Carpinteria Beach and the Tar Pits

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Santa Barbara, CA
Carpinteria Beach and the Tar Pits
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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 among 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.
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 tar pits! 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.

Continue to directions...

Boardwalk over the dunes.

Tablecloth and even a vase of flowers at Carpinteria campground!

Camping at Carpinteria State Beach.

Volleyball court in the sand.

Looking back from the beach toward the mountains.

Dunes and ocean.

Boys play on Carpinteria Beach.

Rows of beach umbrellas and rows of sandcastles!

Tar oozed up and covered large rocks.

Two seals bobbing around in the water at Carpinteria State Beach.

Looking past the dunes toward Linden Avenue.


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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Fri, 06 Nov 2009

One of my favorite childhood memories...

Last Updated: Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:15:05 GMT

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