Ventura, or San Buenaventura, as it is officially known, is a city that many tourists target when traveling through Southern California. Home to more than 100,000 residents, it beckons with its beautiful coastal scenery and its refreshing sea breezes. These aren’t the only reasons to visit, however. Ventura boasts a variety of enticing attractions, and its relative proximity to Los Angeles and other regional destinations of interest only serve to increase the overall allure. Los Angeles is more specifically found approximately 75 miles to the southwest. The drive from Ventura to LA is only about one hour, so the two cities are easy to pair on a Southern California vacation itinerary.
As is true of several other California cities, Ventura grew up around a Spanish mission. This mission, known as Mission San Buenaventura, was founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1782 and named for St. Bonaventure. Prior to the establishment of the local mission, the area that is now Ventura California was inhabited by a band of the Chumash Native American tribe. The Chumash had already lived in the general region for thousands of years and were among the natives who were targeted for religious conversion by the Spanish. Not very long after Mission San Buenaventura was founded, a major earthquake took its toll on the region. The more specific year of this earthquake was 1812. The mission lands were subsequently divided up, not necessarily because of the earthquake, and converted into private property. In 1841, a portion of the regional lands that was known as Rancho San Miguel was deeded to Raimundo Olivas, who went on to build the most magnificent hacienda found south of Monterey. The hacienda, known today as the Olivas Adobe, has been restored and remains a major link to Ventura’s past. Other highlights in the history of Ventura California include the establishment of both the Ventura Oil Field and the city's citrus industry. At its peak, the Ventura Oil Field produced nearly 100,000 barrels a day. As for the citrus industry, Ventura’s location between the Ventura River and the Santa Clara River helped it become the best citrus growing destination in all of California.
There are many attractions that help to make Ventura California such a wonderful travel destination. Among the most major are Mission San Buenaventura and the Olivas Adobe. Both have been restored and essentially operate as museums. The mission is also still in use for daily services. Other major attractions in Ventura include the beautiful San Buenaventura City Hall (1912), the Majestic Ventura Theater, and the Ventura County Museum of History and Art. The Majestic Ventura Theater is a 20th century landmark and has played host to a number of concerts by renowned musicians. The Ventura County Museum of History and Art offers wonderful insight into the city’s past, and among its exhibit pieces are Chumash treasures and artifacts from the Mexican-American War (1846-48). Visitors who are looking for even more things to do in Ventura can easily access the Los Padres National Forest or take a boat to the Channel Islands. The Channel Islands National Park Headquarters is actually located in the city’s harbor. Ventura plays host to a number of annual events that are also of interest, including the renowned Ventura County Fair, and the city is home to numerous restaurants and shops that tourists can indulge in.
Many would argue that the best beaches in the United States are found in Southern California. Ventura certainly has its fair share of high quality beaches. The Ventura beaches actually form one long beach. Various sections of this beach do have their own name and offer their own atmospheres and attractions. Some are better for swimming than others, for example, and depending on which part of the beach you visit, you may or may not find facilities. Harbor Cove Beach is one of the best swimming beaches in Ventura, and Marina Park is an example of a beach with facilities. No discussion about the Ventura beaches would be complete without mentioning the surfing scene. Ventura is hands down one of the best surfing destinations in the continental United States, with Rincon Beach being one of the most popular spots to go if you want to ride some waves. Some even rank Rincon Beach as one of the world’s best surfing spots.
Ventura California Hotels & Lodging
There are places to go camping in and around Ventura California, with examples including Emma Wood State Beach and the Los Padres National Forest. For those who prefer having a roof over their heads, there are plenty of Ventura hotels to consider instead. Many of the local hotels are chain brand establishments that offer a lot in the way of quality. Visitors can also opt to secure a room at one of the city’s charming bed and breakfasts. Nearby Oxnard offers even more area accommodation options for those who wish to expand their lodging horizons.