Find Your Vibe

Plan Your Getaway to the Ventura County Coast

Start off 2022 with some good vibes! Head to the destination that’s all about a California State of Mind. The Ventura County Coast has all the good vibes you’ll need for your next getaway. It’s home to Channel Islands National Park, also known as “the Galapagos of North America.” You’ll also find some of California’s most panoramic coastal hikes. Explore the region’s four distinct towns—Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, and Port Hueneme, and enjoy the diverse mix of dining options, including farm-to-table, fresh seafood, Thai, and outstanding Mexican cuisine, including a popular taco trail. Easily accessible from both LA and San Francisco, the Ventura County Coast is your good vibes getaway.

The Galapagos of North America

woman overlooking Channel Islands National Park

couple hiking Channel Islands National Park

man overlooking cliff Channel Islands National Park

The Galapagos of North America. Remote, wild, and still a bit of a secret among national park enthusiasts, Channel Islands National Park is a series of five unique islands off the coast of Ventura. This undeveloped and far less traveled archipelago is open year-round and reached by boat, with departures from Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard or Ventura Harbor in Ventura. The islands—San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara—all offer something wondrous and distinct. Backpack the largest among them, Santa Cruz, on a multi-day camping adventure. Go on a day-hike to the infamous Smugglers Cove. Or go kayaking through volcanic-rock sea caves as brown pelicans swoop in from above. Speaking of brown pelicans, Anacapa’s protected and rocky cliffs are home to just two breeding colonies of California brown pelicans in the western US: 4,600 breeding pairs! (Note: Anacapa Island closes February 15, 2022, until summer 2022 for landing area maintenance.)

Escape to the Channel Islands

Best Hikes

Point Mugu State Park

Emma Wood State Beach

The Ventura County Coast has some of California’s best hikes for mountain-to-sea panoramas. This includes marquee trails on Channel Islands National Park. It also includes mainland beach hikes like Ocean’s Edge and River’s Edge Trail at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura, where the river meets the sea. At sunset this place is golden. Peak baggers will relish the dramatic coastal scenery you’ll get from the top of Mugu Peak in Point Mugu State Park, about a 20-minute drive from Camarillo. Talk about taking things to the next level—the coastal views from up here are stunning. See the Top Hikes to do in Ventura County.

Top Hikes in Ventura County

Road Trip Starts Now

Ventura County coast bike path

overlooking Ventura County coast

Camarillo Skyrider

Whether driving from Los Angeles or San Francisco, an adventurous road trip is core to the California experience. And with 22 miles of coastline, four charming towns, and five islands comprising one incredible national park nicknamed “the Galapagos of North America,” the Ventura County Coast has a lot to explore. In winter, find uncrowded beaches for winter surfing, hiking trails, great shopping, and exceptional and diverse dining options from casual take-out to oceanfront patios. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine, Thai, fresh seafood, and dozens of taquerias, taco trucks, and Mexican restaurants (check out this taco trail map). Try something new in 2022 by getting a bird’s–eye view of the coastline on Camarillo’s Skyrider Ultralights sports aircraft. And get the ultimate Southern California beach experience—sans the crowds—at Hollywood Beach in Oxnard. Winter sunsets at this beach, named for its popularity with classic movie stars like Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin, get a glowing review!

Complete Winter Road Trip Itinerary

Where to Stay

Oxnard Hampton Inn

Variety and affordability make the Ventura County Coast a good bet for travelers. See lodging options in Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, and Port Hueneme.

Trending Stories NorCal

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  1. Afternoon on the Island

    What is it about tiny islands in the middle of lakes? There’s something that just draws you in. It’s even more fun when getting there is half the adventure because you have to reach it by canoe, kayak, paddleboat, or a ranger guided boat tour!

  2. Camp and Kayak at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest

    Sleeper Hit

    It's all about the water, and the camping, at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest, a High Sierra reservoir perfect for kayak explorations and pitching your tent with the lake in the background.

  3. Hiker in the forest at Mount Sutro in San Francisco

    San Francisco's Middle Earth

    No need to travel to New Zealand to visit Middle Earth. San Francisco’s Mount Sutro Open Space is practically Hobbiton—a hidden “shire” in the middle of the city. Okay, maybe not quite as magical, but still an incredible place to take a hike in city limits.

  4. Woman walking down the stairs overlooking the ocean on the Coastal Trail in San Francisco

    America's Best Urban Hike

    Many years ago we dubbed it the “Grand Walk” and said it was one of the most scenic and stunning trails in the West. We were wrong. This is the most scenic urban hike in America!


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  1. Two people smiling for a selfie on Santa Cruz Island Channel Island National Park

    Island Ahoy!

    Take to the seas on a weekend adventure to remote Santa Cruz Island (the largest among Channel Islands National Park) and an idyllic campsite coupled with a rugged 8-mile (round-trip) trek to a hidden beach.

  2. woman on rocks at Salt Point State Park Sonoma Coast

    Sweet and Salty

    Located on Highway 1 about 18 miles north of Jenner, Salt Point State Park is wild, scenic, and one of the most beautiful places to do some classic coastal camping.

  3. Woman biking the Ventura to Ojai bike path in Ventura County

    Ojai There!

    If a substantive and super scenic bike ride is right in your wheelhouse, do the 30-mile (round-trip) Ventura-to-Ojai bike path that begins (and ends) near the Ventura shoreline, pit-stopping in delightful Ojai for food and drinks.

  4. Masterpiece Marshland + Beers

    San Dieguito Lagoon is one of the biggest wetland habitats in America. Uncover the magical marshland masterpiece on a gentle 3-mile out-and-back urban hike with a pit stop at a brewery.