Ventura is a family playground nestled between the hills and the water on California’s Central Coast. Year-round it welcomes visitors to average highs of 70 degrees with an ocean breeze. Mornings bring surfers to the shores looking for the next perfect wave and evenings bring ocean sunsets, each more beautiful than the last, bookending days filled with lasting memories.

Perhaps your first stop is the beach. Explore miles of coastline fit to surf, boogie board, sunbathe, fish, or stroll. Then head to one of the longest wooden piers in California, home to a local favorite taco shack and a fresh seafood market. If you have the kids in tow, it might be easier to get around on two wheels. Ventura Beach Promenade is the starting point for two amazing bike paths fit for all ages and fitness levels; a coastal path that leads to Santa Barbara, and a hillside path that leads to small, art-filled Ojai.

Just a couple of blocks away from the water, there is something for all the senses in Ventura’s historic downtown. You can listen to live music at bars and family-friendly restaurants almost any night of the week; taste an array of ethnic cuisines or indulge the kid in you with a milkshake and fries at a 60s diner. In addition, you can transport yourself back in time with a tour of historic sites; visit antique stores to look for hidden gems or remnants of your childhood; discover local art at one of the many galleries or head to a more interactive experience at Ventura County Museum. 

Another stop along Ventura’s coast is Ventura Harbor Village where visitors find an array of restaurants, boutique shops and galleries to explore along a flower-lined promenade with views of the marina. Kayaks, canoes, pedal-boats or stand-up paddleboards are available to rent for a slightly different perspective and the opportunity to get up close with the sea lions and seals that live nearby.

Just off Ventura’s coast lies Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary, often referred to as North America’s Galapagos. Fields fill with blooming wildflowers every spring. The park is home to over 775 plant species including the brilliant yellow coreopsis flowers which reach peak bloom between January and April. In the spring, bird migration is also underway and western gulls and other seabirds begin nesting on the islands. Island pups are born and California sea lions and northern fur seals start to gather at their rookery sites. Other activities available around the islands include snorkeling, diving, sea cave kayaking, whale watching, and camping.  A place that invites everyone to feel, touch, and explore the original California.

Welcome to Ventura.