Calling all recreators!
Spend a weekend outside in Santa Maria Valley. Get a taste of recreation done Santa Maria Style by spending two days venturing around the valley. Our lodging is centrally located to provide easy access to all of your upcoming adventures. What’s better, the temperate climate along California’s central coast makes it possible to enjoy they valley all year round. So, grab your hiking shoes, helmet, flip flops and sense of adventure. Santa Maria Valley is the ideal home base where you’ll find 24 hiking trails, 13 beaches and near endless miles of cycling trails all within a half hour drive.
Your Trip at a Glance
Start your day in Santa Maria Valley’s Old Town Orcutt. Park on E Clark Ave and hop on your bike to cruise a scenic 8-miles to Dominion Road to Los Flores Ranch Park, which offers more than 15 miles of hiking trails. Many of the trails offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Los Flores Ranch Park also has a native garden and a wildlife barn for you to explore.
After you’ve finished exploring the park, head back into Old Orcutt. You may even want to pedal to the pinot and stop at a winery along Foxen Canyon road on your way back. Presqui’ile Winery just off East Clark on Presqu’ile Drive. (Psst! You can also check out our wine itinerary for more ideas for experiencing Santa Maria Valley wine.)
After your ride or hike, treat yourself to wine at Vino et Amicis or beer at Naughty Oak Brewing Company. Vino et Amicis, which means “wine and friends,” serves wines from around the Santa Maria Valley, some from winemakers who don’t have their own tasting rooms. Naughty Oak Brewing Company is a hub of craft beer in Santa Maria Valley. They serve up cleverly named beer like Anthony Hopkins and Party Favors.
Then, take a short walk over to Pizzeria Bello Forno, one of Orcutt’s most popular eateries. Bello Forno serves authentic wood-fired pizza, artisan salads, pastas and more. You can also order more wine from surrounding wineries and beer from Naughty Oak to accompany your meal.
Moxie Café in Santa Maria is a health-minded eatery, which serves a café menu with carefully sourced ingredients. Moxie Café offers fresh breakfast, lunch, and dinner paired with craft coffee and freshly-made smoothies.
If you’re visiting the Santa Maria Valley October through February, be sure to see the monarch butterflies at the Monarch Dunes Butterfly Grove. Make the 20-minute drive to view thousands of monarch butterflies, which spend the colder months among the eucalyptus trees in groves like this along the Central Coast. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re visiting the valley in the spring or summer, don’t worry because the grove is still a beautiful hike that offers a look at local plants and wildlife.
Your next stop is a true hidden gem of the Santa Maria Valley. Drive 15 minutes to Oceano Dunes. Rent an ATV and hit the sand dunes to see the Central Coast from a different perspective. The dunes are one of the only places in California that you can ride dune buggies across the beach, right next to the ocean. There are several places to rent vehicles to enjoy this amazing experience. Be careful while you’re riding, because some of these towering dunes are larger than they appear. You can park your buggy and take a stroll along the beach and dip your toes in the ocean.
Conclude your day of fun with a classic Santa Maria Style dinner at Jocko’s in Nipomo, which is a quick 20-minute drive back toward Santa Maria. Jocko’s has been a local barbecue favorite for more than 50 years, so be sure to call ahead of time to make a reservation. Their open red oak barbecue pit opens at 4:30 p.m.