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Getaway Guide: Carpinteria
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Getaway Guide: Carpinteria

So come on and join us on our getaway to coastal Carpinteria, because life is infinitely better with flip flops.

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5 min read

August 21, 2021

Ever heard a name of a place so intriguing that your suitcase practically packed itself? If your answer is yes and your subject of curiosity is Carpinteria, then you’re in for an unforgettable adventure. Formerly known as La Carpinteria or ‘The Carpenter Shop’, this oceanside delight is filled with treasures to discover; and, on occasion, purchase. So come on and join us on our getaway to coastal Carpinteria, because life is infinitely better with flip flops. 

The charming coastal city of Carpinteria boasts beautiful beaches with gentle waves and breathtaking mountain views.

Day 1 

Arriving 

Driving down the 101 will really make you feel the grandness so often talked about in books and movies. The roaring shorelines, mountainous panoramas, a handful of sweeping attractions along the way; we're sure you've heard it all before. But what's even better about taking this route to Carpinteria, a quaint little oceanside gem in Santa Barbara County, is how effortlessly the grandeur gives way to sleepy cottages, hidden beaches, and a region clad in manicured bike paths

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You start your journey from Malibu, which, let's be honest, doesn’t need much of an introduction. From there, you drive along the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, twisting and curving near Oxnard and Ventura before reaching the incomparable Santa Barbara. Detours are very much encouraged; a walk in the sand on one of the local beaches is pretty much the closest thing to heaven on earth. Don’t spend too much time on cloud nine though—your Carpinteria getaway lies only 13 minutes away.

Carpinteria has all the elements that make a town great: a main street full of places to eat and drink, a safe beach, bike paths, and a fun community.

Afternoon

When it comes to Carpinteria, they say it's all festivals, fiestas, and historical treasures. Your getaway should opt to put that to the test. And there's no better place to start than Linden Avenue, the oldest street in town or as we like to call it, a journey of scenic delight. At almost 100 years old, Linden Avenue is lined with dozens upon dozens of majestic palm trees that not only shield you from the (at times) scorching sun, but also provide a backdrop like no other. Cruising this route is a real taste-test of what’s to come—upscale eateries, swanky antique shops, and beaches only a stone’s throw away. 

And speaking of beaches, the next item on your to-do list is a visit to Carpinteria State Beach. A quintessentially SoCal beauty, this beach has plenty of fishing, biking, paddling, wildlife watching, and for the marine-bio-curious, the most remarkable tide pools in Carpinteria. Try to spot as many shellfish and anemones as you can in these tiny pockets of water because your time is not infinite—low tide is pretty much the only time you can view them. 

If you’re feeling the need for a little midday pick me up, the nearby Lucky Llama Coffee Shop offers local-approved coffee to go. Grab yourself a cup of joe, carve out a spot along the sun-soaked shoreline, and keep yourself warm after a dip in one of California’s underrated beaches.

Carpinteria Beach has a gentle slope and calm waves, and seals and sea lions can be seen here through the months of December to May.

Evening

For an evening stroll, we recommend taking the sort of hike that’s easy-to-reach and impossible to forget—not a rarity in Carpinteria. The Carpinteria Bluff Trail, for instance, traverses for two miles or so before bringing you to one of the most curious sightings in the area, the Carpinteria Harbor Seal Preserve. Frolicking as if they own the surf, these creatures are most adorable when clumsily crawling up the beach, and you can watch it all from either atop towering sea cliffs or the stretch of sand nearby.

Hiking, no matter the difficulty, is the best way to work up an appetite. Moving around, trekking uphill, occasional bouldering—that leg-burn definitely requires edible compensation. And since sunset is right around the corner too, we suggest combining views and mouthwatering flavors at Teddy’s By the Sea. This eatery blends traditional American food in mind-blowing custom combinations; you’ll savor each bite.

After you’re well-fed and relatively wound down from all the sightseeing (we anticipate you’ve window shopped a little too), it’s time to put your feet up for a while. You could book a room at a hotel, but in a town as quaint as Carpinteria, it almost feels like staying at an actual house is a more intimate way of experiencing this gem in the heart of Santa Barbara County. Or, better yet, why not stay in a 1974 restored trailer? Metallic interior, leather furnishings, and access to a small avocado orchard—as far as Airbnbs in Carpinteria go, none are quite as quirky as this.

Without a doubt, the main attraction of Carpinteria is the beach, which people call the “world’s safest” because of its calm waves.

Day 2 

Morning 

As sun rays pierce the windows, open your eyes to receive your first gift of the day—it’s Carpinteria in the morning. There’s something especially beautiful about a beach town in its waking process; bicycles sparkling under fresh sunlight, streets greeting early birds on their way to work, and flowers growing petals of pure platinum. Carpinteria’s own Padaro Beach is like all those things combined plus surfing; it’s safe to say that this is your first stop. Spending your morning splashing around, taking in all the hues, and enjoying a slice of solitude is one of the best things to do in Carpinteria.

Carpinteria hosts an annual California Avocado Festival, with a history extending back to 1986. Over 80,000 persons attend the three-day festival.

Afternoon 

Fancy an early lunch? You don’t even have to get far from your sand stretch—Padaro Beach Grill is just around the corner. Delicious meals, spectacular views, friendly service, and a family-style atmosphere; this place is the perfect blend of food and paradise. You can either eat inside the restaurant or sit and watch the waves crash from their lush lawn. The latter also provides the perfect photo ops, if you haven’t already guessed so.

Now that you’ve eaten, it’s time to burn off those calories. Our suggestion? A stroll down Bungalow District. Dotted with historic homes that range in style from ornate gingerbread to colorful beach shacks, this district is a feast for the eyes and a full-on fangirl moment for architecture enthusiasts. 

Guides won’t tell you this, but many Carpinteria beaches are considered by locals to be even nicer than their more famous Santa Barbara counterparts.

Evening

Before hunger overtakes and you retreat to the nearest eatery, there’s one more fun thing you can do in Carpinteria—see the world’s largest Torrey Pine. Planted in 1888 and extremely rare to see nowadays, the Wardholme Torrey Pine is not hard to find; it’s the giant 126-foot tree overlooking downtown Carpinteria. Standing next to it will make you feel like the inspiration behind Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

And finally, as a last course of action, we recommend having a goodbye-Carpinteria meal at Zookers Restaurant. An always-great ambiance paired with a creative seasonal menu, farm-to-fork produce, and sustainably raised meats, this restaurant ensures your return to Carpinteria, even if it’s just to eat there again.

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