Santa Maria Valley tourism spikes in the summer, but some of the most stunning valley views can be seen in the fall. Autumn is a beautiful time to visit because the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow. The temperate Central Coast climate makes it possible to enjoy the outdoors year-round. There are many ways to experience the changing leaves and agriculture in Santa Maria Valley during your fall getaway. Keep reading for six of our favorite ways to connect with nature and experience autumn Santa Maria Style.
1. At a Winery
Santa Maria Valley is known for complex, balanced and delicious wines, specifically Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. After the wine grapes are harvested in early fall, the leaves in the vineyards change from green to orange. Stop by Presqu’ile Winery, which provides guests sweeping views of the surrounding vineyards and beautiful landscape. You can enjoy Santa Maria Valley wine, charcuterie and fall foliage.
2. On a Hike
Make the short drive to Oso Flaco Lake to see autumn leaves along California’s Central Coast. Oso Flaco Lake, near the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes is a beautiful and easy hike that provides guests with views of native plants and wildlife. While you’re there, stop by the Monarch Dunes Butterfly Grove in Nipomo to see the Monarchs, which migrate to eucalyptus groves across the Central Coast each fall and winter.
3. On a Bike
Cycling Tepusquet road is an enjoyable and scenic way to experience changing leaves in Santa Maria Valley. Tepusquet road is a 14-mile stretch of road near Byron Winery and is often used as a scenic walk or drive. Many areas of the road are surrounded by trees, which shed their leaves in autumn. The road has some curves and hills, making for a beautiful and dynamic bike ride that’s perfect for cyclists of all skill levels.
4. On a Drive
Select a sunny afternoon to cruise down the 30-mile Foxen Canyon Wine Trail to see Santa Maria fall foliage at its best. The wine trail has it all, from rolling vineyard hills to tree-lined roads. There are 14 wineries along the trail, which allows people to spend plenty of time enjoying the views and stopping for a glass of wine if they choose.
5. At a Restaurant
Head into Santa Maria Valley’s Old Town in Orcutt to Far Western Tavern and dine on Santa Maria Style barbecue paired with freshly-harvested produce from around the valley. Fall is a great time to enjoy a meal in Santa Maria Valley because we grow many of the ingredients for our foods and harvest the crops in late summer and early fall. Orcutt is also surrounded by beautiful tree-covered hills that turn orange in the autumn, which provide you with a show during dinner.
6. At a Brewery
Hop over to Naughty Oak Brewing Company in Orcutt to sample a wide selection of delicious Central Coast craft beer. The warm amber hues of the cold crisp beers will remind you of the surrounding fall foliage. Among the many brews on tap, there’s the Gold Digger, a lemon sour ale, and Party Favors, an IPA. Naughty Oak is a staple of craft beer in Santa Maria Valley.
In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.