For a beach vacation with tons of charm, plan a trip to Carpinteria. This small oceanside California city is found in beautiful Santa Barbara County.
Carpinteria is situated near foothills and a mountain range, so there are plenty of gorgeous landscapes and natural beauty to see in the area, including parks, gardens and nurseries. You can enjoy the amazing weather with warm, dry summers averaging in the 70s as you explore the outdoor areas of the city.
A variety of exciting cultural events awaits you here that provide entertaining and educational adventures. From festivals like the Avocado Fest to museums, antique stores, shops and cafes - Carpinteria provides tons to do during your visit.
Things to Do in Carpinteria
- Rincon Point: Carpinteria is home to a world destination for surfing at Rincon Point. Known as "Queen of the Coast," Rincon is a must-do for anyone who enjoys participating in the sport or just watching it. Low tide in the winter months is the best time to catch a wave, as the swells come mainly from the west and northwest, providing excellent surfing conditions. Each January, Rincon hosts the Rincon Classic, a surf championship that you don't want to miss.
- Carpinteria State Beach: There’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sand and surf at Carpinteria State Beach with 4,685 feet of sand and surf. This beach is known for its calm waves, though there are decent surf swells in the some of rockier areas. From December through May, you can see seals and sea lions and the nearby rookery in Carpinteria Bluffs. If you're lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of the occasional gray whale. Carpinteria Beach is a perfect spot for swimming, surf fishing and exploring tidepools for starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails, octopuses and sea urchins.
- Santa Barbara Polo Club: Do you enjoy watching a game of polo? If the answer is yes, check out the Santa Barbara Polo Club, which is one of the main equestrian polofields in the country. It features three full-size outdoor fields, one arena, stables for 350 horses and boarding and exercise facilities. While visiting Carpinteria, catch a polo match and marvel at the amazing athleticism of the sport.
- The Carpinteria Valley Museum of History: If you’re interested in learning more about the city, plan a trip to the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History. Operated by the Carpinteria Valley Historical Society, the museum is staffed by docents who will be happy to speak with you about the different sights. The museum's exhibits showcase the histories of three cultures that have lived in the region: the Chumash people, Spanish and Mexican settlers, and pioneers. Take a look at the historical photographs and artifacts left behind by the area’s former inhabitants. The museum also offers lectures, arts and crafts fairs, monthly flea markets and a gift shop for visitors.
- Salt Marsh Nature Park: Also known as El Estuaro, the Salt Marsh Nature Park is one of the most important wetlands in southern California. It’s a mostly unspoiled estuary covering 230 acres, 120 of which make up the Salt Marsh Reserve. This area is home to rare and endangered plants and birds, including migrating birds. The park is also a nursery for marine fish. Ash Avenue features nature paths where you can enjoy a lovely stroll.
Shopping and Dining in Carpinteria
- Linden Avenue: Linden Avenue is one of the main areas in Carpenteria that boasts a number of tasty dining establishments, unique antique shops and other services. Some of the best restaurants and eateries include Cajun Kitchen, Robitaille's, The Coffee Grinder and The Spot. Stroll the avenue and peruse the shop windows under the shade of beautiful palm trees. If you’re in town during a holiday, Linden Avenue is home to the Christmas Parade of Lights, the Avocado Festival, the Antique Car Show and Fourth of July festivities.
- Carpinteria Avenue: The other main hub in the city is Carpinteria Avenue. Here you’ll find the local library as well as the pool, city hall, the Thunderbowl and Tee Time Golf. It’s the oldest street in town and boasts an interesting history. If you’re hungry and need to refuel, check out Cabo’s Baja Grill & Cantina and Clementine’s Steak House.
- Santa Claus Lane: Whether it’s Christmas-time or not, Santa Claus Lane is home to a relaxing, sandy beach as well as a variety of different restaurants like Barbecue Company, Garden Market and Padaro Beach Grill. This eclectic and unique part of Carpinteria offers a toy store and a candy store where you can stop for a sweet treat. There’s also a surf shop, toy store and market where you can pick up Santa Barbara county wines on Santa Claus Lane.