Santa Maria is a city in California’s Central Coast region. It’s known for Santa Maria Valley wineries and Santa Maria-style barbecue, a local specialty. Preisker Park draws birds such as Lawrence’s goldfinches. The Santa Maria Historical Society Museum chronicles the town’s past through photographs and artifacts. West of the city, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes stretch down the Pacific Coast.
The Santa Maria Valley, stretching from the Santa Lucia Mountains toward the Pacific Ocean, was the homeland of the Chumash people for several thousand years. The Native Americans made their homes on the slopes of the surrounding hills among the oaks, on the banks of the Santa Maria River among the sycamores, and along the coast. They had unique plank-built boats, called Tomol, which they used for ocean fishing.