Santa Maria shopping & wine tasting
Grab the girls and pile in the car

It's a Girls’ Weekend in Wine Country

When was the last time you got away for the weekend, just you and the girls? We’re guessing it’s been too long! Grab your best gal pals for an unforgettable weekend in one of California’s most prominent winegrowing regions.

Cottonwood Canyon Wine Cave
Pro Tips

For Your Trip

  • The Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley runs a route to several local favorite wineries from May to October.
  • Bars and wineries around town host frequent free events, like karaoke, live music and comedy, trivia and more.
  • Check ahead with the wineries you plan to visit for special tours and events, like the wine cave tour at Cottonwood Canyon Winery.

Santa Maria Valley is the primary growing region for all Santa Barbara County wines. Our winemakers specialize in producing world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah wines. This region is also host to a variety of fun bars and restaurants. Plus, the beautiful scenery and sublime Central Coast climate makes for nearly endless outdoor recreation opportunities.

The Santa Maria Valley is home to six authentic barbecue restaurants, 34 winery tasting rooms, 24 hiking trails, and 15 beaches within a 30-minute drive. Beyond exceptional food, wine and recreation, the Santa Maria Valley is a great place to relax and unwind in nature. Santa Maria Valley is also home to one of the only growers of natural luffa sponges in the country, making it the perfect place to pick up a luffa for yourself or a friend.

At a Glance

Your Trip

Day One

Santa Maria Valley shopping

Start your girl’s trip in Old Town Orcutt. Head to Kay’s Country Kitchen for breakfast. We recommend the biscuits and gravy paired with a strawberry mimosa. It’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet. After breakfast, you can antique shop at several boutique antique stores throughout Old Town Orcutt, like Déjà vu Antiques.

Next, kick off an afternoon full of wine tasting with the girls. Be sure to grab a glass of small-batch wines at the cnagy tasting room in Old Town Orcutt. While you’re there, you can pick up tickets to ride the Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley.

Then, hop aboard the trolley, which runs every weekend from May to October from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The trolley is the easiest way to tour some of the region’s best wineries. The trolley makes stops in Old Town Orcutt, Presqu’ile Winery, Cottonwood Canyon Winery, and Costa de Oro Winery. You can get a free tasting at participating wineries — including Cottonwood Canyon — when you show your hotel key card. The trolley is hop-on and hop-off, so you can spend as much time at each winery as you’d like, hopping back on the trolley when you’re done to ensure safe travels while you’re tasting.

The first vineyard stop is one of Santa Maria Valley’s most beautiful and renowned wineries, Presqu’ile. At Presqu’ile, you can enjoy delicious wines and sweeping scenic views with even a peek at the ocean on a clear day.

Next, enjoy boutique crafted wines at Cottonwood Canyon Winery and Vineyard. Cottonwood Canyon’s 78-acre estate specializes in hand-crafted Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. Santa Maria Valley’s cool growing environment coupled with Cottonwood’s hands-off approach to winemaking produces age-worthy wines.

Your last Trolley stop will be at Costa de Oro, a vineyard that uses old-world winemaking styles and new-world grape-growing methods to make their complex and harmonious Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.

You can snack on charcuterie at each winery throughout the day, but we also recommend the Vintage Room for more wine and snacks before dinner. The Vintage Room serves wines from around the valley and beyond, as well as a selection of appetizers. For dinner, check out one of our classic Santa Maria Style barbecue joints like Far Western Tavern, also located in Old Town Orcutt. Santa Maria Style barbecue consists of meat, usually tri-tip or top block sirloin, grilled over native red oak coals and served with pinquito beans, buttery garlic bread, a fresh green salad and chunky salsa.

Day Two

Wake up, hydrate and treat yourself to a breakfast burrito from La Unica in Santa Maria for a breakfast burrito. La Unica is known for delicious Mexican food with a twist. Then, prepare to spend the day outdoors in the gorgeous Central Coast weather.

Head 30 minutes north of Santa Maria for an easy hike at Oso Flaco Lake. The 1.7-mile hike to the beach takes hikers on a boardwalk across a lake. This trail features stunning scenery and plenty of opportunities to see native plant and animal life.

After your trip to Oso Flaco, drive a bit further up Highway 1 to visit one of the only growers of luffa sponges in the country at The Luffa Farm. Luffas are grown naturally in the Central Coast, and this farm uses special heirloom seeds to produce extra soft sponges. The farm also offers free drop-in tours and a gift shop. Take away a luffa sponge, hand-made soaps, lotions and more as a souvenir to remember your trip.

Stop by the Sandalwood Spa on your way back into Santa Maria for a pampering session. The Sandalwood Spa offers a variety of relaxation packages available, as well as massage therapy, skincare, body care and nail care. We recommend calling ahead to book an appointment. You can also enjoy the beautiful sculpture garden while you’re there.

For dinner, head to Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Foods. Chef Rick’s serves fresh, California fusion dishes, including salads, burgers, pasta and more. The casual and relaxed atmosphere coupled with the delicious menu make this a local favorite spot.

Finally, finish your trip with one final glass of wine at the Wine Cellar at the Historic Santa Maria Inn. The Santa Maria Inn features a stunning courtyard and a vintage vibe. It was a favorite of celebrities like Bette Davis and John Wayne. Enjoy your nightcap, and toast to a girl’s trip done #SantaMariaStyle.

Eat, Drink and Do More

With 34 tasting rooms within a 30-minute drive, two days isn’t nearly long enough to experience all that Santa Maria Valley has to offer. If you can, stay a bit longer or make plans to come back again soon. With so much to do from here, Santa Maria Valley is the perfect home base on the central California coast where you can eat, drink and do more for less.