Carving out time for yourself is the first step.
The next step is booking your hotel room for a weekend away in Santa Maria Valley. This is the ideal home base for you to experience the best of the central California Coast. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil day of solitude at the dunes or are eager to experience the wine that prompted the Travel Channel to name Santa Maria Valley a top 10 destination for wine snobs. The good news is, while you’ll find plenty of amazing wine, and you won’t find any snobs here. This is a valley that welcomes you like family. So we invite you to let your hair down and enjoy a weekend on your own, at your own pace.
Your Trip at a Glance
Start your day at the top. Head out to taste award-winning wine at one of Santa Maria Valley’s most beautiful and renowned wineries. USA Today’s readers voted Presqu’ile as a top 10 tasting room in the United States. The views are stunning, the wines lovely and the tasting room is modern yet approachable. The Presqui’le vineyard is 16 miles from the Pacific Ocean, which you can get a glimpse of over the hillsides on a clear day.
Next, head down the street to Santa Maria Valley’s Old Town Orcutt, a quaint town with antique charm. Downtown Orcutt is home to several local restaurants and shops. Browse for antiques at Déjà vu Antique Mall. This antique mall houses more than 35 professional antique dealers. You won’t find a wider selection of vintage fashion and goods anywhere else in the Central Coast. Then, pop in to Valley Art Gallery to view the latest exhibits from local artists along the central California coast.
Wind up the afternoon at Vino et Amicis, a small, locally-owned wine bar. At Vino et Amicis, you can find wines made in Santa Maria Valley from vineyards of all sizes, even some that don’t have their own tasting rooms. While you’re there, you can order artisan, wood-fired pizza for dinner from Pizzeria Bello Forno, one of Orcutt’s most popular restaurants.
Finally, catch a show at the PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre. Since its early beginnings in 1964, the PCPA has infused the national theatre scene with thousands of trained actors and theatrical technicians from the Central California Coast.
If you wake up hungry, the Atrium Bistro in the Radisson Hotel is one of the best (if not the best) spots in town for Sunday brunch. This can’t-miss feast includes bottomless mimosas and fresh crab legs among other sweet and savory breakfast menu choices.
Then, head north on Highway 1 for a hike at Oso Flaco Lake. This 1.7-mile trail is mostly on a boardwalk and allows hikers to view and learn about native plant life, birds and other animals. The trail leads all the way out to the Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes where you can take some deep breaths of ocean air, dig your toes in the sand and enjoy the view. You can also keep heading north on Highway 1 to rent a horse and take a guided trail ride to the beach with Pacific Dunes Ranch in Oceano.
If you’re visiting the Santa Maria Valley October through February, don’t miss the monarch butterflies at the Monarch Dunes Butterfly Grove. Thousands of monarch butterflies spend the colder months among the eucalyptus trees in groves like this along the Central Coast.
While you’re near Nipomo, 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.
In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to see and do from here. If you’re looking for more wine tasting ideas, check out our Wine Weekend Itinerary. More outdoorsy stuff? We’ve got an Outdoor Adventure Itinerary, too. You’ll likely find, two days isn’t nearly enough time to experience the most from the central coast. You can always make the call and extend your stay.