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Driving and Commuting

Driving and Commuting

Vandenberg AFB Getting To and Around Driving and Commuting


Santa Barbara County is traversed by one U.S. highway and nine state routes.

U.S. Highway 101 travels the length of the county and links it to San Francisco, 263 miles north of Santa Maria, and Los Angeles, 92 miles south of Santa Barbara. Its mostly four-lane, intersection-free roadway gets heavy commuter use from workers to the north traveling to and from jobs in the south, and the average commute, the U.S. Census says, is about 20 minutes.

State Route 1, the breathtaking Pacific Coast Highway from Baja California, to the Olympic Peninsula, piggybacks U.S. 101 into the county but splits off at Gaviota to reconnect briefly at Grover Beach well to the north. The 8-mile state Route 33 triangulates the county’s extreme eastern corner by way of the hamlet of Ventucopa.

State Route 135 begins at Los Alamos, south of Santa Maria, and serves as the major north-south expressway across Santa Maria before hooking up with U.S. 101 at the Santa Maria River to the city’s north. State Route 144 is an urban connection that originates at U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara and ends at Sycamore Canyon Road, still under the city’s sway.

The old stagecoach route, state Route 154, is called the Chumash Highway after the Native Americans who lived in the region. The two-laner was the main road before Highway 101 and is a scenic alternative to its upstart successor between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos.

State Route 166 begins in Guadalupe, due west of Santa Maria, as Main Street, then makes an 8-mile beeline into Santa Maria, still as Main Street, until Highway 101 absorbs it. State Route 192 wiggles southward between Highway 101 and the foothills from Santa Barbara to state Highway 150 near the Ventura County line.

State Route 217 is a 2½-mile spur freeway that connects the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport to U.S. 101.

The main connection between U.S. 101 and the Dane-founded community of Solvang, a major tourist attraction, state Route 246 heads from Lompoc through the Santa Barbara Wine Country along the Santa Ynez River, to terminate at the northern end of state Route 154. State Route 246 passes by two of Santa Barbara County’s three Spanish missions: Santa Ines in Solvang, and La Purisima Concepcion near Lompoc.

California Department of Motor Vehicles


The California Department of Motor Vehicles issues driver’s licenses, identification cards and vehicle registration and provides other driving-related services. Find many of the required forms and general information at

DMV Offices in Santa Barbara County

City of Goleta

7127 Hollister Ave., Suite 24/26
Goleta, CA 93117

City of Lompoc

209 W. Pine St.
Lompoc, CA 93436

City of Santa Barbara

535 Castillo St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

City of Santa Maria

523 S. McClelland St.
Santa Maria, CA 93454

Driver’s Licenses

Military personnel and their spouses who are stationed in California from elsewhere may continue to drive with a valid driver’s license from their home state, but in general all California residents who want to drive must apply for a driver’s license once residency is established.

The state spells out what is required for licensing and insurance under various scenarios in its California Driver Manual, which can be downloaded at

Distracted Driving

California prohibits drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers 18 and older may use a hands-free device. Reading, writing or sending text messages is also prohibited while driving for any purpose — including looking at driving directions on a GPS or operating your entertainment system.

Vehicle Registration

Applications associated with driving and vehicle registration are available online at, including DMV forms, requests for driving records and more.

California Department of Transportation

Visit the California Department of Transportation website for interactive maps, information about road closures and travel advisories, and to view live traffic cameras.

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