15 Best Things to Do in Ventura County, CA

Ventura County, CA
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Ventura County, California, is renowned for plenty of awesome things.

It's home to distinguished schools, a unique cultural scene, the National Blue Ribbon, and unspoiled natural beauty.

It has 840,000 Californians residing in its 5,720 square kilometer area with Oxnard, the largest city, and its county seat.

The county was founded in 1873 after declaring separation from Santa Barbara County.

After separating, it replaced its name with Ventura County from San Buenaventura.

Ventura County is a thriving area in California and a popular vacation destination near Los Angeles.

It has dozens of unspoiled natural attractions from state parks, forests, and beaches.

At the same time, its towns and cities are home to locally-owned shops and restaurants with unique offerings.

So, read below to find out the most awesome things to do in Ventura County, California.

Browse Through the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Exterior of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
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One of Ventura County's best attractions is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

You can visit this famous library along Presidential Drive in Simi Valley.

This library was constructed to honor Reagan, the nation's 40th president.

This library spans over 125,000 square feet atop a hill.

White house oval in Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
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It has fascinating galleries, exhibits, and sections you can tour with your loved ones.

While touring inside, you'll have fun exploring its halls with some of the nation's historical records, photos, and documents.

At the same time, plenty of interactive activities wait for everyone inside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, making it a must-visit attraction.

Air force pavilion at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
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Explore the Scenic Anacapa Island

Aerial view of Anacapa Island
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Anacapa Island is a destination of its own.

This small volcanic island is situated 11 miles off the coast of Port Hueneme.

It comprises numerous narrow islets home to thriving native wildlife and a pristine natural area.

Most visitors who go there enjoy plenty of outdoor activities.

These activities include kayaking, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, hiking, and more.

Sea lions at Anacapa Island
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Its notable attractions include the 1932 lighthouse, offering a breathtaking sea view and a bit of history.

At the same time, you're guaranteed to enjoy watching plenty of sea lions, seals, and birds thriving on the island.

If you fancy an underwater adventure, you can do scuba diving and snorkeling at Anacapa Island.

Arch rock at Anacapa Island
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Check Out the US Navy Seabee Museum

The US Navy Seabee Museum is a fantastic place to travel to the past to explore this branch of the Navy's fascinating history.

You can visit this one-of-a-kind museum along South Ventura Road Naval Base Ventura in Port Hueneme.

The museum spanned over six acres of land and was constructed in the 1960s to pay tribute to the US Navy Seabees.

The museum has exhibits displaying equipment, photographs, videos, and other items detailing the Seabees' long and honorable history.

Also, check out the US Navy Seabee Museum's memorial outside to pay tribute to the thousands of service members in this branch of the Navy.

Step Inside the Mission Basilica San Buenaventura 1782

Exterior of Mission Basilica San Buenaventura
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Mission Basilica San Buenaventura 1782 is one of the most excellent attractions for diving deeper into Ventura County's history.

You can visit this church along E. Main Street in the City of Ventura.

This Catholic Basilica is under the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

It was founded by a Spanish mission, particularly the Order of Friars Minor.

Visiting this historic church lets you learn more about Ventura County's history, particularly the birth of Catholicism in the county.

You can see its century-old church doors and original wooden bells up close.

Besides history, its beautifully landscaped garden guarantees you to be mesmerized.

It has an old but well-preserved stone grotto, a fountain, and a small exhibit featuring fascinating information about the area.

So, remember to drop by the Mission Basilica San Buenaventura 1782 for a solemn and fascinating experience.

Harvest Fresh Produce at the Underwood Family Farms

Fresh produce at Underwood Family Farms
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The Underwood Family Farms is a famous attraction that immerses visitors in farm activities.

You can visit this farm along Los Angeles Avenue in the designated census community of Somis.

It's known for its farm-related activities, including harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables.

Besides this experience, you can buy these freshly-harvested fruits and vegetables at home.

Pumpkins at Underwood Family Farms
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If you don't fancy this tiring yet fun activity, you can always browse through its farm-to-table market.

Or perhaps have your kid's birthday at the farm since it hosts private events for groups and individuals.

Besides that, the Underwood Family Farm is where the Fall Harvest Festival happens, an exciting annual event in Ventura County.

Carriage tour at Underwood Family Farms
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Discover Old Artifacts at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum

Since you're already in the Channel Islands, it would be a bummer to miss visiting the Channel Islands Maritime Museum.

You can visit this fascinating museum along Bluefin Circle.

It mainly displayed historical, cultural, and artworks, with some dating back thousands of years ago.

This museum opened in 1991 and has already welcomed thousands of visitors.

During your visit, see up close its fascinating displays from the collection of Harry Nelson, who founded this museum.

Some of the artworks you'll see in this museum date back to the 17th century from British and Dutch artists.

Besides that, it has an extensive collection of antique sailing ship scale models made of animal bones.

Other exhibits inside the Channel Islands Maritime Museum include navigational instruments and whaling artworks.

See the Vintage Cars of the Mullin Automotive Museum

A car in Mullin Automotive Museum
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Head to the Mullin Automotive Museum to witness rare and exotic vintage cars.

You can visit this museum along Emerson Avenue in Oxnard City.

It's a privately-owned automobile museum opened in 2010 by philanthropist and businessman Peter W. Mullin.

It displays Mullin's car collection, which you can see up close.

Interior of Mullin Automotive Museum
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The museum itself boasts gorgeous art deco and machine age-era architecture and artworks.

Of course, this museum's main attractions are the Delage, Bugatti, Hispano Suiza, Voisin, and Talbot-Lago vintage cars.

So, drop by the Mullin Automotive Museum for a unique experience with rare vintage cars.

Feel the Breeze at the Emma Wood State Beach

Sunny day at Emma Wood State Beach
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The Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura is a famous outdoor destination for everyone.

You can visit this beach along US Highway 101 freeway.

It's known for its gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean and the rolling hills on the opposite side.

This state beach has a vast campground named North Beach Campground, where you can stay for a night or two.

Big waves at Emma Wood State Beach
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Hiking is a popular outdoor activity besides surfing, swimming, and fishing at this beach.

The self-guided hike takes you to a nature trail leading to famous locations such as El Capitan Creek, Cachuma Lake, and the Gaviota Pier.

Of course, plenty of outdoor activities await you at Emma Wood State Beach, so remember to include this in your itinerary.

Sunset at Emma Wood State Beach
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Catch the Sunset at Channel Islands Harbor

Aerial view of Channel Islands Harbor
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The Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard is another famous beachside destination.

It's a shore-protection project by the City of Oxnard on Santa Barbara Channel's southern end.

It's the fifth most extensive harbor for small water vessels in California and a famous recreation destination.

Visiting this harbor lets you enjoy jet skiing, whale watching, strolling, picnicking, and sunset watching.

Sunset sailing at Channel Islands Harbor
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If you're an avid surfer, you're guaranteed to have a blast in this harbor's perfect waves.

Meanwhile, it has a museum nearby and plenty of seafood restaurants to dine in with your loved ones.

Overall, the Channel Islands Harbor is the ultimate destination for beach and water activities for the whole family.

Ride the Waves at the Surfers Point at Seaside Park

The Surfers Point at Seaside Park in Ventura is a famous destination for surfers and windsurfers for its perfect waves.

You can visit this place along Shoreline Drive.

Most surfers who experienced surfing in this area described it as one of California's finest places to ride the waves.

If you're not ready to surf, you can still enjoy the park view at its landscaped promenade.

Or perhaps enjoy cycling through the Omer Rains Bike Trail to the Ventura Pier nearby.

So, remember to bring your best surfboard and gear when visiting Ventura County because you're likely surfing at the Surfer's Point at Seaside Park.

Travel Back in Time to the Camarillo Ranch

Exterior of Camarillo Ranch
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The Camarillo Ranch is a historic house and a famous events center.

You can visit this place along Camarillo Ranch Road in the City of Camarillo.

It's also known as the Adolfo Camarillo House or the Rancho Calleguas.

This historical attraction is known for its rich backstory dating back to the 1800s.

This house, constructed in 1892, boasts gorgeous, elegant Victorian-style architecture spanning over 6,000 square feet.

A barn at Camarillo Ranch
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It served as the official residence of Adolfo Camarillo and his wife Isabella, who stayed there for the rest of their lives.

It still has its original furnishing and design from the day it was built.

Today, the Camarillo Ranch is a famous attraction that you can tour to learn its fascinating backstory.

Or perhaps have your wedding, birthday, or corporate events held at this gorgeous historic location.

The grounds of Camarillo Ranch
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Stroll Through the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden

Mediterranean garden at Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
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The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is a fantastic outdoor attraction featuring the natural beauty of Ventura County.

You can visit this botanic garden along W. Gainsborough Road in Thousand Oaks.

This place is famous for its 15 hillside botanic gardens.

It also has a peak that offers visitors scenic vista views, which you can reach through nature trails.

Australian section at Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
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The entire place spans over 33 acres of wonderfully landscaped gardens and terrains.

Since it opened in 1976, the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden has become one of Thousand Oaks' top tourist destinations.

It's also a convenient attraction to visit since it's a stone's throw away from the city center and adjacent to the Conejo Community Park.

Desert garden at Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
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Make a Swing at the Soule Park Golf Course

Soule Park Golf Course is one of the nation's most highly regarded municipal courses.

It's situated along E. Ojai Avenue in the City of Ojai.

This course takes pride as the 48th best municipal golf course in 2014 by the Golf Week Magazine.

It also became an inspiration to design Brazil's 2016 Rio Olympics official golf course for its gorgeous landscape and technicality.

With all that in mind, remember to spend an hour or two visiting the Soule Park Golf Course.

Or perhaps, spend your day conquering its 18-hole golf course while appreciating its gorgeous surroundings.

Channel Your Curiosity at Grandma Prisbey's Bottle Village

Daytime view of Grandma Prisbey's Bottle Village
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Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village in Simi Valley is a historic folk art landmark.

This place was the masterpiece of a 60-year-old grandma who began constructing a building made of bottles in 1956.

The area covers roughly an acre in the heart of Simi Village and is open to the public.

It displays remarkable sculptures, fountains, walkways, and structures.

These are entirely from tens of thousands of discarded soda, wine, beer, and miscellaneous bottles from a local landfill.

Historical plaque of Grandma Prisbey's Bottle Village
Los Angeles, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The collected bottles are held together with mortar involving intricate architecture, patience, and devotion.

It culminates into a gorgeous but unusual art masterpiece.

While wandering through Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village, remember to drop by and take photos of its notable buildings and structures.

It includes the Pencil House, Shell House, Round House, and plenty more.

The grounds of Grandma Prisbey's Bottle Village
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Paddle on a Boat at Lake Piru

Daytime view of Lake Piru
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Lake Piru is one of the gems in the Los Padres National Forest.

This lake covers over 5,000 square kilometers and is adjacent to the Sespe Condor Sanctuary.

It's a famous outdoor destination where water activities are the most popular.

Visiting this lake lets you enjoy boating through boat rentals from locals.

The waters of Lake Piru
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You can also enjoy fishing at this lake or perhaps set up camp at its amazing campgrounds.

Nature lovers would love their time at this lake as it also features a trail taking them to thick forest areas and scenic locations.

Of course, there are plenty of exciting things to enjoy at Lake Piru, making it a recommended attraction in Ventura County.

Final Thoughts

With all these attractions, there is no way you'll overlook Ventura County as your next travel destination.

Ventura County is undoubtedly an amazing travel destination thanks to its unspoiled natural beauty and fascinating history.

You're guaranteed the best of both worlds, from sightseeing to outdoor activities, leisure, and history.

So, start planning your travel adventure with this post about what to do in Ventura County, California.

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