Day One Itinerary
If you’re visiting Santa Maria Valley March through June, start your day at U-Pick Blueberries where you can grab a bucket and get your fill of blueberries, strawberries and other seasonal fruit. Santa Maria Valley is known for its strawberries and produces 20 million trays annually that are shipped to grocery stores across the U.S. Every April, local produce is celebrated at the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival.
With your berry haul in tow, head to Los Flores Ranch Park for a family walk and picnic. Los Flores Ranch is a 1,778-acre open space area in Santa Maria Valley with 15 miles of hiking trails, guided tours and nature walks, plus donkeys and goats to greet as you stroll by. Look for the Dinosaur Loop for an easy hike the whole family can enjoy.
On the way back into town, make a quick parental-pitstop at Cottonwood Canyon Winery. Cottonwood Canyon has a great outdoor space with a large lawn that kids can play on while you taste handcrafted wines. Like many Santa Maria Valley wineries, Cottonwood Canyon specialized in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah.
Next, head to the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, where kids and parents alike can play and learn together. The museum has more than 20 exhibits, including Vandenberg Launch Experience that gives families a chance to launch rockets and experience aerospace in an entirely new way. The Vandenberg Launch Experience features a Discovery Space Shuttle with a full simulation dashboard. One of the newest exhibits, the Central Coast Makerspace, allows children to build and play while focusing on STEM learning.
Finish your night around the corner at The Swiss. Get your fill of some traditional Santa Maria Style barbecue, which consists of tri-tip seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic and served with a green salad, grilled garlic bread and pinquito beans. Children can select from the kid’s menu, which has something for even the pickiest eaters.