Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes ComplexWhen you come to the Santa Maria Valley, you’ll definitely want to bring your appetite. After all, the classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue menu not only includes exquisitely seasoned sirloin or tri-tip, but also pinquito beans, salsa, green salad, bread and dessert.

Of course, it’s not uncommon to feel a bit stuffed after a meal of Santa Maria Style Barbecue. Thankfully, the valley offers plenty of places where you can walk it off!

One great place to start your Santa Maria Valley stroll is at picturesque Oso Flaco Lake, where you can follow a boardwalk bridge over the water and to the adjacent beach. There, you will discover the wonders of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex, which spans 22,000 acres and 18 miles of coastline.

One of only two remaining coastal dunes complexes in California—and by far the largest—the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex unfolds with awe-inspiring mountains of shifting sands that are teeming with biological diversity.

Those interested in learning more about the dunes are encouraged to visit the Dunes Center, a beautifully restored Craftsman house that offers activities such as guided hikes and walks, and educational resources, including interactive computer kiosks, dunes-related videos, artifacts and maps.

The Dunes Center is located in the town of Guadalupe, which just happens to be the home of the Far Western Tavern restaurant, one of our local Santa Maria Style Barbecue landmarks. Visit for more information.