Carpinteria is a small oceanside city located in south Santa Barbara County, California, east of Santa Barbara and northwest of Ventura. The population was 13,040 at the 2010 census, down from 14,194 at the 2000 census.
The Spanish named the area "Carpinteria" because the Chumash tribe, which lived in the area, had a large seagoing canoe-building enterprise, or "carpentry shop" there; this was due to the availability of naturally occurring surface tar which was used to seal the canoes. Tar seeps are still visible at selected sites, such as Tar Pits Park on the campground beach of Carpinteria State Beach. The three closest drilling platforms visible from the shore are within the Carpinteria Offshore Oil Field, the 50th-largest field in California.
Carpinteria beach is known for its gentle slope and calm waves in selected sandy areas but also good surfing swells in some of the more rocky areas . Seals and sea lions can be seen in the area December through May at the rookery in the nearby Carpinteria Bluffs , as well as an occasional gray whale. Tidepools contain starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails, octopuses and sea urchins. A marathon-length round trip north of the rookery along the beach to Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara is possible, though passable only during low tide. A popular campground is located adjacent to the beach. There is bird watching at Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve.