Wide beaches, tall bluffs, and rugged mountains that command breathtaking views of the ocean make Ventura County one of Southern California’s best-kept secrets. The climate is mild throughout the year, and you’ll often find residents having fun outdoors.
The county’s terrain is incredibly diverse, as are its communities. From the suburban towns of East County to the laidback beach cities of West County, the magical Ojai Valley, and the sprawling agricultural areas, Ventura County is made up of a medley of flavors.
Coastal and centrally located
The county is situated on California’s Central Coast, wedged between Santa Barbara and LA, giving you the best of both worlds. It encompasses the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metropolitan area, with Ventura as the county seat and Oxnard as the largest, most populous city.
Its central location is hard to beat, with residents having access to sandy beaches, mountains, and national forestland, as well as downtown LA’s hippest bars and restaurants and Santa Barbara’s numerous upscale charms. Here you can play beach bum one day and urban sophisticate the next. In Ventura County, you’ll never run out of things to do and places to discover.
Caught between the Pacific and the mountains, and with a huge chunk of the expansive Los Padres National Forest within its borders, Ventura County is a paradise for outdoor lovers. National forestland, in fact, makes up more than half of its total area and you’ll never run out of opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, wildlife watching, and more.
Other protected areas that extend into the county include the Dick Smith Wilderness, Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, and Channel Islands National Park.
With its long, unbroken coast, it’s not surprising that swimming, surfing, and beachcombing are popular pastimes in Ventura County. There are numerous beaches and parks with beach access, including:
- Emma Wood State Beach
- Mandalay State Beach
- McGrath State Beach
- San Buenaventura State Beach
- Marina Park
- Surfer’s Knoll
- Harbor’s Cove Beach
- Mondos Beach
- Rincon Point
- Hobson Beach Campground
From best-of-brand retailers to independently owned boutiques, there’s no shortage of shopping options here:
- Ventura Harbor Village – Shop for stylish clothes, hand-painted socks, organic skincare products, and original artworks in this oceanfront retail complex. A fine selection of jewelry and pottery can also be found in the seaside boutiques and galleries here.
If you get hungry, put your bags down and dine at the Village’s harbor restaurants, which offer fresh seafood and international cuisine.
- Camarillo Premium Outlets – Here you’ll find over 160 retailers, including Tory Burch, Coach, Michael Kors, and Lululemon Athletica. You can catch the latest box office hit at the on-site IMAX Edwards Camarillo Palace Stadium movie theater or grab a bite at any of the restaurants after you’re done shopping.
- Downtown Ventura – An eclectic mix of locally owned shops and art galleries can be found on Ventura’s Main Street, just minutes away from the beachfront. Come here for fine jewelry, souvenirs, home decor, and one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories.