Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Lompoc, CA

  • Published 2023/03/02

Lompoc is a lovely city on the Central Coast of Santa Barbara County, California.

The Chumash people were Lompoc’s first inhabitants, settling on California’s central and southern coast.

They called the area Lum Poc, meaning “lagoon” or “stagnant waters.”

Today, Lompoc is the “City of Arts and Flowers,” thanks to its numerous fields of commercially grown flowers and murals.

The city is also home to outdoor recreational activities, award-winning wineries, and one of the largest national air force bases.

There’s plenty to see and do in Lompoc, with attractions showcasing the city’s history, flower industry, ethnic diversity, scenic beauty, and more!

Here are the best things to do in Lompoc, CA:

Visit the Lompoc Flower Fields

Daytime view of the beautiful Lompoc Flower Fields

joojoob27 /

Lompoc’s mild Mediterranean climate has given the city an ideal setting for growing flowers for more than a century.

Visitors can witness beautiful specks of colors in Lompoc Flower Fields.

Local flower growers produce cut flower varieties such as Bupleurum, Bells of Ireland, Delphinium, Larkspur, Queen Anne’s Lace, and Stock.

Every year, the flower fields rotate and are scattered across Lompoc Valley, where they bloom from April until September.

Seasonal wildflowers and commercial flower fields are among Lompoc’s stunning blooms.

Colorful flowers at Lompoc Flower Fields

Merwee /

Wildflowers bloom throughout the spring on lush rolling hills, while commercial fields bloom three to four times throughout the year.

You can see them from many main highways in and around the city.

The flower industry in the Lompoc Valley started way back in the early 1900s when they gathered mustard for seed.

They exported locally-grown seeds all over the world.

But today, the focus is on cut flowers, with California producing around 80% in the United States.

Over half of these flowers come from Lompoc, Santa Barbara County.

Closeup of a flower at Lompoc Flower Fields

joojoob27 /

Celebrate the Lompoc Valley Flower Festival

Who doesn’t enjoy a good festival?

Celebrate Lompoc Valley’s flower-growing heritage, a hometown tradition since 1952.

The Lompoc Valley Flower Festival takes place on the last full weekend in June, starting on Wednesday and ending on Sunday.

The festival includes a parade of flower-covered floats, marching bands, a flower exhibit, a carnival, commercial vendors, arts & crafts merchants, live entertainment, food booths, and more!

Tour the La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

Exterior of La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

Bill Morson /

The La Purisima Mission State Historical Park, the best-restored of California’s 21 missions, brings history to life.

The almost 2,000-acre La Purisima Mission State Historic Park was once a thriving Franciscan mission and a home to the Chumash natives and Spanish settlers.

An 1812 earthquake ravaged the old mission, built in 1787.

Later, the building was relocated and restored to its 1820s appearance on the current site.

Long hallway of La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

Steve Heap /

It currently welcomes over 200,000 tourists each year for pleasure and to learn about California’s history.

Visitors can enjoy over 25 miles of hiking trails, a 1 ½ hour guided or self-guided tour of the historic buildings, and an exploration of the visitor center and gift shop.

The La Purisima Mission State Historical Park is a must-see for history lovers and those looking for a peaceful and fascinating spot to explore.

The National Register of Historic Places has added the mission and the park to the record.

Interior of La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

Logan Bush /

See the Murals of Lompoc

Downtown Lompoc has a lot of great art!

Old Town Lompoc has become an outdoor art gallery with 40 murals on street corners, alleyways, and the facades of notable buildings.

The murals portray Lompoc’s history, industry, culture, diversity, and beauty.

The mural project began in 1988.

One day, the mayor summoned a town meeting to discuss the possibilities of helping Lompoc’s deteriorating “Old Town.”

They drew inspiration from a small town in British Columbia that used the same mural concept in developing tourism.

Santa Monica artist Art Mortimer painted the city’s first mural, titled “Flower Industry,” in 1990.

Tourists flock from all over the world to see Lompoc’s murals, including The Price of Freedom, Last of the Titans, Fields of Gold, The Boatmen, and Feeding Time.

The Lompoc Mural Society curates the majority of the murals.

This non-profit organization restores the historic old town and uses art to build bridges across cultural barriers and ethnic groups.

Follow the Old Town Lompoc Heritage Walk

Exterior of Lompoc Museum along Old Town Lompoc Heritage Walk

WalkThisWay1962, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in the heart of Lompoc Valley is Old Town Lompoc, where everything comes together, including local businesses, vibrant art, vintage architecture, historic gems, and more.

Old Town Lompoc is known for the Old Town Lompoc Heritage Walk.

The heritage walk is a one-mile self-guided tour that takes around an hour to complete and includes 18 sites dating back to the 1870s.

Marquee of Lompoc Theatre along Old Town Lompoc Heritage Walk

Logan Bush /

The sites include the Artesia School House (1876), the Andrew L. Huyck House (1890), the Rudolph Building (1894), the Lompoc Museum (1911), and the Lompoc Theatre (1927).

An Eagle Scout from Troop 66, Ryan Andersen, completed the Old Town Lompoc Heritage Walk map.

Sip Fine Wine at the Lompoc Wine Ghetto

The Lompoc Wine Ghetto, a collection of small wineries and tasting rooms in an industrial district complex, produces many locally-crafted, small-batch wines.

With more than 20 tasting rooms, the Lompoc Wine Ghetto is Santa Barbara County’s greatest concentration of tasting rooms.

Sample small-batch, award-winning wines and meet artisan winemakers who are passionate about their work.

The majority of the wineries are only a few blocks apart, so you may park somewhere and walk from one tasting room to another.

There are plenty more fantastic vineyards to visit nearby in Midtown Lompoc, just a few blocks from the Wine Ghetto.

Not far away, the Sta. Rita Hills host thriving vineyards and larger wineries open for tasting and tours seven days a week.

Skydive with Skydive Santa Barbara

Skydive Santa Barbara is the perfect place for first-time skydivers!

Enjoy the adrenaline rush of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure while taking in spectacular vistas of the Pacific Ocean, hillsides, and vineyards.

Skydive Santa Barbara is the only dropzone in Southern California that offers spectacular jumps with ocean views.

Since 1997, they’ve offered jumps to over 300,000 thrill-seekers.

Skydive Santa Barbara provides three jumps from different heights, including the 18,000-foot tandem jump, the highest drop zone in the country.

This skydiving is unlike any other and offers the best bang for your buck.

The FAA has fully recognized Skydive Santa Barbara with an impeccable safety record.

Skydive Santa Barbara is also one of the first drop zones of choice for the entertainment industry, thanks to its proximity to Los Angeles.

They have appeared in several TV and film projects worldwide, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s blockbuster hit San Andreas.

Explore Jalama Beach County Park

Aerial view of Jalama Beach County Park

Bill Morson /

Jalama Beach County Park is a beachfront campground and park about 20 miles southwest of Lompoc.

Jalama Road is a beautiful 30-minute journey that takes you through vineyards, ranches, and hillside vistas, ending in a rugged overlook of the Central Coast.

Jalama Beach was previously home to the Chumash people.

When the Spanish missionaries arrived in 1787 and established the La Purisima Mission, the Spanish moved them to the mission, abandoning the settlement.

Kitesurfing at Jalama Beach County Park

Tim Mossholder timmossholder, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, Jalama Beach is a popular destination for camping, hiking, nature photography, surfing, kiteboarding, and bird watching.

Many endangered California native species such as sand verbena, saltbush, and sea rocket thrive within the park’s limits.

Try the famed Jalama burger at the onsite Jalama Beach Grill, open seven days a week.

Swim at your own risk in Jalama Beach; high winds and rough seas are expected.

The waters of Jalama Beach County Park

John Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hike the Bodger Trail

Bodger Trail, also known as Lookout Point, is only a five-minute drive from downtown and is rated the best trail in Lompoc.

It’s a local favorite with beautiful sweeping views of the Lompoc Valley.

Hike through the valley, where you’ll pass by wildflowers, foliage, and wildlife in season.

You’ll see a captivating 130-degree view of the valley’s bottom once you arrive at the top.

Take it easy as the trail is steep, albeit short.

This 1.5-mile round trip is well worth it and a must-do for people visiting Lompoc.

Play Golf at the La Purisima Golf Course

La Purisima Golf Course, locally known as La Piranha, is an exceptional 18-hole Central Coast gem.

Thousands of golfers visit each year and call it “one of America’s best-designed courses.”

Developed in 1986, La Purisima Golf Course is one of the country’s purest and finest tests of golf.

World-renowned golf course architects Robert Muir Graves and Kenneth Hume Hunter, Jr. developed and designed the course.

No house projects or commercial developments surround the course of La Purisima, which makes playing here an authentic golf experience, with 309 acres of oak-studded, gently rolling sandhills.

The course has hosted professional tournaments such as the PGA, LPGA and Senior PGA, but players of any skill level can visit and test their skills.

La Purisima Golf Course has received four and a half stars from Golf Digest readers.

Golf Magazine has named it into its Top 100 Public Courses in America.

Likewise, it was once the country’s 33rd most challenging course.

Watch a Rocket Launch from Hawk’s Nest

SpaceX Rocket Launch at Lompoc

Claudine Van Massenhove /

Lompoc is where you watch a rocket light up the morning sky and feel the tremendous rumble through the grounds.

The Vandenberg Space Force Base, with six Space Launch Complex launch sites (SLCs), is home to many public and private aerospace organizations such as NASA, United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and others.

Only military personnel can see launches on the base.

People from all over the world view launches outside the space force base grounds.

Rocket launch grounds of The Vandenberg Space Force Base

Bill Morson /

There are many viewing sites in Lompoc and nearby areas, but the Hawk’s Nest is one of the best, about 500 feet above sea level.

It provides a fantastic view of most of the SLCs.

You can find it on the map as “Azalea Lane” or “Camellia Lane.”

In general, missile launch dates and times are announced five days ahead of time, also susceptible to change due to weather and/or mechanical issues.

Swim at the Lompoc Aquatic Center

Lompoc’s state-of-the-art public swimming facility is one of the state’s largest indoor water parks.

The Lompoc Aquatics Center is available for swim competitions, training sessions, water polo sports, and private rentals.

It features a ten-lane competition pool, a lap pool, two water slides, an interactive playground, and a therapy pool.

It is an excellent location for adults and kids to enjoy the water without traveling far outside Lompoc.

The Lompoc Aquatics Center is open for residents and visitors alike.

Visit the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary

Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary is a stunning 300-acre sanctuary in Lompoc home to around 400 wild horses and over 20 burros.

They are committed to conserving America’s wild horses and burros’ habitat, diversity, and freedom.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the world of wild horses through sanctuary, advocacy, education, and conservation.

Sanctuary and private tours are available.

Staff members will lead visitors on a walking tour of the sanctuary, with time for peaceful herd observation along the route.

You’ll also meet some of the American mustangs who represent a critical link to the history of horses in North America.

Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary also hosts photo safaris where photographers can capture images of mustangs and other horses.

Bike at the River Bend Bike Park

The River Bend Bike Park is a free and safe bike riding complex with off-road paths and jumps for riders of all skills.

Community volunteers developed the bike park for dirt bikes and BMX fanatics.

The River Bend Bike Park has designated areas for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and mountain bikes.

A small track separates the “Big Kids” from the “Little Kids,” with a modified route for intermediate riders and an area with extreme jumps for advanced riders.

A route surrounds the entire facility, which mountain bikes can traverse.

The River Bend Bike Park is part of River Bend Park, a 30-acre community park close to the Santa Ynez River, which “bends” from north to south.

Besides biking, the park offers other amenities, including eight soccer fields, a baseball field, a 2.25-mile walking track, and barbecue areas.

Trek Along Ken Adam Park

Ken Adam Park is a sizable park in Lompoc that you may miss given that it’s quite secluded from the city’s busier areas.

Situated at the woodlands along Hancock Drive, this park is an awesome area to do some trekking and nature viewing.

Besides trekking, Ken Adam Park is also a popular camping ground due to its rustic charm that attracts both locals and tourists.

There’s a cool astronaut memorial located here as well that gives you a bit of history.

Beyond that, Ken Adam Park also features a couple of standard amenities like a playground and a volleyball court.

Visit Lompoc Library

Located along East North Avenue, Lompoc Library is a neat place to check out if you’re into reading or the arts.

There are a couple of artworks here that are mostly from local artists, but the library shines best when you utilize its solid collection of books.

Lompoc Library has great study areas as well—there’s good lighting everywhere and the library doesn’t get too cramped even on busy hours.

Of course, the experience going here is further accentuated by their friendly librarians and staff.

A nice place to spend some quiet time or to get work out of the way, Lompoc Library is a great addition to your itinerary.

Take a Stroll at Lompoc Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Lompoc Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial commemorates the contribution of U.S. veterans during the Vietnam War.

Here, you can see a quiet spot where the memorial is erected, tucked along River Park Road.

Besides seeing the monument and learning a bit of history, Lompoc Valley Vietnam Veterans Memorial is also a great place to spend some quiet time.

Since it’s a war memorial, there’s a quaint and solemn charm to the place, accentuated by its surrounding nature.

If you’re looking for a quiet spot in Lompoc, this is one of the best places to visit.

Bring Your Pooch to Barkin Park

Barkin Park is an awesome dog park in Lompoc, found along the city’s West Barton Avenue.

Well-stocked with dog essentials and with great greenery, Barkin Park has everything you’d want and more in a dog park.

There’s a good supply of fresh water, tons of waste bags, and there’s plenty of benches for everyone even if it gets busy in the late afternoon.

You’ll also see two areas here—one for small breeds and the other one for larger dogs.

Barkin Park is a must-visit if you’re bringing your dog with you as it’s a surefire way for them to release some pent up energy.

Grab Breakfast at American Host Catering

American Host Catering is one of the most popular restaurants in Lompoc, offering classic American breakfasts that’s a great way to start your day.

Highly rated by both locals and tourists, this restaurant is a great all-rounder because of its food, service, and ambiance.

From scrumptious waffles to mouthwatering biscuits and gravy, this is the perfect place to satisfy your American breakfast cravings.

There are also an abundance of sweet items here for dessert, so you won’t have to look elsewhere.

American Host Catering is located along North I Street, right in the heart of the city.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Tour the Vandenberg Space Force Base

NASA building at Vandenberg Space Force Base

Claudine Van Massenhove /

The Vandenberg Space Force Base, 13 minutes from Lompoc, is an active-duty military post and the premier spaceport and test range on the west coast.

Established in 1941, the Vandenberg Space Force Base is one of the country’s most important military and space installation sites.

It launches unmanned test rockets and satellites year-round.

The base also handles space launches for civil and commercial space entities such as NASA and SpaceX and its military launch missions.

The Vandenberg Space Force Base is a closed military installation.

Welcome sign of Vandenberg Space Force Base

Bill Morson /

However, the Space Launch Delta 30 Space Wing Public Affairs office hosts monthly windshield tours of portions of the base, highlighting its military life and missions.

They also provide quarterly tours to the Space and Missile Heritage Center located at the historic Space Launch Complex-10, the base’s museum.

It’s the only landmark at Vandenberg Space Force Base listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

All participants must arrange the visits in advance by sending the required information to the base for access.

Atlas V rocket at Vandenberg Space Force Base

Bill Morson /

Final Thoughts

Lompoc is a charming city full of colors and wonders, expressed through history, geography, industry, art, and culture.

Enjoy the outdoors in this beautiful section of the Central Coast, away from the hustle and bustle of adjacent larger cities.

Lompoc is a true paradise, from the land and sea to the sky.

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