Sunset at Pismo Beach with rolling hills in the background.

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 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!

Exterior view of Holiday Inn Santa Maria at dusk.
A couple sitting in beach chairs at the beach, holding hands and watching the sunset together.

Explore The California Coast

Santa Maria Attractions

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.

Shopping in Santa Maria Valley

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.

Harvest on the Coast

Celebrate the end of a fruitful fall harvest surrounded by beachfront beauty at the Harvest on the Coast event, taking place November 6-8 2020. 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.

Allan Hancock College

Located less than four miles from Allan Hancock College, the Holiday Inn 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 California, Laurus College, and Santa Barbara Business College all within 3 hours of Santa Maria. Holiday Inn Santa Maria is also a great destination for graduation, homecoming and parents weekend stays for any of the colleges around the area.

Santa Maria Wineries

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!

The Best Golf Courses near 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

Located less than two miles from Santa Maria Raceway, the Holiday Inn 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 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.

Santa Maria's Boutiques, Shops, and More

  • The Village of Arroyo Grande (14 miles)
  • Pismo Beach Premium Outlets Shopping Center (17 miles)
Lifeguard tower and coastline at Pismo Beach, CA.

An Easy Drive From Our Hotel

Amazing Day Trips from Santa Maria

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

14 Miles

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.

Foxen Canyon Wine Trail

33 Miles

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.

Vandenberg Air Force Base

24 Miles

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.

Pismo State Beach

18 Miles

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.

Solvang

37 Miles

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.

Hearst Castle

64 Miles

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 Santa Maria, the Hearst Castle in San Simeon is the perfect day trip when visiting Santa Maria.

Wooden sign in front of a vineyard showing a list of all the wineries on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.

Restaurants

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 (8 miles)
  • Mustang Waterpark (25 miles)
  • Foxen Canyon Wine Trail (33 miles)
Silhouette of a building against a cloudy sunset.

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)
COVID-19 Update

Holiday Inn Santa Maria & Suites is officially open for tourism travel.

Please read the overview of our precautions and preventive cleaning measures to see how we are taking care of our guests during the COVID-19 pandemic.