7. Ventura Beaches

Whether you want to soak up the sun, swim in the surf, hunt for seashells, or play beach volleyball, you’ll love the beaches in Ventura. Spend an hour or two, all day, or even go camping at the beach.

Emma Wood State Beach is on the northern end of Ventura. With 7,600 feet of ocean frontage, it is popular for walking, fishing, swimming, and surfing. There are also WWII artillery emplacement remains.

The campground at Emma Woods offers 80 campsites for self-contained RVs (no tents). No water, restrooms, electricity, fire rings, or dump stations are available. Dogs are allowed in the campground and day-use area but not on the beach.

Surfer’s Point Beach at Seaside Park is just that, a great surfing locale. It’s also popular for windsurfing and kiteboarding. It’s fun to just sit and watch the water activity, but it’s also a good bird-watching location. Seaside Park has picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. The promenade, a paved pathway, connects Surfer’s Point to Ventura Pier.

The Promenade also runs south from the Pier to San Buenaventura State Beach. This white-sand beach stretches for two miles to Marina Park and its own beach, where visitors are pleased to find a pirate ship “sunk” in the sand. There are three separate parking areas for San Buenaventura Beach as well as a large, free parking lot at Marina Park.

Across the street and over the dunes from Harbor Village is Harbor Cove Beach. It is a small but very nice beach, perfect for families, flying kites, and watching the boats come and go out of the harbor.

8. Eat Well

Ventura is loaded with great eateries, everything from taco shacks to five-star seafood and steak restaurants. Here are just a few of my (and the locals’) favorites.

Dinner at Prime Steakhouse is an experience. The elegant supper club is the ultimate in sophistication matched by friendly, attentive service. Open every night, Prime serves only the best USDA Prime cut steaks and seafood. Along with a full bar, dinners are paired with an award-winning wine list and handmade specialty cocktails.

If you are in the mood for seafood (and who isn’t?), family-owned Lure Fish House is the place to go in Ventura. Their seasonal menu offers classics like lobster, mussels, fish tacos, chowder, and ceviche. Of course, the fresh catch-of-the-day and a variety of oysters, including their renowned charbroiled oysters, are always on the menu. Lure is open for lunch and dinner and is located downtown on California Street.

Located in Harbor Village, Brophy Bros. is a casual, relaxed seaside restaurant with spacious waterfront patio seating. They have a great seafood selection and their chowder is off the charts. Not to worry, they also serve burgers, chicken, steak, and pasta.

9. Stay In Luxury

My two favorite places to stay in Ventura, the Crown Plaza and Clocktower Inn, are completely different.

The Crown Plaza Hotel is the only high-rise hotel in Ventura right on the beach. It is the perfect location, next to the Pier and Promenade and just two blocks from downtown.

The historic Clocktower Inn is warm and welcoming. If you’re looking for charm, look no further. The Inn is a converted 1940s firehouse located in Ventura’s downtown area, just a short walk to shops, dining, and other historical locations. For more area inspiration, consider:

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