We are pleased to announce that we are now open for private tours!  To book a weekday tour, please click on “book your adobe tour” button below! 

Saturday & Sunday tours are from 11am- 3pm. No appointment needed.

Enjoy DANA Adobe & Cultural Center’s new exhibit, Rancho Nipomo: Moving through the Times is the second portion of our two-part exhibit.

Part II of the exhibit begins in the 1890s with the innovations in technology and social movements changing the rural landscape.  The exhibit also includes the restoration efforts of the Dana Adobe which had their start in the 1930s and remain on-going to this day.  The exhibit concludes with an opportunity for you to suggest what additions should be made to the remaining 130-acre Rancho Nipomo property to best preserve and interpret Californio and Rancho life.

The exhibit’s five main themes include Innovation, Social Movements, Between the Wars, Agriculture, and Adobe Restoration.  Each of these pieces explain the development of Rancho Nipomo and the region.


The mission of the DANA Adobe & Cultural Center is to engage visitors with the stories of California’s Rancho Era History, connecting them with the peoples, the land and its resources to foster environmental stewardship and cultural understanding. 

Dana Adobe

The Natural History of Nipomo  

Rancho Nipomo once encompassed the vast majority of land between what is now Arroyo Grande and the Santa Maria River – an area blessed by rich soil and natural resources that enabled the establishment of towns whose economy was based in agriculture and natural resource extraction. The original land grant awarded to William G. Dana and his family by the Mexican government in 1837 included Nipomo and the Los Berros region. The area’s history is significant not merely because of the history that took place within its boundaries, but also because of its relationship with distant places. The movement of goods and people is what connected Nipomo and its vicinity to the world and made it an extremely dynamic location to live.

DANA Cultural Center

The DANA Cultural Center was funded by a Nature Education grant in 2014 and by 2016 DANA completed construction of a beautiful facility to host events, a revolving gallery, field trips, and more. The mission of the DANA Cultural Center is to engage visitors with the stories of California’s Rancho Era History, connecting them with the peoples, the land, and its resources to foster environmental stewardship and cultural understanding. The Cultural Center consists of a revolving gallery with local and renowned artists, a gift shop, DANA’s main office, and a full commercial kitchen.

Check our Education & Exhibit page to see the current exhibit!


With the addition of our new Bird and Railroad trails, our trail system spans just over one mile. The Heritage trail follows the path of the historic El Camino Real; meeting up with the Railroad trail before looping back to the adobe house. The Railroad trail follows the path of the historic Pacific Coast Railway that spanned from Port San Luis to Los Olivos. You will walk along the flattened area the narrow gaged railroad once stood. The south end of the Railroad trail connects to the Bird trail that runs along the Nipomo Creek. You will see many birds of all different types on our property; the tree cover on this trail provides a better opportunity to see birds in their habitat.

The Pollinator Garden

During the fall and winter we have constructed and planted a new garden focused on flowering native plants. The garden is 100% ADA approved with a hard path leading from the parking lot to and throughout the garden itself. It features raised planter beds filled with California native plants including manzanitas, buckwheats, milkweeds, a number of different sages, and many more. There are benches for you to sit, relax, and watch the wildlife; along with a fountain to sooth your senses as you rest.

Our goal in building this garden is to teach everyone the importance of pollination and invite pollinators of all kinds to create food for themselves and a beautiful landscape for you to enjoy. Pollination is the key to survival for plants, and the success of plant life is the key to survival for all of us. Honey bees are the most notorious pollinators. However helpful they are; honeybees push out native pollinators. With the construction of our garden we welcome natural pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, and wasps.

Chumash Garden

Coastal Live Oak Acorns - used to make food, bark for fire, and wood for bowls.
Toyon berries - toast for food, wood for tools and weaving.
Elderberries - used for food, medicine, and musical instruments.

Sponsored By Nancy Moure

Welcome to nipumu?, the place of the big house. The yak titu titu yak tithini, the Northern Chumash people, used their vast knowledge of the different local habitats for hunting, fishing and cultivating the landscape to obtain food, to make tools and medicine.  This garden reflects some of the plants they used.

Kitchen Garden

Sponsored by the Franciscan Friar’s

The new kitchen garden is complete! A huge thanks goes out to the Franciscan Friars. They not only sponsored the garden, but also donated their time to build it. Originally located near the Nipomo Creek for its accessibility to water and clay rich soil. The garden has been moved to just south and east of the Adobe house. Making it more accessible for guests. While the garden includes some more modern features that are unauthentic to the 1800’s, the plants and planting method holds true. 

The planting method is called the Three Sisters. It is a traditional Native American style of planting corn, beans, and squash together. The spiny branches on squash protect all of the plants from small critters. Corn produces a stalk for the beans to climb, while beans produce nitrogen that enriches the soil naturally. Everything grown is edible and squash/gourds were also hollowed out and dried to be used as cups, bowls, containers, or musical instruments.