Carpinteria is a small oceanside city located in the southeastern extremity of Santa Barbara County, California, east of Santa Barbara and northwest of Ventura. The population was 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. You can still see the tar oozing out of the tar pit at selected sites, such as Tar Pits Park on the campground beach of Carpinteria State Beach .
Carpinteria beach is known to have a gentle, sloping terrain and calm waves in selected sandy areas but also good surfing swells in other 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. The gentle sloping fine-grain white sand makes for good jogging and running terrain, with the round trip south of the rookery to Rincon Point being approximately 10 kilometers . A marathon-length round trip north of the rookery to Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara is possible, though passable only during low tide. A live view of Carpinteria beach can be seen at this link . A popular campground is located adjacent to the beach. There is bird watching at Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve.
The city has a weekly newspaper called The Coastal View. The city of Carpinteria is served by the Carpinteria Unified School District. It includes one high school, one middle (junior high) school, and four elementary schools, one of which is an alternative school (K-6). The district also has an alternative high school. Other schools includes: Cate School, a private preparatory school and Pacifica Graduate Institute, home of the Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas Library. This graduate school offers master's and PhD programs in depth psychology and mythology. Carpinteria High School's football team, the Warriors, defeated Moorpark High School in 51 consecutive games, a national high school record.
Since 1987, the California Avocado Festival has been held in Carpinteria on the first weekend of October. The Santa Barbara Polo Club, one of the main equestrian polo fields in the country, is located in Carpinteria. The city is also home to Hollandia Produce, an organic produce company with 70 employees. The Carpinteria Amtrak Station is an Amtrak rail station stop located on Linden Avenue by the beach. It is served by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.
The Chumash Indians were the area’s first inhabitants who referred to the valley as Mishopshno, meaning “correspondence,” as it was a center of trade. In 1769 Spanish explorers led by Gaspar de Portolá came upon a group of Chumash splitting redwood logs, hand-hewing planks and constructing large, seagoing canoes they called tomols. Although the area was christened as San Roque, soldiers dubbed it "La Carpinteria", meaning "Carpenters Shop". Spanish settlers, Mexican and Anglo-American pioneers, and immigrants from many lands followed, farming the rich soil and putting down their family roots in and around the village of Carpinteria. Three major cultures inhabited the valley: The Native American Chumash; the early Spanish and Mexican settlers; and the American and immigrant pioneers whose farms, shops, churches and schools became the foundation of today’s Carpinteria. The Carpinteria Valley Museum of History has retained many artifacts from the area and times.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.3 square miles (18.8 km²), of which, 2.7 square miles (7.0 km²) of it is land and 4.6 square miles (11.8 km²) of it (62.86%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,194 persons, 4,989 households, and 3,332 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,250.8 people per square mile (2,029.8/km²). There were 5,464 housing units at an average density of 2,021.3/sq mi (781.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.40% White, 0.59% African American, 0.99% Native American, 2.38% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 18.09% from other races, and 4.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 43.50% of the population.
There were 4,989 households out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.38.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 100.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,729, and the median income for a family was $54,849. Males had a median income of $35,679 versus $30,736 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,563. About 7.1% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.
Carpinteria hosts an annual Avocado Festival, with a history extending back to 1986. Over 80,000 persons attend the three-day festival which takes place during the first weekend of October on Linden Avenue. The festival offers avocado products and locally made goods.