If you’re like me, you love Santa Maria Valley tri-tip (the beef, smoked over red oak–the pinquito beans—the Susie Q rub—mmmm, good!). But let’s face it; you’re not going to make a trip all the way to Santa Maria just for barbecue. Here are some of our favorite things to do.
Santa Maria Valley: Our Favorite Things
1. Explore the off-the-beaten path wine country, which specializes in cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Cambria has a cozy tasting room located just off the northern part of the famous Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. You can purchase cheeses and other snacks in the tasting room, and relax with a glass of wine on the patio overlooking the vineyards and valley. You can also find more tasting rooms a little further south, along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. Eventually you’ll end up in the Santa Ynez Valley. There, you’ll find additional wineries, charming villages with upscale B&Bs, top restaurants and plenty of art galleries and antique shops.
Santa Maria Valley Wine Country
2. Discover the Los Padres National Forest. This vast area ranges from semi-desert in interior areas to old Redwood forests, coastal beaches, and rugged mountains soaring to 9,000 feet. Multiple campgrounds appeal to every taste. You’ll also find opportunities for off-road vehicles.
3. Enjoy the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. Hike this beachside nature preserve, with California’s largest sand dunes, towering at 550 feet and plunging down to foam-flecked Pacific breakers.
4. Hit the beach. The ocean is chilly, but that doesn’t stop avid surfers, body-boarders and waders from enjoying the Pacific at Pismo Beach, Shell Beach, Avila Beach and Oceano. Each beach has its own personality.
Avila Beach, California
5. Soak up the history and culture at Santa Maria city’s several museums: the Natural History Museum, the Historical Society, the Discovery Museum and the Railway Museum.
The next time you’re in the area, stop by the Cambria tasting room and say hello. We’ll be glad to see you.
Cambria Tasting Room
By: Steve Heimoff