Carpinteria Beach and the Tarpits
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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Carpinteria is a small beach town just south of Santa Barbara. The main strip, Linden Avenue, has a fun festive feel to it and leads to Carpinteria Beach. Families gather for the day with large colorful umbrellas and tents, and a bountiful supply of shovels, buckets, and bodyboards. There's an exercise area just behind the dunes where kids can hang and climb. Kids also love to run amongst the dunes.
As long as the estuary isn't flowing into the ocean, the water at Carpinteria Beach is some of the cleanest in the area. It's nice to swim if it's a warm day (the water will still be very cold though). The weather in Carpinteria can be foggy and overcast though.
Walk east down the beach and you pass a popular campground and RV park. If you are interested in camping, I'd recommend the tent sites on the grass right by the beach and estuary. The RV sites are like camping at your local parking lot, steps from the sand but with a lot of asphalt and no views.
Near the campgrounds, there is a pretty wooden bridge over an estuary, and some informative plaques about wildlife. At the east end of the beach, examine the tarpits! Here, gooey oil seeped up out of cracks from long-ago earthquakes and covered a wooden and brick structure. It's a strange sight. Carpinteria, in fact, is named for the Indian "carpenters" who built their plank-style canoes here using tar to bind the wood together.
It's fun to take the Pacific Surfliner train to this beach. The train stops right by the beach. Kids love to ride a real train and you can make a morning of the trip!
There are showers and restrooms at this beach.
If you're thirsty or hungry after all your exploring, it's pleasant to sit outside at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at 4991 Carpinteria Avenue. They have some nice tables out by the street.
For a romantic walk to a pristine, secluded beach, walk east along the sand to Jelly Bowl Beach.
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Carpinteria Beach is located at Linden Ave and 3rd St, Carpinteria CA 93013.
From Highway 101 southbound, exit at Carpinteria Avenue. Follow Carpinteria Avenue until you come to Linden Avenue and turn right. Head to the end of Linden Avenue and grab a parking in the lot or along the road. Parking is free.
From Highway 101 northbound, exit at Casitas Pass and turn towards the ocean. Turn right on Carpinteria Ave, and left on Linden Avenue. Park along the road.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, 4991 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria, CA 93013, call (805) 745-5861.
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|One of my favorite childhood memories...|