A lively campground and gentle waves make Carpinteria State Beach a perfect place to restart your adventures as a family. Grocery stores, restaurants and picnic areas are close enough that you’ll feel one with nature without sacrificing conveniences for baby.
Atmosphere: Carpinteria is super family-friendly and therefore crowded during the summer. Small children get started surfing the safe waves and everyone loves the social village-style Carpinteria State campground with amphitheater and on-the-beach sites.
Parking and Entrance: Park on Linden Avenue for free but time-restricted parking and cross over the railroad tracks. For better beach access, pay to park in the day use area and walk right over the sand dunes onto the beach.
Nice Walks and Views: Walk through the campground to the large Carpinteria Bluffs open space area, great for an impromptu toddler-soccer game or just laying on the grass with a sleeping newborn. When you’re hungry but don’t have the energy to cook a campfire meal, head down Ash Avenue for a variety of cozy restaurants.
Activities for Toddlers: Toddlers will enjoy playing in the calm waves or checking out the tidepools (with supervision, of course). Lifeguards are ever-present here. Watch out for tar on the beach.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms and showers are in several locations in the campground as well as right at the entrance.
Perks for Parents: Surfing’s not just for surfers. Rent a longboard and try your hand at the Waikiki-style waves.
Where to Stay with Kids: The Carpinteria State Beach campground is ideal for first-timers due to its proximity to major grocery stores, restaurants and other amenities. For the best tent camping, try to secure a site in Anacapa or Santa Cruz. Sites fill up very quickly, so book as early as possible (in most cases, 6 months out) at Reserve America.
Baby-friendly Restaurants: The Spot, a Carpinteria favorite for greasy burgers, often has lines out the door. Bring your meal back to the beach for a sandy picnic. (389 Linden Ave.)
What Else to Do: Plan your trip around the avocado festival in October. Also, drive north to Santa Barbara beaches for the kid-friendly zoo or south to Mussel Shoals for a secluded beach with fake island.