A guide to Ventura’s beaches

Ventura's beaches by the pier

Ventura’s gorgeous coastline has plenty of beaches for you to choose from. Any of them are perfect for sunsets and strolls. How many have you explored?

McGrath Beach

Located along protected estuary at the mouth of the Santa Clara River, this quiet, untouched beach is ideal for bird watchers, nature lovers, and experienced surfers. There are wetlands to walk and sand dunes to explore. Camping is available and surfing is popular here, although swimmers are cautioned because of strong riptides. It’s a short drive to this beach, about five minutes out of Ventura. Follow Harbor Boulevard all the way down to the bridge and look for the turnoff.

  • Surfing
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Free parking
  • Wildlife sightings
  • Uncrowded
  • Wheelchair accessible

Mother’s Beach (Harbor Cove)

Sheltered by the jetties and a breakwater, this gentle beach is known as the safest in Ventura. The lapping waves and soft sand dunes are great for kids to play in, and sights out to the Channel Islands are often clear, making this a great spot for pictures. This beach is just a few seconds walk from Ventura Harbor, including seafood, cafes, shops, and games. Be sure to check out the Channel Islands Visitor’s Center across the street to learn all about our national park, hop on a ferry out to the islands, or rent a paddle board to explore the waters of the bay. Drive down Harbour Boulevard until you see signs for the marina and park for free, or board our free trolley service from Downtown.

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  • Safe to swim
  • Walk to food
  • Free parking
  • Close to Ventura Harbor
  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms
  • Lifeguard on duty
  • Trolley drop-off

Marina Park

This oceanfront beach located just off Ventura Harbor is an ideal spot to spend the day for the whole family–kids and dogs included. This beach includes an extended grassy area that’s great to play on, a full pirate ship, and allows dogs on leashes. Picnic tables and barbeque grills make lunch at the beach easy (and more likely sand free), and a fishing dock gives you the chance to catch lunch, too. Kick back and watch the boats sail out of the harbor and let the kids run wild.

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  • Close to Ventura Harbor
  • BBQ
  • Picnic tables
  • Play equipment
  • Restrooms
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Dogs on leash

Pierpont Beach at South Seaward Avenue

This busy local’s spot at the end of Seaward Avenue boasts authentic seafood, frozen yoghurt, cafes, and pubs. Parking is free but often congested in Summer, and for good reason. The long stretch of beach is lifeguarded at that time of year and is ideal for swimming, body surfing, beach combing, and extended walks. Volleyball nets are set up all year long, and dogs are welcome. It’s hard to recommend a better place to play.

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  • Free parking
  • Dogs on leash
  • Lifeguard on duty (at certain times of year)
  • Walk to food
  • Restrooms
  • Volleyball equipment
  • Trolley drop-off

Ventura State Beach at Ventura Pier

Located right next to the pier and along the promenade, this is easily our most popular beach. With a full playground right next to the pier, and one of our best fish taco places right on the boardwalk, this beach feels like summer all year long. Be sure to take a stroll along the pier (the longest in California), and bring your rods if you want to fish. It’s only a five-minute walk to Downtown from here, and the promenade and connecting bike path is popular for easy cycling for the whole family.

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  • Close to Downtown
  • Walk to food
  • Play equipment
  • Dogs on leashes
  • Open containers
  • Restrooms
  • Free parking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Fishing

Surfer’s Point

Just like the name implies, this is hands down the best place to surf (or sit and watch the surfers do their thing). Backed by the boardwalk and lined with iconic palm trees, you’ll want to have your camera handy to snap pictures of this quintessential California spot. Recently restored sand dunes make for pleasant walking along this track of beach as well, and it’s all only a few seconds jump over the fairgrounds, and a few blocks from Downtown. Parking here can be competitive, so we recommend you park Downtown or at the pier, and then stroll over to the Point.

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  • Close to Downtown
  • Walk to food
  • Surfing
  • Restrooms
  • Cycling

Emma Wood State Beach

As the corridor to the Rincon, the world-famous stretch of beach between Ventura and Santa Barbara, this quiet, natural beach is a must-visit. About a twenty minute walk from Downtown, this is a popular spot to cycle to, and then follow the gentle Pacific Coast bike trail along the Rincon. This West-facing beach is a frequent location for sighting dolphins swimming in big schools along the Channel, and is a popular spot for fishing. For a touch of history, this beach features the ruins of a World War II artillery site and the crumbling pieces of the old Pacific Coast Highway. Camp or just spend the day, this is a wonderful beach for getting in touch with nature.

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  • Free parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Camping
  • Picnic tables
  • Restrooms
  • Cycling

Harbor Marina (not a beach)

For those who want all the adventure of a day by the sea (but none of the sand), the Marina is a perfect choice. Rent kayaks, SUPs, or a pedal boat and explore the gentle waters of the Harbor. Sightings of seals, sea lions, and ocean birds such as pelicans and herons are a near guarantee. Ventura Harbor is where ferries out to the Channel Islands and wildlife viewing cruises depart, so be sure to book your ticket ahead of time if you want to explore the channel more deeply. Tons of food and shops line the Harbor as well. Perfect for a full-day oceanside adventure.

  • Boat rentals
  • Walk to food
  • Free parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Restrooms
  • Shopping
  • Free parking
  • Trolley drop-off

What are you waiting for? Meet us on the sand!

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