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.
Santa Maria experiences a cool Mediterranean climate typical of coastal areas of California north of Point Conception. The climate is mostly sunny, refreshed by the ocean breeze. Fog is common. Snow in the lowest parts of the city is virtually unknown, with the last brief flurry recorded in January 1949.
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