Come to Ventura’s beaches and bask in the sunshine, walk barefoot in the sand and play in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Our sweeping sandy beaches attract swimmers, surfers and sun bathers from all over. Picnic areas are available to those who wish to spend the day at the beach, and several of the beaches are linked by scenic bike paths. Snack bars and summer recreation rentals are always nearby.
Entertainment abounds in Ventura County, from large theaters to smaller, more intimate sites offering everything from professional international entertainers to community theater groups, as well as bands and orchestras.
In nearby Camarillo, the Camarillo Community Theater and Marquie Dinner Theater present live performances of musicals and dramas, and the Performing Arts Pavilion at Constitution Park next to City Hall provides a pleasant outdoor setting for concerts.
The Majestic Ventura Theater and Ventura College Theater present a variety of plays, musicals, concerts and programs for residents of Ventura.
The Rubicon Theatre Company, which performs in an intimate 200-seat theater on Ventura’s Main Street, has staged productions featuring some very familiar names from the world of film, including the late Jack Lemmon, Stacy Keach, Ed Asner, David Bimey, Stephanie Zimbalist and Linda Purl.
Performing arts also abound in Oxnard, which is home to the Channel Islands Symphony Orchestra and the New West Orchestra. The Performing Arts Center hosts an array of international entertainers, and the Elite Theatre at Petit Playhouse in Heritage Square presents a variety of performances.
Santa Paula has an outstanding live theater group, the Santa Paula Theater Center, that is one of the best in the area.
Renowned for its emphasis on culture, Ojai is home to several outstanding theaters: Ojai Center for the Arts Theater, Libbey Bowl, and Theater 150. A world class concert series is held annually in the Libbey Bowl, featuring such musical groups as the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is a 22-acre complex that includes the Thousand Oaks City Hall, the 1,800-seat Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts, the 400-seat Janet and Ray Scherr Forum Theatre, community meeting rooms and a five-acre park.
For indoor visual entertainment, a multitude of museums in Ventura County offer a large selection for a variety of artistic tastes. But one museum stands out from the crowd for enlightenment, culture and history—the Ventura County Museum of History and Art.
Now in its 85th year, the museum is Ventura County’s “flagship museum.” Exhibits include an award-winning interpretation of the county’s history—”Ventura County and the New West,” changing art and history displays, George Stuart’s historical figures, and a collection of horse-drawn agricultural implements. The home of the Ventura Historical Society, it also houses a large research library and store.
The Ventura County Museum of History and Art, 100 East Main St., Ventura. Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fishing opportunities are practically unlimited, from saltwater fishing out of six landings in Ventura and Oxnard to freshwater angling in inland lakes. For ocean fishing, all types of excursions can be planned to Ventura coastal waters and the Channel Islands. Lake Casitas offers some of the best freshwater fishing in Southern California, and Lake Piru is stocked annually with 40,000 pounds of rainbow trout.
Not only is there a putting green right on the Ventura Townehouse grounds, the region is well-known for having beautiful golf courses in every community. Ventura County has 13 public and 10 private golf courses, and 3 nine-hole courses. The climate is ideal and the scenery spectacular, making it a paradise for golfers. Try the hilltop courses or the ones near the sea, both of which offer championship golf.
Ventura County has an elaborate system of bike paths, both off and on the streets. One of the most popular routes is the 13-mile Coastal Bikeway that begins at San Buenaventura State Beach and goes up the coast to Santa Barbara.
From the sea to the mountains, there are glorious hiking opportunities in the county. Besides the coastal areas, the nearby Los Padres National Forest offers an abundance of groomed trails.
Prime locations to spot the area’s exceptional range of avian life include the Santa Clara Estuary and Camino Real Park. Santa Cruz Island is the only place in the world where you will find the island scrub jay.
Channel Islands Harbor contains 2,600 boat slips, nine marinas, waterside shopping, numerous restaurants, boat rentals, several parks, a swim beach and a Maritime Museum. Several festivals are held here throughout the year.
Board a fully functional antique train in Fillmore and ride the rails through scenic countryside while listening and singing along to railroad-oriented songs. The conductor tells the history of the ornate 1920s Pullman you’ll be riding.
The Ronald Reagan Library is one of nine presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It was built with private funds and then donated to the United States, to be operated thereafter by the government. The purpose of the library is to collect, preserve, and make available to the public the historical materials that tell the story of the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
The Gull Wings Children’s Museum was opened in 1989 for children who want to explore, experiment and develop their learning potential while playing. This is a hands-on museum for children ages 2 to 12, and exhibits are geared toward this age group. If your child or grandchild wants to become a doctor, archaeologist, actor, dancer, firefighter, policeman or puppeteer, the stage is set for trying that experience on for size, or just imagining what it must be like.
The Seabee Museum, the nation’s second oldest Navy museum, features cultural artifacts from around the world. The museum has an extensive collection of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War uniforms and weapons on display. Throughout the past few years, the museum has undergone extension renovation. It now includes an education center, interactive displays and a gallery on the history of WW II to Vietnam. Commemorative items are available for purchase through the museum’s gift shop and catalogue. Admission, tours and parking are free and open to the public.
From December to March the California gray whales can be seen migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel off the Ventura coast, and from June to September there are blue and humpback whales feeding in the Channel Islands. Boat tours are available, and are best enjoyed on a calm day.
There are beach breaks all along the coast from Mussel Shoals to Port Hueneme for surfers, but experienced surfers know about Surfer’s Point and Rincon on the Ventura County line just south of Point Mugu and north of Malibu, at the edge of Los Angeles county. This big-wave area is an exciting place to surf or see thrilling rides by some of Southern California’s best.
Emma Wood, the northernmost surfing break in Ventura County, is a favorite among all types of surfers, from beginners to advanced.
Rincon, located at Bates Road north of Carpinteria, is a world-famous surf break because of its long, right-breaking wave that can get very hollow. Bring your camera for this one.
Ventura County provides more than 200 cultural and historic treasures, recreation activities and attractions that will keep you and your family active. One of the most popular is the Channel Islands.
Comprised of five of the eight California Channel Islands, Channel Islands National Park & Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is home to a wide variety of nationally and internationally significant natural and cultural resources. More than 2,000 terrestrial plants and animals can be found within the park. One hundred and forty-five of these are unique to the islands and found nowhere else in the world. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal to live on earth. In addition to the abundance of natural resources, historical and cultural resources include more than 200 documented shipwrecks and numerous Chumash Native American sites and artifacts. The park consists of 249,353 acres, half of which are under the ocean, and includes the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara. The islands are relative isolated, approximately 20 miles off the coast, and left undeveloped, making them an exciting place for visitors to explore.
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