Quaint surfing towns are a West Coast trademark. Ventura, a small city in southern California, is one of the most beloved.
Although universally known as Ventura, the city is officially San Buenaventura. It was founded in 1782 when the Franciscan friar Junipero Serra established his mission. Notice the iron bells that sit along Route 101 marking Fray Serra's famous route along El Camino Real.
Main Street is Ventura's center. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of its many restaurants or sip coffee at an outdoor café. From funky thrift stores to upscale boutiques, this area is crammed with shopping opportunities for every budget.
In the heart of Ventura's old town, visit San Buenaventura Mission. Built in 1782 by Junipero Serra, this was only the ninth Spanish mission established in California. Tour the nearby Olivas Adobe, a 160-year-old historical home that is rumored to be haunted.
Watch a professional performance at the Rubicon Theatre, which hosts several plays throughout the year. Continue cultural immersion at E.P. Foster Library, a cozy establishment that displays rotating exhibits by local artists.
Ventura's downtown beach area is dominated by a pier stretching along Ventura Beach. At one end, surfers gather at Surfer's Point to enjoy the waves every day of the year. At the other, the pier meets the scenic San Buenaventura State Beach. When you're not in the water surfing, the pier is a great place to take a bike ride or just enjoy California’s gorgeous weather.
If Ventura isn't interesting enough with its perfect beaches and fascinating history, it is also home to a famous, albeit fictional, literary character. Author Erle Stanley Gardner, who lived in the city, set the beloved Perry Mason series in Ventura.
Whether you visit Ventura to surf or shop or something else entirely, enjoy this enchanting small city. Remember to bring sunglasses and apply sunscreen, as the weather is warm and sunny year-round.
Beaches, Live Music and Festivals
Enjoy seafood or tacos at the foot of this pier and wander along its old wooden planks for panoramic views of the Channel Islands.
Appreciate delicious seafood, sandy beaches, whale watching and charming friendliness in this waterfront area with access to Channel Islands National Park.
Learn more about the local history when you visit Mission Santa Barbara, a well-known historical site in Santa Barbara. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.