Area Information

Area Information


The Santa Maria Valley is an expanse of land stretching from the Santa Lucia Mountains toward the Pacific Ocean. After California became a state in 1850, farmers and settlers flocked to the area in droves, hoping to take advantage of the region’s rich soils. By the turn of the 20th century, the valley had become one of the state’s most prosperous agricultural areas.

Producing bountiful crops of strawberries, wine grapes, beans, broccoli, lettuce, celery and more, agriculture remains the centerpiece of Santa Maria Valley commerce.

A townsite was recorded in 1875, and the fledgling community officially became known as Santa Maria 10 years later. A suburb of Santa Maria, Orcutt, was originally a townsite established for oil field workers.

Large-scale oil exploration began in the area toward the end of the 19th century; several productive oil fields were discovered. By 1957, the valley was home to 1,775 active oil wells. This industrial boom led to a corresponding spike in population.

In recent years, other industries have contributed to the area’s economic landscape, including military operations, aerospace, manufacturing, high-tech research and development.

We experience a cool, Mediterranean climate characterized by plenty of sunshine and refreshing ocean breezes. Average high temperature in July reaches 73 degrees. The low in January dips to around 38. Average annual rainfall is 14 inches. Local beaches include Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara Riviera and Morro Bay.


The Santa Maria-Bonita School District operates 15 elementary schools and four junior high schools serving students in and around Santa Maria. The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, the state’s oldest high school district, runs the area’s three public high schools. Additionally, there are three private schools in the valley. Orcutt students are served by the Orcutt Union School District.

Continuing education is provided by Allan Hancock College, a local community college known for its stellar athletic and theater programs. Santa Barbara Business College is also located in Santa Maria. California Polytechnic State University can be found in nearby San Luis Obispo.

Dignity Health and Marian Regional Medical Center provide comprehensive health care in the area. Several urgent care and convalescent facilities also provide support to the valley.

The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, located on the Allan Hancock College campus, operates a professional theater company — the only one of its kind on the Central Coast. Known as PCPA Theaterfest, the company presents live shows of the highest quality all through the year while simultaneously training tomorrow’s actors and technicians.

Santa Maria and the surrounding valleys combine to form the Santa Barbara Wine Country, one of the nation’s largest wine-producing locales. Santa Maria, the region’s first officially approved American Viticultural Area (AVA), is recognized for its outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Take a scenic drive through the Central Coast wine region along Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. Admire the rolling terrain and lush vineyards. Sample the fruits of the vine at one of many wineries along the way. Local vineyards include  Fess Parker and Gainey Vineyard.

Santa Maria is famous for its unique style of barbecued tri-tip, a triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin. Unlike southern barbecue, this variety does not rely on sauce for its flavor. Instead, the meat is rubbed with salt, pepper and other assorted spices. Then, it’s cooked rotisserie-style or grilled over native red oak.

The Santa Maria Museum of Flight boasts a fascinating collection of aeronautical and aerospace-related artifacts, memorabilia and historical documents. The museum also sponsors a number of special events, educational programs and seminars promoting aviation science and technology. The Central Coast is home to Vandenburg Air Force Base, located between the communities of Lompoc and Orcutt.

Other area activities include Hearst Castle and Chumash Casino.

Remember to stop by our United Country office in Orcutt/Santa Maria. Come be a part of our local flavor.

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Each office independently owned and operated. The Information provided herein is deemed accurate, but subject to errors, omissions, price changes, prior sale or withdrawal. United Country does not guarantee or is anyway responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information, and provides said information without warranties of any kind. Please verify all facts.