Santa Maria, CA, USA
Pinot Noir wine fields in Santa Maria
About Santa Maria:
Santa Maria is a city located in Northern Santa Barbara County, California. It is approximately 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 35 miles south of San Luis Obispo. With a population of around 104,000 people, it is the largest city in the county.
Santa Maria is known for its wine industry, and the surrounding area is home to many vineyards and wineries. The city is also a major center for oil production in the region. The area has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm summers.
Santa Maria also has a strong aviation history, with the now closed Allan Hancock Field which was a major training base for the US Army Air Corps during World War II and a regional airport today.
The city is also home to a variety of cultural and recreational activities. The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, for example, is a popular attraction for families and features interactive exhibits on science, technology, and local history. The Santa Maria Fairpark is also a popular spot, featuring a variety of exhibits and events throughout the year.
The city has a diverse population, with a significant Hispanic community, and many other cultures represented as well. This is reflected in the variety of restaurants, shops, and businesses found in the city, which offer a wide range of cuisines and products.
Things to do in Santa Maria:
- Visit the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum – This interactive museum features exhibits on science, technology, and local history, making it a great destination for families.
- Explore the Santa Maria Fairpark – The fairpark features a variety of exhibits and events throughout the year, including the Santa Barbara County Fair, which takes place in late June or early July.
- Visit the Santa Maria Museum of Flight – The museum features a variety of aircraft on display, including a restored World War II-era B-25 bomber.
- Take a wine tasting tour – Santa Maria is known for its wine industry, and there are many vineyards and wineries in the surrounding area that offer tastings and tours.
- Go hiking in the Los Padres National Forest – The forest offers miles of hiking trails, including the popular Figueroa Mountain Trail, which leads to the summit of Figueroa Mountain.
- Take a hot air balloon ride – Take in the stunning views of the Santa Maria Valley from the air with a hot air balloon ride.
- Visit the Santa Maria Valley Railroad Historical Museum – The museum features exhibits on the history of railroads in the Santa Maria Valley, including a restored steam locomotive.
- Visit the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes – The dunes offer miles of pristine beaches, dunes, and wetlands, and are a haven for bird-watching.
- Take a surf lesson – Santa Maria has some great surf spots, and there are many surf schools in the area that offer lessons for all skill levels.
- Visit the Rancho Santa Maria Botanic Garden – The garden features a diverse collection of plants, including cacti, succulents, and native wildflowers.
- Go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding – Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the calm waters of the Santa Maria River or Nipomo Lagoon.
- Visit the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society – The society features exhibits on the history of the Santa Maria Valley, including the Chumash people, who were the original inhabitants of the area.
- Visit the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country – Santa Maria Valley Wine Country is know for its varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Take a tour to taste some of the region’s best wines.
- Take a scenic drive along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail – This picturesque route takes you through some of the most beautiful wine country in Santa Barbara County.
- Visit the Santa Maria Valley Natural History Museum – The museum features exhibits on the natural history of the Santa Maria Valley, including the area’s flora and fauna.
- Go fishing – There are plenty of good fishing spots in and around Santa Maria, including the Santa Maria River, Nipomo Lagoon, and the ocean.
- Visit the Santa Maria Valley Arts Council – The arts council features a variety of art exhibitions, performances, and workshops.
- Visit the Pacific Conservatory Theatre – One of the oldest professional theater companies on the Central Coast
- Take a stroll through Rotary Centennial Park – This large park features playgrounds, sports fields, and a lake, making it a great spot for a picnic or a game of frisbee.
- Check out the Santa Maria Valley Farmer’s Market – The market features a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other local products, including fresh flowers, baked goods, and hand-crafted items.