Casual dining at Esau’s Café
Carpinteria is 10 miles southeast of Santa Barbara via U.S. 101; exit at Casitas Pass Rd. For more details, visit www.carpcofc.com or call 805/684-5479.
Blessed with warm weather and coastal breezes, Carpinteria is home to commercial flower growers like Rose Story Farm, where the heady perfume of thousands of blooms grows ever stronger as the sun climbs in the sky. Carpinteria's also a coastal community of pastel cottages and tall palms leading right to the water's edge ― a laid-back small-town alternative to posh Montecito, its neighbor to the north. Kick back downtown with a melon-size Hawaiian shave ice before joining the locals at the beach to watch the sun set over the Pacific.
What: Tours of a 15-acre farm with 120 varieties of old-fashioned roses. Guides pile armfuls of flowers in baskets for visitors to touch and smell, then serve an alfresco lunch of sandwiches and rose-shaped cakes. When: Boutique open Mon-Sat; tours ($35) 11:30 Wed and 11 Sat, reservations required. Where: 5950 Casitas Pass Rd.; or 805/566-4885.
Carpinteria City Beach
What: Surfers, sunbathers, and shell seekers all meet here. How much: Free. Where: Park at the end of Linden Ave. or Elm St.; 805/684-5405.
Gallup & Stribling Orchids
What: A major grower with high-quality cymbidiums for sale. When: Open daily. Where: 3450 Via Real; 805/684-1998.
What: Tea sets, bath salts, and girls' dresses in a sweet green-and-white Victorian farmhouse. When: Open daily. Where: 789 Linden Ave.; 805/684-7307.
Island View II
What: The complete lanai setup: vibrant orange and blue sarongs, imported teak furniture, orchids, and tall ferns. When: Open daily. Where: 1036 Casitas Pass Rd.; 805/684-0363.
What: Everything for the wave rider, from flip-flops to custom boards. Named for a nearby surf break. When: Open daily. Where: 659 Linden Ave.; 805/684-2413.
What: Old-fashioned Italian spot that also sells Hawaiian shave ice ― we like the vanilla-peach combo. When: Lunch and dinner daily. How much: $. Where: 699 Linden Ave.; 805/684-3413.
What: Early surfer breakfasts and fish tacos near the beach. When: Breakfast and lunch daily. How much: $. Where: 507 Linden Ave.; 805/684-1070.