Follow Us
  • icon-facebook
  • icon-twitter
  • icon-linkedin
  • icon-pinterest
  • icon-youtube
  • icon-instagram

Carpinteria State Beach Campground

Google Map Coordinates: Latitude: 34.391900 / Longitude: -119.520300

Carpinteria State Beach Camping Guide Continued

Twelve miles south of Santa Barbara. The Spanish named the area Carpinteria because the Chumash tribe, which lived in the area, had a large seagoing canoe-building enterprise, or "carpentry shop" there.

The park includes a visitor's center, restroom facilities, 216 campsites, RV hookups and more. Carpinteria campground is actually divided into 4 sections, named after the Channel Islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel. Anacapa and Santa Cruz is the only area for tents, and if you want to be fronting the beach, request Santa Cruz. If you have an RV and want to be fronting the beach, request Santa Rosa or San Miguel.


  • flush toilets and hot showers
  • picnic tables
  • camp store
  • fire rings
  • dump station
  • pets allowed (on leash - campground and picnic area)
  • beach
  • ocean
  • water sports
  • hiking
  • biking
  • wildlife viewing
  • visitor's center
Location – Directions

The park is on Highway 224, off U.S. 101, twelve miles south of Santa Barbara. From the 101 take the Casitas Pass exit. Turn away from the mountains. At the end of Casitas Pass turn right. Drive until you reach Palm. Turn left. The park will be at the end of Palm Street.

5361 6th St
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(805) 968-1033

Points of Interest

This is one of the most popular parks in California's state park system. RVs and campers pour into town each Thursday and Friday evening - even in the late winter, early spring. The park is open all year around and the moderate climate makes it a popular destination for escaping snow birds. Everybody hopes to be one of the lucky ones camped inches away from the sand.

In addition to the obvious and extraordinary beach, this park is blessed with fabulous views of the mountains. Within walking distance you will find Tar Pits Park, which has fabulous history, and the Estuary, home too many rare and beautiful birds.

To help keep the troops entertained, there are restaurants, movie theatres, skate parks and shopping less than a half mile away. Carpinteria provides a waterfront shuttle to help with the commute. The park rents bikes of various sorts, skates and padding.

Seals, sea lions and dolphins can be seen in the area. From December to May there are local beach restrictions due to the Seal Rookery but not on State Park property. You can also see an occasional gray whale. Tidal pools contain starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails, octopi and sea urchins.

Carpinteria Beach Trail

From Carpinteria State Beach to Harbor Seal Preserve is 2.5 miles round trip; to Carpinteria Bluffs is 4.5 miles round trip; to Rincon Beach County Park is 6 miles round trip.

This beach hike heads down-coast along the state beach to City Bluffs Park and the Chevron Oil Pier. A small pocket beach contains the Harbor Seal Preserve. From December through May this beach is seals-only. Humans may quietly watch the boisterous colony, sometimes numbering as many as 150 seals, from a bluff top observation area above the beach.

After seal-watching, you can then sojourn over the Carpinteria Bluffs or continue down the beach to Rincon Point on the Santa Barbara-Ventura county line.

After a half mile's travel over the wide sand strand you?ll reach state beach-bisecting Carpinteria Creek. During the summer, a sand bar creates a lagoon at the mouth of the creek. Continue over the sand bar or, if Carpinteria Creek is high, retreat inland through the campground and use the bridge over the creek.

Picnic at City Bluffs Park or keep walking a short distance farther along the bluffs past the Chevron Oil Pier to an excellent vista point above the Harbor Seal Preserve. Ambitious walkers may continue along the beach to Rincon Beach County Park, one of the area?s top sur?ng spots on the Santa Barbara-Ventura county line.


The best time to surf this county is in the winter, and to a lesser extent the fall. Santa Barbara's primary swell source is from storms in the North Pacific that generate waves as they approach the west coast. Spring swells tend to be windswells generated by spring onshores. Summertime is a good time to drive out of the swell shadow of the Channel Islands.

In general, the surf will be smaller the closer one gets to the city of Santa Barbara proper. Waves are always larger around the tip of Point Conception or in Ventura. Having said that, here is a brief overview of surf spots and general regions of the county and adjoining counties:

  • Ventura County
    The coastline of this county runs from Point Mugu through the Oxnard plain, past three river mouths and up along a mountain ridgeline before reaching Rincon at its northernmost point. A quick overview:
    • The southern portion of the county is predominantly surf-starved, with a good summer spot at County Line and a small but barreling winter peak at Supertubes, if you can find it.
    • From Point Mugu to Port Hueneme the surf is inaccessible.
    • From Port Hueneme to Surfer's Point is a series of beaches facing predominantly westward. Fickle shape and conditions dominate this stretch and it can be frequently blown out. Few channels exist to get out easily once the surf gets overhead and it can get punishing.
    • The most popular break in the county is a series of lineups at the county fairgrounds, with C Street for longboarders and Fairgrounds/Stables/Pipes for shortboarders.
    • North from there lie a series of rocky cobblestone points and a few reefs, all visible and accessible from the highway, until we get to the county line at...
  • Rincon
    The Queen of the Coast. Rincon straddles the Ventura and Santa Barbara county lines. A long right point break with several distinct lineups. Connecting the entire point is a ride over a mile long. Very crowded. To get there, exit Highway 101 at Bates Road and park in either the county or state lot.
  • Hammonds Reef
    A classic right-hander, near Miramar in Montecito. Takes a little effort to get to. Do some exploring.
  • Sand Spit
    A sucking, super-hollow barrel. Needs a big west swell to work, and when it breaks it will be half the size of Rincon. Crowded lineup and often dirty. Breaks at the end of the breakwater for Santa Barbara Harbor and visible from Stearns Wharf.
  • Leadbetter Point
    A small, fun, easy wave. Friendly crowd and good for beginners. Lots of peaks along this small right point break. Take Cabrillo past Stearns Wharf and turn left into the pay parking lot.
  • UCSB Campus and Isla Vista
    Campus Point marks the eastern edge of the campus, a small right point break similar in size to Leadbetter. Can get crowded with college students. Small beach break and cliffs lead west to Devereux Point, another right with many peaks. Crowded, lots of longboarders, and a lot of tar from natural oil upwellings. Sands is similarly toxic.
  • Gaviota Coast
    Private property owned by oil companies and cattle ranchers overlooking inaccessible cliff lines running from Sands to Gaviota State Beach. Two state beaches, El Capitan and Refugio, offer overnight camping and small right point breaks that rarely break over waist high. Some small and clean surfable reefs and beaches lie to the north of Refugio and are visible from the highway. Park in the turnoffs along the road.
  • The Ranch
    The worst-kept secret in the county. Inaccessible save by boat or for the owners of private land. Classic reef and point waves discovered in the early 1960's and pictured to excess by magazines. Runs from Gaviota State Beach all the way to Point Conception.
  • North County
    The forbidding and wind-torn section of the county, where the coastline turns north-south and is exposed to the full brunt of wind, tide, rain, and swell. Often blown out for days, even at dawn. Some state and county beaches provide camping opportunities. Much of the coastline hidden behind Vandenburg AFB. Best in fall when a Santa Ana condition is holding and there is a small NW swell.
Mountain Biking

Santa Barbara offers unsurpassed options for mountain bikers of all skill levels. A variety of trails start high above the coastline and provide an opportunity for a perfect all downhill ride. Another option includes riding back roads through town while seeing all the sights. Or you can choose a full day loop that includes both up- and downhill riding.

Rock Climbing

Santa Barbara's coastal mountains offer great opportunities for rock climbing. The beautiful settings of local climbing sites provide participants with a safe and fun way to learn about this exciting sport.

Horseback Riding

Just north of town, in Santa Barbara's Santa Ynez Mountains, horseback trails wind through canyons and along rugged ridge tops, crossing fields of sage and coastal oaks with sweeping views of the scenic Gaviota Coastline. You can relax and take in the scenery while your guide and new four-footed friend show you the beauty this part of Santa Barbara has to offer.


Solvang (Danish for 'sunny field') is a beautiful little city nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. Founded in 1911 by a small group of Danish teachers, Solvang now is a diverse, modern city, with fine restaurants, lovely shops and outstanding activities to enchant young and old alike. There are Danish festivals, quiet tree lined streets, horse drawn wagons, Hans Christian Andersen Park, windmills, Danish pastries and dozens of quaint shops to explore.

Mission Santa Inés

Sometimes spelled Santa Ynes, the Mission was founded on September 17, 1804 by Father Estévan Tapís, who had succeeded Father Fermín Lasuén as President of the California mission chain. The Mission site was chosen as a midway point between Mission Santa Barbara and Mission La Purísima Concepción, and was designed to relieve overcrowding at those two missions and to serve the Indians living east of the Coast Range . Despite its name, the Mission is located at 1760 Mission Drive, Solvang, California.

Other Towns near El Capital State Beach
  • Santa Barbara
  • Goleta
  • Carpentaria
  • Ventura
  • Oxnard
Other campgrounds near Carpinteria State Beach
  • Camp Whittier, Santa Barbara (4 miles)
  • Santa Barbara County Park Dept, Santa Barbara (4 miles)
  • El Capitan State Beach, Goleta (4 miles)
  • Refugio State Beach, Santa Barbara (4 miles)
  • White Oaks Campground, Santa Barbara County (5 miles)
  • Santa Ynez Campground, Santa Barbara County (6 miles)
  • Sage Hill Campground, Santa Barbara County (6 miles)
  • Rancho Oso, Santa Barbara (6 miles)
  • Los Prietos Campground, Santa Barbara County (6 miles)
  • Lower Oso Campground, Santa Barbara County (6 miles)
Back to Carpinteria State Beach Campground Photos