- 1 Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX IATA). A single-terminal airport. Scheduled flights are available from Los Angeles (5-6 flights per day on United Express) and Las Vegas (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday service only on Allegiant Air. Non-stop flights are offered from Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon. Prices start around $200 for a ticket purchased separately but are much less expensive when combined with flights going through Los Angeles. Some direct weekday flights from Las Vegas via Allegiant Air can be as inexpensive as $29 each way.
Air Charter or air taxi is another alternative, where you can catch flights from San Diego for the weekend, or fom any large or small airport. Air charters fly point-to-point, at the departure time, departure airport, and arrival airport of the passengers' choosing. Prices start around $150 for a seat on flights that might already be going to your destination, or go from $1,000 to $10,000 or more for a custom-chartered flight where you hire the aircraft to fly you directly to your destination, any time you want to go. On-demand flights, and seats on flights already chartered to Santa Maria are offered by Great Circle Aviation and other charter airlines.
Amtrak provides connecting bus service through Santa Maria (bus stop is located at the IHOP near 101/Main St). The bus connects with the Pacific Surfliner train in Santa Barbara. There is a train station in the nearby town of Guadalupe served by the Pacific Surfliner Amtrak train (one southbound train from San Luis Obispo stops there in the morning, northbound train from San Diego stops there at night).
There is a Greyhound station at 755 W Cypress Street, and the Greyhound bus also stops at the same IHOP as the Amtrak bus.
Santa Maria is home to one of the first and one of the few still-operating drive-in movie theaters, and is definitely a car town. Highway 101 runs through Santa Maria, as well as California highways 1, 135 and 166. North on 101 takes you through Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, and on to San Francisco . South takes you to Los Alamos, Buellton, Solvang, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. Highway 1 is a scenic drive; taken northward it leads you through several small towns eventually connecting with 101 just past Pismo Beach. Taken south on Highway 1 after the split with 1 and 135 leads to Lompoc and Vandenberg Air Force Base and 135 leads to Los Alamos (which is 8 miles after the intersection with Harris Grade Road (the old California 1 south to Lompoc)). Highway 166 west takes you to Guadalupe and the coast, and east takes you to the great central valley of California. Highway 135 south takes you to Los Alamos (if the left exit at the gore point is used) or Vandenberg Air Force Base (if the right exit is used) and eventually connect with 101 at Los Alamos. North will also take you to the 101 near the northern city limits.
Santa Maria has public transportation, SMAT, with more coverage during the day, and service ending at 10:15PM. SMAT has routes all throughout the city. RTA route 10 between San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria runs hourly M-F, and less frequently on the weekend . It costs $3.25 for the 33-mile (1 hr 10 min) bus ride from Santa Maria to San Luis Obispo (Apr 2020). The [https://www.cityofsantamaria.org/city-government/departments/public-works-services/public-transit-services-2499 Guadalupe Flyer takes you west of Santa Maria through scenic Highway 166 to Guadalupe ($1.50, Apr 2020).
There is also the Breeze Bus which has stops in near Vandenburg Air Force Base, and nearby Lompoc ($2, Apr 2020). Public transportation in the valley will take you anywhere you want but a car would be best.
There are not very many tourist attractions in Santa Maria, but the Santa Maria Inn has a very interesting set of photos and documents about the history of the area and Captain Alan Hancock, the person who founded Santa Maria, or Central City, as he knew it.
- Boomers! Fun Park, 2250 N. Preisker Ln, ☏ . M-F noon-9PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-9PM. Miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, arcade, and rock climbing wall.
- Hi-Way Drive-In Theatre, 3085 Santa Maria Way, ☏ . One of the few remaining drive-in movie theatres in the United States. Call for current film and showtime.
- Santa Maria Raceway, 1900 Hutton Rd (1/4-mile (0.4 km) north of the 101/166 interchange), ☏ . Mid-April to mid-October. Sa: Gates open at 3PM, races start at 5PM. 1/3 mile (0.5 km) clay oval track on which everything from factory stock to bandit sprint cars race. Part of the Coors Light Summer Racing Series.
- Waller County Park, ☏ . 8AM-sunset. A huge park with lakes, pony rides, hiking and biking trails, a frisbee golf course, and plenty of grassy lawn space. Free.
- Santa Maria Town Center. A major shopping mall at the junction of Broadway (Route 135) and Main Street (Route 166).
Santa Maria is the birthplace of what is now called Santa Maria style barbecue: tri-tip rubbed with spices and cooked whole. The town is a hotspot for barbecue lovers, although those seeking more familiar fare can find chains like IHOP, Olive Garden, Carrow's and Baker's Square.
- Shaw's Famous Steak House, 714 S Broadway, ☏ .
- Ichiban Japanese Restaurant, 2011 S Broadway # L, ☏ .
- Boy's Restaurant, 117 N College Dr, ☏ .
- Klondike Pizza, 2059 S Broadway, ☏ .
- Original Roadhouse Grill, 1423 S Bradley Rd, ☏ .
- Atari-Ya Japanese Restaurant, 1551 Stowell Center Plz, ☏ . Established in 1984, Atari-ya is a Japanese owned and operated restaurant serving the finest authentic Japanese cuisine to the residents and visitors of the Central Coast.
- Louie B's, 213 E Main St, ☏ . 10AM til 2AM. A bar with a standard selection of liquor and mixed drinks. No beer on tap only by the bottle. karaoke a few times a week. 2 pool tables
- O'Sullivan's Pub, 633 E Main St, ☏ . An Irish bar with a good selection of beers on tap. No liquor. 2 pool tables.
- Guadalupe - This small town is 9 miles west of Santa Maria and is primarily focused on agriculture and oil production. Travelers will enjoy visiting the neighboring Guadaulpe-Nipomo Dunes, an 18-mile stretch of beach that is one of the largest remaining natural dune areas in California. The Ten Commandments was filmed in the dunes and the sets were buried after production, but today blowing winds repeatedly reveal and then re-cover these reproductions of ancient Egypt.
|Routes through Santa Maria|
|San Luis Obispo ← Nipomo ←||N S||→ Jct E → Buellton → Santa Barbara|
|END ←||N S||→ Orcutt → Los Alamos|
|Ends at ← Guadalupe ←||W E||→ Maricopa → The Grapevine|