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things to do in santa maria ca

Things to Do in Santa Maria

Situated along Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo in sunny Santa Maria, California, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Santa Maria is the perfect home base for visitors to the area. Explore the local wineries along Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, enjoy the fresh local produce, go antiquing, play some golf, take a dip in the Pacific Ocean at Pismo Beach, or head to one of the nearby recreation areas like Guadalupe Dunes County Park for a day of outdoor adventure. Santa Maria offers entertainment and adventure for everyone!


Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove

Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove

Prepare to be astounded as over 10,000 vibrant monarch butterflies flutter around you at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove. Each year, thousands of these iconic orange and black butterflies flock to Pismo Beach — a location crucial to their successful migration — to seek respite from the frigid winters of the north. Monarch season lasts from late October through February, so be sure to pay a visit to this scenic park that is easily hikeable for all skill levels.

Visit Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove


Seasonal Shopping in Santa Maria Valley

Shops at Santa Maria Valley

Holiday season is just around the corner! Take a few hours to wander the charming vintage shops of Santa Maria Valley, where you'll find plenty of stores that cover everyone on your list. Or, take a day off and treat yourself to retail therapy or a trip to the spa.

Visit Santa Maria Valley Shops


Harvest on the Coast

SLO Harvest on the Coast Celebration

Celebrate the end of a fruitful fall harvest surrounded by beachfront beauty at the Harvest on the Coast event, taking place November 1-3, 2019. Enjoy succulent meals and a premier selection of delicious wines from the area's finest wineries. Plus enjoy entertaining live music and place your bid at the event's silent auction.

Get Tickets to Harvest on the Coast


Hike to Mussel Rock

Hike to Mussel Rock

Steal away to this extraordinary and unique nature preserve for the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center's Hike to Mussel Rock, happening on November 17, 2019. Featuring soaring 550-foot tall dunes (the tallest on the west coast) and the scenic Santa Maria River Estuary, you won't want to miss this chance to revel in the breathtaking nature just minutes from the hotel. This is a moderate, four-mile round-trip hike that takes place on sand and offers stunning views.

Hike the Dunes


Allan Hancock College

hotels for allan hancock college in santa maria

Located less than four miles from Allan Hancock College, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Santa Maria is the ideal hotel for students and visitors to the school.

Allan Hancock College is a California public community college located in northern Santa Barbara County. The college is ranked as one of the five best community colleges in California and one of the top 120 community colleges in the nation.

Approximately 11,500 credit students enroll each semester at one of the college's four locations in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Solvang, or Vandenberg Air Force Base. The main campus is in Santa Maria, a 105 acre park-like setting that provides students with exceptional teaching and state of the art technology.

While you're in the area visiting the beautiful Allan Hancock campus make sure to fill out your college tour with University of Southern Califonia, Laurus College, and Santa Barbara Business College all within 3 hours of Santa Maria. Holiday Inn and Suites Santa Maria is also a great destination for graduation, homecoming and parents weekend stays for any off the colleges around the area.

Visit Hancock College


Santa Maria Wineries

hotels for wineries in santa maria

Santa Maria is home to some of California's finest vineyards, wineries, and tasting rooms. During your stay, head to the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail and explore some of Santa Maria's world-class wineries!

View Our Santa Maria Winery Guide


The Best Golf Courses near Santa Maria

golf hotels in santa maria
  • Santa Maria Country Club (7 miles)
  • Blacklake Golf Course (10 miles)
  • Monarch Dunes Golf Club (10 miles)
  • Cypress Ridge Golf Course and Driving Range (14.5 miles)
  • La Purisima Golf Course (31 miles)

Santa Maria Raceway

hotels near santa maria raceway

Located less than two miles from Santa Maria Raceway, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Santa Maria is the ideal home base for race fans looking for a comfortable and affordable hotel for a weekend at the track. Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Santa Maria is the closest hotel to Santa Maria Raceway and a short drive away from all of the other great attractions in the area. Enjoy the high-octane adrenaline run at the track and relax after the checkered flag in our heated outdoor pool.

Learn More About the Raceway


Santa Maria's Boutiques, Shops, and More

shopping in santa maria
  • The Village of Arroyo Grande (14 miles)
  • Pismo Beach Premium Outlets Shopping Center (17 miles)

Amazing Day Trips from Santa Maria

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes (14 miles)

guadalupe-nipomo dune hiking

The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is comprised of 18 miles of coastline and is one of the most ecologically significant and largest intact coastal dune ecosystems on Earth. A significant portion of the nearly 22,000 acres is under public management and open for recreation.

Hike the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

Foxen Canyon Wine Trail (33 miles)

hotels near foxen canyon wine trail

The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail is home to some of the most accomplished winemakers in California, where you will find a diverse selection of world-class wines.

View Our Santa Maria Winery Guide

Vandenberg Air Force Base (24 miles)

hotels near vandenberg airforce base

Vandenberg Air Force Base is headquarters for the 30th Space Wing. The 30th manages Department of Defense space and missile testing, and placing satellites into polar orbit from the West Coast, using expendable boosters. Vandenberg AFB offers public and private tours.

Learn More About Vandenberg AFB

Pismo State Beach (18 miles)

pismo state beach

Pismo State Beach offers all kinds of attractions: hiking, swimming, surf fishing, and digging for the famous Pismo clam. There are tree-lined dunes and the beach is popular with bird watchers. The park has the largest over-wintering colony of monarch butterflies in the U.S.. Rent an ATV and explore the 17 miles of Pismo Beach.

Head to Pismo Beach

Solvang (37 miles)

hotels near solvang california

Solvang (Danish for "sunny field") is a beautiful little city nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. Founded in 1911 by a small group of Danish teachers, Solvang now is a diverse, modern city with fine restaurants, lovely shops, and outstanding activities to enchant young and old alike. There are Danish festivals, quiet tree-lined streets, horse-drawn wagons, Hans Christian Andersen Park, windmills, Danish pastries, and dozens of quaint shops to explore.

Check Out the Town of Solvang


Hearst Castle

hotels near hearst castle california

Step back in time and relive one of the most decadent chapters in American history with a guided tour of Hearst Castle.

Envisioned by newspaper giant William Randolph Hearst and designed by architect Julia Morgan, Hearst Castle began as a modest hilltop retreat but ended up one of the world's greatest attractions and showpieces for ancient art—one that still rivals museum collections around the world.

Experience the 1920s and 30s grandeur that surrounded W. R. Hearst and his esteemed Hollywood guests at La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for "Enchanted Hill"—with guided Hearst Castle tours.

Located about 75 miles from the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Santa Maria, the Hearst Castle in San Simeon is the perfect day trip when visiting Santa Maria.

Experience Hearst Castle


Explore Santa Maria's Most Popular Attractions

  • Boomers Family Entertainment Center & Miniature Golf (.3 miles)
  • Rancho Bowl Bowling Center (1 mile)
  • Paul Nelson Aquatics Center (2 miles)
  • Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum (2.5 miles)
  • Santa Maria Fairpark (3 miles)
  • Santa Maria Museum of Flight (7 miles)
  • Santa Maria Museum of Flight (8 miles)
  • Mustang Waterpark (25 miles)
  • Foxen Canyon Wine Trail (33 miles)

2018 Santa Maria Visitor's Guide


Nearby Santa Maria Corporations, Colleges, Government and Military

  • Babe Farms (2 miles)
  • Marian Medical Center(2.5 miles)
  • Allan Hancock College (4 miles)
  • Boeing (23 miles)
  • Vandenberg Air Force Base (24 miles)
  • Aerospace Corporation (24 miles)
  • Lockheed Martin at Vandenberg AFB (24 miles)
  • Den-Mat Holdings LLC (29 miles - now in Lompoc)
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (31 miles)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (67 miles)
  • Laurus College ( 7.3 miles)
  • Southern Califonia University (165 miles)

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