Santa Maria to Santa Barbara

Frank PetersModerate

If you’re in Santa Maria you’ve got options: press on to Santa Barbara directly and skip the lovely, amenity-rich Santa Ynez valley, or take the best-in-the-valley route to Los Olivos – you decide.

The Pacific Coast Bike Route

This segment of the Pacific Coast Bike Route offers the most direct route south from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara.

Lunch in Lompoc

Amenities are few along this route today, so make Lompoc your lunch stop.


This route gets you over the Santa Ynez Mountains to the coast via Gaviota State Park. You’ll be riding along the 101 Fwy, direct but noisy. In most places you’ll enjoy a wide shoulder, with one significant exception. There’s an overpass on the southbound 101 Fwy where the roadway narrows, making safe passage will require your full attention. Flashing lights alert approaching motorists of your position on the narrow bridge, but typical highway speeds will have you long remembering this short, but risky segment of today’s ride.

Santa Barbara shortcut

Take the recommended route shown here from Modoc Road to enter Santa Barbara like the locals do. This route diverts you from the official Pacific Coast Bike Route to take advantage of the latest infrastructure.

Photo credits: Frank Peters