This California city will pay you to visit, literally

February 2, 2021

It pays to visit this town.

No really, it does.

A small town near California’s Central Coast wants tourists to come back so badly it’s paying people to visit. Director of Tourism Jennifer Harrison told KCBS Radio that Santa Maria, a city of just over 100,000 people located in sunny Santa Barbara County, has a lot to offer from barbecue to beaches.

"Whether it’s wildlife preserves that are more your thing or the outdoor recreational-type beaches, we have 13 beach access points," she said.

If you take a trip to Santa Maria between Thursday and the end of March, you’ll get a $100 Visa gift card.

The only catch is that you have to stay at least two nights.

"We didn’t want it to have a lot of frills to dictate where and how you spend the $100 when you get here," Harrison explained. "You can apply that to your overnight stay or you can visit a winery."

As of now, non-essential travel is discouraged throughout California as the pandemic continues, but Harrison believes people are itching to get out and will do it anyway, so why not choose Santa Maria?

"Our community is ready to welcome folks back, so I do think that they’re going to do everything to keep themselves safe and the visitors safe," she added.

If you decide to take that trip to Santa Maria, two Bay Area counties - San Francisco and Santa Clara - have mandatory quarantines in effect for people traveling from more than 150 miles away.

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