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Carpinteria State Beach

Mile-long Carpinteria State Beach, 12 miles south of Santa Barbara, was an important canoe-building site for native Chumash people, who used the tar that occurs naturally on this beach to seal their wooden canoes, called tomols. Protected by an offshore reef, this is an excellent swimming and wading beach for children. You will also find a beachfront campground, covered picnic tables, and a small visitor center. Carpinteria Creek flows through the park and into a lagoon, which was the launching site for Chumash tomols bound for the Channel Islands. Today this lagoon is a lovely spot to watch mallards, egrets, herons, coots, and other shorebirds. Carpinteria City Beach, which adjoins Carpinteria State Beach, has better wheelchair access to the beach, as well as picnic tables on concrete pads that offer prime views of the Channel Islands and of sand volleyball games.

Visitor center: The visitor center, located between the entrance kiosk and Anacapa campground, has a Chumash Indian exhibit, a touch tank, and animal pelts you can touch. The asphalt path leading to the center has a small steep section, and tree roots have caused it to buckle considerably.

State Parks Advisory: Many of California's state parks are reducing hours of operation and limiting access to facilities because of budget cuts. We recommend that you consult State Parks' website and contact the park directly before planning a visit.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Visitor Center: Accessible

Beach Wheelchair: Yes

Pick up at entrance kiosk or reserve by calling (805) 684-2811, ext. 03

Accessible Parking: Yes

Fee parking is beyond the entrance kiosk. Free accessible parking is next to the visitor center and at Carpinteria City Beach, at the foot of Linden Avenue.

Accessible Restroom: Yes

Across from the entrance kiosk by the Santa Cruz campground

Accessible Restroom: Limited Accessibility

Restroom at main day-use parking lot only has room for a front-approach transfer but otherwise meets our access criteria.

Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes

Several large shaded picnic areas with barbecue grills are by the main day-use parking lot. Some with great ocean views are at the foot of Linden Avenue.

Other Things of Interest

For 25 cents you can ride the electric Seaside Shuttle, which stops at Carpinteria City Beach and at the major shopping areas in town. It operates year-round, Mon.-Fri., 6 am-7 pm, Sat.-Sun., 10 am-5 pm.
Carpinteria Creek Lagoon
Carpinteria Creek Lagoon (Bonnie Lewkowicz )

Features icon key

  • Beach Wheelchairs Available
  • camping
  • particularly good for families
  • picnic
  • swimming

Additional Information

View Map  
Managing Agency: California State Parks
Phone: (805) 684-2811
Hours: Beach: 7 am to sunset
Visitor center: Sat.-Sun., 10 am-noon
Fees: Parking, Camping
Dogs: In restricted areas
Not allowed on beach
Public Transportation: MTD Santa Barbara
Useful Links: Seaside Shuttle

Did You Know?

The Chumash name for the area now called Carpinteria was Mishopshnow (“correspondence”), because it was a center of trade with other tribes.

Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, September 25, 2008
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

Accessible Restrooms Icon looks like a women and men restroom signBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing