VENTURA COUNTY COAST
Venture out along the sea
WITH THE WIDE-OPEN SPACES along the California coast, it’s no wonder Californians spend a lot of time outdoors. Even if you’re not a resident, you too can surf the swell at Point Hueneme, grab some fish tacos for lunch, spend the afternoon hiking to the perfect sunset spot and finish the day enjoying some local brews.
A string of four main cities—camarillo, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, and Ventura— located between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, allow for a variety of experiences in Ventura County. Spend some quality time in Camarillo’s historic Old Town, or enjoy shopping, gallery hopping and visiting indulgent spas. Oxnard is ideal for foodies chasing great tastes and outdoors lovers wanting access to Channel Islands National Park. Port Hueneme blends a history-rich Naval Construction Battalion Center with wide, sandy beaches. Ventura’s active beach culture and artsy downtown lure many looking for a California-style getaway.
Those in search of an active way to enjoy the region might consider cycling along the grand loop—a 150-mile route that takes cyclists past beautiful beaches and climbing along mountain roads. Don’t worry, you can do just part of it. The route is easily broken up into segments best enjoyed at your leisure.
Family Fun & Outdoor Adventures
For families, Port Hueneme Beach Park with its fifty acres of landscaped parkland (complete with picnic areas and barbecue pits) and long strip of soft white sand is especially inviting for a day of fun. Adventuring families can take a boat from Oxnard’s picturesque harbor to Channel Islands National Park for kayaking, snorkeling, birdwatching, whale watching and island hiking. Other family focused stops include the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, Camarillo’s Old Town, Ventura Harbor Village, Oxnard Beach Park, Marina Park and Camarillo Grove Park.
San Buenaventura State Beach runs for two miles along the Ventura coast, with sand dunes, bike trails, great swimming and surfing options, and is perfect for picnics and barbecues. Hollywood Beach in Oxnard is popular with surfers, beach volleyball players and those who want to slow things down and enjoy the sand and sun.
One key to having great cuisine is having fresh food. Ventura County Coast is located along an agricultural greenbelt—ideal for sampling fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean and locally sourced produce. Farms in and around Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura have free tours and u-pick fun, where you can get your own taste of what’s available. Outdoor farmers markets provide great opportunities to sample fresh seasonal produce, artisan cheeses, gourmet sauces and olive oil, and to pick up plants, flowers and handcrafted items.
Oxnard’s multicultural influences and farming heritage make it an ideal place to try authentic Mexican, Brazilian, Thai and Italian dishes. Or even just dine on seafood in the harbor—whatever you have a craving for. Camarillo is best known for its fresh farm stands, farm-to-table cuisine and delicious craft beer. Grab a glass of wine with your fresh seafood in Port Hueneme for optimal enjoyment. In Ventura, you can start your day with tasty coffee, relax midday with local beer, and wind down at sunset with inventive cocktails.
For a foodie behind-the-scenes experience, the Ventura Food Tour allows culinary fans to meet local chefs, brewmasters and chocolate makers. Plentiful opportunities exist for wine tasting, with eleven wineries in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura, as well as a combined wine-and-dine experience at the award-winning Tierra Sur inside Herzog Wine Cellars.
Even better, plan your visit around one of the region’s signature events, such as Ventura County Farm Day (Nov. 4), Oxnard’s annual California Strawberry Festival (May 20-21) or the Ventura County Fair (Aug. 2-13).
There’s never only one thing to do in Ventura County Coast. It’s fun for beach lovers, wildlife fans, art appreciators, history buffs, shoppers, wine and beer enthusiasts and foodies. Fit in time to do it all, and you’ll find out which combination is your personal favorite.
FIELDS IN CAMARILLO, opposite top; a whale breaches on the way to the Channel Islands, opposite bottom; California State University Channel Islands, right; Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard, below.