California Style

Head to any beach town in California and I promise you two things: The unassuming shack a few blocks from the beach does have the best hamburgers in town and most of the people in line will be wearing cut off jeans and flip-flops or bathing suits. It seems like California style becomes more casual the closer you get to the sand, and right on the shore is about as relaxed as possible. Maybe it’s the sound of the waves that puts everyone in a tank top, shorts and sandals kind of mood. Maybe it’s all the sunshine. Whatever. It works for me.

I love beach camping, and Carpenteria State Beach offers a nice little campground  situated right between the train tracks and the sand. It’s heaven in a trailer, especially because there are great places to eat in downtown Carpenteria, a short walk from the campground. Yes, I know, this is camping lite, but I’m afraid my backpacking days are over. Now I like my camping easy, and if possible chic, which is why I made these cutoffs before leaving home, and why I went looking for an attractive yet practical backpack to bring along as well. The one I’m carrying in these photos is from Target, and I was pleasantly surprised with both the classic styling and the quality of the bag.

But enough about my clothes, lets talk about food! There are some great places to eat in Carpenteria. My family and I stopped at The Spot for their delicious burgers and delightful shakes every day. It was so nice to sit on the patio, onion rings in hand, and feel the delightful breeze coming off the water.  For a fancier brunch we headed to Esau’s Cafe, my father’s favorite, for a delicious meal in a classic California beach town environment. My husband had bacon and hash browns while I chose a healthy, and delicious, vegetable omelette. The kids had pancakes, of course.

Great food isn’t all that Carpenteria has to offer. There’s shopping too.  The surf shop variety is popular on the main street.  All this fun stuff is located under wide open skies and decorated with palm trees and surf boards. Can you tell I love it?


  • Red Bikini Top by Point Conception
  • White shirt originally from The Gap but purchased at the Goodwill.
  • Lucky Jeans, cut off and rolled up by me.
  • In my hand, above, is the all-important sun hat.  I’ve had mine for years, but this one by San Diego Hat Co. is very similar.
  • Target Backpack (find it here.)
  • Clarkes Flip Flops

Have you been to any great beach towns recently?

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19 Responses to California Style

  1. Alexis Grace July 27, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I do love beach culture— food, clothes and everything in between! Perfect for relaxation!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..LOVE(ing) Downtown AbbeyMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 27, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      Me too Alexis. I hope you can find some beach culture at the lake. Everyone tells me the great lakes are so large that they’re a lot like the ocean.

  2. Oh to Be a Muse
    July 27, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    I really like this showcase of the casual Cali style, especially now that I live in California. By the way, I really like your sidebar!
    Oh to Be a Muse recently posted..2012 Olympics: Fashion Through the YearsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 27, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks so much! California has a lot to offer, especially in the scenic beauty area.

  3. Pam
    July 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Thanks for taking me on a trip to California…loved the post!
    Pam recently posted..Anti-Aging Secrets…of Mine…Part 2!My Profile

  4. Donna
    July 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    I’m sad to say that I haven’t been to any beach towns since left SoCal. 🙁 My last trip there was to Huntington Beach a few days before I left. When I lived in Irvine, though, I went to Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach as often as possible. LOVE everything about the beach, including the style!
    Donna recently posted..How to apply make-up in ten minutes or lessMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

      California beach towns are special, but I think most beach towns have a certain charm, especially if they’re small and undeveloped. I hope you get back here one day for a visit!

  5. Jessica July 28, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    haha it was a race i was in 😀 this makes me miss the beach so badly!!

    Jessica recently posted..WarriorMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

      I hope you get to the beach soon Jessica! The puddles looked like fun.

  6. Mary Jo
    July 28, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    I love these photos Heather, they bring back lots of memories, Carpenteria is where a lot of people would spend their summer vacations when I was a kid. I love that it still has that old town feel. I also have a Target backpack and love it!

    xo mary jo
    Mary Jo recently posted..natural wonderMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who likes Target’s line of bags. I’ve gotten some great casual totes and things there. As for Carpenteria, it feels like it’s stuck in time somehow. It’s clean, beautiful and casual. So nice.

  7. Arash Mazinani
    July 28, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    I love the omelette you had it looks delicious! As do the bacon and hash browns. It’s making me hungry for my lunch now. I’ve never lived by the beach but I can imagine it being a lot more casual than being in the city. I think it’s important when you’re in that environment not to let it slide too much though. As we all know, from your pictures, you can still be casual AND stylish.
    Arash Mazinani recently posted..5 Ways Of Using Pinterest To Enhance Your ImageMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 28, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

      Thanks Arash! I’m so glad you find my look stylish and casual at the same time. And that omelette was SOOOOOOO good. I don’t usually go on about veggie omelets, but that one was special.

  8. Annie August 1, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I really miss the mom and pop stores and the lively beach burger stands back in LA … I miss hanging out in these places…
    Annie recently posted..find beach chairsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 2, 2012 at 8:41 am #

      They are fun. Hope you can visit the sunny state soon.

  9. Theresa July 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    I love beach towns. We are about 30 min. from one. Makes me want to drive down right now. Great photos.
    Theresa recently posted..INSPIRATION SPOTLIGHT #LINKUP 49 #CRAFTS, #DIY, #RECIPES & MOREMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca July 14, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks Theresa! And thanks too for leaving a comment on my blog. I hope you made it to your local beach town. We just got home and I miss it already.


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