6 Popular Places To Visit In and Around Santa Maria (2022)
Santa Maria is a city near the coast of California with nearly 100,000 residents. It is the largest city in Santa Barbara County, famous for its wineries, Santa Maria-style barbecue, and a lot of other local specialties. The city is also named as the West’s Best BBQ Town. Apart from that, the scenic position in Santa Maria Valley makes it an ideal recreational stop amongst the locals and visitors from the neighborhood.
The proximity to the coast makes Santa Maria an ideal city for exploring beaches and water sports. On a trip here, one can explore numerous beaches, museums, theatres, and open grasslands. Summers here are clear, long, comfortable, and arid, whereas winters get cloudy, cold, and wet. However, the temperature stays ideal all throughout the year for daytime exploration, and neither the heat nor the winds bother one’s experience much. Here are the 6 best places to visit in and near Santa Maria. Have a look:
6 Popular Places To Visit In and Around Santa Maria
1. Santa Maria Valley Historical Society
The Santa Maria Valley Historical Society works with the motive of collecting, preserving, and presenting the history of Santa Maria Valley’s people to the world. It is basically a historical museum that was built in the year 1974 for exhibiting regional memorabilia, artifacts, and pictures. For the initial impression, the museum might look like a small, age-old sight; however, a stroll inside its galleries takes one towards an impressive display that focuses upon the interesting history of the valley. Here one can find exhibits from the old-time baseball days to artifacts from the World War II days. There is no entry fee to the museum; however, guests are free to make donations.Credit Google Maps : Image Source
2. Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve
The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve a long spread of sand dunes and beaches nearly 10 miles from the city of Santa Maria. Standing at any point of Rancho Guadalupe, one can only see dunes, ocean, and skies, no matter which direction you look at. This extraordinary and unique nature preserves some of the tallest dunes on the west coast, towering 550-foot high, which isn’t just beautiful but also ecologically significant. One can visit here anytime from dusk to dawn to enjoy surfing, hiking, and fishing. If not for the adrenaline-boosting activities, this place is simply amazing for enjoying the natural beauty and watch the local wildlife. For photography enthusiasts, there is an abundance of amazing opportunities as well.
3. PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre
Pacific Conservatory Theatre in Santa Maria of performing arts has been in existence for more than 50 years now. Since then, it has been providing excellent training and presenting exemplary theatre unstoppably. It is famous for events, concerts, and specifically musicals. It also organizes school/ college fests and events and thus is quite famous amongst students. If you are a fan of performing arts, make sure you spare at least a couple of hours and visit PCPA. However, consider pre-booking for seats as you might find a great rush.
4. Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area
A nearly 20 to 30 minutes drive from Santa Maria takes you towards the beautiful and tranquil Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area. Though it is situated in the nearby city, Arroyo Grande, but is quite famous amongst the Santa Maria locals, and most of the travelers here make sure to add it into their itinerary. It is also a part of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area that offers visitors a trip through several diverse habitats and provides them access to several remote but mind-blowing beaches. The serene environment of Oso Flaco preserves several native plants, birds, wild animals, and miles of untouched and undamaged landscapes. You can hike, bike, or drive your way through the number of trails and enjoy your way.
5. Olde Port Beach
The coastal proximity of Santa Maria opens the way up to the Olde Port Beach, which is also referred to as the Avila Beach. A half an hour drive via US-101 N from Santa Maria will eventually lead you towards the old port beach. It is more of a raw and remote beach, thus calmer, less populated, and lacks in several modern amenities. Though during the summer months, you can find a few lifeguards and a food truck serving here at the beach. There’s also a car ramp that leads the way for small boats to get into the ocean water. However, during the high tide day, it is advisable to stay at a safer distance from the waves. It might not be the best beach you have been to, but definitely a peaceful place that will refresh you from the hustle and bustle of life.
6. Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum
One of the famous places to visit in Santa Maria, the Valley Discovery Museum, is a family-friendly place, ideal for visitors of all age groups. Here you can bring your kids along and enjoy the impressive interactive displays. The museum is also noted as one of the best-kept secrets of the Central Coast, offering a clean, safe and friendly environment to the visitors. It is an ideal place to spend a holiday morning or afternoon where you can be part of several fun activities, including preschool patrol, creation station, discovery diner, bubble machine, pirate ship experience, and pets and vets. Younger adults who are planning to visit here alone might not find the place really fascinating, but if you have family or kids along, it can be your ideal spot.