Getting out of town during a pandemic comes with its own set of challenges and concerns. Finding less crowded outdoor spaces has been hard, with hiking trails, outdoor parks, beaches and city promenades filled with others seeking fresh air and social distance. For us, the Carpinteria tide pools provided a welcome escape from crowds and a boost of serotonin from walking about in the natural world.
We visited Carpinteria State Beach and the Carpinteria tide pools on Black Friday (we always get outside on Black Friday instead of shopping), and felt comfortable for the most part with the experience. While mask wearing was very low on the beach, it was very easy to remain more than 10 feet from people without a mask. In town, most people were wearing masks, and all of the restaurant and shop workers we saw did.
Santa Barbara County is currently under slightly less restrictive health orders than Los Angeles County, even though it is also in California’s purple tier.
Carpinteria is about an hour and 20 minute drive from Burbank, with typical traffic. We did experience some slowing, particularly around the outlets in Camarillo.
We checked the tide chart for Carpinteria ahead of time and determined that low tide would be around 2:00 p.m. that day. Leaving from Burbank around 11:30 a.m., we had enough time to grab a coffee and snack at the Lucky Llama Coffee House before heading to the beach. Mask wearing by customers there was low. However, all the doors and windows were open and there was a lot of air movement. It was easy to remain socially distant from others and our coffees were ready in short order.
After paying $10 to park in the Carpinteria State Beach parking lot, entering off of Palm Avenue, we had our choice of parking spots.
The beach was mostly empty, but many of the prime picnic tables overlooking the beach were occupied with people enjoying a lunch and the view at the beach.
The adjacent RV camping area was full and the lower parking lot which serves as overflow parking for the camping area was full as well. There was zero mask wearing among the groups of campers at the RVs and on the beach. However, they are easy to avoid, particularly at low tide, with lots of sandy beach exposed to walk well around those groups.
With those caveats in mind, a trip to the Carpinteria tide pools still remains a good way to get out of town.
The first grouping of rocks and tide pools is about a quarter of a mile south of the beach parking lot. The smattering of tide pools extends for approximately two miles south of the parking lot, with more populated and larger tide pools occurring below Tar Pits Park and the pier. Several surfers were out enjoying the waves near the closed-to-the-public pier, which extends off Dump Road. The largest grouping of tide pools lies south of the pier.
We saw lots of shellfish, anemones, birds, and one healthy starfish who moved from tide pool to tide pool over the course of the afternoon.
After a few hours exploring the Carpinteria tide pools, we ordered some takeout from Teddy’s By The Sea in town. We brought the food back to the beach and were thrilled to find several tables along the dunes overlooking the beach now open. We enjoyed a delicious meal while watching the sun set.
A trip to the Carpinteria tide pools was a great way to get out of town, for all ages, in this time of pandemic. More information on Carpinteria State Beach can be found on their website.
One note, a section of the south beach will be closed from December through May for harbor seal birthing. However, the southern-most tide pools are accessible via a section of stairs south of Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, which boasts a lovely walking path of its own. From the bluffs above, visitors can get a good view of the seals and their pups below, in season.
No dogs are allowed on the beach, but they are allowed in the campground and on the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve hiking path.
Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.