(credit: virtualventura.net)


Ventura, California is a short drive and a millions miles from LA, in its essence, anyway. Ventura is actually just 60 miles up the 101, and if the traffic is light, you can get there in about an hour. Located right off the 101, the city of Ventura is a very manageable size, very walkable, and very picturesque, and there are plenty of things to do with the family for a weekend getaway.

Things To Do:

The San Buenaventura Mission

211 East Main Street,
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 643-4318
More Info

Every fourth grader in our state studies California history, and the Missions are a part of that history. This Mission, one of 21 running up and down our coastline from San Diego to San Francisco, is really quite beautiful, with a lovely, peaceful courtyard, a small museum and cute gift shop. Founded in 1782, this Mission is an active Catholic parish today.

City of Ventura Aquatic Center

901 South Kimball Road
Ventura, CA 93004
(805) 654-7511
More Info

This City pool has all the bells and whistles of a water park, like waterslides, play structures and water jets, but with a smaller footprint and a tiny price. Open year round, this pool has the added advantage of heated water! A fun way to spend time splashing around with the kids!

San Buenaventura State Beach

911 San Pedro St.
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 968-1711
More Info

Two miles of beautiful shoreline and sand dunes, this State Beach is great for family play, and includes bike trails and summer bike rentals.

San Buenaventura State Beach

Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center
1901 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 658-5730
More Info

The Channel Islands National Park consists of 5 islands off the coast of Santa Barbara and the ocean environment surrounding them. They are only accessible by boat or plane, and they are a great place for spending time from a quick day sail to a several-days camping trip. There is no transportation on the islands, only to-and-from, so plan on hiking and walking. Boat transportation is provided by Island Packers. Please check their website for prices and schedules. From December to March, the waters of the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary are filled with migrating Gray whales, and whale-watching cruises are all the rage.

Gull Wings Children’s Museum

418 West Fourth Street
Oxnard, CA 93030
(805) 483-3005
More Info

Located just a few miles from downtown Ventura, the Gull Wings Children’s Museum is a great place to play with the little ones. This interactive museum has a climbing wall, marine animal touch tanks, a rain forest exhibit, an HO scale model train, a space exploration area, and for the toddlers among us, there’s the Toddler Tide Pool.

Places To Stay:

There are several hotels in Ventura, a few right on the harbor, and here’s a short list.

The Pierpont Inn and Spa

550 Sanjon Road
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 643-6144
More Info

The hotel is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year.

Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor

1050 Schooner Drive
Ventura, CA 93001
(888) 627-8081
More Info

The Country Inn and Suites

298 S. Chestnut Street
Ventura, CA 93001
(800) 456-4000
More Info
Room price includes breakfast.

Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach

2101 Mandalay Beach Road
Oxnard, CA 93035
(805) 984-2500
More Info

Room price includes full breakfast cooked to order and an afternoon reception every day.

On The Way Home…
On the journey home, you may want to stop by for a little bit of bargain shopping at the Camarillo Premium Outlets.

Camarillo Premium Outlets

740 East Ventura Blvd.
Camarillo, CA 93010
(805) 445-8520
More Info

Enjoy exploring the California coastline!

Sarah Auerswald is the blogger behind MarVistaMom.com and Sarah’s Blog