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 boats.

Carpinteria Beach is known to have a gentle, sloping terrain and calm waves. Seals and sea lions can be seen in the area December through May, as well as an occasional gray whale. Tidepools contain starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails, octopuses and sea urchins. A popular campground is located adjacent to the beach.

The city has a small weekly newspaper called The Coastal View.

The city of Carpinteria is served by the Carpinteria Unified School District, which also includes the community of Summerland, and all outlying areas. It includes one high school, one middle (junior high) school, and five elementary schools, as well as two alternative schools (one K-8, one 9-12). Cate School is another school in Carpinteria, a private preparatory school and one of the most sought-after high schools in the nation.

Pacifica Graduate Institute, home of the Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas Library, is located in Carpinteria. This graduate school hosts master's and PhD programs in depth psychology and mythology.

Since 1987, the California Avocado Festival has been held in Carpinteria on the first weekend of October.

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