Welcome to Santa Maria, California
Ample parking day or night, people spouting "Howdy Neighbor"
You Are Here
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 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.
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
which operates as United Express, a feeder for
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
Pismo Beach, and
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
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
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:
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
their joint venture
United Launch Alliance,
Orbital Sciences Corporation, and
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
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
opened their US office in Santa Maria.
Downtown provides numerous shopping opportunities such as the
Santa Maria Town Center
Mall, which is anchored by
The mall is located at the historic center of town,
at Broadway and Main St. The Town Center West shopping center, with a
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
The Broadway and Betteravia area is home to
Kragen Auto Parts,
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
Toys R Us, and
Located near the newly enlarged Betteravia/101 interchange are
Best Buy, and
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
You may also want to try
- Solvang Century Bike Ride (March 14, 2020)
- Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival (April 24-26, 2020) Santa Maria Fairpark
- West Coast Kustoms Cruisin' Nationals (May 29-31, 2020) Santa Maria Inn
- Elks Rodeo and Parade (May 28-31, 2020) Downtown and Elks/Unocal Events Center
- Concerts in the Park Series (June-September) Rotary Centennial Park
- Independence Day Fireworks Show (July 4, 2020) Sierra Vista Park
- Santa Barbara County Fair (July 15-19, 2020) Santa Maria Fairpark
- Bent Axles Show and Shine Car Show (July 20, 2019) Old Town Orcutt
- YMCA Family Day in the Park (August 18, 2019) Waller Park
- All Ford Car Show (September 14, 2019) Old Town Orcutt
- Cruzin' For Life Car Show and Cruise (September 20-21, 2019) Santa Maria Fairpark
- Santa Maria Beerfest (October 5, 2019) Elks Field
- Central Coast Airfest (October 12-13, 2019) SM Airport
- Christmas Parade of Lights (December 7, 2019?) Broadway, from Stowell to Cook
- Orcutt Annual Christmas Parade (December 14, 2019) Old Town Orcutt
- OCAF Chalk Festival (December 28, 2019) Old Town Orcutt
- Santa Maria Raceway Dirt Track Races (Saturdays, April-October) Schedule
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
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,
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
has an 18-hole
course. There are also some of those "real"
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
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.
- Motel 6
- 2040 N. Preisker Lane
- Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
- 2100 N. Broadway
- Candlewood Suites
- 2079 N. Roemer Court
- Fairfield Inn & Suites
- 2061 N. Roemer Court
- Best Western Big America
- 1725 N. Broadway
- Santa Maria Inn
- 801 S. Broadway
- Santa Maria Radisson
- 3455 Skyway Dr.
- 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.
Return to E.T.'s Home Page
Written and copyright (c) 2019 by Eric Treankler
Questions, comments, and suggestions welcome.
Last modified: 17 OCT 2019