Located along California’s Santa Barbara coast, the city of Carpinteria is a cozy and inviting beach area. The city features an abundance of vacation rental options situated just minutes from the Pacific Ocean. From surfing and hiking to enjoying a day of birdwatching or beach combing, Carpinteria has tons to offer when it comes to family-friendly activities, making it a great destination when traveling with kids. Book a stay at one of many Carpinteria vacation rentals today. Check out the most popular things to do in and around Carpinteria to ensure a fantastic time for all.

1. Spend the Day at Carpinteria State Beach

For a relaxing family beach day, put together a beach bag with drinks and a picnic and spend some time at Carpinteria State Beach. The mile-long beach stays open until sunset, and the water is perfect for swimming, shoreline fishing, and shallow water snorkeling. When you’re ready for a little shade, head over to the picnic area, and enjoy lunch as you check out the surfers and windsurfers in the water.

2. Visit the World’s Largest Torrey Pine

The Wardholme Torrey Pine is a must-visit Carpinteria attraction, as it has grown to a whopping 126 feet tall since it was planted as a seedling in 1888. The tree is located along Carpinteria Avenue and Walnut Drive, and its massive size is something you have to see to believe. During your visit, you may even spot a few daring climbers with ropes attempting to scale the tree, but most visitors settle for wrapping their arms around the trunk for a quick-tree-hug from the safety of the ground.

3. Do Some Shopping and Sightseeing Along Linden Avenue

Linden Avenue is a popular shopping and dining hub in Carpinteria, lined with unique boutiques, candy shops, and restaurants. Take a stroll and do some window shopping, and make sure to stop into Robitaille’s Fine Candies for some homemade fudge, old-fashioned penny candy, and a friendly hello from the staff. Peruse the gifts at Laughing Buddha Thrift Shop and pick up a souvenir or two, then finish the day with some comfort food at Esau’s Cafe.

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4. Do Some Birdwatching at Rincon Beach Park

For a fun outdoor family day, pack a picnic and head over to Rincon Beach Park. Dine alfresco at the picnic tables and enjoy the ocean air and views of the surfing beach, then take a stroll along the grounds and do a little bird watching. Egrets are common in this area, and you may also spot some blue heron and common yellow throats.

5. Take a Buggie Tour

For a cool tour of Santa Barbara that your kids are sure to enjoy, sign up for an adventure with SB Buggies, located just 10 miles away in Santa Barbara. Take a guided tour or rent a few buggies to drive on your own, and explore the coastline, beaches, parks, and neighborhoods, all from the comfort of a colorful three-wheeled vehicle. Each buggy fits two passengers, and both drivers and passengers are provided with helmets and starter lessons before venturing onto the roads.

6. Take a Surfing Lesson

Surfing is one of the most popular sports along the Santa Barbara coast, so no trip to Carpinteria is complete without a day out on the waves. Santa Barbara Surf School is one of the most highly-recommended surf schools on the coast with knowledgeable instructors who make sure their students are standing up on the boards by the second try. Lessons take place at Santa Claus Lane Beach in Carpinteria, where the waves are compared to those in Hawaii.

7. Check Out the Views From Horseback

For some recreation in a beautiful setting, take a 10-mile trip into Santa Barbara and do a little horseback riding at Santa Barbara Stables. All skill levels are welcome, and the ranch has an abundance of private scenic trails to navigate. If anyone in your group is new to horseback riding, the ranch also offers lessons.

8. Take a Whale Watching Boat Tour

For a gorgeous tour of the Santa Barbara coast and a chance to get up close and personal with the whales, sign up for a Celebration whale watching wharf tour. The boat leaves from Stearn’s Wharf in Santa Barbara, just 10 miles away from your Carpinteria vacation rental. During the trip, your captain will fill your group in on local history and do his best to make sure you spot a whale or two.

9. Take a Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson

Paddle boarding is a popular and easy-to-learn water sport that’s fun for kids and adults alike. A-Frame Surf rents paddle boards and offers group and private lessons to ensure a safe and fun time on the water, and you can also rent surfboards for anyone in the family who’s looking for a little extra adventure.

10. Visit the Carpinteria Seal Preserve

Referred to as one of Carpinteria’s “most interesting secrets,” the Harbor Seal Preserve houses approximately 100 seals, who birth their cubs in the rookery along the Santa Barbara shoreline. The viewing area for the seals is above the rookery along the Carpinteria Bluffs, since visitors must stay at least 750 feet away from the preserve. Head over to the bluffs and hike up the walking path from the parking lot. When you reach the top, make sure to have your camera handy to capture some once-in-a-lifetime images.

11. Spend Some Time With the Alpacas

For a fun day with some gentle and beautiful Alpacas, visit Canzelle Family Farms. The farm offers daily tours, and you can pick up some unique handmade alpaca products at the gift shop as mementos of your visit. Stroll the lovely grounds and learn about the alpacas from the ranch manager. Alpacas are typically mild-mannered, so you can even pose for photos with them or reach in for a quick hug.

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