The coastal city of Ventura California offers an enjoyable getaway for a day, located about an hour north from Los Angeles. This coastal community is just over 100,000 inhabitants. Ventura lies a comfortable 63 miles from Los Angeles, offering a more casual atmosphere than Santa Barbara which is another 40 miles away on the 101 highway from Ventura. The Channel island National park is just an hour boat ride if you decide to extend your stay for couple of days.
It is a great escape for anyone looking to get out of the city life for a relaxing day or two. Miles and miles of coastline stretch without interruption, from McGrath State Beach at its southern edge all the way to its northern limits at Emma Wood State Beach. Things you could do here is limitless. If you are not into action, you could enjoy a walk along the beach.If you are physically strong,take this challenging jog along the beach or a 13-mile bike ride that courses along the beach from San Buenaventura park to the end of the path. It is the perfect place to get lost in thought and allow the stresses of the week to melt away. The path at time is very steep, rugged at times and hot. It is wise to bring some water and some protection for the sun. If you do not have bikes, do not worry, there are places along the beach where you can rent.
The historic city center is located few blocks from the beach that the beauty of nature is not obstructed by commercial blight. Ventura’s Historic Downtown Cultural District offers a mix of pleasing architectural styles in which you will find distinctive inns, boutiques, restaurants and antique shops. Overlooking the city is one of the most impressive public buildings you will ever see, the Neo-classical Ventura City Hall at Poli and California Streets.
Getting to Ventura from LA
Ventura Highway (101) is the most direct and fastest route to Ventura, you would see hills and valleys on the way. Make sure you have a reliable car with good breaks. There are few steep descents that might surprise you. There are others ways to get there. Here are the different options
Undoubtedly the most scenic approach to Ventura is along Pacific Coast Highway 1 (PCH), which offers stunning views of the Pacific ocean on one side and hills on the other. The traffic can be tight at times but if you are not in a hurry take this route and you will not forget the drive.
If you reside in the northern parts of LA, the Highway 126 is the best which is just off Highway 5 from Santa Clarita as it meanders through farming communities.
What’s to See and Do in Ventura
There are so many outdoor activities you would enjoy during your stay. Among them
The Ventura Farmers’ Market: which is held every Saturday mornings from 8:30am until 12 noon at the corner of East Santa Clara and South Palm.
Whale watching : The best time would be January through April and from July through September. Island Packers has more than 40 years’ experience offering whale watching and sightseeing tours to the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park, the nearest, Anacapa Island, about 15 miles from shore. The adventurous can enjoy hiking excursions, kayaking, running, walking alone the beach and camping, or just sit back and enjoy a leisurely sightseeing tour of one of the richest marine biospheres in the world. Make sure to call or visit the Island packers to get the correct days for the tours. During the off season there are few cruses scheduled and depending on the weather, they might change the course. Reservation is required. The tickets costs would be around $56 for an adult for a day trip to Santa Cruz. If you decide to camp, make sure you make reservations in advance in order to book the best camping spots especially during the season. Off season is also a great time go camp and really enjoy the island without having to share the island with so many campers and tourists.
Bird watching: The Mugu Lagoon and the Los Padres National Forest are globally important bird areas. 457 bird species have been recorded in the county including a Xantus’s Hummingbird.
Beach & Harbor activities: The oceanfront and exquisite beaches are the shining jewels in Ventura’s crown. Stretching from Surfer’s Point to Ventura Harbor, the area includes surf breaks, a historic pier and promenade, San Buenaventura State Beach, the Seaward Avenue Beach District, several parks, miles of scenic bike paths, and a thriving marina.
For more information, visit the Ventura Visitor’s Bureau website.