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. Ventura Botanical Gardens
Why go: This hike is breathtaking, taking you above the beautiful beachside city of Ventura. Popular with the locals and restored in 2018 after being damaged in the Thomas Fire, it offers sweeping views of the Pacific coastline.
Tip: Park in the lot behind the San Buenaventura City Hall next to the trailhead and stop in and visit the new Merewether Welcome Center.
2. San Buenaventura City Hall
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.
3. Port Hueneme Beach Park
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.
4. Downtown Ventura
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.
5. Channel Islands National Park
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.
6. Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard
Why go: Catch the one-hour Island Packers boat to Anacapa Island on the Channel Islands. 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. You can also take Island Packers boats to other Channel Islands location from Ventura Harbor Village.
7. Camarillo Premium Outlets
Why go: Get deals at 160 stores, including Tory Burch, Converse and Banana Republic.
Tip: Around the corner 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.
For more information:
Ventura County Coast
Central Coast Tourism
Tours and Transportation to Channel Islands