Lompoc Missions & Murals

Ahh, Lompoc. Lompoc? You ask. Didn’t we just feature this charming city?

The answer is, of course, yes—but we just needed to keep gushing over the natural beauty and small town charm of this California gem.

Skills of yesteryear are demonstrated during Village Days and Mountain Men Days
Skills of yesteryear are demonstrated during Village Days and Mountain Men Days

Easily located on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1, and close to Santa Barbara and Solvang, Lompoc is a wonderful late summer destination.

Year-round mild weather, golf, skydiving, biking trails, wine festivals (it’s also home to the amazing Lompoc Wine Ghetto, a collection of 20 boutique tasting rooms), and nearby surfing at Jalama Beach give Lompoc the edge when it comes to weekend getaways.

The valley setting, surrounded by spectacular rolling hills and vineyards, creates an invitation for visitors to detour off the main road, and discover what’s around the bend.

Lompoc is a town filled with a colorful history that traces the early beginnings of California, and when you visit, two major attractions will make that abundantly clear.

Family tours the chapel at La Purisima Mission
Family tours the chapel at La Purisima Mission

The life, history, and culture of the town are on full display at the pristine La Purisima Mission as well as on the beautiful murals throughout Old Town Lompoc.

The 30 colorful murals scattered throughout this part of town create an outdoor art gallery for visitors of all ages. The very first mural, created in 1989, depicts Lompoc’s flower industry. Murals focusing on agriculture, the Chumash Indians, early commerce, and other themes relating to Lompoc’s history and culture have been painted over the years. Last month, a mural depicting a dinosaur was added to the collection.

Maps for self-guided walking tours can be picked up at the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau (111 South I Street). You can even schedule a group tour—lead by local artist and administrator for the Lompoc Mural Society Vicki Anderson. She painted the mural titled, “The Lost Mission” located adjacent to the Lompoc Museum, depicting Lompoc’s history of having two missions—one that was destroyed by an earthquake, and the other that was later rebuilt to replace it.

La Purisima Mission docent demonstrates bread making
La Purisima Mission docent demonstrates bread making

Speaking of the mission, La Purisima Mission is another major draw for Lompoc, offering visitors the chance to step back in time and imagine the way mission life was in earlier days. La Purisima was the eleventh mission of the 21 Spanish Missions established in what later became California. This exceptional Mission, which is also a State Park, is considered the most fully restored and furnished.

Besides wonderful exhibits and buildings to tour, La Purisima Mission State Historic Park offers 25 miles of hiking trails as well facilities which allows visitors to utilize the park for picnics, photo shoots, special events, or simply as a place to come and reflect. It also features a visitor center, bookstore, and a gift shop where many artifacts have been created by local Native Americans. Guided tours are offered daily, year round. The tour begins at the Visitor Center at 1:00 p.m.

An integral part of the Mission is the living history programs and special events, offered on select dates year-round. “Village Days” (August 22) offers hands-on activities and fun games for kids all relating to the Chumash Indian tribe. “Mountain Men Days” (August 21-22) celebrates the American mountain men lifestyle, where Buckskin clad members share mountain men history and skills. Cooking, hide preparation and tanning, leather working, rope making, and blacksmithing are among the skills that visitors can experience. Costumed docents reenact mission life, offer lectures, and host tours during “Purisima’s People Day” taking place September 12.

So get in the car and head to Lompoc for a summer adventure spanning the ages.

To learn more about these and other Lompoc attractions, visit www.explorelompoc.com.

Lompoc Missions & Murals

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