When the Spanish explorer, Cabrillo, visited the Carpinteria Valley in 1547, he was impressed by the Canolino Indians’ ingenious canoes, therefore naming the valley Los Pueblos de Canoas, or “The City of the Canoes.”  Two hundred years later the Spanish captain, Gaspar de Portola, renamed the town La Carpinteria—The Carpenter Shop—because of the number of canoes being built on the beach.

Carpinteria, as it became known, was fairly isolated for a long time.  El Camino Real was barely passable over the steep hills and the Santa Barbara Channel was dangerous.  In 1865 the passenger stages began making the hazardous coastal trip from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.  They had to wait for low tide to cross the treacherous Rincon.  In 1897, the first train chugged into town after a grade was blasted in Rincon Mountain.  The Rincon Causeway, a 6,100’ bridge consisting of three-inch wooden planks laid over 1,200 eucalyptus pilings, linked Carpinteria to L.A. by automobile in 1912.  It lasted 40 years before giving way to concrete.  It became a favorite stopping spot for roadside travelers. The State Beach was developed in 1932.

Today, Carpinteria has a beautiful industrial park that is home base for several high tech, non-polluting industries such as QAD, AGIA, NuSil, Kilovac, Dako and Metacreations.

Carpinteria is known as the “Valley of the Flowers.”  Long an agricultural community it was at one time the lima bean capital of the world. Because of its ideal climate, it has been selected as home for a multi-million dollar ornamental horticultural business.  Chrysanthemums (both cut and potted), houseplants, roses, cacti, and orchids sold throughout the country were probably grown right here.  (Ask and I can tell you where to buy).  Other agricultural products are avocados (reason behind the annual avocado festival in October), lemons, cherimoyas and other sub tropical treats.

Carpinteria Stats


Carpinteria is a growing, active community located 80 miles north of L.A. and 12 miles south of Santa Barbara. The city comprises 2.6 miles while the Carpinteria Valley cover 11.6 sq. miles.  The population of the valley totals approximately 19,000 with 15,000 city inhabitants.

Climate – Carpinteria’s weather is delightful.  The annual daytime temperatures average 60 to 80 degrees.  The annual average rainfall is 17.9 with virtually all of it falling between September and April.  There has never been a smog alert and the carbon monoxide level is being reduced each year.  Summer fog along the coastal lowlands is a common occurrence.

Business – There are a variety of shopping experiences with two major grocery stores, a hardware and home center, a weekly farmers market, five banks, several nice restaurants and motels and one movie theater.  We have a medical clinic, paramedic ambulance service, several physicians, optometrists, dentists and chiropractors.

Civic Groups – The Chamber of Commerce lists at least 35 civic groups and service organizations for adults and children. There are more than 15 places of worship, a library, local theater company, a history museum and a local, weekly newspaper.  Both the Boys and Girls Club and Girls, Inc. are very active in the community and provide a variety of after school and summer activities as do the Boy and Girl Scouts.

Schools – The Carpinteria Unified School District maintains six public schools: Carpinteria High School (9-19), Carpinteria Middle School (6-8), Aliso and Main (3-5) and Canalino (K-2).  They offer special programs for the bi-lingual, special education, home study, and independent study students.  Their SAT scores are above state and national averages; they have the highest graduation rate in Santa Barbara County and boast two California Distinguished Schools. There are three excellent preschools and several distinguished private schools nearby.  Carpinterians can be found pursuing higher education at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch and Brooks Institute of Photography.   

Recreation – Carpinteria has seven parks located within the city limits and several others within a close proximity.  It is perhaps best known for the “World’s Safest Beach,” due to the gradual and regular slope of the beach and the regular circular shape of the land.  There is a community pool, Sunday polo at the polo field, regular arts and craft fairs at the museum, bingo at the Catholic Church, golf in Santa Barbara, Ojai and Ventura and both ocean and fresh water (Casitas and Cachuma lakes) fishing as well as tennis on the school courts.  There are numerous special events planned for throughout the year.

Location – Located 15 minutes from Ventura and 10-15 minutes from Montecito and Santa Barbara, Carpinterians can take easy advantage of the cultural, recreation, shopping and dining opportunities in those areas. Carpinteria is within an hour of the LA area and many residents find the value in living here and commuting to the city when necessary. 

As a former long term resident I have grown to truly love this special place.  I would enjoy showing you more of this delightful area and hopefully help you move here.