DREAMSCAPES Fall/Winter 2017
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CALIFORNIA HERITAGE MEETS SURF CULTURE IN VENTURA COUNTY COAST
 
(2017 - Fall/Winter Issue)

Writer: JILL K. ROBINSON



The original name of Ventura, San Buenaventura, means “city of good fortune.”

And that fortune is a natural part of Ventura County Coast, a string of communities that combine historical sites with outdoor land and sea adventures. Whether you’re seeking fresh produce at local U-pick farms or wildlife in Channel Islands National Park, you will find this region teeming with options for a classic California vacation.

CAMARILLO

Strolling through Camarillo’s charming Old Town during the winter months doesn’t call for bundling up as you might elsewhere. The town’s year-round temperate climate encourages visitors to spend time wandering among the shops and galleries while deciding where to grab lunch.

If you’re a fan of everyday history, duck into the Antique Mall of Camarillo, where independent dealers sell wares from a variety of styles, periods and design movements. A very different shopping experience awaits at Camarillo Premium Outlets, where 160 retailers specialize in fashion, electronics, home decor and restaurants.

Dive into a little bit of Ventura County Coast history with a visit to Camarillo Ranch, where a rich history is celebrated in the 1892 Queen Anne Victorian-style house museum. Enjoy the rotating exhibits and learn about the ranch and its Camarillo white horses.

OXNARD

Home to four wineries and tasting rooms, Oxnard is ideal for foodies chasing multicultural tastes. It’s a town where you can indulge in the fruit of the vineyard harvest as well as fresh produce sold at the farmers’ markets in downtown Oxnard and Channel Islands Harbor.

The harbour is one location in Ventura County Coast where outdoor lovers can access Channel Islands National Park. But it’s also a destination in itself, with a dedicated swim beach at Kiddie Beach Park, a well-loved surfing spot at Silver Strand Beach, and a recreation area with views of the Channel Islands from Hollywood Beach.

Get a better feel for the coast here, where you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, take a dinner cruise aboard a paddlewheeler or head out on whale-watching or fishing excursions. At the end of the day, enjoy a family barbecue dinner at Oxnard Beach Park.

PORT HUENEME

Port Hueneme blends a history-rich Naval Construction Battalion Center with wide, sandy beaches. The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum celebrates the history of the U.S. Naval Construction Force—better known as the Seabees—and the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Educational exhibits, historical relics and a great makerspace are ideal for family discovery.

Also for families, Port Hueneme Beach Park has walking paths, volleyball courts, picnic areas, barbecue pits, and a long strip of soft white sand for a full day of coastal pleasures. Even wandering along the beach searching for sand dollars and sea glass is relaxing.

The wooden Port Hueneme pier has a funky zigzag shape, thanks to a 1968 extension onto the original 1956 construction. Stroll along the pier or take advantage of its location to fish for dinner, while taking in views of the Channel Islands.

VENTURA

Early California history can be seen through-out Ventura’s Historic Downtown Cultural District, which began as Father Junipero Serra’s final mission settlement. Here, streets are dotted with historic homes, museums, boutiques and restaurants—and the thriving music scene guarantees a great soundtrack.

Families love Ventura Harbor Village, with its old-school attractions that include a carousel, an arcade and an ice-cream shop. After playtime, an outdoor table overlooking the ocean is perfect for kids and adults to indulge in fresh seafood caught from the offshore waters. It’s also the headquarters for Channel Islands National Park and the launching point to board a boat and cruise to the islands.

Vibrant Ventura’s south-facing waterfront and breaks along the beaches lure surfers from all over. Get in the water to try it out for yourself, or relax on the beaches stretching between Surfer’s Point and Ventura Harbor and watch a few surf sessions.

HOLIDAY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

The region’s 2017 holiday season kicks off with the annual Ventura County Farm Day on November 4, where the public can learn about agriculture first-hand—from 27 local farms. The 56th annual Camarillo Christmas Parade takes place on December 9. In Oxnard, a wealth of holiday events includes a Christmas Victorian Home Tour throughout December; the Oxnard Tamale Festival and Christmas Parade on December 2; the Annual Boat Parade of Lights on December 9; and a Holly Trolley Light Tour on December 12–14. In Ventura, Park Plaza will be decorated with more than 100 Christmas trees throughout December and will feature 12 Days of Holiday Cheer with events that range from yoga with Santa to an outdoor movie screening and a menorah lighting.

Shoppers searching for that perfect gift have it easy with the array of shops and outlets in the area. Old-school treasures can be discovered in the Antique Mall of Camarillo or downtown Ventura’s antique, consignment, thrift and boutique stores. Camarillo Premium Outlets offer something for everyone if you want to focus and get it all done in one day. And keep an eye out for one-of-a-kind souvenirs from farms and beach-themed shops so that you can bring back a little bit of California for someone special or for yourself.

OUTDOOR WINTER FUN

In Ventura County Coast, mild winter temperatures mean that the outdoor lifestyle continues throughout the year. Outdoor fans can choose from a variety of adventures, from surfing and kayaking to hiking and cycling—and everything in between.

Roam the sandy shores to bask in the coastal lifestyle or visit farms in and around Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura for a taste of the best of the season. Cyclists can choose their optimal segment of the 241-kilometre grand loop, climbing mountain roads and coasting past breathtaking beaches.

Take a day trip to Channel Islands National Park from Ventura or Oxnard to discover the wildlife of the “Galapagos of North America” by foot, kayak or boat. Whale-watching tours get up close to migrating grey whales between December and April, and hikers on the islands can choose a trail that includes the possibility of seeing pygmy mammoth fossils or island foxes.

On the Ventura County Coast, there’s never a problem finding something to do. The challenge is fitting everything you want to do in one trip. Thankfully, the region encourages return visits.

Travel Planner:

For more information, visit venturacountycoast.com.

 
 
 
 
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