a loading-dock in 1906. You never know what you’ll find while browsing through collections of antiquities sourced from all across the USA.. It’s not just traditional antiques, but a large array of re-purposed treasures, industrial furniture,jewelryy, gifts and vintage clothing.
Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/xJL8ARsoYvw
Inspire the family
If you’re coming with family try The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum (link: http://smvdiscoverymuseum.org/) . The exhibits and displays change constantly so both locals and visitors can come back time and time again, and each time it’s completely new.
The Museum’s mission is to foster family and youth-inspired learning by creating experiences to explore ourselves, the valley, our world and beyond. The museum’s based “please touch” atmosphere engenders the best in self-discovery for children and their families.
Local experts are always onsite to inspire you with a combination of intrigue and affordable fun.
Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/wEkseg9jMrG2
Outdoors: Hit The beach!
A must see for the more active are the striking Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes (link: http://dunescenter.org/ ). It’s the largest remaining dune system south of San Francisco and the second largest in the U.S. state of California. It encompasses an 18-mile stretch of coastline just outside Santa Maria. Within this vast sandy beach is The Oceano Dunes Park, the only state park in California where people can legally drive on the beach. in 1923, the epic movie The Ten Commandments directed by Cecil B. DeMille, was filmed on the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. Occasionally the shifting sands uncover one of his huge movie sets- maybe you’ll see something on your visit?
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