How to Make the Most of Your Central Coast Getaway
Need a quick break from your usual routine? Looking for your next favorite vacation spot for any occasion (aka, flying solo or with your loved ones)? Trying to escape all the crowds? We might be a little biased, but California Central Coast getaways are where it’s at.
And we’ll prove it! Check out this itinerary for a look at the perfect Central Coast getaway.
The perfect start to every day and any Central Coast getaway is a good breakfast. (No, two cups of coffee don’t count.) Swing by Cubanissimo Cuban Coffee House & Cafe to fill up on authentic Cuban cuisine and beverages. Their pollo con papas is a crowd favorite, and you can’t go wrong with any of their drinks, especially the Cuban specialties.
Once you’re fueled up, head over to Los Flores Ranch Park, a 1,778-acre open-space area where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Santa Maria Valley. Bring your hiking boots or mountain biking gear to explore 15 miles of trails. Guided tours are also available, offering fascinating insights into the park’s geology, flora, and fauna. Or, if you have a horse, embark on a serene horseback riding expedition with designated trails and panoramic vista points for breathtaking views.
A short drive from Los Flores Rancho Park, Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) is open to the public. Here, you can learn about the history of Space Launch Complex-10 and all the West Coast launch programs to understand Vandenberg’s role in launching commercial, national security, and scientific polar-orbiting satellites. It’s only open on weekdays, but worth working into your California Central Coast vacation schedule! Note: VSFB does require visitors to pre-enroll prior to visiting, which could take several days or weeks. We recommend you plan your visit well in advance and contact VSFB for more info.
All that adventuring sure burns calories. Get your fix at Guadalupe Social Club, a classy yet cozy dining spot where you can sip on high-quality wines and beers as well as Mediterranean and American fusion cuisine.
Spend the rest of the day diving right into the arts and culture scene of Santa Maria Valley. Follow along on our interactive map of murals, galleries, and other art installations, or score some tickets to a show at one of the local theaters. (Did you know that Kathy Bates, Robin Williams, and Zac Efron are alumni of the PCPA?!)
Your Central Coast getaway doesn’t end there. Rest up at one of our lodging options and prepare yourself for an exciting day two!
A signature tri-tip eggs benedict, chicken fried steak & eggs, a freshly made Belgian waffle, biscuits & gravy—is your mouth watering yet? Prepare for day two of your exciting California Coast trip at Kay’s Country Kitchen, voted Orcutt’s Best Breakfast for 23 years straight.
Of course, it isn’t a California Central Coast vacation without a visit to the beach. Did you know there are 15 beaches within 30 miles of Santa Maria Valley? And that you can soak up some rays without the crowds? (Sorry, Santa Cruz.) The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve, for instance, is an extraordinary haven within the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. Whether your jam is relaxing in the warm sand with a good book or getting your hands dirty while you fish, you’re gonna love it here.
When that one Jonas brother said “cake by the ocean,” we’re pretty sure he meant steak. Indulge in the flavors of Santa Maria Valley at Shaw’s Steakhouse & Tavern; it features an open kitchen where tasty Santa Maria Style barbecue, fresh seafood, and signature cocktails are expertly crafted and served. Once you try Santa Maria Style barbecue, you’ll want to come back for seconds… and thirds.
Unwind with a glass of wine! Santa Maria Valley is home to one of the world’s most dynamic wine-growing regions on the northern perimeter of Santa Barbara County. If you’re a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah lover, kick back at one of the many wineries and tasting rooms along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, which runs right through Santa Maria Valley.
If you want to extend your vacation an extra day—and we wouldn’t blame you if you did—there’s still plenty more to do on your Central Coast getaway!
Jump into the action first thing in the morning by hitting up these prime birdwatching spots (after all, the best time to see these animals is between dawn and 11 am!):
Then grab a bite to eat at the Historic Santa Maria Inn Century Room. This restaurant has served up elegant California cuisine since 1917. Reserve a seat on the patio that overlooks the inn’s beautiful fountain court and enjoy a fabulous Sunday brunch.
Finish out your California Central Coast vacation strong by visiting Dewlson Family Farm, a hidden gem for coffee connoisseurs! With three types of tours available and a lot of history to uncover, this is an experience you won’t want to miss. It’s open on Friday through Sunday by appointment only for tours, tastings, and even private parties.
You can also find foodie souvenirs (aka, take-home wine bottles from local and global vineyards) at Lark + Sparrow before you head home.