La Purísima Mission State Historic Park

Santa Barbara Wine Country

One of the most evocative of Southern California’s missions, La Purisíma was founded in 1787 and later completely restored in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Burros, cattle, sheep and other mission-era animals inhabit corrals, while gardens are planted with medicinal plants and trees once used by Chumash tribespeople.

Start in the excellent visitor center, where exhibits tell the stories of the Chumash people, the Spanish missionaries and the work of the CCC. Self-guided visits are the usual way to explore the buildings themselves, though guided tours (1½ to two hours) run at 1pm Wednesdays to Sundays (September to June) and daily in July and August.

The mission is just outside Lompoc, about 16 miles west of Hwy 101 (take Hwy 246 west from Buellton).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santa Barbara Wine Country attractions

1. Ampelos Cellars

2.14 MILES

Danish grower Peter Work and wife Rebecca display their passion for the vine through biodynamic farming techniques and encyclopedic knowledge of their…

2. Babcock

4.89 MILES

Hillside, family-owned vineyards overflowing with different grape varietals – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet…

3. Melville

5.19 MILES

This beautiful Mediterranean hillside villa gives tastes of estate-grown, small-lot bottled Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay made by folks who believe in…

4. Sanford Winery

6.68 MILES

Be enchanted by this romantic tasting room built of stone and handmade adobe bricks, embraced by estate vineyards on historic Rancho La Rinconada. Watch…

5. Ocean Beach County Park

10.23 MILES

The closest beach option to Lompoc, but closed for half the year to protect nesting Snowy Plovers.

6. Surf Beach

10.61 MILES

By the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Surf Beach is, as its name suggests, popular with surfers, though fatal shark attacks in recent years mean you should be…

7. Jalama Beach County Park

11.94 MILES

About 60 miles west of Santa Barbara, this beachfront park is much quieter than others in Santa Barbara County. There's good birding and whale-watching,…

8. Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards

13.18 MILES

Richard Sanford left the powerhouse winery bearing his name to start this new winery with his wife, Thekla, using sustainable, organic farming techniques…