We ventured a little further down the coast for this trip, heading south on 101 past San Luis Obispo (yes, we still stopped for Firestone Grill’s Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip!) to a little town called Buellton. Buellton is probably most famous as the home of Anderson’s Pea Soup,
but we visited Flying Flags RV Resort, to use it as a base camp for excursions in the surrounding area. Flying Flags RV Resort is a top notch resort with something for everyone. They have all kinds of activities, even a Bocce Ball court! There is also a cafe on-site and they were having an BBQ outdoors while they were showing a movie on a large outdoor screen that was free to all. For visitors without an RV of their own, they have a row of fully restored vintage RV’s for rent. All the sites seemed well-maintained and with a little more room than you might expect. Here’s a photo of the view from our site, located at the end of a row.
Our plan was to use our tow vehicle to visit Solvang (a windmill), Lompoc (a mission), and Gaviota (a beach) all in one day. They are all within about a 1/2 hour of Buellton, which made it a great location to stay. The great RV resort was just icing on the cake.
We started early in the morning with a trip into Solvang for breakfast. Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish settlers who were tired of the cold midwestern winters (true!). They have always been knows for incredible baked goods. We went to Paula’s Pancake House for wonderful Danish pancakes!
The food was great and we were off to our next destination, the Spanish mission in Lompoc, the La Purisima Mission State Park. La Purisima was the eleventh of twenty-one missions in California, and was first established in 1787. If you have an interest in the Spanish missions in California, this is a great place to visit. It is the most fully restored and authentic mission that exists today, and presents what life would have been like here in 1820. Interestingly, it was the California Conservation Corps that in 1934 began work to restore the mission to its present state.
A short hike from the mission is a hilltop with a large wooden cross. From there, you can see the mission and the Lompoc valley. If you visit the mission, the hike is well worth it.
Our next stop was Gaviota State Beach, which is located where Highway 101 finally meets the ocean again when driving south from Pismo Beach. First, however, we were getting hungry, so we decided to take a short detour to the Santa Barbara area, where the very first The Habit grill is located (I hear it is actually the second location, but the first is no longer there. It is actually in Goleta, which is right next to Santa Barbara.). This location is also the only Habit that serves Chili Cheeseburgers, which they have been doing since 1969. I had to try one, and I have to say it was very messy, but also very good.
Our next stop was Gaviota State Beach, which is a small but beautiful beach. At one end of the beach is a oil pier, and the other end the waves break on a rocky cliff. The waves are about perfect here, and the surrounding area is known for great surfing. We really enjoyed relaxing on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves, and the children playing on the beach. We also enjoyed walking the length of the beach in our bare feet as the cold waves splashed against our legs. Thee is RV camping at Gaviota that is close to the beach, but it looked a little crowded and you had to pass through the day use area to get there. In our case, we were very happy to stay 15 minutes away a Flying Flags.
By the way, this was our second camping trip on Valentines day. I am very blessed to be married to my sweetheart for almost 32 years!
I hope you enjoyed riding along with us, so to speak, on our RV trip in Central California. We are already looking forward to our next trip to the California Gold Country!
All the best to you all!
Al and Deb
p.s. I also want to mention that our wonderfully affectionate traveling companion passed away right before our trip. He had battled with lymphoma the last two months and it was just time to go. We miss Charlie a great deal, but we love the time we had with him.
At age 62, as a lifetime Californian, I recommend Jalama Beach County Park (near Lompoc) as the finest central coast beach RV park. It is pristine, 20 miles from the nearest gas station. The SLO (Point Conception) Coast Guard lighthouse I will be inspecting is next door. It is like the CA of my youth.
Solvang, while always touristy, has always had excellent food. The La Purisma Mission, while always over shadowed by the Santa Barbara “Queen of Missions”, is still an undiscovered gem. Lompoc is the flower seed capital of the United States. In spring it is in full bloom.
Sorry about your dog. We have a French Bulldog, who make great travel companions. If you want a dog you don’t have to walk, get an English bulldog. Very stable and quiet. You will have to lift him in and out of the Winnebago, or buy a dog ramp from Camping World! The Frenchies are more active.
My wife and I will be celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary this July. Dated for 8 years in a VW pop-top camper. A couple that can RV together, stays together!
Elltinge, thanks for the great comment! I saw the signs for Jalama, but did not realize there was RV camping there…definitely now on my list! By the way, I really love your job and how, because of it, you RV all over the coast. Living the dream! Yes, we had never visited Lompoc before, but was really impressed with the town. It’s a hidden gem just like the mission. On our next trip, we also want to check out Vandenberg AFB. Thanks for the thoughts on Charlie, our dog. While we are not lookong for another dog right now, I’m sure there is another man’s best friend in our future. Thanks for the recommendation. And congrats on 36 years of marriage! How time flies!
If you have a military connection, Vandenberg AFB does have a RV park. First rate, just like everything about the Air Force. I will be glamping this week at the Crystal Cove State Beach Park in Newport Coast. Between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, if you ever get to Orange County.
I went to school in the area (many years ago!), and I think you will really enjoy it.
we stayed over near Solvang a few years back…beautiful area..enjoyed the trip and all the goodies they offered there….we ended up in Hans Anderson park to eat our goodies and make coffee….great pictures looked like a gun time…..Flying Flags group, but it looked like a beautiful park…sorry about Charlie, our Chika is 13 years and her hips are bad….just enjoying the last of her time with us….kat
Kay, thanks for your comments about Charlie. I’m also wishing you and Chika the best.
Darn iPhone….I typed Kat and spell check changed it to Kay…
My wife and I were just talking about all the comments and messages from the RV community about Charlie-dog. The RV community really has a big heart. Thank you everyone.
Hey Macnut, Nice post, I love all the photos! Sorry to hear about your pal passing away. Hope your doing OK since.
Dan, thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and photos. It’s a great area to visit. We are missing Charlie-dog. As you said, he was a great pal. Take care!
So sorry to hear about your fur baby. Looks like a wonderful place to visit and your pictures are awesome!
Thanks for your comments! We really enjoy getting away each month, and we have such variety here in Northern CA. Yes, Charlie was one of a kind. 🙂
What a nice trip. I liked all your photos and information about each stop. I am sorry that you lost your traveling pal, Charlie.
I just found this posting from today’s blog. Not sure how I discovered you or vice versa but enjoy the posts. I’m amazed how you’ve been able to book so many prime coastal venues no doubt planned well in advance. With so many rvers out there now how has it impacted your ability to reserve these sites? Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the question! There are definitely a lot more RVers out there so we have seen greater competition for sites. We tend to book months in advance, so we are not impacted that much…yet. Probably the biggest impact to us was when the reservation system for CA state parks changed to ReserveCalifornia.com. Before that, a whole month of sites opened at once (for 6 months in the future), so you had a much better chance of getting the site you wanted. The new system opens only a single day of sites (six months in the future). What we’ve found is that people competing for a single day of sites is much more competitive than when a whole month of sites are opened. As a result, we are not able to stay as much in State Parks, which is really our first choice in many places.