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Located between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, Carpinteria is for hassle-free Central Coast enjoyment. With a fantastic oceanside setting, proximity to celebrity-packed Santa Barbara, and excellent Pacific beaches, it would work perfectly as a relaxing escape. The views here are guaranteed to take your breath away, the sunsets are absolutely marvelous, and the town’s restaurants are vibrant and cool.
People come here for a more tranquil, family-friendly beachside escape, but it’s also a great destination to base yourself for Central Coast exploration. We’ve prepared the best things to do in Carpinteria that will give you a quintessential and fun California experience.
What Is It? It comes as no surprise that the primary reason everyone comes to Carpinteria is to profit from the magnificent sandy Pacific beaches. The must-visit is the long Carpinteria State Beach, a paradise for lovers of the scenic outdoors. You can have a romantic picnic, sunbathe, take a plunge, and play sports, all to the sound of the waves and mind-blowing views.
Why Do It? Carpinteria State Beach is among the best-maintained and picturesque on the whole Central Coast, so coming to these shores is always a pleasant experience. The sunsets here are seriously spectacular, be sure to take that into account when planning your next trip to this seaside town.
Good to Know: There are picnic tables, special family sites, and even a campfire center. You can also make your own fire, but this is only allowed using the fire rings. Hike to Jellybowl vista point for an amazing panorama of the ocean and the coves.
What Is It? Just outside of Carpinteria, you’ll find one of its hidden natural gems, a Harbor Seal Preserve. Located on one of the beaches of Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, it is a superb opportunity to see these gorgeous, clumsy animals. The encounter won’t be a close one because the seals are protected from human interaction that can do them harm. Nevertheless, it’s still a wonderful thing to do while in Carpinteria that brings you one-on-one with wildlife.
Why Do It? The sight of hundreds of harbor seals is something that needs to be seen, a pure natural spectacle. Apart from that, the hike through the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve is noteworthy in its own right, as you pass through breathtaking Pacific scenery. It is easy, picturesque, and fun.
Good to Know: You’ve got the best chance of seeing many seals between January and May when they have a mating season and go to the beach to give birth to their pups.
What Is It? Camping on Carpinteria State Beach is that extra-Instagrammable, picture-perfect, oceanside California escapade that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Four campgrounds allow you to choose the ideal spot just for you and staying right next to the beach is a wonderful way to profit from the amazing surroundings. The ocean views are guaranteed here.
Why Do It? Camping is an extremely liberating activity. When it’s done next to such a gorgeous place as Carpinteria State Beach, it’s truly unforgettable. Soak up the sun, enjoy the gentle oceanic waves, and spend the evening telling stories near the fire. It’s a dream come true for travelers.
Good to Know: Reserve your spot in advance using the Reserve California website to choose the best spot. The beach is a very popular destination so keep that in mind and plan beforehand. While camping, always adhere to the rules set out by the administration and respect other campers.
What Is It? How about having access to the sandy perfection of Carpinteria State Beach right from your doorstep? With this superb Airbnb, you have such a chance, along with an awesome balcony with a prime ocean view. Overall, it’s an exclusive way to enjoy this lovely California leisure town. The condo comes with a fully equipped kitchen and two bedrooms. Guests loved the views and the comfort of the property.
Why Do It? When you’re coming to such a relaxing destination as Carpinteria, you’ll want a smooth, easygoing stay experience, without long commutes and with proximity to the beach. Staying on the beach in such a luxurious lodging as this Airbnb allows you to fully immerse yourself in the holiday mood.
Good to Know: The property features a flat-screen TV, free WiFi, an elevator, third-floor access, as well as gated parking for one car.
What Is It? If you are a surfer, the iconic Carpinteria’s ‘Con doesn’t need an introduction. If not, that is one of the most popular and beloved surfing spots along the Central California Coast. Rumor has it that Rincon may well have some of the best swells in the world. So, it’s definitely worth a visit and a surf too.
Why Do It? Nothing beats the feeling of conquering the swell. California is notorious for its determined surfers and many of them will be here. Rincon is also a good place to get introduced to the surfing culture and to start your own journey. Just keep it chill and don’t try to achieve everything at once. It’s all about the process.
Good to Know: Rincon as a surfing spot would be perfect for intermediate and advanced surfers. Keep in mind that it can get pretty crowded. Even if you’re not a surfer, it pays off to come here. Rincon Beach County Park is a fantastic place for hiking, for some relaxing ocean time, and birdwatching.
What Is It? Romantic to the core, this tiny house is the best choice for adventurous spirits who would like to be closer to nature without giving up the benefits of civilization. This slick Airbnb, just a mile from downtown Carpinteria, would be an ideal pick for a fresh air-filled break that comes with all-encompassing ocean and valley views.
Why Do It? Many reviewers mentioned the feeling of peace that comes with staying at this tiny home. You are above everything, surrounded by Central Coast nature, and profiting from first-class amenities. Just perfect for a retreat.
Good to Know: The tiny house is located among the avocado orchards with a huge fenced in yard accessible only to the guests. It comes with two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
What Is It? Millennial avocado toast lovers rejoice. There is an event for you (and for everyone who is a fan of this green fruit). Every year in October, Carpinteria hosts the Avocado Festival (or Avofest) to celebrate the production of this legendary fruit in Santa Barbara County (which is the third-largest avocado producer in North America).
Why Do It? Three days filled with music, family entertainment, California sun, and, well, avocados in one of the most scenic beach destinations in the US. Should we say more? It’s a great excuse to come to Carpinteria and enjoy it to the fullest.
Good to Know: Four stages, over 80 music acts, a big food court, fun contests, and all of it is completely free.
What Is It? The small California oceanside towns are made for culinary exploration. Carpinteria is not an exception. You will find a decent number of great restaurants here serving fresh seafood meals. The majority of them are found in the cozy, palm tree-dotted downtown of the city.
Why Do It? When you’re this close to the Pacific Ocean, not trying seafood is a sin really. Although quite a popular destination, Carpinteria has a great choice when it comes to authentic restaurants that will not break your budget and will deliver fantastic food.
Good to Know: It pays off to go local while choosing a seafood restaurant in a small town. One of the Carpinteria locals’ favorites is casual Teddy’s By the Sea that serves such mouthwatering options as crispy calamari, fish tacos, and their special seared sesame Ahi tuna. Little Dom’s Seafood is another classy downtown highlight and so is The Spot on the way to the ocean with great street food fare.