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Getaway Guide: Lompoc
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Getaway Guide: Lompoc

Lompoc is where you want to be—even if it’s just to give the California summer the proper sendoff it deserves.

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5 min read

August 19, 2021

Lompoc is where living is easy. A Santa Barbara County treasure, this quaint city takes a laid-back approach to life, with roads replaced by hillsides, traffic replaced by flowers, and city lights exchanged for the moon. This beach town is where you want to be—even if it’s just to give the California summer the proper sendoff it deserves. So hurry up and pack your bags, get on the 101, and we’ll see you in Lompoc.

Before European settlers arrived, the area around Lompoc was inhabited by the Chumash people. The name of the city is derived from a Purisimeño term.

Day 1 

Arriving 

A stretch of the iconic Highway 101 gives you the greatest hits of road tripping, running along both the beach and Wine Country. Set off at Malibu, where the highway runs along the base of the rugged Santa Monica Mountains before it passes through Oxnard, Ventura, and eventually, the idyllic Santa Barbara. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of the magnificent Channel Islands National Park, a beauty only truly comprehended when seen up close. And as the highway turns inland through a set of rolling ranchlands, you’ll know you’ve reached Lompoc—a wildflower-dotted gem in the heart of Santa Barbara County.

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You simply can’t do anything in Lompoc before you have coffee flowing through your bloodstream. Once you've had your coffee, it's time for adventures.

Afternoon 

As soon as you arrive, head on over to the heart of Lompoc Valley, where the historic Old Town gives you a sneak peek of the vibe to come; it’s also a great place for a little midday pick me up (South Side Coffee Co is a great option if we say so ourselves). Vintage treasures, collectible items, and artisan trinkets are all scattered about—forget about those kitschy tourist souvenirs and find real gems to take home from your trip. 

When there are no more windows left to shop (trust us, you’ll go over them quite quickly), how about mixing in a little active living while you’re at it? Riverbend Park in Lompoc is one of the best places to get your adrenaline pumping. This off-road bike park offers courses for every biker, no matter the skill or energy level. If you have a bike, wonderful; you’re already prepared. But if you don't, there are rentals all over the city—you may even find one in Old Town. 

But if street cycling is more your speed, then head west of town to Ocean Park by the beach in Lompoc, with rides and trails ranging from flat-and-easy to expert-level-hilly.

Always remember to fall asleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose, for the next day in Lompoc offers a whole new set of adventures.

Evening 

Have your morning drive and afternoon adventures wound you down a bit? We totally understand. But what if we told you that you could still get a slice of the quintessential Lompoc experience while relishing in upscale comfort? For that, we direct you to the famed Lompoc hotel O'Cairns Inn and Suites. This charming family-style boutique hotel is guaranteed to woo you with its out-of-this-world views and resort-like amenities. We recommend spending most of your evening dining at their cooked-to-order cafe and unwinding with your family at the large outdoor pool. Alternatively, if you're a do-it-yourself sort of gang, you can throw yourself an evening cookout at the hotel’s awesome barbecue grills. There’s billiard, foosball, dartboard, shuffleboard, you name it—this will be an evening you’re unlikely to forget.

The 40 murals on street corners, in alleyways, and on the sides of prominent buildings have turned Old Town Lompoc into an outdoor art gallery.

Day 2 

Morning

It's your second day in the city of Lompoc and it's time to experience it like a local. Walk on over to one of the popular breakfast spots like the American Host Restaurant and have yourself a lovely feast. And while you’re enjoying your breakfast, make sure to really take in the ambiance, the homey aroma, and the warmth of fellow customers coming through the door.

Leaving these breakfast joints will put you directly on the way to your next attraction—and this is a definite must-see. Painted across old buildings in Downtown Lompoc, tucked on side streets, and marking garage doors are vibrant murals; all have a story to tell. As beautiful flowers would blossom along a vine, the Murals of Lompoc always end up surprising you, like a live art installation. They might even be the only Lompoc attraction showcasing the city’s past, present, and future since new murals seem to be emerging alongside those that depict the area’s first settlers. This is very in line with Lompoc, a beautiful combination of all things old and contemporary.

Let's face it, if someone else is paying for it, food just tastes a lot better. Who wants to have lunch in Lompoc?

Afternoon 

Change your mode of transport from pedestrian to on-wheels by taking a postcard-perfect ride down Jalama Road. Drive past sun-kissed ranches and rolling hills, cranking up that road-trip playlist you’ve so meticulously put together. 

If you’re not particularly one for aimless wandering—worry not—the nearby Jalama Beach (one of Santa Barbara’s finest) is there to offer you a wet-and-wild refuge. A haven for surfing, camping, bird watching, and nature photography, this beach is the perfect remedy for the scorching-hot California sun. Reefs and rocks often appear from underneath the sand by way of winter storms, forming the most immaculate tide pools you’ve ever seen. Explore these pockets of seawater for nature's littlest critters, all the while working on your tan.

Getting hungrier? Well, as it so happens, your appetite could not have stuck at a more opportune time. Jalama Beach Store and Grill is just around the corner. And fun fact: their food is the sole reason some people come to Lompoc; they can literally drive all the way from the other side of the coast just to taste the iconic Jalama burger. The meal consists of a lean grilled ground beef patty, stacked with shredded lettuce, sliced red onion, tomato, pickles, and a top-secret sauce—we’re pretty sure this is what dreams are made of. Add extra cheese if you want, jalapeno if you dare, and don’t forget the side of fries.

In the “Valley of Arts and Flowers”, visitors can see spectacular patches of colors from spring through fall in the farm fields of Lompoc Valley.

Evening 

Before you sense the sun setting, pop over to the Valley of Arts and Flowers to make sure that you have the perfect picture to hang on your fridge when you return; that is if you’re visiting from April through September. Marvel at the hills clad in California poppies, bluebells, and morning glory in varieties you’ve likely never seen. How to find these blooming beauties? There are a few ways, actually. Lompoc has two main roads that run parallel—Ocean Avenue and Central Avenue—and the best way to view the wildflowers is to travel back and forth between these two. Start off at either road and just follow it up and down, and up and down.

The Valley of Flowers is, by all means, an impressive sight, and we totally get how even one glimpse can make you want to run in and jump into the kaleidoscopic madness. But, in order to maintain this visual feast, it's important to follow the flower etiquette—meaning no walking through, no picking, and sadly, no frolicking. But, who said you can’t take photos here?

And just as you feel like you're running out of things to do in Lompoc, Old Town Kitchen and Bar invites you over for one last hurrah. It's actually the greatest way to say goodbye to Lompoc because the restaurant embodies what this laid-back paradise does best—bring people together over delicious food. Known most for their great steaks and mouthwatering mac ‘n’ cheese, this eatery boasts a more diverse menu than many realize. With popular vegetarian portobello mushroom sandwiches, garlic fries, a build-your-own meal bar, as well as cheesecake and chocolate mousses for dessert, there’s something here for everyone.

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