Carpinteria State Beach, California

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Big E and little g examining anemones.
Our family vacation this summer was a week long camping trip to Carpinteria State Beach in Southern California. With the gentle surf and long stretches of sandy shore, it was easy to see why Carpinteria has a reputation for one of the best family beaches in the nation. The tots were thrilled not only with the ocean, but all the wildlife they saw as well. 
Not only is this giant starfish doing some amazing acrobatics, it’s in the process of eating a mussel.
As a Mountain Mom, the ocean is an unfamiliar place to me, exotic and powerful. In previous trips to the sea I had never explored tide pools; I hadn’t even realized that was something I could do. But on this trip to Carpinteria State Beach, observing the amazing sea life was the highlight of the vacation. 

Watch those toes!
A few days before our trip, I took the tots to The Living Planet Aquarium and got a preview of what to expect. At Carpinteria we saw hermit crabs, sand crabs, star fish, brittle stars, anemones, sea slugs and sea snails in person. It was awesome. 
The starfish were plentiful, and beautiful.
Tide pools are explorable only during low tides, which happen first thing in the morning. The gentle rhythm of the waves and the diversity of sea life helped wake up me and the tots, not to mention the cool waters soaking our feet. Big E and little g loved seeing all the cool creatures, except for the sea anemones, which would curl into themselves if the tots touched them. When they were done watching creatures they enjoyed climbing on rocks and digging in the wet sand, even in the early morning hours. 
I’m not sure what this was, but it looked cool.
The whole family enjoyed exploring the tide pool creatures at Carpinteria State Beach. If you’re headed to the ocean this summer, you don’t want to miss the tide pools.
I love that Mountain Dad is wearing a flannel shirt and fleece vest at the beach. 

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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