Ventura

Ventura is 60 miles north of Los Angeles on California's Pacific Coast Highway and this guide shows where to get more information for your Ventura vacation.

Ventura in California is about 60-70 miles north of Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast Highway, US-101, depending where you start from. It should be an hour or so's drive, but that depends on the time of day.

Ventura Keys in Ventura, CaliforniaVentura Keys
Photo Courtesy of Ventura VCB

There's a lot of traffic into LA in the mornings, and out again in the afternoons, which can slow you up. If it's busy and it can up to two hours, but a lot of that is getting free of the LA traffic.

Our Pick of the California Guides

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Ventura SunsetVentura Sunset

Ventura History

Ventura's official name is actually San Buenaventura, the same name as the city's mission. You'll also see mentions of San Buenaventura on signs here and there. It's got a population of just over 100,000 and was founded in 1782 but was inhabited by Native Americans for at least 10,000 years.

San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura, CaliforniaSan Buenaventura Mission
Photo by Gary W. Talbot

Ventura Today

Ventura has miles of beautiful sandy beaches, lots of good eating in fine-dining restaurants, some outstanding hotels and inns, access to the Channel Islands National Park, an old mission, an enjoyable museum with an excellent collection of Native American items – it's an almost perfect vacation destination, or place to overnight if driving the Pacific Coast Highway.

Some of Ventura's Beaches

Joggers at Ventura Beach, CaliforniaJoggers at Ventura Beach

Ventura, California, is known for its beautiful beaches that offer a range of activities and scenic views. Here are some of the more notable beaches in Ventura:

Ventura City Beach: This is the main beach in Ventura and where you'll find Ventura Pier, a popular spot for fishing and with stunning views of the coastline. There are also volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms, showers, and a promenade and boardwalk.

Family on Ventura Pier in CaliforniaFamily on Ventura Pier
Photo Courtesy of Ventura VCB

Emma Wood State Beach: Located just northwest of Ventura, Emma Wood State Beach is known for its natural beauty and camping opportunities. The beach is backed by sand dunes and offers a more secluded environment. Camping sites are available right by the beach, providing a unique camping experience with the sound of ocean waves.

San Buenaventura State Beach: This state beach is divided into two sections: North Beach and South Beach. North Beach is popular for picnicking, fishing, and playing beach games, while South Beach is known for its surfing. The park also has hiking trails and good bird-watching.

Mandalay Beach: Situated between Oxnard and Ventura, Mandalay Beach is a wide sandy stretch along the coastline. It's known for its calm waters, making it a suitable spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is also home to the Mandalay Beach Park, providing recreational facilities and is a pleasant place for families.

Hobson Beach Park: Located to the north of Ventura, Hobson Beach Park is known for its RV camping sites and beach access. It offers a more relaxed atmosphere and is a great place for beachside picnics and enjoying the coastal scenery.

Some Things to Do in Ventura

Channel Islands National Park

Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park, CaliforniaSanta Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park

The harbour at Ventura is where you can take a boat to go across to the beautiful and unusual Channel Islands National Park. First go to the Park Headquarters and Visitor Center at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura, and check out the different islands, what they have to offer, and what ranger-led activities are on offer at the time of your visit.

You'll need to check the boat schedules as they do vary according to the season, days of the week, which islands they go to, and so on.

Mission San Buenaventura

San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura, CaliforniaSan Buenaventura Mission

This beautiful mission was the 9th and last of the California missions to be established by the Blessed Junipero Serra, and is still an active Catholic church today. It was founded in 1782 although the present buildings date from 1815 after the original structures were affected by several earthquakes and a tidal wave.

The mission is only small so a visit won't take long, but it's charming and definitely worth seeing.

The Museum of Ventura County

The Museum of Ventura CountyThe Museum of Ventura County

The museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts, artworks, photographs, and documents that represent the cultural, historical, and artistic aspects of Ventura County. This collection covers a wide range of topics, including the region's Native American history, agriculture, early settlement, and contemporary culture.

For more detailed information and more ideas, see our page on the Best Things to Do in Ventura.

Further Information

Contact the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Other Ventura Pages

  • There are plenty of Ventura bars, breweries, brewpubs and pubs to enjoy, not to mention one of the biggest beer festivals in California.

    Ventura Bars, Breweries, and Beer Festivals

    There are plenty of Ventura bars, breweries, brewpubs and pubs to enjoy, not to mention one of the biggest beer festivals in California.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best time to visit Ventura, with a monthly summary of the weather, hotel prices and special events to help plan a visit.

    Best Time to Visit Ventura

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best time to visit Ventura, with a monthly summary of the weather, hotel prices and special events to help plan a visit.

  • The best things to do in Ventura include beaches and museums, seeing the mission, going to Ventura Pier, and a boat trip to the Channel Islands National Park.

    Best Things to Do in Ventura

    The best things to do in Ventura include beaches and museums, seeing the mission, going to Ventura Pier, and a boat trip to the Channel Islands National Park.

  • The Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel is Ventura 's only beachside hotel with ocean front swimming pool and rooms with ocean views.

    Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

    The Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel is Ventura 's only beachside hotel with ocean front swimming pool and rooms with ocean views.

  • The Ventura free public trolley launches in summer 2013 offering complimentary transport between Downtown and Harbor Village for visitors and locals alike.

    Ventura Free Public Trolley

    The Ventura free public trolley launches in summer 2013 offering complimentary transport between Downtown and Harbor Village for visitors and locals alike.



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