Posted: Tuesday, Jan 16th, 2024
12 Must Do Kid-Friendly Activities in Ventura
With our sunny beaches and laid-back small-town charm, Ventura is the perfect family vacation where everyone —young and old— will make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a local seeking a weekend adventure with the family or a visitor trying to plan your next getaway with the crew, here’s your ultimate guide to kid-friendly and family-friendly activities. From outdoor adventures on the beach and green parks to delicious eats that even the pickiest eater will love, read on for 12 Must Do Kid-Friendly Activities in Ventura.
1. Have a Beach Day for Endless Family Fun
Kickstart your Ventura adventure with the quintessential Californian experience – a kid-friendly day at the beach. With miles of uncrowded beaches, it won’t be hard to find a spot on the sand for castle building, catching some rays, or introducing the little ones to the water.
Some of the best kid-friendly beaches in Ventura County include Ventura Promenade Beach Playground where your kids can swing as fresh ocean breeze blows in their hair, Marina Park (there’s plenty of sand and small waves), and Harbor Cove Beach — also known as Mother’s Beach— where its gentle waves are protected by jetties and are ideal for a little one learning how to swim.
Do you want to take a surf lesson in Ventura as a family? Then Mondo’s is your best bet for easy waves to catch; plus, most surf classes take place here.
2. Explore the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center
Head over to the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center, also known as The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center. It’s a fun educational experience, sparking curiosity about the diverse wildlife of the Channel Islands. Kids love watching the video about our marine life narrated by Kevin Costner (adults love it too). Plus there’s a small tank where kids can see right in front of their eyes how our marine ecosystem works and see some fish as well!
3. Discover Blooms at the Ventura Botanical Gardens
Feel the sun on your face and smell the fresh flowers at the Ventura Botanical Gardens. A beautiful and easy nature walk totaling about 2 miles, but expanding as we speak, the Ventura Botanical Gardens is a great kid-friendly trip to get the whole family moving. The little ones will love looking at the colorful flowers and the older ones can read about the different plant species featured along the trail. Bursting with vibrant flowers and offering breathtaking views of the coastline, the Ventura Botanical Gardens is perfect for a stroll and capturing those Instagram-worthy family moments together.
4. Feast at Kid-Friendly Restaurants
After all that exploring, refuel at these kid-friendly restaurants in Ventura County, picky eater certified! Dance around the jukebox at Busy Bee, which has a fun vintage diner theme topped with delicious burgers, fries, and milkshakes — the kids will love it! Indulge in blue, pink, and purple colored ice cream in fun fish cones at Coastal Cone and dig into a pizza and wings at Topper’s, a local favorite pizzeria in Ventura. Or, head over to the Ventura Harbor Village and fill your family’s table with Andria’s famous fish ‘n’ chips and clam chowder; your kids are guaranteed to love it! Eric Ericsson’s is right on the historic Ventura Pier with beautiful views of the ocean and yummy fresh seafood that your kids can dig into. Last but not least, a family trip to Ventura is not complete without stopping by Duke’s for lunch with a side of old-school California fun. The kids will love playing with the old-school arcade games and the parents will love sipping on crisp brews on tap.
5. Swan Pedal Boat Adventure in Ventura Harbor
Take the family on the water! The Ventura Harbor Village is full of waterside fun that will get your kids moving. Jump on a swan pedal boat and cruise through the harbor in style. Or, if your kids are feeling even more adventurous, rent a stand-up paddle board for the day and practice your balance. Whatever you decide to do, getting out on the water at the Ventura Harbor is a must. You never know what you’ll see as your boat slices through the harbor — harbor seal sightings, birds, and fish. It’s a kid-friendly and family-friendly way to enjoy the sea breeze and create memories you’ll all be laughing about long after your getaway to Ventura.
6. Ventura Promenade Surrey Bike Ride
Get active and explore the Ventura Promenade on a Surrey bike from Wheel Fun Rentals. It’s a kid-friendly activity that allows the whole family to pedal along the coast, taking in the stunning views and enjoying the cool ocean breeze.
7. Relaxing Park Day for All Ages
One thing about Ventura is that we take our green spaces seriously. From conservation efforts to community groups that make the time to keep our spaces clean, visit any park in Ventura for a fun park day with your family. You can keep it simple and bring some balls to throw around for the day or take advantage of basketball, tennis courts, and soccer fields for a friendly competition game.
Check out Arroyo Verde Park for the city’s first all-inclusive play area or head over to Camino Real Park where your kids can run from playground to playground (there are three playgrounds!). Ventura Community Park is also another Ventura park for families for bike rides and field play. Pack a picnic, bring some family-friendly games, and enjoy quality time surrounded by nature.
8. Whale Watching Cruise
Ventura County is a freeway of sorts for whales as they migrate twice a year along our coastline, but the chance to see whales and other marine life year-round is always a possibility. Create once-in-a-lifetime memories with your families and book a whale-watching cruise with Island Packers. Not only is a whale-watching cruise a kid-friendly activity but it’s truly a magical experience that kids and adults alike will experience childlike wonder.
9. Timbre Books – Kid-Friendly Book Haven
Explore Timbre Books with your family and let your kids pick out their favorite book or find their new favorite book along the shelves. From colorful picture books to adventure novels for tweens, Timbre Books carries new and up-and-coming books for your kids to discover plus the classics. Plus, there’s plenty of space to pull up a chair and read with your little ones together. Check out our events page for author signings and other kid-friendly events happening at Timbre Books.
10. Ventura’s Kid-Friendly Annual Events
There’s always something happening in Ventura. From smaller local community events to larger annual events, you can plan your family-friendly visit around Ventura’s annual celebrations.
Experience the excitement of the Ventura County Fair in the summer and cheer on the parade during the Fourth of July with the Street Fair & Pushem-Pullem Parade. The Ventura Harbor Village always has a spooktacular time around Halloween from festivals to trick or treating. You and the kids will love marveling at the Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights during the festive season. For a full list of events happening this year, check here.
11. Create Custom Jewelry at Brooklyn Charm
We know that not all kids are playing with blocks and you may have an older kid looking for some fun in Ventura. Take them to Brooklyn Charm to make their own necklace or bracelet— we’re sure they’ll lose track of time as they pick from hundreds of different charms to make a unique piece of jewelry that’s just their own. It’s another great kid-friendly activity in Ventura and a fun way to make a unique and personal souvenir to remember your Ventura family-friendly trip.
12. Classic Family Fun – Golf N Stuff, Escape Room, and Buena Lanes
Round off your Ventura adventure with classic family-friendly fun. Head to Golf N Stuff for mini-golf and arcade games, challenge yourselves with an Escape Room experience, and lace up your bowling shoes at Buena Lanes. These kid-friendly activities in Ventura ensure a fun-filled time for the whole family.
Things to Do
Music & Nightlife
Beaches & Surfing
Biking & Hiking Trails
Food & Drink
Get to know Ventura, and discover the best things to do around the city.