Erik and I had a chance to runaway together for our last summer getaway in Ventura, California. There was no crazy schedule, or stress figuring out logistics. We were really able to enjoy our time, to take it easy. We flew into Santa Barbara, which I had never done before. There were NO lines! It’s the most charming airport I’ve ever been to and it’s a short 30-minute ride to Ventura.
Our hotel, The Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, is located directly on the boardwalk in the middle of everything. Did I mention there’s a beautiful beach? It reminded me of some of my favorite private beaches in North Malibu, but with a much more casual vibe. It wasn’t crowded and the beaches were pristine! PLUS we were footsteps from both the pier and Main St. For those of you who haven’t been, most of the great restaurants and nightlife are on or adjacent to Main St. However, we opted to start off our adventure with a walk on the pier and some BOMB Mexican food.
We ate at Beach House Tacos, located directly on the pier with sweeping views of the ocean. We recommend the Beach House Burrito with chicken, the veggie skewers and mango jalapeño margaritas (yes we had more than one).
After lunch, we changed and went for a hike up to the Ventura Botanical Gardens to take in some of the breathtaking views from the hillside. This was the farthest we were from the beach the entire time we were in town. It was too far to walk, but I am pleased to say we were able to easily UBER back and forth.
We headed down the hill to rent bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals for ride along the boardwalk during sunset. I wish we had pictures, but needed both hands on the handlebars…LOL! Regardless, it’s very affordable and you can rent everything by the hour. Surprisingly (cough…cough) we were hungry again after all this physical activity and walked over to Main St. to grab dinner at Anacapa Brewing Company. They have an amazing selection of local beers on tap and a delicious array of options on their menu. Feeling confident from a day full of activity, we both opted for the chicken and waffles. As you can see, we made the right choice.
From dinner we walked Main St, stopping at Ben & Jerry’s for ice cream before sneaking back to the hotel for a movie in bed. When we woke up we had breakfast via room service before heading out for some time on the water at the harbor. For less than $100/hour we rented a large boat that could have easily fit 6 more people in it comfortably. HIGHLIGHT: sea lions!!
There are all kinds of fabulous shops (note the glorious captain’s hat above) and restaurants along the harbor. For lunch we opted for The Greek Ventura, they have a great outdoor eating area and delicious Mediterranean food. Definitely try the salads and the appetizer sampler.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the beach. It was perfection! As you can see.. Erik hated it.
Our last dinner, was my favorite of the trip…what can I say, I love Italian food. Cafe Fiore offers an ideal setting for a romantic dinner. We drank several of their delicious craft cocktails, devoured bruschetta and sampled several of their pastas. Our biggest recommendation? SAVE ROOM for dessert!