Once home to a Chumash village known as Šujtu, Carpinteria is a vibrant seaside city in Santa Barbara County. It occupies a coastal plain backed by the Santa Ynez Mountains and overlooks a string of Pacific Ocean beaches. Carpinteria is renowned for its colony of harbor seals and offers exceptional birdwatching in its salt marshes.
Things to do in Carpinteria
In the heart of the city is the Carpinteria Valley Museum, which exhibits historical documents and artefacts related to the development of the region. Learn about the Indigenous Chumash people who once occupied the area before the arrival of Spanish and Mexican settlers in the 18th century. Also at the museum is a landmark recognising the Native American village of Mishopshnow that once stood nearby.
Stretching along the Pacific coast is Carpinteria State Beach, which is a popular destination for swimming, walking and birdwatching. Adjacent is one of Southern California’s four harbor seal rookeries where you can observe seals basking in the sunshine. Nature trails wind their way through the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, which offers spectacular views along the coastline.
On the other side of the city is the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park, one of the largest coastal estuaries remaining in California. It supports a variety of sensitive plant and animal species, including light-footed clapper rails and Belding’s savannah sparrows. You can explore its wetlands and channels along the designated walking trail or coincide your visit with an amphitheatre talk.
Getting around Carpinteria
Carpinteria is around 15 minutes’ drive from Santa Barbara and 20 minutes from Santa Barbara Airport, which has flights to destinations across the United States. The much larger Los Angeles International Airport is 1.5 hours away. Trains connect from San Diego and San Luis Obispo to the Carpinteria railway station and buses travel through the city.