When you think of that amazing drive up the California coast, chances are the winding highway is leading you toward Ventura. And there is so much here to see and do that we re-thought our plans of a day trip and decided to park here for a bit.
Charming and wonderful, picturesque, I suppose, too – the area of Ventura Beach is historic. The beaches are long and beautiful – three are our favorites: Rincon, San Buenaventura, and Surfer’s Point. Let’s take a look at these three and I’ll leave it to you to snag a travel guide and visit the other six beaches (though none are sandy like our three choices.)
Rincon Beach in Ventura is off Highway 101 at Bates Road. Like all areas around the coast of California in the southern to central region, Rincon has high cliffs so depending on where you park you’ll have to trek down to the beach. Expect to see surfers here because Rincon is a known surf area. The waves break nicely. Take the camera, too. The wide-open spaces made this one of the best beaches we found as far as we could see.
The next beach is San Buenaventura State Beach. Now there couldn’t possibly be a Saint named Good Adventures, could there? But this was the original name of Ventura – “San Buenaventura” – and was shortened in 1891. The area was founded in 1782 when a Spanish missionary began a work named after the Franciscan saint, St. Bonaventure. That’s your history lesson, right there. The beach is on Harbor Boulevard around California Street and San Pedro, is one of Ventura’s nicest stops.
There are two miles of clean sand along with cliffs and dunes which make San Buenaventura State Beach a haven for bikes (we counted many paths!) Since it is perfect for showcasing, this beach is home to many of Ventura’s festivals and other events including a Triathlon. But we saw them playing volleyball here – and they were pretty serious – right on the sand. See if you can join in a game of beach volleyball. You can also rent bikes here.
Finally, there is Surfer’s Point Beach in Ventura, right off Figueroa Street. Now this is where you’ll find the surfers hanging out. Windsurfing is prime here as well and makes for some amazing photo ops. A look in the distance and we see the Ventura Pier. In fact, the Omer Rains Bike Trail runs from the beach here all the way over to the pier – so if you’re feeling the energy – go for it!
Ventura Beach cares for a beautiful park here at Surfer’s Point called Promenade Park. We had to stop to see the remains of the old Chumash village here. There are full facilities here so don’t worry about just stopping by and enjoying the rest of your day. You’ll be happy you did.
Did we mention the Ventura County Fairgrounds are right here?
To see more surfing, simply ask any local. Ventura is known worldwide for surfing and has the best known breaks in Southern California.
Now, for food, we found that the Ventura Harbor is home to a decent sized fishing industry and close by the Ventura Harbor Village has a few choice seafood restaurants (yummy!) When we visited, there was live music here and a nice break from all the walking. If you’re in for more adventure, try a charter boat to the Channel Islands, just off the coast.
If you want to spend more time here, try for a cottage or home rental. You can find these online and at very good prices if you do a little shopping. Get a rental car, but know that most of the fun stuff in the harbor area can be reached by foot. It’s interesting to note that long ago the only way to get into the town was be stage coach from the north. The road leading south was often slow and hazardous until the 70’s when a the road was much improved linking Ventura with Los Angeles.