Other than small surf and a gently-sloping bottom, making the beach especially nice for families with small kids, the most interesting feature of the State Beach is the tar pits (actually seeps).
“The Carpinteria Tar Pits are located in the southeastern extremity of Santa Barbara County … in the town of Carpinteria. The area is a designated park, the Tar Pits Park, and lies within the Carpinteria State Beach … Most of the tar pits are located along a short stretch directly on the beach and generate from the underlying Carpinteria Offshore Oil Field … It is unknown when the Carpinteria Tar Pits were discovered, they have been known for a long time by the local Native American Chumash people who mined the asphalt and used it as a sealant for waterproofing their tomols (plank-built boats) and other utilities … The area was named “La carpinteria” (carpentry) on August 17, 1769, by a Spanish expedition under explorer Gaspar de Portolà. Starting around 1915 the tar pits were mined and the asphalt was used for building the coastal highway.” (Wikipedia)
A variety of water birds.
The abundant kelp helps keep the surf down. The kelp is not a plant but a member of the “Protista”, and doesn’t root to the bottom. Rather, it creates “holdfasts”, attaching most often to rocks.