What life is really like in Carpinteria.

By Paige Porter
August 16, 2004
Fran Gealer

Setting: Carpinteria enjoys a south-facing position 12 milessoutheast of Santa Barbara and 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles.Sandwiched among the Santa Barbara Channel, Los Padres NationalForest, and the Santa Ynez Mountains, the town encompasses one ofSouthern California's most beautiful coastlines.

Attractions: State and city beaches boast both beauty andsafety. Tar Pits City Park and Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Parkdraw visitors, as do the Carpinteria Bluffs and a public trailwinding to a seal rookery. Shops and cafés keep localsemployed and tourists happy. Rincon Point thrills surfers, and thenearby Channel Islands National Park beckons for natural,undeveloped settings. The art scene remains lively.

Drawbacks: Property costs can be prohibitive, industry otherthan agriculture is limited, and fog loiters here in June.

Housing Options: Historic cottages northwest of LindenAvenue make up the most desirable housing downtown. Houses andapartments between Carpinteria Avenue and the beach put residentsnear water, and the Concha Loma development features tiny, albeitpricey, houses near the ocean. North of U.S. 101, 1960s-70sdevelopments provide more affordable housing. Five mobile-homeparks and sparse apartment complexes offer the most economicalchoices.

What It Costs: Homes in the downtown historic area start atmore than $800,000 for fixer-uppers and soar well above $1 million.Even in developments north of U.S. 101, homes average $800,000.While condos seem more economically feasible, water-view spaces cancost as much as a single-family home. Apartment rentals average$1,000 per month.

Your Next-door Neighbors: Celebrities, retired Hollywoodelite, small-business owners, antiques dealers, restaurateurs,farmers, professors (University of California, Santa Barbara),interior designers, field workers.

How You'd Spend Your Free Time: Exploring the salt marsh orhiking the bluffs, meandering white-sand beaches, antiques shoppingin nearby Summerland, attending the avocado festival, andday-tripping to Santa Barbara.

published 2004