Posted: Monday, Dec 9th, 2019
Winter is Ventura’s Whale of a Time
by Visit Ventura
header image by Lotti Keenan
Tis the season to be grateful for Nature’s grand wonders. That would be whales, and they are currently flooding past Ventura, well not quite like New York commuters, but not too far off either. It’s a migration of impressive numbers; an estimated 20,000 Pacific Gray Whales covering some 6,000 miles, swimming down from Alaska to Baja California, Mexico to give birth. When some of the largest creatures on this planet roil to the surface (and sometimes leap free of it), it’s a heart-thumping experience. As stunning as a glimpse of Hollywood humility and as subtle as already disappearing blowhole mists.
Island Packers Cruises has been taking Ventura visitors whale watching for close to fifty years.
That number may matter little to you, but that experience will matter greatly to you. If anyone can find whales off Ventura coast, it’s Island Packers’ captains. Best of all, familiarity does not breed contempt. They’re as excited to see the whales as you are. Given this is the season, Island Packers offers half-day (3½ hours) Winter Whale Watch Trips almost daily from December 26th through April ($ 38 adult; $ 34 for a senior; and $ 28 for children).
And happy not-quite-coincidence, Island Packers is currently selling gift certificates through the holiday season. Certificates for the half-day whale watching trips (and other trips) can be purchased by telephone.
It may be a gift like no other.
And when you return to the dock, explore Ventura Harbor Village. Honestly, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is eat (something about salt, sun and fresh air). Lucky for you, there are plenty of fun restaurants just a short walk from the Island Packers’ dock — everything from fresh-off-the-boat seafood to Cuban cuisine to ice cream! After you get your fill of whatever it is you crave, explore Ventura Harbor’s small boutique shops and art galleries.
And, if you need another jolt of wildness, another short walk away you’ll find the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center. It’s a great place to explore and learn. There are displays — including a marine life tank, piles of information, and a not-to-miss 25-minute film titled “A Treasure in the Sea” — that all showcase the five islands of Channel Islands National Park, an unparalleled world of tiny foxes, throaty sea caves, and sweeping seascapes.