Day One


Start the family’s day off right with a full breakfast or yummy pastries in one of the many cafes at Ventura Harbor Village.

Drive out to the Channel Islands National Park Visitors Center at the end of Spinnaker Drive. You’ll learn lots from the fascinating displays and exhibits of the magnificent Channel Islands. The islands are located just 14 miles offshore. There’s even an open tank for observing sea creatures!

Next, tour the Ventura Keys with Ventura Boat Rentals or rent a kayak or peddle boat from them and paddle around the marina on your own. See how many seals and birds you can spot!


Picnic at the Grant Park Lookout Point up above the city and absorb the spectacular views of Ventura and the sea.

For children a little older, downtown offers quite an adventure in California history. Picturesquely set along Main Street, Mission San Buenaventura is noted as Father Serra’s last masterpiece with its elegant courtyard, statues of saints and 250-year-old paintings. The mission museum, church sanctuary and peaceful grounds are inviting places through which to wander.

Just across the street from the Mission, kids especially enjoy the fountains in Figueroa Plaza, which are intriguingly connected by a rivulet.

Just paces away is the J. Comstock Fire Museum – a tribute to heroic firefighters of ages past.

Over on Walker Street, Miniature golf at Golf ‘N Stuff offers a fabulous fun park for the family. Group discount prices, birthday parties, picnic arrangements and exclusive use programs may all be arranged.

Need an afternoon snack? Downtown Ventura has specialty chocolate and shops, bakeries and ice cream, too! Don’t miss the Soda and Candy Store, to quench your thirst and satisfy your sweet tooth!

To catch some afternoon sun, rent a bike, roller blades or a surrey cycle and cruise along Ventura’s 13-mile oceanfront Coastal Bikeway. Equipment is available at Wheel Fun Rentals and Ventura Bike Depot. There’s also the Ventura River Trail, which runs from downtown Ventura to Ojai.


Dinnertime! Busy Bee Café is a great spot for kids. This 1950s-style diner with red leatherette booths and a jukebox has tasty kids meals and even half-dollar pancakes.

Day Two


There’s nothing like the fresh, cool salt air to get the family going. Bagels, pastries, coffee on the go as well “eat-in” cafes are all part of the beach culture experience along the Seaward Avenue Beach District. Many of these funky, affordable and delicious cafes are extremely popular with visitors and locals alike!

Pack a picnic lunch for a half-day whale watching cruise or breathtaking excursion out to Channel Islands National Park. Plants and animals found nowhere else on earth (such as the Island Scrub Jay) make the boat ride well worth the trip – as do the marine life you’ll spot from deck! Full and half day excursions are available as well as ranger-guided walks, hiking, sea cave kayaking, camping, diving and whale watching.


Back on the mainland, ride the carousel and enjoy candy and the arcade at the Village Carousel Marketplace at Ventura Harbor Village. On weekends, the Village is usually alive with musical concerts and pony rides. And Coastal Cone is a great stop for an afternoon ice cream cone or snack.

It’s time to sink your toes into the sand, build sandcastles and bask in the sun as you spend the rest of the day at Harbor Cove Beach. Protected from strong currents and large waves by a jetty, this is a superb spot for family outings. It also has restrooms and a children’s play area.


Also located in the Ventura Harbor Village area, Milano’s offers beautiful views of the harbor area.

Complete your evening by making reservations for an entertaining historic walking tour where local storytellers share eye-opening lore of downtown’s ghosts, rich history and colorful characters.

Day Three


The Ventura Aquatic Center at 901 South Kimbal Road has a recreation pool with play area and slides. It is also available for pool parties, splash events and is open for swimming.

A great option is the Gull Wing’s Children’s Museum in Oxnard. This interactive museum for kids aged two to 12 offers art activities, model trains, mineral displays, optical illusions and more.


Once you’ve had your fill of track laps and museums, lunch is waiting for you at one of the waterfront district restaurants.

Next, how about a relaxing stroll on the historic San Buenaventura City Pier, and an afternoon of fishing? Camino Real Park and Arroyo Verde Park are two other spots ideal for roaming, exploring and picnicking.

Hop aboard the Fillmore and Western Railway, an antique train offering rides through gorgeous country to quaint Santa Paula and beyond.


There is a Chuck E. Cheese in the area! And if your party is up for more activity after dinner, Buena Lanes Bowling is a great spot for a family outing.

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