California Weekend Getaways for Every Type of Traveler

Ever found yourself in the delightful chaos of planning a trip where everyone in your group has a different idea of the perfect getaway? The struggle is real. Choosing an ideal vacation spot that caters to diverse tastes can be a challenge. 

That’s why you should add Santa Maria Valley to the top of your “California Weekend Getaways” list. Not only are we easy to get to if you’re on the coast—we’re the perfect halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles—but we also offer high-quality, wallet-friendly experiences for every kind of traveler. 

We’ll give you a few examples.

For Foodies

Entrees at Maya Mexican Restaurant

Foodies on a California weekend getaway want the best of the best—and we deliver. If you stand in the center of Santa Maria Valley, close your eyes, spin, and point in any direction within 30 miles, you’re guaranteed to find a delicious barbecue spot. Savor smoky tri-tip or top-block sirloin cooked exactly the way vaqueros made it in the 19th century. (Don’t skip out on a side of pinquito beans or buttery garlic toast!) 

The celebration of flavors doesn’t stop there! Our area has a variety of cuisines, including Italian, Mexican, Southern comfort food, and New American. Take a look at some of our top picks:

For Wine Lovers

Tasting flights at Rancho Sisquoc Winery

For those who want the full wine country experience without all of the crowds and price hikes (we see you, Napa), we’ve got that, too. Sample our region’s flagship varietals—Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah—while taking in one of the world’s most dynamic (and the Central Coast’s first) wine-growing regions.

Here are three experiences wine lovers won’t want to miss on their weekend trip in California:

  • Make your way to the countryside and take a cruise through the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. Stumble upon any one of the 16 tucked-away vineyards along the 30-mile road as you soak up the stunning views of rolling hills.
  • The Santa Maria Wine Trolley—running during the weekends from May to October/November—is one of the most popular ways to taste Santa Maria Valley’s wines. The Trolley loops around to a handful of the area’s tasting rooms. 
  • Embark on a guided horseback tour of  Presqu’ile Winery’s vineyards, and then unwind on the terrace for a tasty mezze picnic and a sampling of their latest wine releases.

Get a sneak peek of what your wine weekend itinerary could look like.

For Families

The Santa Maria Museum of Flight

When you’re going on a California weekend getaway with your family, food is not the only important factor. There has to be fun stuff to do! Santa Maria Valley boasts plenty of fun experiences that will excite every member of the family. 

Besides outdoor activities (more on that later), we’ve got a mix of shopping and entertainment options. The Santa Maria Town Center includes both national stores and local retailers as well as antique shops, so you can find the perfect souvenir to remember your family’s California weekend getaway. 

Is someone in your family a history buff? Visit the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum to step back in time and learn more about the area. How about a space or aviation fanatic? Stop by the brand-new campus of the Vandenberg Space Force Base (you do have to apply for clearance in advance) or the Santa Maria Museum of Flight to see the mark regional innovators made in this field. Interested in the arts? Check out a variety of live theatrical performances hosted by one of the local theaters or the ornamental iron fixtures at Hans Duus Blacksmith for a truly unique weekend getaway in California.

For Dog Parents

Bringing a fur baby with you on this California weekend getaway? Great! Santa Maria Valley has 24 hiking trails, 15 beaches and 34 tasting rooms within its region—many of which are dog-friendly. 

Together, you can explore easy-to-reach sandy beaches like Oceano Dunes and Fisherman’s Beach or take a hike to more secluded parks, such as Point Sal State Beach. (Remember to mind the signs when taking your dog on any nature trail; most require them to be on-leash.) 

Once your pup has burned off the zoomies, they can rest and recharge by your side while you sip on locally fermented wine on an outdoor patio. Presqu’ile Winery, Cambria Estate Winery, Riverbench and Rancho Sisquoc all offer tasting experiences where your pup can tag along as you enjoy California’s lovely temperate weather. 

You’ll both be worn out after a day of adventure. Luckily, nearly every other hotel in our region allows pets in special rooms for a small fee. Be sure to double-check when you’re booking a place to stay for your weekend trip in California with your four-legged friend.

For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Image for the Outbound Collective website to promote the Santa Maria Valley, in Santa Maria, California.

Santa Maria Valley’s outdoor recreation includes more than playing on the beach and hiking. Spend time on the green at the La Purisma Golf Course, Rancho Maria Golf Club, or Blacklake Golf Resort

The area is home to miles and miles of cycling trails, perfect for every type of cyclist. This is a surefire way to take in all the beautiful scenery, get between wineries, and stay moving during your California weekend getaway.

And have you heard about the Western Snowy Plover? This bird is kind of a big deal around here. Birdwatching itself is a popular pastime—and you, too, can get your ornithology on your next California weekend getaway. Find the best spots for birdwatching while you’re already exploring our parks.

Ready to Book Your California Weekend Getaway?

We’ve given you a ton of ideas for what you can do here on a weekend trip in California. Now it’s up to you to plan your trip and book your stay! We hope to see you soon.