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Welcome to Santa Maria, California

Ample parking day or night, people spouting "Howdy Neighbor"

You Are Here

[California Map] Santa Maria is located in the northern end of Santa Barbara County, in what is called locally the Central Coast of California. By road, it's approximately 270 miles south of San Francisco, 170 miles north of Los Angeles, and 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

[Santa Barbara County Map] Santa Barbara County is 2,735 square miles [land area] (780 more than the state of Delaware) of plains and valleys, which lie between 109 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, and the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest. The Los Padres NF covers approximately one third of the county. Santa Barbara County is bordered by San Luis Obispo County to the north, Ventura County to the east, and the ocean to the west and south.

[Santa Maria City Map] The city of Santa Maria is easily accessible from US Highway 101. Other routes to the area include State Route 166, via Interstate 5 from the east, and via SR-1 from the west. If driving to the area, you may want to check the statewide road conditions from the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans). The Santa Maria Public Airport provides commuter service from SkyWest Airlines, which operates as United Express, a feeder for United Airlines. Some of the larger nearby cities include San Luis Obispo (home of California Polytechnic State University), 30 miles to the north, Lompoc (home of Vandenberg Air Force Base), 30 miles to the south, and Santa Barbara (home of the University of California at Santa Barbara), 75 miles to the southeast. Other local cities and towns include Orcutt, Guadalupe, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, and Solvang.

A Brief History

Originally known as Grangerville, the town's name was changed to Central City in 1874, as it was half-way between Guadalupe and Sisquoc on the Pacific Coast Railway. Four local ranchers each donated 40 acres of land adjacent to what are now Broadway and Main Street. These men were Isaac Fesler, Rudolph Cook, John Thornburg, and Isaac Miller, whose last names are still on the streets around the city's center. In 1885, the name was changed to Santa Maria because the Postal Service sent many residents' mail to Central City, Colorado by mistake. The City of Santa Maria was incorporated on September 12, 1905 and has 99,553 residents (2010 census), now the largest city in the county. More detailed demographic data are available from the 2010 census.

How's The Weather?

The Santa Maria Valley is known for its mild Mediterranean climate. The average high temperature for Santa Maria is 69 degrees F, the average low is 46 degrees F, and average yearly rainfall is 12.4 inches. The afternoon winds off of the ocean keep the days cool. Summer days are noted for late night and early morning low clouds and fog. To see what it's like here today, check the current conditions in the graphic below, or see the text forecast.

Click for Santa Maria, California Forecast

Business and Industry


Major employers in the Santa Maria area include agriculture, and Vandenberg Air Force Base. County-wide, agriculture is a 1.5 billion dollar per year industry, which puts us 13th of California's 58 counties. According to the County Agricultural Commissioner's 2018 Crop Report, the county's top 5 food crops by dollar value are: strawberries, wine grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, and head lettuce. Nursery Products and Cut Flowers are actually #3 and #4, when including non-food crops. The California Department of Food and Agriculture's has the 2018 California Agricultural Statistics Review with detailed statewide year 2017 crop data.

The 30th Space Wing of the 14th Air Force (The Flying Tigers) is located at Vandenberg. The 576th Flight Test Squadron there is responsible for testing the US Air Force's InterContinental Ballistic Missiles, sending them to the Marshall Islands. It is also the only U.S. launch site for military, NASA, and civilian satellites to polar orbit. Numerous companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, their joint venture United Launch Alliance, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and SpaceX have facilities there to serve both the military and commercial customers.

The city of Santa Maria and the Santa Maria Valley Economic Development Commission, are actively seeking businesses to relocate, expand, or start-up in the city. Some of the city's selling points are a cooperative city government, quality lifestyle, and excellent labor force. One of the companies to move here is Melfred Borzall from Santa Fe Springs. More recently, Kirby Morgan Dive Systems relocated from Santa Barbara. Although they arrived in town in 1990, Hardy Diagnostics has grown to the point that they just broke ground on their third building. Swedish software company IST opened their US office in Santa Maria.


Downtown provides numerous shopping opportunities such as the Santa Maria Town Center Mall, which is anchored by Sears and Macy's. The mall is located at the historic center of town, at Broadway and Main St. The Town Center West shopping center, with a RiteAid, and Big 5 Sporting Goods, is just across the street. Farmers' Market is held there on Wednesday afternoons.

Moving south, at Broadway and Stowell, is a JCPenney. The Broadway and Betteravia area is home to CVS Drug, Kragen Auto Parts, Target, 99 Cents Only, and Ross Dress for Less. On the southern edge of town, at Broadway and Santa Maria Way is the K-mart. Further south, at Clark Avenue and Bradley Road in Orcutt, the Oak Knolls Shopping Center has over 70 merchants to serve you.

Most of the new retail construction is taking place along the Highway 101 corridor. At the Stowell interchange is a Costco, Toys R Us, and Office Depot. Located near the newly enlarged Betteravia/101 interchange are Home Depot, Staples, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and PetsMart.

This is by no means a complete list of the area's businesses. You can see that, like many American cities, we have outlets for many of the major chains. I also encourage you to patronize the many locally owned small merchants.

Leisure Time

Annual Events

You may also want to try

Other Things to Do

Live theater is presented by the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in the Marian Performing Arts Center at Allan Hancock College, and by the Santa Maria Civic Theater. The Santa Maria Philharmonic Society is bringing symphonic music back to the city.

How about a museum? The Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, or view their on-line tour of historic downtown. Don't forget the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum for kids, the Santa Maria Valley Railway Historical Museum, and the Santa Maria Museum of Flight.

The area's climate is conducive to many outdoor sports, or just relaxing in one of the many city or county parks. Waller Park has a 27-hole disc golf course, and Preisker Park has an 18-hole disc golf course. There are also some of those "real" golf courses around, too. Santa Marians also enjoy something known as the Santa Maria Style Barbecue. Just up the coast are Pismo Beach and Avila Beach for "sun worshipers."

Where to Stay

Motel 6
2040 N. Preisker Lane
(805) 928-8111
(800) 466-8356

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
2100 N. Broadway
(805) 928-6000
(800) 226-6573

Candlewood Suites
2079 N. Roemer Court
(805) 928-4155
(877) 226-3539

Fairfield Inn & Suites
2061 N. Roemer Court
(805) 925-8500
(800) 228-2800

Best Western Big America
1725 N. Broadway
(805) 922-5200
(888) 326-3380

Santa Maria Inn
801 S. Broadway
(805) 928-7777
(800) 462-4276

Santa Maria Radisson
3455 Skyway Dr.
(805) 928-8000
(866) 292-4676
There are other motels in town, but I have decided to only list these. I chose them because they are the largest, and/or affiliated with a national chain. Most are also listed in the AAA Tour Book, and earned a 3 Diamond Rating. I don't have any objective way to rate hotels and motels, so I think this is as good a method of selection as any.

Relocation Information

Visitor Information
Information from the Santa Maria Visitor & Convention Bureau
Real Estate Listings
Santa Maria/Orcutt area listings from Realtor.com

DISCLAIMER: This page is of my own creation, and not the product of, nor endorsed by, any city or county agency. It is meant to complement the other, official, Santa Maria sites, so if you don't find what you're looking for here, you can also try:
City of Santa Maria
Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce / Visitor and Convention Bureau / Economic Development Commission

Maps courtesy of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and the US Census Bureau's Tiger Mapping Service. I've modified them some, however.

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[US Flag] Written and copyright (c) 2019 by Eric Treankler
Questions, comments, and suggestions welcome.
[email address]
Last modified: 17 OCT 2019