Bluffs, Breaks, and Brews

Jack Rogan
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Santa Barbara’s neighboring small-town paradise, Carpinteria, is home to some of the best outdoor experiences near Santa Barbara. Just fifteen minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, the “Carp,” as it’s often abbreviated, makes for excellent day trips. But you could also turn these into one awesome weekend of surfing, biking, or running, and finish the day sitting around the fire in a campground by the beach. RootsRated offers some suggestions for spending a wonderful day outside.

Carpinteria State Beach
Carpinteria State Beach Audrey Rittenhouse

First, take some time to kick back at Carpinteria State Beach . Boasted as “the world’s safest beach,” the open sand and swimming areas at the end of Linden Avenue provide a great place for you to unplug and enjoy the Channel Island views. Visitors and locals marvel about the cool, clear water, occasional dolphins, and the interesting ocean life on the Carpinteria Reef that’s found just off shore. With plenty of campsites near town, the State Park campground works as a perfect headquarters for people who want to enjoy the beach, surf, hike, bike, or trail run during an overnight visit. Make reservations early since the park can fill up quickly in the summer months.

Dolphins surfing at Rincon
Dolphins surfing at Rincon snapper

For some of the best flat trail running in the area, head down the coast for a few miles along the beautiful Bluffs trail . The route follows the train tracks all the way down to Rincon Point , a good place to hit the restroom and turn around. The bluffs natural area is particularly peaceful in the early morning and a run through the chilling fog with waves crashing beneath you is an unforgettable experience. You can also mountain bike along the bluffs, and cruising around town on two wheels is probably the best way to get around. Cyclists can enjoy riding in the foothills and farmlands or challenging themselves on the 5000+ feet of climbing on the route to Lake Casitas , which extends on Highway 150 inland away from Carpinteria.

Tide Pool at Rincon
Tide Pool at Rincon Audrey Rittenhouse

Famous as one of the top surf-spots on the coast, Rincon is a must for experienced surfers; however, beware the break here is relatively rare, and when conditions are right, expect a large crowd of experienced surfers. Even if you don’t surf, the point has incredible tide pools, each one its own little world of starfish, crabs, anemones, and all other kinds of budding life. Surfing anywhere along the coast can be a bit spotty, but in addition to Rincon , the best breaks are Tar Pits, just down the coast from the State Beach and Santa Claus Lane, just one more exit up the highway.

Island Brewing Company

The Carpinteria State Beach campground is also conveniently located next door to Island Brewing Company , where you’ll want to pick up a growler or two of fresh, delicious beer to enjoy during your stay. With a welcoming tasting room open until 9pm every night, the Island Brewing Company offers excellent, award-winning brews, but also a great place to refresh and reflect on the day’s adventures. The “Island Blonde” is one of their most popular beers, but you’ll also enjoy the “Paradise Pale Ale,” the “Jubilee Ale,” and a few others.  Stop by to taste them all and make some new friends while you’re there. The crowd is always an interesting.

Whatever you choose to do in Carpinteria, it's sure to be a memorable experience full of active outdoor adventure.

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