The family-oriented community of Los Banos has managed to preserve its small-town flavor and quality of life as it has accommodated growth and development. Situated on the western side of Merced County, the city has grown into the second largest in the county. The Monterey Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean are accessible in 90 minutes, as are the major cities of Stockton and Fresno. Nearly 160,000 acres of pristine seasonal wetlands and grasslands bring visitors from around the world to the city. Outdoor enthusiasts also enjoy the San Luis Reservoir along with other state and federal wildlife areas and refuges. The downtown district is a vibrant center of retail and community activity, hosting colorful special events and drawing residents and visitors to a medley of shops, services, and entertainment centers. The unincorporated community of Santa Nella offers a rural atmosphere near Interstate 5 and the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area.