Add your Organization to OuterSpatial. Learn more here.

Carpinteria State Beach



  • Directions

  • Size

    61.70 acres


Twelve miles south of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria State Beach offers a mile of beach for swimming, surf fishing, tidepool exploring and camping. Although dogs are not allowed on the beach, we have a great picnic area where they are allowed to enjoy the outdoors as well. Lifeguards patrol the beach year round and lifeguard towers are staffed roughly from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. 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" here. This was because of naturally-occurring surface tar, which was used to waterproof the canoes.

Tide pools contain starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails, octopuses and sea urchins.

Harbor seals can often be seen near Carpinteria State Beach with a protected harbor seal rookery within walking distance of the state beach. Please note that December 1-May 31 this section of city beach is closed to protect young seal pups. The best way to observe the seals is use the City of Carpinteria Bluff trail.

Allowed Activities
Scuba Diving
Dog Walking
Tent Camping
Rv Camping
Road Biking
Good For
Rules & Regulation
Dogs Permitted With Restrictions
Dogs On Leash

Additional Information

Accessibility Description

Carpinteria State Beach


Just south of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria State Beach offers camping, picnicking and beach activities year-round. Naturally occurring surface tar still collects along the beach, but does not seem to affect its popularity. Phone (805) 968-1033 or (805) 684-2811 for more information.


Anacapa Loop: Sites 5 and 15 as well as Group sites, Bobcat and Fox are accessible. One combination restroom/shower building is accessible in the Anacapa loop.

Santa Cruz Loop: Sites 38, 52, and 64 are accessible and 2 generally accessible combination restroom/shower buildings are in the Santa Cruz Loop.

Picnic Area

Several accessible picnic sties, including the shaded group areas are accessible. Fully accessible parking spaces and restroom are located in the day use area.

Beach/Shore Access

The Tar Pit, Jellybowl, and Ranger Office parking lots each have 3 designated accessible parking spaces and are near beach access. Call (805) 684-2811 to reserve a beach wheelchair.


Campfire Center: The campfire center (located between the Anacapa and Santa Cruz Loop) has both upper and lower accessible seating areas

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is open 10am-4pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday


Trailers may be rented from 101 RV Rental Concessions. This is the only permitted business for delivery of RVs in this state park. For questions, please contact 101 RV Rental at (805) 210-7391.

Tomol Interpretive Play Area

Playing and Learning at Carpinteria State Beach

A group of brave young “Chumash” returns to their village of thatched houses after rowing their plank canoe out on the ocean, while nearby dolphins and a curious harbor seal look on. Other children cross a rainbow bridge from an island to the mainland under the watchful eye of a bald eagle in her nest. Still other kids enjoy sliding down a cloudburst slide or an exciting roller slide after ducking through a cave marked with colorful Chumash rock art. All of this fun and imaginative play is taking place among large sandstone boulders and native California trees and plants, while parents and other care-givers keep a relaxed watch from nearby benches. It’s another typical day at the Tomol Interpretive Play Area at Carpinteria State Beach.

Few areas invite children to enjoy healthy outdoor play while they learn about California’s colorful history at the same time. The Tomol Interpretive Play Area is one of these special places. Found tucked into the northwest corner of Carpinteria State Beach in the coastal beach community of Carpinteria, this unique facility lets kids run, jump, slide and generally have fun while it encourages them to imagine living in a Chumash Indian village on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

The interpretive play area, which opened in 2011, came about through the cooperative efforts of California State Parks, the Morning Rotary Club of Carpinteria, and the City of Carpinteria. Major funding was provided by the U.S. Land and Water Conservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, and by the California State Parks Foundation, a memorial endowment, local non-profit organizations, and private citizens. The interpretive play area was awarded the Universal Access Award by California State Parks for “outstanding achievement in increasing universal access” by all visitors regardless of physical limitations.

The Tomol Interpretive Play Area has proven to be extremely popular with local residents as well as visitors from the park’s nearby campgrounds and day-use area, and judging by the smiles on the faces of its youngest visitors, the facility promises to provide fun and learning for years to come.