Lompoc

Lompoc blooms big with art, wine and outdoor adventure.

Spring is the season to hit the road and discover something new.

If you’re looking for a charming, off-the-beaten track destination that offers impressive attractions, outdoor recreation, and affordable accommodations, set your navigation to Lompoc.

Secluded in a lush valley, where scenic Highway 1 meets Route 246 on the central coast, you’ll find the most authentically restored mission in California, exceptional Pinots and Chardonnays, a vintage downtown flowing with art, and exciting outdoor pursuits like skydiving, golf, cycling and surfing.

Spring is the season when Lompoc is most colorful, with verdant green hillsides, budding vineyards, sprawling ranches, and valley fields rich with rows of colorful blooms and seasonal produce. If you’re lucky, you might just catch a launch from nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base, since Lompoc is the best vantage point for viewing rocket launches on the West Coast.

Don’t miss Lompoc’s top visitor attraction, La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, where you’ll discover the most fully restored and furnished of California’s 21 missions. Guided tours are offered most days at 1 pm, and living history events are slated on select Saturdays throughout the year. La Purisima’s 2,000 acres boasts 25 miles of hiking and horseback trails to explore, a visitor center, gift shop and exhibit hall. For history buffs and nature lovers alike, La Purisima Mission is a must see.

In Old Town Lompoc you’ll find an eclectic blend of vintage and new, with an impressive collection of outdoor murals depicting colorful scenes of Lompoc’s history and heritage on street corners and sides of buildings. Take a self-guided mural tour and discover the Lompoc Museum, Cypress Gallery, and locally-owned shops along the way. Not to be missed is Sissy’s Uptown Café, a family-run eatery in Lompoc’s original post office building, where you can grab lunch, dinner and slice of homemade pie.

Ocean Beach Park & Sanctuary, renowned for bird watching and photography, is an easy 10 minute drive west of Old Town. En route, you can detour onto Union Avenue where you might find flower fields abloom with vivid color from April to September. The Explore Lompoc “Bloom Tracker” keeps visitors up to date on what’s in season; rotating varieties include stock, larkspur, delphinium and bells of Ireland.

Lompoc is also wine aficionado’s delight. The Wine Ghetto, a cluster of small boutique wineries, is largest concentration of world-class, small-production tasting rooms in Santa Barbara County. Come meet the winemakers, and enjoy the convenience of strolling from one winery to the next. Just a few blocks west of the Wine Ghetto is long-time local favorite Longoria Winery as well as the Lompoc Wine Factory, a production facility for local winemakers.

For some wine country ambience, take the Lompoc Wine Trail loop, along Highway 246 and Santa Rosa Road to the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Here you’ll find breathtaking vistas and estate wineries around every bend, where award-winning Pinots and Chardonnays take center stage. Pick up a picnic in town and enjoy the vineyard views along with a bottle of your favorite Lompoc vintage.

With exceptional weather year-round, and plenty to see and do in the region, makes Lompoc a popular playground for leisure travelers and thrill seekers alike. Boasting the highest tandem jump in Southern California, Skydive Santa Barbara at Lompoc Airport provides jumpers with a new perspective of the Central coast. From views of up to 18,000 feet, you’ll see glorious ocean, valley, and vineyard views.

Golfers will want to test their skills at the 18-hole championship La Purisima Golf Course, designed by renowned architect Robert Muir Graves. Site of numerous PGA, LPGA and Senior PGA tournaments, it’s known as one of the country’s best designed courses by players of all skill levels who enjoy its scenic beauty as well as challenge. Prefer cycling? Lompoc Valley is also a popular cycling destination, so bring your bike to enjoy both flat and challenging country roads.

The 15 mile minute route from Lompoc to Jalama Beach, by car or bike, is full of postcard-worthy scenes ranging from ranches to rugged ocean overlooks, making the journey almost as impressive as the beach. At the end of the road you’ll reach Jalama Beach, a quiet, windswept spot where you can walk, surf, hike, fish or fly kites. Come for lunch at the Jalama Beach Grill, home to the famous “Jalama Burger,” a meaty patty stacked with shredded lettuce, onions, tomato, pickles, topped with a secret sauce. It’s a local favorite.

Accommodations in Lompoc range from full-service hotels to budget-friendly motels, all centrally located for enjoying Lompoc attractions and restaurants as well as nearby towns such as the Danish village of Solvang and Old Western town of Los Alamos. The closest city to Vandenberg Air Force Base, just 10 miles from the main gate, Lompoc has also become a popular destination to witness the thrilling west coast rocket launches by NASA and SpaceX from VAFB.

For information on hotels and attractions, and to find out what’s in bloom this spring in Lompoc, visit explorelompoc.com

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