Carpinteria Vacations

Lying 11 miles east of Santa Barbara, the time-warped beach town of Carpinteria – so named because Chumash carpenters once built seafaring canoes here – is a laid-back place. You could easily spend an hour or two wandering in and out of antiques shops and beachy boutiques along Linden Ave, downtown’s main street. To gawk at the world’s largest vat of guacamole, show up for the California Avocado Festival in early October. This picture perfect, small Central Coast town has 4.5 miles of oceanfront. Situated along Highway 101, the preferred coastal route for scenic drives between northern and southern California’s beaches, Carpinteria has a few hotels, beautiful beaches, a charming downtown that is only a few blocks long, a wetlands marsh, and of course, the main draw–beach camping!  The wide state beach that borders Carpinteria is ideal for surfers, families and weddings, or camping right on the sand.

Don’t forget about Carpinteria beaches.  Many Carpinteria beaches are considered by locals to be even nicer than their more famous Santa Barbara counterparts. The sand is usually wider, the crowd more relaxed and the surf… well the surf is legendary, especially at Rincon beach. Other beaches include Carpinteria State Beach, Carpinteria City Beach and Padaro Beach. Carpinteria State Beach offers a great campsite and picnic area. Padaro Beach is favored by natives and conveniently bordered by local businesses, including Padaro Beach Grill and A-Frame Surf Shop.

From coastal bluffs to tide pools, an off shore reef, and a lagoon, Carpinteria provides a habitat for marine creatures for all visitors to enjoy. The tide pools in the Carpinteria State Beach are home to crabs, sea stars and anemones. In addition, Santa Barbara Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary provides the amazing backdrop to watch shorebirds, migratory birds, riparian birds, and upland birds.

Enjoy the many wonderful beaches of Carpinteria, (you’ll find a list here), then come visit Carpinteria.  Our Carpinteria Vacations guide has all your answers to start planning your beach vacation.  Just keep reading!

Carpenteria Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit Carpenteria is from March to May or from September to November. Temperatures are fairly mild year-round, hovering in the 60s and 70s, but traveling in early spring or fall ensures you won’t be fighting crowds and rates will be less expensive. Summer welcomes most of the city’s annual events and it’s also peak season if you’re looking for a beach vacation, but you’ll have to contend with more crowds. If you’re traveling during the winter months, make sure to pack an umbrella because Santa Barbara sees most of its rainfall between December and February. No matter when you decide to visit, pack layers as the as morning and late evening temperatures tend to be much cooler than the daytime highs

Best Carpinteria Beaches

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Carpinteria State Beach is great for swimming, surf fishing, tidepool exploring and camping.  Lifeguards patrol the beach year round.  Seals and sea lions can be seen in the area. as well as the occasional gray whale.  The tidepools contain starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails octopi and sea urchins.


Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, Carpinteria California, Carpinteria beaches, California beaches, things to do in Carpinteria, best restaurants in Carpinteria, best bars in Carpinteria, California's best beaches, beach travel destinations, Carpinteria travel guide, beach camping in California,  Carpenteria attractions, things to do in Carpenteria, best hotels in Carpenteria, best restaurants in CarpenteriaCarpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve

Panoramic ocean and mountain views, a convenient location and the chance to see basking seals make this little trail popular with locals. It’s dog friendly, although dogs and bikes aren’t allowed in the seal sanctuary.  Home to about 100 adult seals who give birth here, the seal preserve is not to be missed during your visit to Carpenteria.  There are also bike paths in the area which offers views to the west and the beautiful farm scenery to the east.

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Widely respected for some of the Central Coast’s best surfing, every age converges here on any one day. Visitors who want to take in the wonderful ocean views, have a picnic, take photographs, or stroll the beach will want to visit Rincon.  Lifeguards are not present on this beach, but it is still great for swimming.

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Walking distance from downtown Carpinteria – City Beach is the stretch of sandy beach in between the Sea Lion Statue on Linden Ave and March Park at Ash Ave. This is a favorite beach for walking and watching the sunset.



Tar Pit Park, Carpinteria California, Carpinteria beaches, California beaches, things to do in Carpinteria, best restaurants in Carpinteria, best bars in Carpinteria, California's best beaches, beach travel destinations, Carpinteria travel guide, beach camping in California,  Carpenteria attractions, things to do in Carpenteria, best hotels in Carpenteria, best restaurants in CarpenteriaTar Pits Beach

Tar Pit Beach is an area within Carpinteria State Beach where asphalt seeps out onto the beach.  Dark strands of asphalt soaked rocks line the beach and the bank behind the beach.  There is a sandy beach here, but it is much narrower than the wide sandy beaches of Carpinteria State Beach and Carpinteria City Beach.



Hendrey's Beach, Arroyo Burro Beach, Carpinteria California, Carpinteria beaches, California beaches, things to do in Carpinteria, best restaurants in Carpinteria, best bars in Carpinteria, California's best beaches, beach travel destinations, Carpinteria travel guide, beach camping in California,  Carpenteria attractions, things to do in Carpenteria, best hotels in Carpenteria, best restaurants in CarpenteriaHendrey’s Beach (Arroyo Burro Beach)

Hendrey’s Beach (Arroyo Burro Beach) is not actually in Carpinteria, but it’s the best beach for finding beach glass near Carpinteria. Hendrey’s is popular, during low tide there is much more beach to explore. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, happy hour or dinner at Boathouse at Hendrey’s Beach excellent seafood restaurant right at the beach.



Carpinteria Area Tours & Attractions

Santa Barbara Wine Tour with Picnic Lunch

See and taste the best the Santa Barbara coast has to offer on this leisurely paced wine tour and picnic lunch. You’ll sip on a variety of wines and visit at four local wineries in the area. Knowledgeable local guide will pick you up anywhere in the Santa Barbara area to begin the tour. Feast on a delicious picnic lunch at one of the wineries while enjoying the scenery of the rolling coastal mountains.   Read more about Santa Barbara Wine Tasting Tour

Full-Day Iconic Sights of LA, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the beaches and more!

From the Hollywood sign to the celebrity mansions of Beverly Hills, Los Angles is so full of iconic sights it can be tricky to see them all. This guided tour seamlessly transports you by coach to all of the city’s top attractions — from Santa Monica Pier to the Sunset Strip — so that you don’t need to worry about missing a thing.  Read more about Los Angeles Tour with Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and beaches

Hollywood Hills Hike: Explore Griffith Park and Hollywood Sign

Griffith Park is California’s 2nd largest park, so we’re excited to take you on one of the best Los Angeles tours out there! Our team of CPR/First Aid certified guides are photographers, entertainers, history buffs, and (most importantly) professionals. Hike Griffith Park with us to discover the Hollywood Sign and tour Griffith Observatory as we regale you with how Hollywood became the entertainment capital of the world.  Read more about Hollywood Hills Hike

Private Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara

This private Santa Barbara kayaking tour lets you explore the marine life and landmarks of Santa Barbara Harbor and the spectacular coastline on the ‘American Riviera’ along one of four different routes. Take in views of rugged shoreline cliffs and the Santa Ynez Mountains, and be on the lookout for dolphins and seals. This 1.5- to 2.5-hour tour is led by an experienced kayak guide who points out natural features and customizes the speed of the ride according to your skill level.  Read more about Santa Barbara Harbor Private Kayak Tour

Surfing Lesson in Santa Barbara

There’s hardly a better place to learn to surf than the Southern California locale of Santa Barbara, which offers fantastic weather year-round. During this 1.5-hour lesson, an expert instructor shows you how to stand up on your surfboard and balance, offering tips on how to catch the perfect wave while ensuring your safety in the water. Wetsuit and surfboard rental are included, and all skill levels are welcome.  Read more about Santa Barbara Surfing Lesson

Best Carpenteria Restaurants

The Spot  Under $10

Just past the train tracks on Linden Avenue, a few steps from the beach, is The Spot, a trusty little shack of a restaurant that all the locals know. They have been serving up delicious burgers and fries for over 90 years.  The surprisingly vast menu also includes veggie burgers, some Mexican specialties, and fish n’ chips. There is no dress code, so go in your bikini or trunks if you please. There is seating outside, or you can just walk across the street to the park or beach for an impromptu picnic!  Telephone:  805-684-6311  Web:  The Spot.

Giannfranco’s Trattoria  $11 – 30

Giannfranco’s Trattoria is the best Italian restaurant in Carpinteria. This family-owned restaurants is just a few blocks from the beach. This hidden gem serves up fresh, authentic dishes that are made to order using high-quality ingredients. Enjoy paninis, pasta and meat dishes for lunch or dinner. A delectable dessert menu includes Italian wedding cake, chocolate mousse, and more. The extensive wine list features local and European labels. Giannfranco’s has a lovely patio for outdoor dining. Telephone:  805-684-0720  Web:  Giannfranco’s Trattoria.

Padaro Beach Grill  $11 – 30

Overlooking Santa Claus beach, a local favorite, the Padaro Beach Grill boasts a park-like outdoor dining room that’s ideal for day dates and impromptu gatherings. Enjoy fresh salads, savory burgers and sinfully rich milkshakes that are blended by hand only after you place your order. A large sandbox encourages the kiddos to play while grownups indulge in refreshing beers and local wines. Try the shrimp salad or one of the 100% prime chuck burgers. Live bands are common on the weekends.  Telephone:  805-566=9800  Web:  Padaro Beach Grill

The Palms  $11 – 30

Open since 1912, this legendary 100-year old steak and seafood restaurant is classic with a twist… you can cook your own food! You order the cut of meat of your choice (steak, salmon or halibut), and then head to the grill to cook it exactly how you like it. If you are not into cooking your own food, choose something from the other side of the menu, and let the chefs do all the hard work for you. Every meal also comes with an endless  salad bar. The bar serves stiff drinks and is often packed with a live band on the weekends. Telephone:  805-684-3811  Web:  The Palms.

Zookers Restaurant  $11 – 30

At Zookers Restaurant, you will enjoy a relaxed atmosphere with a creative seasonal menu. We put an emphasis on carrying local organic produce, the freshest fish, and sustainably raised meats such as Watkin Ranch locally pasture raised beef, Nyman Ranch pork, Jidori chicken and other high-grade meats.  Zookers has many daily chef specials from our Creative Cuisine, which are some of our most popular items on the menu. We have a variety of menu items from tofu to steak, veggie options and amazing pasta dishes.  Telephone:  805-684-8893  Web:  Zookers Restaurant.

Best Carpinteria Bars
Corktree Cellars Wine Bar & Bistro

Corktree Cellars Wine, Bar & Bistro aims to provide a fun and relaxing place to hang for a while. It’s a casual and inviting atmosphere where friends can get together, relax over a glass of wine and share some great food. So enjoy.  Try a few new things if you please, and share some great food with friends.  Become part of the Corktree way of life, cheers!  Telephone:  805-684-1400  Web:  Corktree Cellars.

Padaro Beach Grill

Welcome to Padaro Beach Grill. Great food, spectacular views, friendly service and a family-style atmosphere make Padaro Beach Grill the perfect place to dine. Eat inside our completely remodeled restaurant or outside on the lush lawn. Explore the grounds, or enjoy a drink by the fire as the sun sets. There’s something for everyone. So come on by and eat, relax, play and enjoy the perfect blend of food and paradise.  Telephone:  805-566-9800  Web:  Padaro Beach Grill.

Carpinteria & Linden Pub

This dive bar has a boatload of different beers to offer, great music, four pool tables, and a great surf rocker atmosphere.  Locals will come up and challenge you to a game of pool, so be prepared!  Telephone:  617-519-6253  Web:  Carpenteria & Linden Pub


Great food, great seafood, great cocktails, and great times at the last little beach town on the Central Coast.  They serve cocktails by the year.  The Sazerac (1830) and the Zombie from over one hundred years later in 1937 are the two most recent additions to Sly’s list.  Telephone:  805-684-6666  Web:  Sly’s.

The Tower Club

Socialize with Mix & Mingle opportunities, – 22 floors up – happy hours, Holiday events, wine tastings and more! The Tower club is well known for fine cuisine, our beautiful sky lounge, and signature activities and events.  This is a members only club where you can enjoy access to a unique setting with 360 degree breathtaking views of the Oxnard Plains, Pacific Ocean, and Channel Islands.  Telephone:  805-983-7777 x223  Web:  The Tower Club.

Best Carpinteria Hotels

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

This property is a 9-minute walk from the beach. In the charming beachside town of Carpinteria, this hotel offers spacious accommodations, complete with a variety of modern amenities. Carpinteria State Beach is a 15 minute walk away.  Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carpinteria is ideally located close to many area highways, including Highway 101. This location offers guests easy access to much of the surrounding area, including the vibrant cities of Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Located just steps from one of the most beautiful beaches in California, with private bungalows and terraces that overlook the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands. Set amongst 22-acres of lush jungle and tranquil gardens, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara defines luxury living and service on the American Riviera.

Santa Barbara Inn

The newly re-imagined Spanish Mediterranean boutique merges classic elegance and coastal luxury with 70 beautifully appointed rooms. Sink into a lounge chair by the heated outdoor pool and enjoy flickering gas lanterns and a fire pit. The oceanfront terrace is great for enjoying cocktails, Italian fare and the Pacific Coast sunset. Included is a modern fitness center and a comfortable event venue accommodating up to 80 guests.

Blue Sands Inn

Located just steps from Santa Barbara’s famous East Beach and within walking distance to great restaurants, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Wharf, and the famed Funk Zone, the Blue Sands Inn is centrally located in one of Santa Barbara’s most sought after neighborhoods. Bike rental is available at this inn and the area is popular for biking.

Harbor View Inn

This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. Spa Beaumontia, a full-service spa experience, is available on site at this hotel. Rooms feature a flat-screen TV and a minibar. Stearn’s Wharf is less than a 5 minute walk away.  The modern rooms include terry cloth robes and free WiFi.  A safe and a work desk are also provided.  A swimming pool and fitness center, including a sauna, are available for guest relaxation at the Harbor View Inn.  A business center and concierge service is both featured for maximum convenience. Shops are in the hotel.


  1. Mohamed Hesham

    Thank you so much. You have given very detailed information about the beaches in California. For me, I like beach tourism the most. It gives the chance for relaxation and enjoying the beauty of the nature. I will definitely think about going to California soon. I am Egyptian but will be studying in Canada, so I will have the chance to do so.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you will be close Mohamed. California has a lot of beautiful beaches. You will love it. Let me know if you have any questions, or need any help planning your trip.

  2. laurie

    Hello Leahrae
    I have been to California back in the 80s, and I always told myself im gonna go again some day.
    Now i AM going back!! Seeing all those beautiful pictures and all the fun things to do
    has made my mind up that this will be my next vacation!
    Great website!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am sure it has changed a lot from the 80s, but you will still find a great coastal community with awesome beaches, and plenty of things to do. Thanks for reading Laurie.

  3. Neli

    I really love your post and your site. There is a lot of interesting and useful information. I’ve never heard for Carpinteria before but I really like it. While I was reading your post I have a feeling I was there now. But, for sure I would write Carpinteria on my “places to visit” list. 🙂

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for visiting Carpinteria Vacations Neli. I am glad you enjoyed reading and learning about this great California coastal community.

  4. Stratos

    Very nice article as it is always nice to have a few options to consider on my next trip when I decide to make one like this. A lot of information and I like that you give us different options for locations, hotels and bars with information for each one. Another great travel guide. Excellent.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, great beach destination with lots of choices for sure! Thanks for visiting

  5. Mark Baker

    Lots of great information here about Carpinteria and wow so much to do in the area which means it is a perfect vacation destination. I have visited the Santa Barbara beaches a few times but never this area.

    I live in Australia so beaches are right up there with what I enjoy doing when on vacation. Thanks so much for the comprehensive post. This is one I’m adding to my list of things to do when I’m next in the US.


    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Mark! The whole area is beautiful with lots of things to do. You will enjoy 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Jacqueline Blondeau.

    Hi, the information, all the description you give for Carpinteria area, are so well done, I am dreaming now to go there, it seems to be the perfect place, how can someone miss that? the beaches, the state’s beaches to go for camping, the amazing sea for surfing, the nice hotels, restaurants nearby. For me, it is the perfect vacation destination to go.

    Thank you for sharing this great article.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree Jacqueline! Thanks for reading about Carpinteria Vacations!

  7. John

    Thanks for your information on the Carpinteria area. I like the idea of the antique shops and the Condor Express tours. I will be making a trip to the west coast latter this year, this might be on my list for a beach stop.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I think you would enjoy the whole area John. It would be a great beach stop 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Craig

    I’ve never heard of something quite like the tar pits park before, that seems quite intriguing. Something like olive oil is easily able to wipe away the tar though if it gets stuck to your feet?

    Is it safe to walk in the beaches bare foot, or should you bring sandals or aqua shoes for extra grip?

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Heavens no, I would go barefoot. Having something like olive oil on hand will wipe the tar right off. I am not so sure if it will come off your shoes, it might just ruin them. This is definitely a place to see while in the Carpinteria area. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. kwacha

    Hi–Thank you for this information- i was looking for nice holiday destination next year and your site has answered all the question. I like your website because of its useful information.Will tell friends as well at work who are looking for holiday destinations.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great! This is my passion, beach travel, and I love sharing it with everyone I can. I am glad you enjoyed reading abou7t Carpinteria Vacations.

  10. Mick Krug


    Again you’ve done a great with your content and pictures on this webpage. The Palms is a pretty cool restaurant in that they allow you to cook the meat you have selected from their menu. I enjoyed the video on the Carpinteria campground. They have everything you need right there on the beach for your motor home. Plenty to do and see! Great place to take a vacation.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, it is a great place. And camping on the beach is wonderful! I wish we had more available here in Southwestern Florida. Thanks for reading about Carpinteria Vacations!

  11. Mario

    Carpinteria is very nice, I’ve never heard about this place before, I’m delighted! 🙂
    Thank you for this great and informative article, I learned a lot about USA beaches and places on your website. Amazing country!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, it is an amazing country for sure! Yet, I am sure I am a bit biased. But this area is great, and when you visit, you will fall in love. Carpinteria vacations is a great way to savor the California area.

  12. Byrd

    Yet another great travel guide Leahrae! I love that you included the best hotels within your travel guides because personally, if I am going to go on a high-end beach vacation, I might as well spend it at a hotel that provides most of my needs for a vacation getaway. Thanks again for the information.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome, and yes you can find high end hotels in this area, as well as very reasonable rates. But, the whole area is chock full of gorgeous beaches, find sand, awesome restaurants/bars, and great wildlife. Thanks for reading Carpinteria Vacations.

  13. Eric

    Where is the asphalt lake located, that seems like something cool to check out? It’s interesting that they could make canoes and waterproof them with a naturally occurring substance from nature. The Carpinteria vacations guide shows a much different side to things compared to Santa Barbara that’s for sure.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I agree! Carpinteria actually has so much interesting things to see. Tar Pit Park is located in Carpinteria State Beach at the southern end past the last campground where there is a small day-use parking lot. Thanks for reading Eric!

  14. Eden

    This is a great detailed article about all the activities, where you can eat and stay etc in Carpinteria. Gives anybody who doesn’t know this area a good idea at what there is and what it’s like, especially for people who are coming on holiday from a different country. I like the video of the campground. Carpinteria looks a beautiful place.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I can tell you that camping on the beach is wonderful and Carpinteria State Beach is great! Glad you enjoyed and thanks for visiting!

  15. Emmanuel

    Wow, I really love this site! Has a lot of information about every location and the activities you can do!
    I would recommend this site to people who want to go to the beach into those areas.
    Also for me personally 😉

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Emmanuel! I am glad you love my site 🙂 Yes, I do believe that beach vacations are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. So many things to do in Carpinteria besides just lay on the beach. It really is paradise! Thanks for visiting Carpinteria Vacations.


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