Saturday Day Trip: Carpinteria
Have you worked a little too hard this week? Needing some time to get away and relax, but don’t have time to plan a weekend getaway?
How about a day trip to a little beach town called Carpinteria?
I have been going to Carpinteria since I was a kid with my family. Growing up in Thousand Oaks, it was always a short 40-minute drive up the coast. For those of you who haven’t ever been, Carpinteria is a beach town just before Santa Barbara that is filled with small boutique stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and a main street that leads right to the ocean. This is the quintessential small beachy town.
If you’re looking to make a day trip, here are my suggestions:
First stop, Seaside Gardens:
Seaside Gardens is a 3+ acre botanical wonderland. They have almost a dozen garden vignettes around the property, and offer a large nursery in the center. It’s a beautiful location and provides a lovely place to take a stroll around, take some photographs, and even purchase some plants before you head out! of plants that thrive in our coastal environment. The gardens were designed by local landscape designers and include Asian, Australian, California Native, Central/South American, Grassland, Mediterranean, and more.
Next stop, downtown Carpinteria:
Grab a coffee or a chai tea latte, and get ready to walk the main downtown area of Carpenteria. The main street loops all the way down to the water and back, with stores and restaurants lining both sides of the street. Grab a parking spot at the upper end, and make your way down to the water and back. I always start on the left side of the street so you can first make a stop at Robitaille’s Candies. Robitaille’s has been making candy for over 40 years, and they never disappoint. This family owned shop has a wide variety of specialty candies, chocolates, fudge and mints! In 1985, they were chosen as the "Official Mint of the 50th Presidential Inauguration," which was Ronald Reagan's 2nd term as President. The store has this quintessential candy store vibe, with a red and white checked floor, and aisles and aisles of goodies. They also have a lot of nostalgic candy and about 100 different old fashioned sodas!
I have been coming here since I was a kid, and my three top favorites at Robitaille’s are:
Chocolate Covered Honeycomb (nothing can appropriately describe how good these are)
Presidential Mints (they come in a great pack of colors, and the discs melt in your mouth!)
Gummy Sharks (can’t go wrong, and always really fresh)
Are you hungry yet? Make your way down toward the water and take it all in, then cross the street and step into The Spot, a glorified beach shack that serves up some of the best burgers and onion rings around. The prices are great, and you can get a quick bite at one of the hottest places in town, while sitting outside looking at the water. This is a beach town at its best! After lunch, go enjoy the town. Walk back up and peruse some of the stores, and head down some of the side streets to investigate the local culture. There’s even a cool little brewery right down by the water called Island Brewing Company. So many fun places to explore.
I’d love to hear what your favorites are in Carpinteria!