• Photo: Steve Heap / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Steve Heap / Shutterstock


Ventura Harbor is home to myriad fishing boats, restaurants, and water-activity centers where you can rent boats and take harbor cruises. The city is also very walkable. If you drive here, park your car in one of the city's free 24-hour parking lots, and explore on foot.

The most popular outdoor activities in Ventura are beach-going and whale-watching. California gray whales migrate offshore through the Santa Barbara Channel from late December through March; giant blue and humpback whales feed here from mid-June through September. The channel teems with marine life year-round, so tours, which depart from Ventura Harbor, include more than just whale sightings. The harbor is also home to the Channel Islands National Park visitor center and to Island Packers, which transports visitors to the park's islands.

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Fodor’s Southern California: with Los Angeles, San Diego, the Central Coast & the Best Road Trips

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