Visit Ventura

Ventura is a California coastal city, northwest of Los Angeles. It’s known for its beaches, like San Buenaventura State Beach, with a long, wooden Ventura Pier. Surfer’s Point is popular for surfing and windsurfing. Landmarks on downtown’s Main Street include the Mission San Buenaventura, with its 1809 church. Boats depart Ventura Harbor for Channel Islands National Park, a habitat for rare island foxes and scrub jays.

In many ways, Ventura still feels like a small town; the old-fashioned Main Street, wooden pier, historic buildings, but Ventura has a wide variety of things to do.  Ventura Harbor offers an array of water activities including harbor cruises, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and whale watching. It’s also the gateway to Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary just 14 miles off the coast that offers world-renowned diving through kelp forests. The park, known as North America’s Galapagos because it is home to 150 endemic species, is also a spectacular place to hike, camp, kayak, and view wildlife. Back on the mainland, Ventura Harbor Village surrounds the marina with opportunities to shop local, eat freshly-caught seafood, and view original artwork at galleries and studios.

Ventura has fantastic weather year-round, earning it descriptions like “the land of eternal spring.”  Whether you want to surf, paddle board, kayak, jet ski, catch a professional surfing tournament, Ventura has it all.  Enjoy the many wonderful beaches of Ventura, (you’ll find a list here), then visit Ventura!

Ventura Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit Port Hueneme is from March to May or from September to November. Temperatures are fairly mild year-round, hovering in the 60s and 70s, but traveling in early spring or fall ensures you won’t be fighting crowds and rates will be less expensive. Summer welcomes most of the city’s annual events and it’s also peak season if you’re looking for a beach vacation, but you’ll have to contend with more crowds. If you’re traveling during the winter months, make sure to pack an umbrella because Santa Barbara sees most of its rainfall between December and February. No matter when you decide to visit, pack layers as the as morning and late evening temperatures tend to be much cooler than the daytime high.

Ventura Attractions

Ventura Pier and Promenade, Ventura California, Visit Ventura, Ventura Travel Guide, Ventura Beaches, things to do in Ventura, best restaurants in Ventura, best California beaches, beach travel destinationsVentura Pier and Promenade

Built in 1872, the Ventura Pier is a symbol of Ventura’s past when the agriculture, construction, and oil industries were thriving. Today, the Ventura Pier is a tourist attraction, a favorite spot for fishing, and the best spot for admiring the sunset, ocean, coastline, and the Channel Islands. The ageing pier has been renovated many times, and its current length of 1,700 feet is about 300 feet shorter than the original.  It is made entirely of wood except the steel pilings, and it is the eighth longest pier in California. Besides great fishing, it has a nice sand playground at its base with kids’ swings. There are also many benches for pleasant sunset watching and numerous panels with photos and information about the pier’s history and the current efforts to raise funds for its restoration and conservation.

Emma Wood State Beach, Ventura California, Visit Ventura, Ventura Travel Guide, Ventura Beaches, things to do in Ventura, best restaurants in Ventura, best California beaches, beach travel destinationsEmma Wood State Beach

Moderate temperatures help make Emma Wood State Beach popular for swimming, surfing and fishing. Catches include perch, bass, cabezon and corbina. The Ventura River estuary is at the mouth of the Ventura River at the southeast end of the park. It attracts a variety of wildlife including raccoons, songbirds and great blue herons. Dolphins are occasionally seen just offshore. The park also features the crumbling ruins of a World War II coastal artillery site. The offshore Channel Islands can be seen from the beach.

Channel Islands Harbor, Ventura California, Visit Ventura, Ventura Travel Guide, Ventura Beaches, things to do in Ventura, best restaurants in Ventura, best California beaches, beach travel destinationsChannel Islands Harbor

Neighbor to the scenic Channel Islands, Channel Islands Harbor is a working harbor that offers fun-filled water activities for the whole family. The Harbor features several beach-lined parks and coastline for picnics and surfing, as well as nearby biking and walking paths. The Harbor has dive centers, boat charters and yacht clubs. For fishing enthusiasts, there are sport fishing excursions throughout the year. See majestic whales off the coastline from December through April on one of their daily whale watching excursions.

Discover the unique ocean environment of five offshore islands through the Harbor’s variety of excursions to the Channel Islands National Park. The islands are home to more than 2,000 terrestrial plants and animals, ranging from plankton to blue whales. These beautiful islands are an extraordinary experience, and just a short boat trip from the Channel Islands Harbor.

San Buenaventura State Beach, Ventura California, Visit Ventura, Ventura Travel Guide, Ventura Beaches, things to do in Ventura, best restaurants in Ventura, best California beaches, beach travel destinationsSan Buenaventura State Beach

This beach features swimming, surfing and picnicking.  The beach has two miles of sandy beach, sand dunes, picnic sites, and ample parking.  There is also food service and bike rentals.  At the pier you’ll find a snack bar, restaurant and bait shop.

Things to Do in Ventura
Private Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara

This private Santa Barbara kayaking tour lets you explore the marine life and landmarks of Santa Barbara Harbor and the spectacular coastline on the ‘American Riviera’ along one of four different routes. Take in views of rugged shoreline cliffs and the Santa Ynez Mountains, and be on the lookout for dolphins and seals. This 1.5- to 2.5-hour tour is led by an experienced kayak guide who points out natural features and customizes the speed of the ride according to your skill level.  Read more about Santa Barbara Harbor Private Kayak Tour

Santa Barbara Trolley Tour

All Aboard Santa Barbara’s Original & Longest Running Trolley Tour and Charter Services See the American Riviera in 90 minutes or jump off and on ALL DAY! Santa Barbara sightseeing at its finest on the original, fully narrated Santa Barbara Trolley Tour.   Read more about Santa Barbara Trolley Tour

Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour

Explore Santa Barbara by electric bike, covering plenty of ground on a morning or afternoon excursion. Ride your easy-to-use beach cruiser to key landmarks such as State Street and the Santa Barbara Mission as your knowledgeable guide shares the city’s history during this Santa Barbara bike tour. Have your camera ready as you glide along the renowned Pacific coastline. Numbers are limited to five people, ensuring personalized attention and a small-group experience.  Read more about Santa Barbara Electric Bike History and Sightseeing Tour 

Santa Barbara Wine Tour with Picnic Lunch

See and taste the best the Santa Barbara coast has to offer on this leisurely paced wine tour and picnic lunch. You’ll sip on a variety of wines and visit at four local wineries in the area. Knowledgeable local guide will pick you up anywhere in the Santa Barbara area to begin the tour. Feast on a delicious picnic lunch at one of the wineries while enjoying the scenery of the rolling coastal mountains.  Read more about Santa Barbara Wine Tasting Tour, Picnic Lunch

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour

Walk right past the crowds on this food tour in Downtown Santa Barbara. Your guide leads the way as you pop into seven different restaurants and two wine tasting rooms. Savor dishes and drinks locals have made a staple in their everyday lives, and learn about other places to eat and drink during your stay. If you’re a gluten-free eater or a vegetarian, this tour can also easily cater to your needs.  Read more about Santa Barbara Downtown Food Walking Tour with Wine Tasting

Best Ventura Restaurants

Beach House Fish  $11 – 30

Located on the historic Ventura Pier, Beach House Fish is anchored right in the middle of the Ventura County State Beach promenade. Providing magnificent views of the Channel Islands, and moments away from downtown shopping and major hotels is the perfect place to grab a relaxing bite. Whether you’re watching the surfers at C-street, sipping on an after-work sunset cocktail or simply visiting our Fish Market, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy!  Telephone:  805-643-4783  Web:   Beach House Fish.

The Jolly Oyster  $11 – 30

They are a small family business dedicated to farming top quality oysters and clams. Specializing in Kumamoto and Pacific oysters, they control the complete production cycle from their hatchery producing the seed, through their farms, to your table.  With no appreciable fresh water rain or river runoff to dilute the waters,  they offer an outstanding ‘Full Ocean’ experience from the cool pristine waters of Baja California.  Telephone:  805-798-4944  Web:  The Jolly Oyster.

Lure Fish House  $11 – 30

Lure Fish House features fresh and sustainable seafood from trusted sources. They provide locally caught seafood, organically grown local produce, and wines from local vineyards whenever possible. They also feature a full bar with specialty cocktails, and an oyster bar serving a variety of fresh items that can vary daily. Lure specializes in Mesquite charbroiled seafood while also providing uniquely prepared selections by their chef. Menus are printed daily to reflect availability and guarantee freshness.  Telephone:  805-567-4400  Web:  Lure Fish House.

Brophy Bros Clam Bar & Restaurant  $11 – 30

Brophy Bros has a fun, lively atmosphere with beautiful views of the mountains and harbor. Choose your spot – sit at the full length bar facing the view and the clam bar, grab a window and lean in or sit at a table either inside or out. Everyone is welcome at Brophy Brothers !  Telephone:  805-639-0865  Web:  Brophy Bros Clam Bar & Restaurant.

Best Venrua Nightlife

Bombay Bar & Grill

A local landmark in the community, Bombay is dedicated to serving locals and tourists alike for over 35 years.  Bombay features a full restaurant, a cozy patio, two full stages with two dance floors and the friendliest staff in town, slinging Award Winning Food, Craft Cocktails and Local Beers.  Telephone:  805-643-4404  Web:  Bombay Bar & Grill.

Barrel 33

Relax and enjoy their extensive wine list by the glass and bottle. Barrel 33 is your local wine bar and restaurant in Ventura, California. Their romantic outdoor patio with open flame and fine selection of wines provides you with an unforgettable experience.  Enjoy a quaint setting with their knowledgeable and pleasant service to accompany wines and wine-tasting together in a sophisticated style.  Telephone:  805-652-1810  Web:  Barrel 33.

Brophy Bros

Brophy Bros has a fun, lively atmosphere with beautiful views of the mountains and harbor. Choose your spot – sit at the full length bar facing the view and the clam bar, grab a window and lean in or sit at a table either inside or out. Everyone is welcome at Brophy Brothers !  Telephone:  805-639-0865  Web:  Brophy Bros Clam Bar & Restaurant.

Barrelhouse 101

With over one hundred craft beers and micro brews on tap and an exceptional food menu, Barrelhouse 101 in Ventura is every beer and burger lover’s dream.  Telephone:  805-643-0906  Web:  Barrelhouse 101.

Ven Tiki Tiki Lounge & Lanai

VenTiki is an Island Paradise located in Downtown Ventura, CA featuring the best in Traditional Cocktails, Modern Tiki Drinks, Polynesian Inspired Cuisine, and even Sushi. VenTiki is guaranteed to transport you away from your modern life to a tropical oasis right in the heart of Ventura. Escape your work week with Magnum Monday’s, Tsunami Tuesdays, Beachbum Wednesdays and Throwback Thursdays from six to closing.  Telephone:  805-667-8887  Web:  Ven Tiki Tiki Lounge & Lanai.

Best Ventura Hotels

Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort


The only hotel on Ventura Harbor, Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor is nestled on 17 acres of prime coastal land along the California coast in Ventura, California. We offer relaxing rooms in a great setting between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Wyndham Garden The Pierpont Inn


Traditional panache, an outdoor pool, on-site dining and neighboring beach access flourish at the non-smoking Wyndham Garden Ventura Pierpont Inn. Built in 1910, the two-story Pierpont Inn has 77 rooms, all featuring flat-panel HDTVs and coffeemakers; some also include fireplaces, mini-fridges, microwaves and ocean views. Guests step outside for dips in the heated pool, open year-round. Worker bees have access to a 24-hour business center. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and limited room service are offered by the on-site restaurant.

Comfort Inn  Ventura Beach


This property is centrally located between the Ventura Harbor Village where you’ll find many unique shopping and dinning options and Downtown San Buenaventura where you can experience the vibrant cultural environment and nightlife known to this beautiful coastal gem.

Best Western Plus Inn of Ventura – Great Value


The hotel has an outdoor pool and is next to downtown Ventura.  A refrigerator, a microwave and coffee maker are included in all of the rooms at the Best Western PLUS Inn of Ventura.  Guests at the Ventura Best Western PLUS can enjoy a complementary hot breakfast buffet each morning. 

Booking.com

34 Comments

  1. duck life

    I just want to say thank you this post is very helpful. Your interpretation is absolutely wonderful. Continue to write great things I will return soon to read more stuff. Great dude. The timing of your post is fantastic. Thank you very much for sharing this great post.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are most welcome and I hope you have a fantastic time in Ventura! Wonderful coastal community. Thanks for reading visit Ventura!

      Reply
  2. Fintan

    Hi Ventura,
    Having read your post about Ventura I really can’t wait to go and visit this place,the area and beaches look absolutely amazing!Ventura is a very historical place with loads of places to visit, we love the outdoor life so it would really suit us,thanks for the information.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Glad you stopped by to visit Fintan. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

      Reply
  3. Eliane

    My kids have been asking us to visit Ventura but I had no clue why. Thought it was just the Californian weather.

    Now I see it’s much more than that…
    Surfing and stand-up paddle boarding are activities they love but haven’t been able to practice. There they would be able to experience them again.

    I guess Ventura is going to the top of our future travel destinations list. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Shoot you would love it too Elaine! My son is a surfer, so anywhere there are waves, he is happy. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.

      Reply
  4. King Kong's Girl

    Hmm, I love that you get to enumerate places to visit as well as things to do. The thing about traveling especially when not on package tours is how to budget time and visit all the must-see places. This is a good reference whenever there’s a plan to travel. Bookmarking! I love beaches as well. Although I’m miles away from Ventura, I would love the idea to be able to visit and try all those stuff you cited. Great stuff!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks! Ventura is a great little coastal community, and you would really love a vacation here. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  5. John

    Leahrae,
    Was in LA for a business trip a few years ago. Your information would have been very helpful before I went. Looks like there is a boat load of stuff to do in a very small area. When I go to an area like this, I love the shops and piers, they offer a great amount of stuff to look at. The seafood cannot be beat at most places right on the beach.
    Thanks for the information on Ventura, I will use this information and add a few days to my next trip to LA, watching a sunset over water never gets old. Do they offer a sunset cruise any where close by.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi John, you are right, watching the sunset over the ocean does never get old. Yes, you will find sunset cruises here. It will be a nice distraction for you from your business trip. Thanks for reading Visit Ventura.

      Reply
  6. Penelope

    I had no clue Ventura had so much to offer! Once again you bring a ton of great info to the table in a readable and helpful way. this beachbum loves this blog!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Penelope! From one beach bum to another, Ventura is awesome! Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  7. Fred

    Great article! I am originally from Los Angeles, California. We use to go to the Ventura Pier a lot while growing up. We love the old fashion look that it still has to this day. But we also love that there are a ton of things to do while visiting. Thanks for all the wonderful info.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Fred, and glad I took you back in time a little 🙂  Thanks for visiting my Visit Ventura page.

      Reply
  8. Kevin

    I visited Los Angeles as a kid when my uncles lived there. One thing I didn’t get to do when I was there was go to the beach. Ventura sounds like a nice beach town in the LA area. Maybe if I get back to California again, I’ll check Ventura out. I’d like to check out the Ventura pier. Thanks for the information!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You’ll love the Ventura pier.  Lots and lots to do and see. Great town!  I hope you can get back that way soon 🙂

      Reply
  9. Jeremy

    Grand Theft Auto 5 is a remake of LA and damn does it look good to roam around the pier on TV haha but when you see it in reality nothing compares!

    I’ll have to visit the beach soon, looks like it’ll be a lot of fun!

    Thankyou:)

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well, now you have to go in person Jeremy! It’s a great coastal community worth visiting 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  10. Jason

    Great Post! I had no idea Ventura had so much to offer. I’m not sure why but it has never been a place on my “must visit” list- but after reading your post that may well change! I must also say I love your website. Your detailed descriptions of the venues and points of interest, places to stay, where to eat and things to do make it an incredible resource and a “go to guide” when planning a vacation.
    Bookmarked! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Jason and I am glad you enjoyed visiting my website beachtraveldestinations.com 🙂 Ventura is a great coastal community with so much to offer besides beautiful beaches. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  11. Alece

    Thanks for some really great information!! I’ve always wanted to visit California and after reading your post I will definitely be giving Ventura a visit 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Anywhere along the California coast is going to be great, but you will love the Ventura coastal community and all the wonderful areas to visit. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  12. Colleen

    Wow! Who knew there was so much to do in Ventura, I didn’t! I have always wanted to go to the Channel Islands, but I had no idea that you can spend the night over there. Do you happen to know what Island has the camping? I appreciate all of the activities that you have listed. And one more thing, Spring is the best time to visit! Especially in April and May 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There is actually a camp ground on each island! So you could island hop 🙂 Yes, I agree April and May! Thanks for visiting my Visit Ventura guide Colleen!

      Reply
  13. Yemi

    Love all these places to visit, things to do, and the restaurants! Choosing one or two will be tough lol.
    It’s great that you also add the best hotels to stay in. Love your one stop page to find everything I would need to enjoy my Cali vacay!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great and that is what I strive for, your one stop beach destination guide 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  14. Reka

    Very detailed and interesting information, you made me think about traveling there, and when I do I will definitely visit the places you wrote about. You collected everything that I would need and together with the video it just makes me planning and planning 😀 Saved your article, thanks a lot for your work! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Reka and I am glad I could help nudge into visiting such a wonderful beach destination. Thanks for reading Visit Ventura.

      Reply
  15. Alycia

    Im visiting California this summer! Ventura beach here I come! I feel like kicking back with an ice cold lemonade and getting my tan on! very helpful information thank you.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh you will have so much fun Alycia! It is an awesome area. Thanks for reading Visit Ventura!

      Reply
  16. Ken Pearson

    Hey Leahrae,
    I just finished visiting your post on Visiting Ventura and found it to be well written and very engaging. It was well structured in that the flow of information was smooth and so inclusive in that
    you described your subject in an easy to read format that kept my attention throughout. There are many
    people who share this problem if they are not fully engaged. You were able to do this in a manner that caused me to remain eager to continue reading as I was learning a lot. The greatest takeaway for me was the fact that ALL surrounding points of interests were identified along with information for a
    visitor to get answers to possible questions already included in your post. Great job!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Ken! I am glad you enjoyed reading and I kept your attention 🙂 I guess it is easy with a wonderful destination like Ventura. Thanks for visiting beachtraveldestinations.com.

      Reply
  17. Taianne

    I love the descriptions, makes me feel like I am there. I lived in California when I was young but that was so many years ago. I would love to go back and here is one place I would definitely visit.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Taianne ! I love the beach so visiting these wonderful places is my passion. Ventura is definitely worth a visit 🙂

      Reply

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