Posted: Tuesday, Mar 26th, 2024

By Visit Ventura

Top 10 Water Activities in Ventura County

Having a pool in your backyard is a perk but what about having an entire beach? If you’re a water enthusiast seeking thrills and relaxation alike, you’ve come to the right place. Because in Ventura, we specialize in doing it all. From heart-pumping water adventures to chillcation vibes,  there’s something for everyone in Ventura. Let’s dive into the Top 10 Water Activities in Ventura County. 

1. Tidepooling

Top Water Activities in Ventura County

Keep your eyes on the tides! When it’s low tide, grab some sturdy shoes and head out to Ventura’s coastline. One of the best places to check out the tidepools? Emma Wood State Beach is known to have some tidepools that will reveal a hidden universe of colorful marine life, from starfish to hermit crabs. Surfers Point is also another good option at very low tide. A short drive up the coast, Bates Beach is an excellent place for tidepooling near Ventura. 

Remember, nature isn’t a picture-perfect movie so you never know what you’ll find! A good rule of thumb for tidepooling etiquette if you’re not going out with a naturalist: wear sturdy shoes, be careful where you step, and be respectful of the marine critters you may find. But most of all, have fun, grab your camera, and get ready for a fun tidepooling expedition in Ventura, perfect for nature lovers of all ages.

2. Sea Glass Hunting

Sea glass hunting in Ventura

It wouldn’t be a Ventura visit well spent without going out for sea glass hunting! Lucky for you, there are plenty of opportunities to find the ocean’s jewels along our coast. The top spots for sea glass in Ventura are the Ventura Pier, San Buenaventura State Beach, and Marina Beach, but you never know where that blue or green sparkle may catch your eye as you walk along any of the beaches in Ventura. 

A sea glass hunting tip? Keep an eye out for piles of rocks — sea glass can often be found hiding amongst their less colorful friends. Ventura’s shores are a treasure trove of smoothed glass gems, washed ashore by the ebb and flow of the ocean. Spend a peaceful afternoon strolling along the beach, collecting these beautiful fragments of glass as souvenirs. This is a great water activity in Ventura County that is full of surprises!

And if you’re looking for incredibly unique sea glass turned beautiful jewelry? Betty Belts is known for their one of a kind sea glass rings, necklaces, and earrings. Make sure you stop by before ending your trip to Ventura. 

3. Surfing Classes/Surfing

Mondos, Surfing, surfboard

Ride the waves like a pro with surfing classes offered in Ventura at Mondos Beach. A great way to live out your California dreams is to head out into the water and give this classic California water activity a try. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer looking to hone your skills, local instructors are ready to guide you through the fundamentals of catching waves. Grab a board, paddle out, and experience the thrill of surfing firsthand.

4. Boating

Fun Group Activity: Electric Boat Rental in Ventura

Sitting along the beach, it’s easy to become mesmerized by the views of watching boats go in and out of the channel. Jump on one of those boats yourself and set sail on Ventura’s pristine waters with a leisurely boating excursion. It doesn’t have to be out on the open ocean — rent an electric boat or duffy at the Ventura Boat Rentals and cruise through the harbor and in the Ventura Keys.

But if you’d like to feel the salty ocean air on your face in the open ocean, consider booking a nonlanding cruise with Island Packers. They offer whale watching cruises during the winter and summer months as well as year-round wildlife cruises. It’s a great way to get out and see what surprises you may find along our coast. 

5. Kayaking

Things to Do on Santa Cruz Island: kayaking

Looking for some serious adventure? Jump in a kayak for a different perspective as you explore Ventura’s scenic waterways. Start in the Ventura Harbor Village and rent from Ventura Boat Rentals or if you have your own, you can paddle through the water starting at the Marina. 

For the ultimate kayaking experience, you have to book a trip out to the Channel Islands National Park. On Santa Cruz Island, one of the five islands that make up the national park just off our coast, you can kayak through magnificent sea caves through a guided tour. Don’t miss out on this opportunity — it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

6. Kitesurfing/kiteboarding

Water Activities in Ventura: kitesurfing/kiteboarding

When the conditions are just right, you’ll probably see some very colorful sails blowing in the wind along Surfers Point. Ventura is a prime spot for kitesurfing with our consistent waves and favorable wind direction for this sport. Feel the wind in your hair as you take to the skies with kiteboarding in Ventura. This adrenaline-pumping sport combines elements of surfing, windsurfing, and kite flying for an exhilarating ride across the waves — just another day in Ventura!

7. Boogie Boarding

Water Activities in Ventura: kids boogie boarding

So maybe you’re not quite ready to jump on a surfboard or catch some air kitesurfing. Lucky for you, you can find water activities in Ventura County fit for all ages and thrill levels. All you need is a boogie board and the right wave. The minutes in the water can turn into a whole afternoon out in the water having fun. 

So whether you’re a seasoned pro or trying boogie boarding for the first time, Ventura’s gentle waves provide an ideal environment for carving up the surf and having a blast in the sun. Try Mothers Beach or San Buenaventura State Beach for your boogie boarding afternoon. 

8. Pedal Boating

swan boats at the ventura harbor

Fun for the whole family, pile into a cute dragon, duck, and swan pedal boat for a day out on the water. One of the many great water activities in Ventura County that you can do, you just never know what you might find on the water. Sleeping harbor seals, a school of fish…the possibilities are endless. Rent a pedal boat and explore Ventura’s harbors and marinas at your own pace. 

9. Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

SUP, stand up paddle board ventura keys
Courtesy of Josiah Roe

It’s harder than it looks! Test your balance on a stand up paddleboard (SUP) in Ventura. A great workout and a peaceful experience, float through the marina and Ventura Keyes on a SUP. A fun add-on: look into yoga SUP classes offered in Ventura for a relaxing experience on the water. 

Whether you’re practicing yoga poses on the water or simply enjoying a leisurely paddle, SUP offers a peaceful and rejuvenating way to connect with the ocean.

10. Snorkeling

Water Activities in Ventura: snorkeling

Last but not least, spend some time below the surface and snorkel in Ventura’s waters. Another amazing water activity in Ventura, snorkeling in Ventura offers a unique experience and perhaps a first-person encounter with marine life. After all, what you see on the surface is just one side of the story. Snorkeling in the Channel Islands National Park and experiencing firsthand the rich kelp forest is a true memory. Bring your own or rent snorkel gear and go on a tour on Santa Cruz Island. Dive beneath the surface and discover the vibrant underwater world awaiting you in Ventura.

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