The town of Ventura lies 60 miles northwest of coastal Los Angeles along highway 101. Officially named the town of San Buenaventura, most people know and refer to it as Ventura. The town provides a unique historic and small-town appeal just an hour’s drive from the massive sprawl of L.A. Ventura is home to at least 13 scenic beach areas and gives access to excellent surfing, fishing, camping, whale watching, harbor cruises, island exploring, golfing, and many other recreational activities. Popular places to visit include old downtown where a myriad of dining, shopping, historic, and cultural experiences are available. The Ventura Harbor Village offers additional shopping, dining, and seaside activities.
Ventura County is flanked by rugged mountains to the north and east and rests in a coastal plain and valley. The Pacific Ocean extends south and west and provides access to the Channel Islands, also part of Ventura County. The town has a population of only around 107,000 which allows it to feel less congested than its nearby southern neighbors. It remained a somewhat isolated and rural community for much of the 20th century, all the way up until the 1960’s when the four-lane Ventura Highway (Highway 101) was completed and expanded. Ventura County was settled atop the highly fertile soil of the Santa Clara River Valley, where the best citrus groves in the state are produced and which spawned the well known Sunkist Growers organization.
Downtown Ventura offers visitors a wide variety of things to see and do. There are over 400 shops and restaurants in the area including high end retailers, boutique & vintage shops, bookstores, coffee shops, galleries, as well as museums, theatres, and historic sites. The San Buenaventura Mission, founded in 1782, is located downtown and offers a glimpse into California’s frontier past. The Majestic Theatre is another historic landmark built in 1928 and decades later converted into a venue. The theatre frequently hosts concerts by popular national bands.
Beaches abound in Ventura, known as one of the best surfing destinations in California. Rincon Point is one of the more popular and overcrowded surfing areas in the state, but makes for a lively sunbathing and observation area. Surfers Point and Ventura Beach are easily accessible areas close to town, appealing for surfers and general beach activities. If you’d like to experience beach front camping, try Hobson Beach Campground or Emma Wood State Beach. There are about ten other beach areas to enjoy, many of them less frequented, so don’t be dismayed by the crowds in major areas.
Ventura Harbor Village is an excellent seaside experience for dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation. Electric boats, kayaks, or paddle boats are available for rent. The harbor is also a launching point to explore Channel Islands National Park where you can hike and camp, explore sea caves, and participate in other ocean sports. Take a whale watching trip through the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, where humpback, gray, blue, and other whales can be observed at certain times of year, as well as dolphins and other marine life. Wherever your interests lie, Ventura will satisfy most visitors seeking a true Southern California experience.
There is a range of lodging options in Ventura including hotels and motels, bed & breakfasts, beachfront stays, and vacation rentals. Ventura has a mild Mediterranean climate with summer high temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s, and in the winter as low as the 40’s. To learn more about Ventura, please select a topic of interest from the navigation bar on the left.