If you’re looking for the perfect beach town to hang out and enjoy the warm California sunshine then Carpinteria may be just the place for you! While looking for a place to stay in Santa Barbara I expanded my search and found the most amazing small town on the California coast.
The Carpinteria beaches, five of them within five minutes from town, are remarkable in variety and all are worthy of a day at the beach.
I visited for a month, so I visited each of these seven beaches in Carpinteria more than once. Let’s take a look at the best beaches near Carpinteria now.
Every day I enjoyed a walk on the beach and in the evening returned to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Carpinteria is one of my favorite beach towns.
The population is only around 13,000 so it’s much different than going to Santa Monica or Long Beach – both near Los Angeles.
Carpinteria is much more relaxed and there’s great surfing just a few miles down the Pacific Coast Highway, the famous Hwy 1 in California.
A mural in Carpinteria boasts it’s The Safest Beach in America. I certainly felt at ease walking around Carpinteria at any hour.
The town is located on Highway 1 between Santa Barbara and Ventura.
Some of the best beaches in America are in Florida and California. I’ve been lucky enough to visit several beaches in both states.
And if you asked me to choose a favorite beach in the USA….I couldn’t pick just one.
And I guess that’s one of the things I love most about Carpinteria, the variety of the beaches.
Sometimes I wanted to go explore the tide pools, or check on the harbor seals.
Other times I wanted to walk in the waves and the sand, or go searching for sea glass.
Beaches in Carpinteria
Now let me show you all the beautiful spots for your day at the beach in Carpinteria!
Here’s a map of the beaches in Carpinteria + 1 Santa Barbara Beach.
Carpinteria City Beach
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 one of my favorite beaches to go walking and watch the sunset.
Carpinteria State Beach
Right next to Carpinteria City Beach you will find the Carpinteria State Beach.
Open from 7 am to Sunset – Carpinteria State Beach Park also features campgrounds. The location is superb so expect to pay a good bit for your RV hookup or campsite.
Do you want to see pudgy harbor seals and cute little baby harbor seals?
Carpinteria Bluffs is the place to be! It’s where the Carpinteria Harbor Seal Rookery is located.
From December through May the pupping season takes place at the rookery and I watched a couple of seal pups come into the world.
Now don’t expect to walk right up to the seals, the area is closed off during pupping season. You get to watch from the overlook.
Bring your binoculars or zoom lens on your camera. There are volunteers on site to answer your questions about the harbor seals.
They also keep track of how many adult and baby seals are at the rookery.
And you can walk down to the beach (away from the seals) and enjoy some great beachcombing and explore the tide pools during low tides.
The Carpinteria Bluffs beach is also close to the Tar Pits Park, so you will find places where tar is seeping up through the ground.
I think it’s cool, some people may think ewww, whatever – it’s nature!
The surfing beach at Carpinteria is Rincon Beach. Hop on the Pacific Coast Hwy and drive about 9 miles southeast to Rincon Beach.
If you’re lucky, like me:) then you’ll get to attend the Rincon Classic Surfing competition.
It’s a locals only event that is scheduled sometime in January…or February. It’s unpredictable. Well, it’s as predictable as the waves.
The contest is called when the surf forecast is most promising for big waves.
Anyone can attend the event. But only locals can compete.
My best tip is to take the free shuttle bus from Carpinteria to Rincon for the surf contest because parking is limited.
It never fails, no matter where I go in the world, when I see surfers my brain starts singing Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys!
If everybody had an ocean
Across the U. S. A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
You’d seem ’em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ U. S. A.
– Beach Boys classic Surfin’ USA
Santa Claus Beach
How can you not love a beach named after Santa Claus?
We can thank a California farmer for the name. Patrick McKeon purchased some land and named it Santa Claus, due to all the other “Santa” names in the area, such as Santa Barbara and Santa Monica.
I visited Santa Claus beach because it was closest to my accommodation in Carpinteria and its proximity to Padaro Beach Grill – an excellent casual restaurant serving burgers and delicious seafood.
I LOVE their fish tacos! Padaro Grill has indoor and outdoor seating, plus they serve beer and wine :)
Another place you should also visit on your way to the beach or afterwards is Seaside Gardens.
You can stroll through their beautiful gardens, garden shop, and gift shop. Perfect place to buy souvenirs for the gardeners on your list.
Summerland beach is a beautiful sandy beach at Lookout Park in Summerland – just a few miles west of Carpinteria on Hwy 101.
This dog friendly park features a dog wash for your fur babies.
There’s also BBQ grills, picnic tables, restrooms, and a playground at the park. Perfect place for a family day at the beach in California.
I saw some big driftwood when I walked the beach at Summerland.
Hendrey’s Beach (Arroyo Burro Beach)
Hendrey’s Beach (officially named Arroyo Burro Beach County Park) is not actually in Carpinteria, but it’s the best beach for finding beach glass near Carpinteria, so I had to include it on the list. It’s a short drive to Santa Barbara.
While 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.
You may also enjoy reading about the beaches along the Oregon Coast – a beautiful day trip from Portland Oregon.
Read these related posts to help you plan your trip to California
Point Reyes California Day Trip to Lighthouse – Beaches and MORE!
Muir Woods Hike the Redwood Forest Marin County California Coast
Ladybug Hike in the Oakland CA Redwood Forest!
10 Things to Do in Oakland California
Palm Springs Travel Guide (2019 Edition)
Mount San Jacinto Park – Desert to Mountain Palm Springs Day Trip
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