Posted: Tuesday, Oct 11th, 2022

By Visit Ventura

Top 10 Best Places to Watch Sunset/Sunrise in Ventura

Sunrise and sunset are sights to behold in Ventura. They are the two distinct times when locals take a pause before going about their day, lifting their eyes to the sky. When surfers decide to bob on the ocean and look out into the horizon instead of catching the next wave. When even the kids stop running in the sand to stand by their parents, breathe in deep, and gaze at the pretty colors in silence. In Ventura, we love our endless summer here. And there’s nothing better to remind us how lucky we are to be in Ventura than beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Maybe you’re a sunset chaser. Or maybe you’re looking for some time to reflect and just be. Whatever the case is, there’s no shortage of spaces where you can enjoy painted skies in Ventura.

1. Ventura Pier

ventura pier sunrise

The Ventura Pier is often considered the epicenter of the city and all of Ventura’s streets branch from it. Built in 1872, the pier was once the center of Ventura commerce and formerly the longest wooden pier in California (storms weathered it down). Now, the pier is a must-visit spot for locals and visitors alike. Could there be a better spot to watch the sunset or sunrise? Walk to the very end of the pier where deep blue water replaces soft sand underneath the planks of the pier. Pass by couples hand in hand, families and their dogs out for an evening stroll, friends pausing to take pictures, and fishers hoping to get one last good catch of the day. Or, grab dinner at Eric Ericson’s or a cold beer at MadeWest (both located right on the pier) and watch the vibrant sunset atop ocean waves just out the window. 

2. Emma Wood State Beach

emma wood

Pack your RV for a weekend getaway at Emma Wood. While you’re at it, enjoy picturesque sunrises and sunsets every morning and evening during your trip. Emma Wood is known to have the occasional dolphin visitors playing in the waves offshore. Dolphins and a beautiful sunset — imagine that! Experience some history at Emma Wood as well; you’ll find the ruins of a World War II coastal artillery site. In certain seasons, the beach is known to locals and marine biology enthusiasts alike to be home to bioluminescent algae adding to the magic of Emma Wood State Beach.

3. Mother’s Beach 

mother's beach
Courtesy of Steve Cattanach

Harbor Cove Beach, affectionately known as Mother’s Beach by locals, is home to soft sands, gentle waves, and a stellar view of a Ventura sunrise. Right across the way is the Ventura Harbor Village where you can then spend the rest of the day grabbing a bite to eat at On the Alley or The Copa Cubana and waiting and watching as that golden hour light of the sunset bounces off the harbor’s water at the end of the day. End the night with the famous fish cone at Coastal Cone.

4. Grant Park/Ventura Botanical Gardens

serra cross
Courtesy of Steve Cattanach

Whether you’ve lived in Ventura for 30 years or you’re in town for the weekend, viewing a Ventura sunset at the top of the city at Grant Park and the Ventura Botanical Gardens is an absolute must. Watch as the city is drenched in colors of pink, purple, and orange, and be amazed as lights twinkle in the streets down below when the sun goes down. There’s just something about Grant Park that makes you pause and enjoy life — the Serra Cross framed by the city is an iconic landmark for Venturans. It is a symbol of perseverance and community. Though the Thomas Fire raged through the city in 2017, Serra Cross remained. The Botanical Gardens is also a signal of regrowth and regeneration after the land in the Ventura hills was burned by the fire. So, as you watch the sun dip below the Pacific Ocean, know that the sun will rise again just as this city did. 

5. Marina Park

marina park aerial  sunrise ventura

Marina Park is a popular site for family picnics and kid fun. With a huge grassy area fit for frisbee throwing or afternoon lounging, Marina Park is a perfect place to gather the family for a sunset picture. Don’t miss out on a picture of the mermaid statute at the end of the jetty for another cool sunset shot.

6. Channel Islands, Scorpion Anchorage

scorpion anchorage
Courtesy of Doug Mangum

Ventura is home to one the country’s most hidden treasures: the Channel Islands National Park, also known as the “Galápagos of North America”. An epicenter of 2,000 plant and animal species of which 150 are found nowhere else in the world, the Channel Islands are just a boat ride away from Ventura Harbor. Book a ferry ride through Island Packers and step into a new world. Santa Cruz Island is one of the more popular islands to visit — explore amazing hiking trails and experience sea cave kayak tours. On the way, you might see the island’s cute furry mascot: the Santa Cruz Island fox. Make your way to Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island but you might want to take a seat once you get there: the Ventura sunset will most definitely take your breath away and sweep you off your feet.

7. Surfer’s Point

Top 10 Best Places to Watch Sunset in Ventura
Photo Steve Cattanach

The best way to end a day full of shopping and good eats? Sunset views. And the best way to start a day? Sunrise views. Surfer’s Point has it all. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Ventura’s charming downtown shopping district. Check out Plum Gift Boutique for unique buys, stop by and say hello at the Ventura Visitor’s Center, and grab a drink at Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust before making your way to Surfer’s Point — one of the most iconic spots in the city. Home to surfers, you’ll be able to watch colorful surfboards paint the waters as the sky above fills your eyes with vibrant colors you likely have never seen before.

8. Mondo’s Beach

mondo's beach
Courtesy of Jack Burleigh

A local favorite site, Mondo’s Beach is a strip of sand and water just along the side of the Pacific Coast Highway. You can’t get any more California than parking just off the side of the road with beach towels, frisbees, kites, and boogie boards in hand. Mondo’s Beach is a special place. Sit in the quiet and breathe in the sea salt air as the sun dips below the horizon. You’ve made it to Ventura, California. 

9. End of South Seaward

South Seaward Ventura

Looking for a spot that’s a little secret and unknown to most visitors? Drive to the very end of Seaward Avenue and you’ll find yourself at a lesser-known and quiet beach. Many visitors don’t make their way here and you’ll be able to enjoy the sky turning purple and orange with a small number of locals and curious people like yourself. Before you make your way to the end of South Seaward, grab a bite at Duke’s, another local favorite spot. And maybe grab some fro-yo to munch on at Surf ‘n’ Yogurt. With a full belly, enjoy the view. 

10. Cemetary Park

Top 10 Best Places to Watch Sunset in Ventura

Perhaps a spot that could be easily overlooked, Cemetary Memorial Park is a large grassy space fit for laying out your picnic blanket, laying down, and watching the sun go down. Or, grab a coffee at Prospect Coffee Roasters in the early morning and head over to the park for a peaceful beginning to the day with a sunrise. Whatever you decide, you can’t go wrong.

@visitventura Ventura sunrises and sunsets are like none other 😍 You have to visit Ventura to experience them yourself! And Check out our blog on the Top 10 Best Places to Watch Sunset/Sunrise while you’re in Ventura 🌅 thanks to @Lightbeacon_photography & @victorious_homes for some sunset videos! #ventura #venturacounty #visitventura #cityofventura #sunsetlover #sunset #sunsets #sunsetbeach #sunrise #sunrisers #beach #fyp #foryou #traveltiktok #travelbucketlist #california ♬ Lo-Fi analog beat – Gloveity

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