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.