Santa Maria Valley is one of California’s best-kept secrets when it comes to cheap weekend getaway destinations. The word “cheap” gets a bad rap, but here in Santa Maria Valley, we don’t believe an affordable trip should mean sacrificing quality. Santa Maria Valley is the ideal weekend destination, where you can extend your recreation dollars further while escaping from the every day. We believe in venturing off the beaten path. Explore one of the Central Coast’s best hidden gems, with delicious and unique wines, traditional barbecue and more for you to sample. Costs here aren’t increased just because you’re visiting the area. We keep things affordable for families that live here, and you better believe we treat our guests like family, too.
Santa Maria Valley is the perfect home base, where you can see and do more for less. There are 34 tasting rooms, 15 beaches, 24 hiking trails and 6 authentic barbecue restaurants within a scenic half hour drive. Check out our affordable lodging options to find the perfect accommodations for your trip. Better yet, your hotel key card gets you a free beer or wine tasting at eight local wineries and breweries or four free entries at Los Flores Ranch Park.
If you’re visiting the Santa Maria Valley March through October, get a ticket to the Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley, one of the best and most affordable ways to explore many local wineries. The trolley makes a loop through the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, stopping at five tasting rooms along the way.
If you’re visiting October through February, don’t miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see thousands of monarch butterflies at the Monarch Dunes Butterfly grove. Every fall and winter, monarch butterflies migrate into eucalyptus groves like this one across the Central Coast. After visiting the grove, head out for a hike at Oso Flaco Lake. This hike is just over a mile long, and takes hikers directly to the beach, where they can comb for shells and dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean.
The Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes Center is near Oso Flaco Lake, and provides visitors with history of the dunes, including an exhibit about the recently unearthed Dunes Sphinx, which was used during filming of The Ten Commandments nearly 100 years ago.
There are many ways to explore the Santa Maria Valley on a budget. For more inspiration for your #SantaMariaStyle getaway, check out our Plan Your Trip itineraries.
In the Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore all you can do. The Santa Maria Valley boasts 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, 6 unique AVAs, 15 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