7 Sea-Swept Vistas on California's Ventura County Coast

By Tori Peglar ,

Just 70 miles from LAX, you’ll find beauty, botanicals, historic places and national park islands in along California’s undiscovered coast. Here are our top seven sights.

1. Downtown Ventura

Downtown Ventura, Calif.

Courtesy Ventura Visitors Center

Why go: Lined with historic buildings filled with boutiques and unique restaurants, it’s easy to spend an afternoon exploring this lively downtown.

Tip: Outdoor retailer Patagonia is based here, and you’ll find its store on West Santa Clara Street, a short walk from the bustle of downtown.

2. Port Hueneme Beach Park

Port Hueneme Pier and Beach

Courtesy Ventura County Coast

Why go: A Chumash Indian word meaning “resting place,” Port Hueneme Beach Park has a long pier to stroll on, as well as picnic areas and volleyball nets.

Tip: Take the promenade trail that connects the pier to the Port Hueneme Lighthouse.

3. Channel Islands National Park

Arch Rock on Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park.

Courtesy Ventura County Coast

Why go: The Channel Islands are home to eight unique mammal species, including the curious island fox. Depending on which island you visit, you will catch your Island Packers boat in Oxnard or the Ventura Harbor.

Tip: Order a pre-packed gourmet meal from Chef Neal Rosenthal at Channel Island Provisioners. He’ll deliver fresh, locally sourced meals to your boat.

4. San Buenaventura City Hall

Ventura City Hall Building

Tori Peglar

Why go: Overlooking the city of Ventura, this gorgeous building was built between 1912-13 and is a State of California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register for Historic Places.

Tip: Check out the mesmerizing 24 faces that appear between the first and second floor windows. They are priests placed as a reminder that the city was founded by Father Junipero Serra and Franciscan friars in 1782.

5. Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard

Oxnard Harbor

Courtesy Ventura County Coast

Why go: Catch the Island Packers boat to Anacapa Island on the Channel Islands. It takes an hour to get to this gorgeous island. You’ll see shell debris sites left behind by the Chumash people thousands of years ago.

Tip: In the harbor, you’ll find the Ventura County Maritime Museum, seafood restaurants, parks and a Sunday Farmers Market.

6. Camarillo Premium Outlets

Camarillo Outlets

Prayitno via Flickr

Why go: Get deals at 160 shores ranging from Tory Burch to Converse and Banana Republic.

Tip: Around the corner from the shops is Old Town Camarillo. Get a cup of coffee and the best brownie of your life at Kay’s Coffee Shop here. “I always tell people those brownies solve all the problems in the world,” says LaDonna Hambrick, owner of Kay’s.

7. Ventura Botanical Gardens

Ventura Botanical Gardens

Courtesy Visit Ventura

Why go: This hike is breathtaking, taking you above the beautiful beachside city of Ventura. However, much of it was burned in the December 2017 Thomas Fire. Within days of the devastation, locals were talking about restoring the trails and its plants. Popular with the locals from its creation, it offers sweeping views of the Pacific coastline. Look on the Ventura website for updates.

Tip: Park in the lot behind the San Buenaventura City Hall next to the trailhead.

For more information:

Ventura County Coast

Visit Ventura

Discover Oxnard

Central Coast Tourism

Tours and Transportation to Channel Islands

Island Packers
(805) 642-1393