Ventura is a rich and diverse city with a history dating back more than 300 years. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, the city is an idyllic mid-coast California city where mountains meet ocean. The local harbor has several good repair and refit facilities with haul-out capabilities and a huge municipal marina with floating docks and clean shower and restrooms.
Father Junipero Serra started the first mission in the area (San Buenaventura) 1782, and so cultured the root of the city’s current name. The mission is still standing today, and is open for visits. During the Civil War many settlers came to the area and either purchased land from existing Mexican landowners, or just plain squatted on their land parcel.
During the 1800s, the area’s rich soil was discovered and planted to producet oranges and a variety of crops. Today, Ventura is one of the largest producers of oranges, strawberries, artichokes and lettuce. Sunkist Orange made its start here.
Use NOAA Chart 18725.
Aside from the ocean rollers that continually crash ashore here (you’ll then know why you see all the surfers on your way in) the harbor inlet is well marked, deep and easy to enter and exit. A westerly breeze during winter and spring storms can make the inlet impassable, and in such cases, many people anchor in the lee of Anacapa Island offshore to wait for better conditions.
Flashing red “6” marks the southern breakwater, while flashing green “7” marks the north breakwater. A range guides you in from the north side – do not attempt a southern entry to this inlet as it is often awash with breakers. Once inside a series of small buoys marks the dredged channel and you will often see sea lions and porpoises swimming about.
Things To Do/Local Events:
Between January and March, gray whales make their annual migration from Mexico to the frigid waters of Alaska. Several charter companies operate whale-watching tours out toward Anicapa and the other Channel Islands for a glimpse of the behemoth mammals. Be sure to bring warm clothing; while it may appear warm on shore, Pacific waters are notoriously cold, and once the boat gets offshore, temperatures drop quickly. Stop by the Channel Islands Harbor Museum for more information.
The Mission at San Buenaventura has a museum, and is open for daily tours. Santa Barbara is a half-hour to 45-minute drive north and Los Angeles is 90 minutes to the south for those interested in further exploration of this area of the California Coast.
See the “Helpful Links” section at the bottom of this page for more detailed information.
California is known for its excellent public transportation system, and Ventura is no exception. Local bus service serves the Oxnard/Ventura area, and farther trips to Santa Barbara and even loss Angeles can be arranged. Los Angeles International Airport is only a 90-minute drive from Ventura and Oxnard’s airport has daily commercial service as well. See the Ventura County Transportation Web site in the “Helpful Links” area for more information.