Discover the Best of Santa Maria Valley: 5 Unmissable Experiences



Santa Maria Valley, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of California, invites you to embark on a journey filled with culinary delights, outdoor adventures, and treasure-filled moments. With over 30 wineries to explore, Santa Maria Valley promises a tantalizing experience for wine enthusiasts.  Enjoy the natural splendor of this gorgeous valley, which is flanked by clean beaches, scenic biking routes, majestic mountains, and lush golf greens. 

Santa Maria Valley is the doorway to rest and adventure. Here are the top five things to do in the Santa Maria Valley.

Savor the Legendary Santa Maria-style Barbecue

The allure of Santa Maria Valley begins with its legendary barbecue, a culinary tradition that traces its origins back 150 years. Rooted in Spanish settlers’ feasts for vaqueros (cowboys), this barbecue style is known for its smoky flavor, achieved by slow-roasting simply seasoned meat over red oak coals.  Don’t miss the chance to sample this culinary masterpiece at local steakhouses like the historic Hitching Post in Casmalia or at roadside barbecues during weekend community fundraisers. 

For an unforgettable experience, attend the annual Santa Maria Barbecue Festival in May, where professionals and home chefs come together to celebrate this iconic Central Coast tradition, offering ample opportunities to relish local barbecue, beer, and wine.

Also Read: Cap on Tourists Visiting Valley of Flowers

Indulge in Wine-tasting

In Santa Maria Valley, wine and barbecue form an exquisite partnership. This region is home to the first American Viticultural Area (AVA) established in Santa Barbara County. The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, a 30-mile stretch of scenic country road featuring 13 wineries, offers a perfect route for cycling enthusiasts who enjoy responsibly sipping while pedaling. For a convenient and enjoyable car-free wine tour, hop aboard the Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley, operating on Saturdays and Sundays from May through October. 

The trolley’s route takes you from Old Town Orcutt to three premium wineries: Presqu’ile, Cottonwood, and Costa de Oro. Additionally, the annual Santa Barbara Vintners Festival at Vega Vineyard and Farm in October promises a grand tasting extravaganza with wineries, food vendors, live music, and more. So planning to visit the USA soon, then book an Indian Eagle flight to enjoy a budget-friendly trip.

Sip Craft Brews

The Santa Maria Valley’s craft beer scene is buzzing with excitement. Whether you’re taking a break from wine tasting or simply craving local brews, you’ll be welcomed like family at the region’s four craft breweries. Visit Naughty Oak Brewing Company in Old Town Orcutt, Santa Maria Brewing Company’s Nipomo taproom, or their production facility and tasting room in Santa Maria for a flight of their award-winning beers. Blast 825 Brewery offers a unique experience where you can pour your own beers from a selection of over 40 options, including house brews and cider. 

Don’t miss the Santa Maria taproom of Figueroa Mountain Brewery, known for its regional specialties like the Strawberry Flash and Figueroa Mountain Mosaic.

Also Read: Guide to Visiting the Valley of Flowers

Embrace the Great Outdoors

Nature enthusiasts will find Santa Maria Valley an outdoor paradise. With 24 hiking trails ranging from easy to challenging, you can explore diverse landscapes including rivers, ranches, ridges, parks, lakes, and lagoons. Beach lovers can choose from pristine beaches, including the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes, a wildlife preserve offering rare bird sightings and a unique piece of movie history as the burial site of Cecile B. 

For an adrenaline rush, rent an ATV and race across the Oceano Dunes, one of the few places in California where dune buggies are allowed on the beach. Cyclists can enjoy a variety of local cycling trails, from the challenging Orcutt Hill to family-friendly options like the Santa Maria River Levee Trail. Old Town Orcutt is a bike-friendly destination with a blend of urban experiences, dining, shopping, and more.

Embark on a Treasure Hunt

While in Santa Maria Valley, indulge in some retail therapy and treasure hunting. Explore antique shops like Deja Vu Antique Mall and Vintage Veranda Antiques & Mall in Old Town Orcutt. The valley is also home to some of the finest farmers’ markets in the country. The Downtown Fridays farmers’ market, which takes place in the sunset, has live music, food trucks, children’s sports, and more.

Plan your Santa Maria Valley adventure around major annual events, including the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals classic car showcase in May, where you can shop the swap meet, and enjoy live entertainment. Kick off your summer at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo & Parade, featuring four days of thrilling rodeo action.

In October, the Central Coast AirFest at the Santa Maria Airport promises a fantastic experience with local food, craft beer, in-flight demonstrations, performances, and aircraft displays. Santa Maria Valley has something for every individual, creating it a must-visit spot. So, what are you delaying for? Plan your trip, book low-cost international flight tickets with Indian Eagle, and have a memorable trip.

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