In many ways, Ventura still feels like a small town; the old-fashioned Main Street, wooden pier, historic buildings… but thanks to its incredible surroundings, Ventura has a wide variety of things to do -more so than small towns are typically associated with. Ventura Harbor offers an array of water activities including harbor cruises, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and whale watching. It’s also the gateway to Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary just 14 miles off the coast that offers world-renowned diving through kelp forests. The park, known as North America’s Galapagos because it is home to 150 endemic species, is also a spectacular place to hike, camp, kayak, and view wildlife. Back on the mainland, Ventura Harbor Village surrounds the marina with opportunities to shop local, eat freshly-caught seafood, and view original artwork at galleries and studios.
Just four miles up the coast is historic downtown Ventura where the beach, shops, restaurants, and museums are all within walking distance. For arts and culture fiends, downtown is home to San Buenaventura Mission, one of California’s 21 missions along El Camino Real, as well as Rubicon Theater and the Museum of Ventura County. For scenery lovers, there is nothing like a sunset hike at Ventura Botanical Gardens overlooking downtown with sweeping views of the coast. And for those seeking an authentic SoCal experience, Surfer’s Point is the best place to take in the beach town vibe and even give surfing a try. Explore in more detail below.