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Clustered with antique shops and eclectic eateries, Carpinteria is a charming seaside city in Santa Barbara County. It’s wedged between upmarket Santa Barbara and the coastal city of Ventura, with the rugged Santa Ynez Mountains towering behind.
The town was originally named La Carpinteria (The Carpentry Shop) by Spanish soldiers after they saw canoes being built by local Chumash people in the 18th century. Today, Carpinteria has blossomed into a recreational paradise, surrounded by protected beaches and wetlands that can be explored on foot or by bicycle.
With a long stretch of sand offering safe swimming, Carpinteria is a popular destination to rent an RV, with plenty of beachside campsites where you can revel in the natural beauty. Watch seals basking on the rocks during the winter months or venture out into the tidal pools while the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean at the end of a long summer day. Carpinteria is also the setting for the annual California Avocado Festival when live music, family-friendly entertainment, and the world’s largest vat of guacamole ignite the town.
You don’t have to venture far to experience Carpinteria’s natural wonders, with the Carpinteria State Beach right on your doorstep. This 62-acre protected park is a hub for recreation, with everything from fishing to swimming and nature walks on offer. Lifeguards patrol the mile-long stretch of sand throughout the year, with gray whales occasionally seen migrating along the coast between mid-December and mid-April.
Bird watchers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve, which protects a critically important estuary that attracts a myriad of migratory birds. Spot Savannah sparrows and light-footed clapper rails while exploring the wetland on foot, with an interpretive nature trail to gain a better understanding of this fragile ecosystem. Alternatively, coincide your visit with one of the guided walking tours led by local bird experts.
Leave your Carpinteria RV rental behind and stretch your legs on one of the trails that wind through the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve. It offers magnificent views north to the Santa Ynez Mountains, as well as south across the Pacific Ocean to the Channel Islands. Peer over the bluff’s edge to view the Carpinteria Harbor Seal Rookery where these playful creatures can be seen throughout the year, with newborn pups being weaned between December and May.
If you’re looking for RV rentals in Santa Barbara County, consider a stay at the Carpinteria State Beach Park. It features four separate camping areas, all of which accommodate RVs and are set just back from the beach. You can select between the Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, or San Miguel campgrounds, with coin-operated hot showers, fire pits, and picnic tables available.
Aside from the Carpinteria State Beach Park, there are a few additional RV parks within a short drive of the town in neighboring Santa Barbara and Ventura. If you’re looking to rent a motorhome in Carpinteria, you can book into the Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park, which has bathrooms and laundry facilities so you can catch up on your washing. Although it’s right next to the freeway, it’s an easy bike ride from the beach and just a stone’s throw from the Santa Barbara Zoo.
RV rentals in Carpinteria can also utilize the Ventura Beach RV Resort, which sprawls across 14 acres of grassy lawns adjacent to the Seaside Wilderness Park. It has an outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi, as well as a recreational room with a billiards table, a playground, and a basketball court to keep kids entertained. A camper rental in Carpinteria can also pull in at the Ventura Oaks RV Park, which is located a 10-mile drive north of the beach on the shores of Lake Casitas. It's nestled in a country-style setting and is pet-friendly, with laundry facilities, barbecues, and picnic areas.
Ventura is a bustling city with all the services you need, including a Walmart where you may be able to set up for a night or two with the manager’s permission. If you need to stock up on supplies, there are also plenty of gas stations and supermarkets in both Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Aside from its coastal park, Carpinteria is home to one of the largest Torrey pine trees on Earth, the Wardholme Torrey Pine, as well as the Carpinteria Valley Museum where you can delve into the region’s Native American history. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss the Tomol Interpretive Play Area, which combines creative play equipment with the opportunity to learn about local wildlife and the indigenous Chumash people.
After picking up your RV rental near Carpinteria, why not make the short drive to the Carpinteria Valley, which is one of the largest producers of cut flowers in the United States. Learn about California’s drought-tolerant species at the Seaside Gardens, then explore the three-acre botanical garden where plants from around the world are showcased.
Carpinteria boasts a diverse range of eateries, including fast-food places and a historic restaurant dating to 1912 where you can grill your own steaks. Begin the day with a hearty American breakfast at one of the cozy cafes or settle in with a craft beer at the light-filled local brewery.
Whether you’re visiting Carpinteria for its beaches, birdlife or floral-filled nurseries, start your search for an RV rental in Carpinteria and start exploring!