Surf and seafood take center stage in this easygoing California playground.
Ventura has all the makings of a quintessential Southern California city: sunny beaches, famous surf breaks, flapping-fresh seafood restaurants and endless vistas of the sparkling Pacific. The locale has a relaxed, universal appeal — it's not as fancy as neighboring Santa Barbara to the north, but it's more citified than agrarian Oxnard to the south. It's also the mainland hub for spectacular Channel Islands National Park, five islands off the coast that are known as the Galápagos of California.
- Downtown Ventura
- Ventura Harbor Village
With Mission San Buenaventura as its anchor, downtown Ventura is compact and pedestrian-friendly. Eighteenth-century Alta California history mixes with a modern cosmopolitan sensibility in the area’s bistros, breweries, galleries and boutiques. An easy stroll leads from downtown to the expansive San Buenaventura Beach.
Dining, Museums, Historic Sites , Shopping
Most Californians know Oxnard as the state’s strawberry-growing capital, but berries are just the beginning in this little city, just south of Ventura. You’ll find winemakers bottling kosher vintages, chefs riffing on Mexican classics, automotive museums packed with shiny chrome and carefully restored Victorians showing their colors in Heritage Square.
Beaches, Wineries, Museums
Ventura Harbor Village
This waterfront neighborhood brims with beachy shops, seafood restaurants and sunset views. It’s also the spot to go if you’re searching for an ocean adventure. Book a boat trip to Channel Islands National Park, take a narrated harbor cruise, rent a standup paddleboard or Jet Ski or just stroll by the sea.
Dining, Museums, Boat Tours , Island Cruises
Bounded by the Ventura River, the Pacific Ocean and the Ventura hills, Westside is home to a burgeoning arts scene and nearly a dozen galleries. If you're hungry for authentic Mexican food, find handmade birria tacos, enchiladas suizas and chilaquiles at eateries and food trucks on Ventura Avenue.
Stay in The Center of it All
Immerse yourself in your destination at these centrally located hotels.
Find Your Beach Bliss in Sun-Kissed Ventura, California
Stroll Downtown and Walk the Pier
Spend the day strolling through Ventura's highly walkable downtown. Visit its 1782 Spanish mission, the grand and glorious City Hall and dozens of charming shops and eateries. Get schooled in local history at the Museum of Ventura County and walk a lap, out and back, on the city’s 1,620-foot-long pier.
Cruise to the Islands
Take an unforgettable boat trip to Santa Cruz Island from Channel Islands Harbor. Spend the day admiring the islands’ flora and fauna and unbeatable Pacific views, then return to the mainland in time for a sunset seafood dinner.
Explore Local Beaches
Devote your final day to a sand-and-sea exploration. Stroll the sands at San Buenaventura State Beach. Watch professional surfers tackle the world-class point break at Rincon Point, comb for shells at Hollywood Beach and explore the river estuary at McGrath State Beach.