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Ventura Getaway

Plan a Day Trip or Weekend Getaway to Ventura California

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Ventura Getaway

Channel Islands View

© Betsy Malloy 2003. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
Located on the Pacific Coast north of Los Angeles, Ventura is an up-and-coming destination with a lively downtown that's undergoing active growth and development. It's best visited as a day trip unless you plan to visit the Channel Islands or spend a lot of time at the beach.

Will You Like Ventura?

Some southern Californians call Ventura a more reasonably-priced version of Santa Barbara, and it's easy to draw parallels: both have a scenic, seaside location and a historic Spanish mission, but Ventura has a more easy-going ambiance and is much easier on the pocketbook, too.

Best Time to Go

Ventura weather is best in spring and fall. Early summer may bring fog, and California winters can be rainy.

Six Great Things to Do in Ventura

  • Channel Islands National Park: So rich in unique species that it could be called California's Galapagos, this chain of islands are some of California's most interesting places to visit.

  • Mission San Buenaventura: One of California's few Spanish missions that was never destroyed, Mission San Buenaventura was the last mission founded by Father Junipero Serra and it's right on Main Street in downtown.

  • Downtown Ventura: There's more in downtown Ventura than just the mission, everything from second-hand stores and antique shops to nice restaurants, art galleries and day spas.

  • Waterfront: Ventura sits right on the Pacific coast, and you can go to the beach here, go boating or windsurfing, build a sandcastle or catch a fish.

  • Bell Arts Factory: It used to be a mattress factory. In fact, the sign out front still says so, but these days it's home to some really nice artist's studios.

Annual Events You Should Know About

The Ventura County Fair is held every August at Seaside Park.

From late January through early February, the tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain visits Ventura. You can tour from dockside, watch mock battles or sail with her from Oxnard to Ventura or even all the way to San Francisco. Check the schedule and reserve ahead of time.

Monarch butterflies move into the trees at Camino Real Park (Dean Drive at Mills Road) from October through February. The best time to see them is in the morning when they wake up and flutter off. Whales are around for more of the year: Pacific Grey Whales from late December through the end of March, Humpback and Blue whales from late June through August. You'll find whale-watching tours departing from the harbor.

Where to Stay

Hotels cluster along Hwy 101 near the pier, around the Marina Village Shopping Center on the north side of town or near the harbor. The best-rated are the Holiday Inn Express and the Ventura Beach Marriott, but there others. You can go straight to Tripadvisor's reviews and price comparisons on hotels in Ventura.

Use our tips for choosing a place to stay to help make your decision.

Getting To Ventura

Ventura is located on U.S. Hwy 101, 70 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara.

The nearest airports are in Santa Barbara or Los Angeles.

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