Lompoc, CA (PRWEB) May 29, 2015
An emerging destination on Highway 1 along the California Central Coast, Lompoc blooms big in spring and summer with fields of flowers, vineyard vistas, and scenic backroads for visitors to explore. With premium quality wines, larger-than-life outdoor murals, an awe-inspiring mission, and festive seasonal events, Lompoc awaits, and is rolling out the welcome mat for travelers to discover the uniqueness of the Lompoc Valley and what’s around the bend.
Scenic Back Roads – Photo Ops & Picnic Spots
Veer off the 101, put the top down, and explore the uncrowded backroads throughout Lompoc Valley. Bring your camera, because Lompoc’s lush hillsides and flower fields provide plenty of great photo opportunities along the way. Visitors can catch fields of sweet peas, larkspur, delphinium, alyssum and marigolds from mid-May through mid-August, west of town on Ocean Avenue to Bailey, and on Central Avenue.
South of Lompoc off Highway 1 is Jalama Road, a scenic 14.5 mile drive to the coast and Jalama Beach County Park. A respite with a beautiful, sandy beach, Jalama is home to the self-proclaimed ‘World Famous Jalama Burger’ grilled daily at the camp store. Jalama Beach amenities also include picnic tables and camp sites, as well as opportunities for birdwatching, fishing, and surfing.
For picnicking and family fun closer to town, Beattie Park located on Olive Avenue and Fifth Street is a great spot. The park features a popular 18-hole disc golf course for all levels, a children’s playground, and ‘lookout point’ with fantastic valley views. Another popular picnic spot is Miguelito Park, located off Highway 246, just 3.5 miles from downtown Lompoc. Small and beautifully designed, this park has hiking trails, horseshoes, a playground, barbecue pits and picnic tables.
La Purisima Mission – History & Hiking
The centerpiece of Lompoc is the La Purisima Mission State Historical Park, providing an in-depth encounter of what life was like for the first Spanish settlers to the Lompoc Valley. The most completely restored mission in California, La Purisima houses ten of the original buildings fully restored and furnished including the church, shops, living quarters, and blacksmith shop. This amazing historical treasure is surrounded by lush gardens and livestock representing what would have been found at the Mission during the 1820’s. On select weekends, visitors can enjoy a myriad of special reenactment events and demonstrations. The onsite Visitor Center is filled with displays and artifacts. The mission is open seven days a week, year-round, except for major holidays.
Miles of trails make La Purisima Mission State Historical Park a popular spot for day hikes as well. The main trail winds up to the cross above the mission, and provides wonderful views of the wilderness and the mission below. It then follows the fence line and loops around to the main loop which connects with the original mission road - El Camino Real. It’s an easy five-mile hike; dogs and horses welcome.
Wine Tasting – Pinots & Chardonnays
World-class wine can be found at the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, twenty tasting rooms in a compact two-block industrial complex. Corrugated steel doors roll up to reveal casual boutique tasting rooms varying in sizes and décor, with knowledgeable staff to pour, including at times the winemakers who often are on the premises.
Lompoc’s bountiful wine region is the gateway to the Sta. Rita Hills, a destination for visitors looking for distinctive Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and other cool climate wines. The Pacific Ocean’s marine layer and afternoon ocean breezes traverse this coastal valley to create the perfect environment for growing exceptional wines. With tasting rooms open on a regular basis and some by appointment, the region is big enough to sample a variety of wines but not too big to be overwhelming with choices. Visitors will find a number of wineries including some larger estates along the the loop of Highway 246 and Santa Rosa Road.
Old Town Lompoc – Murals & Vintage Finds
Old Town Lompoc is colored with artistic splendor from the approximately 30 commissioned and community murals painted on building walls and key locations. Almost every mural is tied to Lompoc’s history and heritage, whether celebrating the agricultural community, the Mission, the Chumash Indians, or an historical event that took place in the valley.
On an Old Town Walking Tour, visitors can stop in Lompoc Museum, a once iconic Carnegie Library dating back to 1911. The museum is open six days a week, closed on Mondays. Other historic sites include the Fabing-McKay Spanne House, headquarters for the Lompoc Valley Historical Society. Open to the public on Monday and Thursday mornings, and the fourth Saturday of the month, this home is furnished in the style of the early 1900s. Nearby the charming 1876 Artesia School House is also open for public tours on the fourth Saturday of the month. For art enthusiasts, a stop at Cypress Art Gallery will reveal the works of some 60 local artists working in watercolors, oils, acrylics, pastels and more.
Lompoc’s neon signs also draw attention to Old Town and provide a retro vintage feel. A favorite is the Rice Bowl restaurant sign, with three prominent, luminous bowls of chow mein that vie for attention. Vintage treasures and collectibles can be found at T & T Sweet Repeats, an antique mall in the center of town on Ocean Avenue.
Outdoor Thrills – Sky Diving & BMX
Boasting the highest tandem jump in Southern California, SkyDive Santa Barbara offers an exhilarating experience for thrill seekers, and a checkmark for those with sky diving on their bucket list. Visitors take flight on a two-plus hour tandem skydiving journey that provides unforgettable views of the ocean, the hillsides, and the vineyards that fill this magnificent valley. Sky diving is definitely a Lompoc highlight, any time of year.
For BMX enthusiasts, the newly opened River Bend Bike Park is a family-friendly, off-road bike riding facility with trails and jumps for all levels. On-site parking, picnic tables, and restrooms make this a great destination for bikers to spend a few hours, watching riders and testing the tracks.
Summer Fun - Festivals & Events
Lompoc is home to many great festivals and special events year-round, but summer is when things kick into high gear. Starting in June, visitors can catch the action as cyclists of all ages descend on the city and surrounding roads during Explore Lompoc 805 Criterium Weekend (June 19-21). The following week, Lompoc’s beautiful flowers are celebrated at the annual Lompoc Valley Flower Festival (June 24-28), with carnival rides, craft and food booths, musical entertainment and family fun.
On July 10, the Annual West Coast Club Fly In at Lompoc Airport is a sight to behold. The largest show of this kind in the Western U.S., the fly-in features more than 100 yellow J-3 Cubs (post-WWII, light aircraft). Later in July, the action is on the ground, when the Lompoc Valley Kennel Association Dog Show (July 25-26) comes to town with all types of breeds and vendors in one of the West Coast’s largest outdoor dog shows.
The Lompoc Old Town Market, open Friday nights from July 10 to August 21, is a fun way to kick off a weekend in Lompoc. The market features music, food booths, vendors, wine tasting, car cruises and activities for the kids. Car enthusiasts look forward to the annual Lompoc Police and Firefighter Car Show & Cruise (August 7-8) showcasing vintage police and fire vehicles, pristine imports, and other classic cars. Summer culminates with the Fire & Wine Weekend, celebrating Lompoc’s Sta. Rita Hills wines (August 14-16). Festivities include a Friday night Barn Party, a Saturday wine seminar, and the Grand Tasting at La Purisima Mission, pairing world class Sta. Rita Hills wines with grilled local specialties.
Hotels & Nearby Attractions
Visitors will find an interesting mix of accommodations to choose from when exploring Lompoc, with each hotel offering various guest amenities and affordable rates. Spacious two-room suites at the Embassy Suites Lompoc delivers everything you need to feel at home. For up-to-date accommodations, you can’t go wrong with Holiday Inn Express. If you’re travelling with a furry friend, the Comfort Inn & Suites offers great value with a pet-friendly policy. All three are centrally located, include complimentary breakfasts, and feature an array of amenities. With a home base in Lompoc, visitors can easily explore neighboring towns and attractions including the Danish Village of Solvang, historic Los Alamos, and artsy enclave Los Olivos.
For a complete list of lodging choices, and more recommendations for places to see and things to do in and near Lompoc, visit ExploreLompoc.com