Ventura is a bargain destination compared with Santa Barbara, about 28 miles farther up the coast.
In addition to the savings, there’s the weather on the Central Coast, which is dreamy. Temps in Ventura for Aug. 12-19 will be in the high 70s and low 80s, according to the Weather Channel.
For Labor Day, the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach recently had a starting rate of $266 a night; Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara was $313.50 a night.
►Day tripping in Channel Islands National Park; boats leave from Ventura and Oxnard harbors. The islands have more than 2,000 plant and animal species, some of which are found only there.
►Shop farmers markets that sell produce grown on the Ventura County coast on Wednesdays at Pacific View Mall and Saturdays in downtown Ventura.