20 Best Things to Do in Ventura, CA

Ventura, CA
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A place so beautiful with views of oceans, hills, and forests, Ventura is a destination that needs to be cherished.

Sunsets and seafood make for the best combination in this city in California.

There are a ton of recreational activities for you to enjoy, such as hiking, surfing, swimming, and biking.

With so much for tourists to do and see, Ventura is truly one of the best Californian holiday destinations.

Ready to start planning your visit?

These are the best things to do in Ventura, California:

Catch the Sunset at the Ventura Pier

Ventura Pier on a bright sunny day
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The Ventura Pier is something that tourists crowd every day.

It was constructed in 1872, back when Ventura was quite important industrially.

At the time, the agriculture and oil industries were at their peak.

Today, it stands proudly, having witnessed Ventura's success.

Wooden Benches and lights on the Ventura Pier
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The pier ranks as one of the top 10 longest Californian piers and is entirely made of wood.

It was originally even higher, but it has been renovated a lot of times due to wearing down.

These renovations led to its now shorter height of 1700 feet.

Stunning view of the long Ventura Pier during sunset
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You can sit there and fish or watch the heavenly sunset.

Below the pier is the beach where many children come to play.

Stroll around the Gardens of Mission San Buenaventura

Beautiful white and blue designed fountain Mission San Buenaventura
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Mission San Buenaventura might look like a peaceful haven now, but it has quite a troubled past.

The mission was constructed in 1749, when a Franciscan priest named Junipero Serra aimed to convert the Chumash people into Catholics.

Garden area at Mission San Buenaventura
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It later faced a whole lot of troubles.

A fire almost burned down the church, and it had to be reconstructed in 1809.

It witnessed a lot of earthquakes too.

Then, pirates took over and threatened the church every day.

Interior of Mission San Buenaventura in Ventura
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Fortunately, things are pretty calm now, and you can check out the location peacefully.

The church is now open to the public, and anyone can go inside and pray.

Visitors are also welcome to walk around the lovely gardens surrounding it and look at the gorgeous architecture.

Cruise at Channel Islands National Park

Sea lions at Channel Islands National Park
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Channel Islands National Park is a great way to escape from Californian life, which sometimes gets quite chaotic.

You can get to this exotic location by taking a ferry from Ventura Harbor Village.

Seal swimming underwater at Channel Islands National Park
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It would be best to spend a whole day here, as this is an excellent opportunity to surround yourself with beautiful nature.

The islands have a wide range of things to do, including hiking and camping.

Photographers and artists often visit these islands in search of inspiration.

Rocks on the shores at Channel Islands National Park
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See the Real Ventura at Ventura Harbor Village

Boats docked in Ventura Harbor Village
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Ventura Harbor Village is one of the most gorgeous locations in Ventura.

It's an excellent place to spend an evening with your family.

The sunset views here are breathtaking.

Fishermen's memorial in Ventura Harbor Village
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Venture Harbor Village is filled with cute aesthetic cafes that face the oceans, boutiques, and several shops.

There are a lot of seafood restaurants in the area—so have your fill of calamari and other delightful seafood dishes!

Sail boat sailing on the blue water at Ventura Harbor Village
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Surf at San Buenaventura State Beach

Waves crashing on the shores of San Buenaventura State Beach
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San Buenaventura State Beach is one of Venture's most popular attractions in Ventura.

The beach is almost 2 miles long.

You can go surfing here—seasoned surfers usually frequent this place.

People enjoying their day at San Buenaventura State Beach
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There are always lifeguards on standby, so your safety is ensured at all times.

There are some hiking trails that go along the beach, and you're welcome to check them out.

Bird's eye view of the San Buenaventura State Beach coastline
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Get Amazed by the Collection of the Museum of Ventura County

Entry way of Museum of Ventura County
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When in Ventura, you can't miss out on a visit to the famous Museum of Ventura County.

Everything inside the museum was brought about by the efforts of a doctor from Pennsylvania.

Dr. Cephas Bard moved to the county of Ventura to treat the aftershock of the Civil War.

The most interesting part of his story is that he accepted historical objects as payment instead of cash.

As a result, he came into possession of a number of historical Mexican and Chumash artifacts, which are now priceless.

His collection was given to the government in 1913, and this museum was put up specifically to put it on display.

Learn about the Flora and Fauna at the Ventura Botanical Gardens

Everyone knows how blessed Ventura is when it comes to natural sights.

A few locals thought, "Why not preserve the beautiful nature and make something better out of it?"

This mindset led to the creation of the Ventura Botanical Gardens.

The best part of the garden is its surroundings.

It boasts some of the most stunning panoramic views of the ocean.

The lush greenery set against the backdrop of the blue ocean is a sight that's not to be missed.

There are over 170 species of plants here.

Some are native, while others were flown in from the Mediterranean region.

The space is vast, occupying an area of 107 acres.

Go Swimming at Emma Wood State Beach

Grasses and beautiful orange flowers on the shores of Emma Wood State Beach
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If you are a beach person, Emma Wood State Beach is the best resort for you.

The beach serves as one of the best spots in Ventura, where you can feel the fun of being in the ocean.

No other place in Ventura is as good for swimming as this one.

The waves are gentle and yet commendable.

A young man surfing in Emma Wood State Beach
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If you wait long enough, you can even catch a view of dolphins splashing in the water.

Want to go fishing for some bass?

This is the perfect spot for that, too.

Vibrant sunset in Emma Wood State Beach
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Enjoy the City Views from Serra Cross Park

Front view of Serra Cross Park
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In 1782, Father Serra planted a wooden cross on the mountain overlooking Mission Buenaventura.

Close up view of the wooden cross in Serra Cross Park
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If you happen to be visiting the mission, you can head to Serra Cross Park by trekking up a hill.

The park is quite vast and offers some splendid city views.

Go Birdwatching at Surfers Point Beach

Surfers at Ventura Point Beach
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The beautiful Surfers Point Beach is a must for your Ventura itinerary.

Its location is quite user-friendly, as it is located close to some of the city's most famous tourist attractions.

It's particularly close to the Ventura Pier and Emma Wood State Beach.

A young woman walking with the surfboard in her hand at the shores of Surfers Point Beach
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You can enjoy a lot of activities here, like windsurfing and birdwatching.

A resting ground for all migratory birds, Surfers Point Beach is a must-visit for all ornithologists and bird lovers.

Swimming isn't recommended at this location, but you can down and have a picnic in the sand.

Stand Paddler at Surfers Point Beach
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Enjoy the Lake Casitas Recreation Area

Beautiful yellow flowers on the shores of Lake Casitas Recreation Area
Annette Teng, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Los Padres National Forest is breathtaking, and the presence of Lake Casitas makes it even more appealing to the eyes.

Locals of Ventura and tourists see the Lake Casitas Recreation Area as the best place to set up camp.

The views from here are majestic.

Nature trail in Lake Casitas Recreation Area
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If you don’t have enough time to camp, you can at least sit down and have a picnic.

You may even see some wild animals at the Lake Casitas Recreation Area.

Picturesque view of Lake Casitas Recreation Area
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Catch a Show at Rubicon Theatre Company

Musicals, dramas, plays, and various shows are performed at Rubicon Theatre Company every day.

Their production processes and presentations are always incredible.

More than 42,000 people have learned from this old theater company and have progressed in their careers.

They have a lot of students practicing under them, too.

Dine at Spencer Makenzie’s Fish

Spencer Makenzie's Fish serves some of the best food in Ventura.

The restaurant has been awarded for its food for seven consecutive years.

Their famous fish tacos are some of the best you'll ever taste.

Apart from fish tacos, the clam chowder, dips, and salsas are among their must-try menu items.

Spencer Makenzie's Fish is always jam-packed, so you may consider yourself lucky if you can score a table!

Go on a Food Tour

Street lined up with restaurants in Ventura
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Ventura's culinary scene will surely be a treat for your taste buds.

The city is known to have a lot of restaurants that whip up amazing dishes.

You'll be able to find just about any cuisine while exploring restaurants on your own.

Alternatively, you can opt to join a food tour.

Some companies offer such tours and take you to the best places in Ventura that serve the most delicious dishes.

Apart from that, they also let you know if there is any history behind that particular cuisine or restaurant in Ventura.

Stop by the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park

Exterior view of Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center
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The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center offers various services and displays.

Make a brief pit stop at the visitor center if you're having trouble deciding where to go or what to do.

It's a one-of-a-kind tourist center with more to offer than just facts and figures.

You may shop at the bookshop or attend lectures in the auditorium.

There are also exhibitions and travel programs.

Fun activities abound at the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center.

Watch a short film in the theater, peruse local marine life displays, buy books or sign up to go on tours, and many more options are available to you.

Try Various Fun Family Activities at Marina Park

Sunrise at Ventura Marina Park
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It's hard to believe that Marina Park, a 15-acre coastal wonderland, doesn't exist.

It's a favorite of residents and visitors looking for some outdoor fun because of its numerous family-friendly attractions.

Marina Park is a great place to make memorable moments with your significant other, family, or friends.

Picnic area with benches in Ventura Marina Park
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This park has a playground for children, a small beach, a sand volleyball field, a dock, and other facilities for your enjoyment.

Play beach volleyball with your traveling companions, learn how to sail, have a picnic, and go sailing at Marina Park.

Rocks lined up in the beach near Ventura Marina Park
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You can also try standup paddleboarding, kayaking, or fishing out on the water at the park.

Have a Romantic Night at Four Brix Winery

There are many wine mixes to choose from at Four Brix Winery, located in the city's center.

Visiting Ventura with friends or a significant other is a great way to spend a day relaxing and having fun.

Four Brix Winery is where to go if you're in the area.

You may spend a relaxing evening at this restaurant while sipping fine wine and tucking on delicious meals.

Four Brix Winery is a great place to spend a few hours with your significant other or friends.

Wines from Spain, France, and Italy and those made here are available for sampling in a cozy atmosphere.

While sipping a bottle of wine, you may indulge in delectable bites such as a decadent charcuterie board, gluten-free pizza, chocolates, and more.

Bring Your Kids to Explore Old Creek Ranch & Winery

An orchard, vineyards, a ranch, and more can be found at Old Creek Ranch & Winery, a fantastic tourist destination.

If you're searching for fun activities to do in Ventura with your loved one or pals, look no further.

You and your loved ones may spend a relaxing day together, catching up and making beautiful memories.

Old Creek Ranch & Winery's terrace is the ideal place to sip a bottle of fine wine while taking in the picture-perfect scenery.

A tour of the site, including its winery, fruit orchards, and cattle ranch, is available beforehand.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Bike to Ojai

People riding bike in Ojai
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Are you into biking?

Ventura is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States, with scenic and well-paved biking trails.

If you are looking to go on a long ride, one popular route runs from Ventura to Ojai and back.

The route is just about 15 miles, and the path is so picturesque that you won't want to miss out.

Along the way, you'll pass by the stunning Foster Park, which boasts beautiful and lush greenery.

Final Thoughts

While in Ventura, you may take advantage of a wide range of exciting activities and attractions, such as a trip to a pristine beach, an excursion to a beautiful garden or park, a visit to a museum, wine tasting at a winery, shopping at a quaint boutique, and seeing a live concert, among others.

There is no better destination than Ventura to go on a fantastic getaway by the coast, away from your problems and stress.

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