Guadalupe is known as the “Gateway to the Dunes,” and this town is the opposite of a big city. At first glance, it looks more like an old wild west movie set.The friendly Central California community of Guadalupe is easily accessed by travelers. California’s Pacific Coast Highway runs through the city’s downtown. Uncover miles of sand dunes at Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. Although more remote, the long beach and extensive dunes of Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge are begging adventure seekers to find them. With steep slopes, dangerous rip currents and the occasional shark, swimming is discouraged, though, at Point Sal State Beach.
Enjoy the many wonderful beaches of Guadalupe, (you’ll find a list here), then come visit Guadalupe. Our Guadalupe California Vacations guide has all your answers to start planning your beach vacation. Just keep reading.
Guadalupe Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Guadalupe is from March to May or from September to November. Temperatures are fairly mild year-round, hovering in the 60s and 70s, but traveling in early spring or fall ensures you won’t be fighting crowds and rates will be less expensive. Summer is peak season, and the best time to go if you’re looking for a beach vacation, but you’ll have to contend with more crowds. If you’re traveling during the winter months, make sure to pack an umbrella because Guadalupe sees most of its rainfall between December and February. No matter when you decide to visit, pack layers as the as morning and late evening temperatures tend to be much cooler than the daytime highs.
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge contains a remote dunes complex and a seldom visited beach near Guadalupe. The refuge was created in 2000 to protect the dunes habitats of many animals including brown pelicans, least terns, snowy plovers, peregrine falcons, and rare breeds of frogs and salamanders. Eighteen different species of rare plants are protected in the refuge as well.
Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area is a California state park that is part of Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area. This park offers visitors a trip through several diverse natural habitats for viewing flora and fauna.
Approximately 600 acres of coastal active dunes, with undeveloped native habiat including ~2 miles of beach, the Santa Maria River estuary, foredunes, backdunes, and riparian. Open to all sorts of passive recreation: birding, wildlife observation, surfing, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and meditation. No off-road vehicles, sandboarding, kites, fires, camping or pets are allowed.
The park consists of approximately 80 acres and includes just over 1 1/2 miles of ocean frontage. Views of the coastline, beach and rugged mountain slopes are exceptional. Lion Rock, located offshore, is an important bird-roosting site and is also used by sea lions and other marine mammals. Recreational activities at Point Sal SB include fishing, beach combing, hiking, nature study, photography, picnicking and sunbathing. Because of extremely dangerous rip currents, occasional shark sightings, and the absence of Lifeguard service, swimming is not recommended.
With general information and directions to the local dune access points and other points of interest, the Dunes Center is a must see for anyone interested in traveling through the Central Coast and the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. They also have a variety of educational opportunities in the Center with different animal specimens, interactive activities, as well as a collection of short films about the local area.
Guadalupe Area Tours & Activities
Ultimate Wine Experience in San Luis Obispo
Savor the burgeoning wine scene around San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles on this tasting tour with half- and full-day options. Spend a few hours exploring a hand-picked selection of wineries in this increasingly-famous wine region, sampling red and white varieties. As you taste, you’ll get an introductory lesson on how to see, swirl, sniff, sip, savor each glass, upping your wine knowledge in the process. A guide, full- or half-day tour options, round-trip hotel transport, bottled water and a tasty picnic lunch (on full-day tour) are included. Read more about Ultimate Wine Experience in San Luis Obispo
Sandbar Surf School
Their professional and skilled instructors are there for your safety and to provide you with everything you’ll need to experience surfing, the ocean, and the beauty of Pismo Beach. Their private classes, group lessons, and extended surf camps are geared for people of all ages, skill levels and abilities – Wetsuits, Soft-top Surfboards, and the Ocean are provided! Telephone: 805-835-7873 Web: Sandbar Surf School.
San Luis Obispo County by Convertible
This is a full-day tour (8 hours) of San Luis Obispo County by convertible for the solo traveler. The tour combines sightseeing with the region’s history. It takes you inland to the wine country, to charming old town sites, farms, ranches, lakes, to hidden beaches, dunes, sea caves, and to a spectacular old port that offers amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Read more about San Luis Obispo County by Convertible
Learning to surf with Sandbar Surf School is a lifetime bucket list thing that you will never forget. We are the premier surf school in California’s Central Coast and we have been teaching surf lessons here in Pismo Beach since 1996. We have tons of local surf knowledge as well as many of our instructors are world travelers/surfers. We truly love what we do and you will have the best time in the world going with us. Laugh with us, surf with us and maybe even come to one of our bonfires! Read more about Surf Lessons
Sunset Guided Tour
This is a sunset cruise of beautiful Pacific Grove with breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the golden hues with streams of pink and blue as the sun appears to dip into the ocean. We ride the electric scooters as a group, seeing the sights on the way to Asilomar Beach to enjoy a beautiful sunset. This is a tricky tour as Pacific Grove does have the occasional marine layer, either way riding these electric scooters are fun! Read more about Sunset Guided Tour
Best Gualupe Restaurants
El Tapatio $11 – 30
This is great authentic Mexican food. Their Mexican inspired dishes combine ancient traditions with contemporary ingredients, spiced to suit your tastes. They invite you to join them for authentic Mexican food that can make any meal a special occasion. Telephone: 805-343-2850 Web: El Tapatio.
La Pasadita Oaxaqueña Under $10
La Pasadita features traditional items found in the heart of Mexico, fresh simple items from Oaxaca, items include Carne Asada, Rolled Tacos, Fresh Guacamole, our signature “Mole Oaxaqueño” Enchilada Sauce, quality Rice & Beans, and the final touch to any item: their House-Made Salsas. Telephone: 805-314-1426 Web: La Pasadita Oaxaqauena
The Butterfly Grille Under $10
Butterfly Grille is a full-service restaurant and bar and features the tastes and trends unique to the Central Coast of California. Whether you’ve just stepped off the course or you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast, you’re sure to have a pleasurable experience. Nestled in the Woodlands Village community, with the golf course as a backdrop, the Butterfly Grille’s ambiance is on par with that of a private facility. Telephone: 805-343-9400 Web: The Butterfly Grille.
La Simpatia Under $10
This is one of the hidden gems on the Central Coast. Rich in family history, you will never be disappointed in your meal. Rosa and her crew provide excellent service, and her family recipes are delicious! Don’t miss the chile rellenos, and try a combo plate so you can get a taste of everything. They have a full bar as well. Telephone: 805-343-9284 Web: La Simpatia.
Far Western Tavern $11 – 30
This restaurant is recognized as a landmark of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, a renowned regional fare rooted in native ingredients and methods that were first popularized by 19th century rancheros. The menu blends this local barbecue style with other dishes that reflect our family’s heritage in the Santa Maria Valley’s Swiss-Italian ranching community, all prepared with fresh flavors from nearby farms, ranches and vineyards. Telephone: 805-937-2211 Web: Far Western Tavern.
Best Guadalupe Bars
Far Western Tavern
Besides being an upscale Santa Maria style BBQ restaurants. Sit at the mahogany bar and have some great drinks! Visit the bar from 2-5 pm for a special bar menu and enjoy items not on the regular menu. Telephone: 805-937-2211 Web: Far Western Tavern.
The bistro has a great bar, good food and reasonable prices. Never really crowded, and easy parking. Chef is well experienced, prepares bistro fare with quality ingredients. From oven fired pizzas and sandwiches, to full entrees. This is delightful find on the Central Coast. Telephone: 805-343-7510 Web: Adelina’s Bistro.
Rooney’s Irish Pub
Great local venue with a wonderful selection of beers including Smithwick’s on draft! They make a killer black and tan as well. You’ll get some great homemade potato chips on your table while you read the menu. Rooney’s in house micro brews are served straight from the brewery to the tap. Telephone: 805-934-3777 Web: Rooney’s Irish Pub.
Santa Maria Brewing Company
Thirsty visitors can enjoy an impressive gallery of two dozen brews available on draft to satiate every preference. All beers are fresh and locally made in Santa Maria. Half-pound burgers, dogs, large salads and fries are on the menu. Smaller bites and appetizers include pulled pork taquitos, buffalo wings, and a trio of sliders in soft buns with your choice of tri-tip or house pulled pork and fresh slaw. Haystacks of onion rings are served with freshly made chipotle aioli. Telephone: 805-369-2256 Web: Santa Maria Brewing Company.
Best Guadalupe Hotels
There are no hotels directly in Guadalupe, so hotel accommodations are for nearby Santa Maria.
Historic Santa Maria Inn
They are a historic, full-service property located in the heart of Santa Maria along California’s beautiful Central Coast. We offer an award-winning Garden Room Restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, an Olde English Tap Room and a Wine Cellar and Martini Bar. They also feature an on site massage therapist, heated pool and spa, sauna, fitness facility, salon and barber. They are only minutes from the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, championship golf, beaches and shopping.
Holiday Inn & Suites Santa Maria
The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Santa Maria embodies the area’s casual charm and is the perfect home base for your upcoming visit. The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Santa Maria offers spacious rooms and suites, equipped with all the creature comforts of home, perfect for an extended stay in Santa Maria.
Radisson Hotel Santa Maria
Radisson Hotel Santa Maria provides guests with a convenient location adjacent to Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX) and just half a mile from SR-135. Our pet-friendly Santa Maria, CA hotel also offers convenient access to nearby golf courses, Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Santa Maria Airport Business Park. Ask our knowledgeable front desk staff for tips on visiting nearby wineries like Cambria Estate Vineyards & Winery or Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery.
Candlewood Suites Santa Maria
Candlewood Suites Santa Maria provides guests with a fitness center, Gazebo BBQ, free guest laundry facility, a complimentary business center, IHG Rewards Club Program and complimentary Internet. Designed to provide the business traveler and the leisure traveler with extended stay comfort, accommodations offer a kitchen equipped with stove top, full-size refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, plate, silverware, glassware and cookware. Suites also host pillow top mattress, recliner chair, flat panel TV, in-room DVD player & free DVD library.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Santa Maria
This hotel offers the ideal setting for exploring Santa Barbara County Wine Region, SLO Wines & Paso Robles Wine Country, Pismo Beach Premium Outlet, the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, the Danish Village of Solvang, the Pacific Ocean and renowned Hearst Castle. Their newly remodeled hotel features an indoor pool, whirlpool spa, fitness room, complimentary hot breakfast buffet, free high speed Internet, guest laundry facility, free parking, a meeting room, plus a complimentary business center. Rooms feature a refrigerator, microwave, flat screen TV, movie channels and complimentary high speed Internet.