By Visit Ventura
Ventura’s 0utdoors are getting attention. No surprise.
Read this paragraph alone, and you’ll see that the largesse is often hard to grasp …
“After winter’s rains from late January through March, California’s remote Channel Islands erupt in a vibrant wildflower bloom. The island’s signature flower may be the coreopsis, which spreads itself across parts of the islands in vast fields as a sea of brilliant yellow flowers. The spring bloom coincides with the migration of Pacific Gray Whales (through the middle of April). Island Packers runs trips out to the islands from Ventura Harbor.”
Ah, but grasping Ventura’s beauty is the joy.
And from the lovely, high-in-the-hills Botanical Gardens to the wilds of Channel Islands National Park (above and below the waterline), Ventura’s outdoor glories have received poetic pen strokes from outlets ranging from the Los Angeles Times to Conde Nast Traveler.
“ … For the ambitious, the eight-mile trek up Long Canyon Road with views of the east or the 10-mile route to the top of Harmon Canyon Road involve steep, rocky trails lined with sage, giant wild rye and, in the spring, fields of wildflowers. At the top on a clear day, you’ll find panoramic views of the Ventura coastline, Channel Islands, Santa Monica Mountains and farmlands stretching east through the Santa Clara River Valley… This is a place of both reverie and exertion: A father gently guiding his toddler past fragrant sage and dry brown grasses that tower over her head. Runners breathing hard as they aim for the crests. Grunting mountain bikers churning slowly up the steep grade. And their gleeful counterparts streaming back down the trail, their bike bells ringing madly…”
“… it’s a place to wander and pause, taking in the views of Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the long curling stretch of ocean and shore. There’s also the sharp, sweet fragrance of the plants, such as the Chilean Escallonia illinita bush, which smells like maple syrup especially after a rain, and the crazy eccentricities of prickly, Dr. Seuss-shaped shrubs, succulents and trees that evolved in the world’s five Mediterranean climate zones of central Chile, the Cape region of South Africa, southwest Australia, California (including Baja) and, of course, the Mediterranean basin. It’s hard to imagine a bad time to visit the gardens, but try to choose a day with billowy clouds and the sun drifting in and out because these terraced gardens are as much about the heart-soaring vistas of surf and sky as they are about the plants beside your feet…”
“As the jumping off point for Channel Island boat trips, the beach town of San Buenaventura or Ventura for short has low-key seaside charm, especially on the historic pier and downtown along the Main St. But, don’t let the off-the-beaten-path national park that is Channel Islands loiter for too long on your lifetime to-do list…”
“… Ventura welcomed its first nature preserve with a trail network that takes you to groves of native oak trees, along streams and up to high points for vistas of the surrounding mountains and the Channel Islands. Being here feels as if you’re taking a trip through Old California…”
“Get lost (figuratively, of course) in the abundant kelp forests that distinguish the northern segment of the biodiverse Channel Islands National Park. “Kelp can grow from a depth of 100 feet down all the way to the surface…it flips over and grows along the surface like a serpent,” says Jim Smith, owner of Ventura Dive & Sport …”
As Hemingway might have put it, Get out while the sun shines on your time here.