Pronounced “Lom-poke,” this scenic valley town offers a ton to see and do year-round.
1. Step Back in Time at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park
Established in 1787, this mission was one of 21 established along California’s coast during a 54-year period, beginning in 1769. Under the order of the king of Spain, military troops and Franciscan missionaries arrived in California to establish outposts and convert Indians to Christianity. The most fully furnished and restored of the 21 missions, La Purisima gives visitors a sense of what life was like in the early 1800s. Its different than other city-based missions in that it’s set on 2,000 acres with 25 miles of hiking trails.The mission is open seven days a week. Free guided tours are offered at 1 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The 1.5-hour tour begins at the Visitor Center where guides share stories of mission life as they lead you on a one-mile walk through the historic buildings and rustic terrain, and up and down stairs.
2. See Big Art at Old Town’s Mural Walk
Stretch your legs and see the sights when you do an outdoor mural walk through Old Town Lompoc. There are 40 murals covering the history of Lompoc, beginning with the Chumash Indians, and you’ll find them on the sides of buildings, in alleys and on street corners. A newcomer to the scene, Agriculture in the Valley Beautiful mural emphasizes the area’s culture of cultivation. Others celebrate the community’s ethnic diversity and flower industry. While you’re in Old Town, have lunch at Sissy’s Uptown Cafe. This family-owned restaurant is housed in a historic building that used to be the town post office. Don’t leave without ordering a slice of Sissy’s famous coconut cream pie. Stop by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau for a mural map and tips on places to see and things to do along the route. Or download the art mural self-guided walking tour at explorelompoc.com.
3. Sip Award-Winning Local Wines
Lompoc and the surrounding Sta. Rita Hills are known for their extraordinary Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and other cool climate wines. There are 30 wineries to choose from in three areas: the Sta. Rita Hills AVA vineyards 10 minutes from town, Midtown Lompoc and the Lompoc Wine Ghetto near the intersection of North 7th Street and East Chestnut. Because many are small-batch facilities, the winemakers are often on-site to talk enthusiastically about their winemaking process. The Wine Ghetto has 20 boutique tasting rooms, and you can park and stroll from tasting room to tasting room. Look for Fiddlehead Cellars founded by Kathy Joseph in 1989. Passionate about Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noirs, Joseph is recognized as a female pioneer in the wine industry and produces 5,000 cases a year. Go to explorelompoc.com to find out more about the tasting room offerings, hours and whether you need an appointment.
4. Stroll the Beach
Just 30 minutes from Lompoc, remote Jalama Beach is a popular surfing and kite-surfing destination. It’s a great spot to stroll the sand and collect beach rocks, but water can be rough for swimming. Grab a picnic table and enjoy a famous Jalama Burger from the Beach Grill when you get hungry.
5. Play a Championship Golf Course
Designed by world-renowned architect Robert Muir Graves, this challenging 18-hole championship course has hosted pro tournaments from the PGA, LPGA and Senior PGA circuits. With spectacular vistas and rolling hills, it was recognized by Golf Magazine as a “top 100 Public Courses in America.”
6. Go Skydiving
Lompoc is home to Skydive Santa Barbara, which offers the highest tandem jump in southern California. You drop from 18,000 feet (with supplemental oxygen on the way up) and do a 90-second free fall. It’s the company’s most popular jump and enables you to really feel like a bird. If leaping out of a plane at 18,000 feet seems too intense, the company does offer two other tandem jumps: a 13,000-foot tandem jump and a 8,000-foot tandem jump. Regardless of which jump you choose, you’ll get spectacular views on the way down of the Pacific Ocean, white-sand beaches, a patchwork of vineyards and agricultural fields and the coast’s rolling hills.
For more information:
Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
111 South I St., Lompoc, CA
Central Coast Tourism