Taking a Day Trip to Carpinteria From Santa Barbara

Zack Garhart
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Taking a Day Trip to Carpinteria from Santa Barbara

While visiting Santa Barbara, don’t miss out on some of the sleepy surf towns nearby. Carpinteria, located just 11 miles south of Santa Barbara, is renowned for its chill vibe and supreme surf spots. Known as the “World’s Safest Beach” since 1912, this surf town doesn’t disappoint. It’s easy to get to and is small enough to see in just one day. Enjoy our guide for taking a day trip to Carpinteria from Santa Barbara!

Getting to Carpinteria

By car, Carpinteria is a mere 15-minute drive. Taking Highway 101 is one of the quintessential things to do while traveling the West Coast, and that’s the way we recommend getting to Carpinteria by car. With various lookout points and small beaches along the way, the drive to Carpinteria is as scenic as it is soothing. 

Both Amtrak and the city bus run regular routes from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria. The quickest way is by train, and a ticket on Amtrak will cost you less than $10 one way. For a cheaper option, the bus will get you to Carpinteria for $2.00 or less. The bus will take longer, but it’s a great way to see some of the quirky homes and beach bungalows that are set along the way. 

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Where to Eat in Carpinteria

Locals love Lucky Llama, and so do we. Whether you’re looking for a coffee fix, something sweet like a cinnamon roll, or one of their loaded acai bowls, Lucky Llama has it all. They source their coffee from Dune Roasters, and their menu is reasonably priced. The outdoor space at Lucky Llama makes it a great place to hang out and sip something warm before taking to the town.

For lunch or brunch. we recommend Little Dom’s Seafood. This Carpinteria staple serves up some of the freshest seafood around, and they also run an awesome happy hour. From wood-fired pizzas to raw oysters, they have something for everyone at Little Dom’s Seafood. Come on a Tuesday and try their three-course meal special!

If you’re on a budget, don’t skip The Spot. This burger joint is within walking distance from the beach and serves up fresh hamburgers at amazing prices. Locals and tourists flock to this burger shack for more than just a burger or chili fries, the shakes are also a must-try! It’s no-frills, so if you’re looking for something more up-scale and refined, wander down Linden Avenue for something else.

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What to Do in Carpinteria

People flock to Carpinteria to surf and catch some sun on the beach. With fewer crowds than many of the beaches in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria City Beach is the place to be. There are nearby hiking trails, so you can work up a sweat before taking a dip in the cool ocean. You can also rent surfboards or stand-up paddle boards at Rincon Designs. We recommend grabbing burgers at The Spot and then pulling out a blanket and staying for the day. Once the sun starts to set, head on over to Shoals Restaurant at the Cliff House Inn. Whether it’s for dinner or a glass of wine, this is one of the best places to unwind and watch the sunset over the ocean. 

For your shopping desires, Carpinteria’s main strip (Linden Avenue) is filled with quaint shops and small boutiques. From surf gear and apparel to small trinkets and locally-made art, you’re bound to find something that catches your eye while cruising through town. If you’re a reader, head on over to Lantern Tree Books. This bookstore features local authors and has a cozy vibe. 

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Once you’ve hit up Carpinteria, head on over to our Santa Barbara Hostel for a solid night’s rest.

Interested in seeing more of Carpinteria? Watch this video!

Consider joining our Traveler’s Club, where you’ll save 10% on all future bookings at ITH. Plus, it’s free to sign up!


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