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3 Ways to Adventure Offshore on California's Dreamy Ventura County Coast

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Ventura County CoastVentura County Coast
Just a stone's throw from Los Angeles, the Ventura County Coast is where city slickers chase adventure on the weekend. It's a place where the wild things still roam; and it's a place where life is passionately lived outdoors. While the county's mountainous hinterland is a recreation playground, adventure-seeking travelers should eye the Pacific horizon for a thrill really worth writing home about. Here are three of our favorite ways to adventure offshore on the Ventura County Coast. 


1. Kayak The Channel Islands

channel islandsVentura County Coast

The Channel Islands are a chain of small islands which lie isolated off the California Coast. There are eight in total and the nothernmost five form Channel Islands National Park. The waters surrounding the islands are rich in marine flora and fauna. They're protected by the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, making for an incredible area to paddle. Crystal clear water offers glimpses of marine life below and interesting natural rock features invite the curious kayaker. 

What can you look forward to? 
jelly fish channel islandsDollar Photo Club

The waters enveloping the islands are one of the richest marine ecosystems on the planet. Lucky paddlers may spot any number of whales and porpoises that frequent the area. The islands are a haven for sea lions and seabirds drawn to the warm rocks. They're also home to the largest colony of California brown pelicans in America. Conservation efforts in the Channel Islands have reintroduced bald eagles and other native species. 

Tie up where permitted and wander the shoreline. Look for garibaldi fish, moray eels, anemone and other sea creatures living in the pristine shallows. Inland, keep a sharp eye out for resident island fox, California’s smallest canine.


Paddling Highlights

Arch Rock off East IslandCelia Soudry

Anacapa Island is just 11 miles from Port Hueneme and is really a series of islets with seriously explorable sea caves, arches, blowholes and more.

Paddle beneath the 40-foot Arch Rock off East Island or take a break from the water to scramble up the cliffs. Have a look for fossils of the pygmy mammoth which once inhabited the island.

How to get to the Channel Islands

If you can't independently navigate yourself to the islands - and we would presume most travellers can not- there are plenty of  local operators with upstanding reputations. Explorers should depart from either Ventura Harbor or Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. Island Packers has been operating out of Ventura Harbor since 1969 and offers boat excursions to all five islands, as well as exciting activities once on land. Channel Island Outfitters also arrange adventures, from snorkeling and scuba diving to kayaking and hiking. 


2. Oxnard Shores

Paddleboarding Paradise

Ventura County CoastVentura County Coast

For the largest city on the Ventura County Coast, Oxnard certainly has small town charm. Perhaps carefree residents take their cue from the 20 miles of sandy shoreline. After all, life's a beach right? Adventurers seeking zen beyond four walls of a spa should look to shallow waters: the shores of Oxnard are excellent for paddle boarding.


Worried about SUPing on open water? Take a class with any number of blissed-out operators offering up instruction. Or stick close to the shore before venturing further afield. The harbor is a popular place for those still learning or for some paddle board yoga. Wanting to amp things up? Give racing or paddle surfing a try. And just like hanging ten, you'll want to pick your spot. Inquire with a local rental shop to find out where the locals are paddling that day.


3. Surfing Ventura

Ventura County CoastVentura County Coast

There’s a reason surf culture bloomed on the California Coast. It’s a location perfectly suited to surfing: long sunny days and excellent wind and waves. Serious surfers skip the LA scene and head up to Ventura. The beaches are well-maintained by thousands of volunteers, and free parking can be found near most launch spots. (A fact that's nothing short of radical, dude.) The surf is great and there are plenty of buzzing events hosted throughout the year. 

Need more proof of Ventura's surf reputation? Countless professional and amateur surfers call the coastal town home. Don't be surprised to find a few riding the waves or occasionally offering lessons.

For prime surfing conditions, hit the water early. Some of the best beach breaks in the state are found here, along with world-class points when the breeze is offshore and steady.  As the weather warms the beaches tend to get blown out by onshore winds, making the surf to choppy to ride. Don’t waste the afternoon moping about; take a tip from the locals and try kite surfing or kite boarding. If the weather is really bad mosey down to Surf Brewery where your sampler flight comes on a surfboard. Have some tacos, wander the Promenade and scout out your next surfing location so you can hit the water running when the sun comes up.


Need help planning your trip to the Ventura County Coast?  

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