“Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly” – Van Morrison
The Endless Summer takes on new meaning with more and more travelers re-discovering iconic Highway 101/1 and the idyllic sun-kissed playground that is uniquely Ventura Harbor Village. With a stunning backdrop of majestic yachts, stunning sunsets, blissful weather with gentle ocean breezes paired to casual open-air and sit down dining and unique one-of-a kind boutiques, galleries, and specialty stores, this seaside enclave is the picture-perfect midweek getaway for couples, friends and families. What’s more, admission and parking are FREE at Ventura Harbor Village all summer long!
Located on a spectacular stretch of prime Pacific coastline, this California “go to” spot is definitely worth the drive. Below are top picks (some new) of how to celebrate summer at its best:
Set sail into the weekend with harborside entertainment at Ventura Harbor Village where a menagerie of summer seaside vibes is in the air on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Revel in genres that include Blues, Pop, Rock Soul, Caribbean and Reggae.
A roster of top-notch local DJs set the stage and take turns showcasing an ongoing musical variety (made possible Party Proper!) as part of NEW Friday Nite Seaside DJ Set from 4-7 pm every Friday through Labor Day weekend. Stroll the Seaside Promenade Stage and embrace some evening bliss as the sun goes down and sound turns up. Enjoy the sea-inspired soundtrack while meandering the waterfront and sipping cool cocktails on the patio of a nearby restaurant.
Amid a toe tapping upbeat tropical vibe, visitors celebrate the return of the destination’s popular live steel drum performances with Steel Drum Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. at the seaside Promenade Stage which showcases breathtaking views of both the harbor and mountains. Arrive early to shop, dine and relax at one of the Village’s scenic restaurants and savor fresh seafood, a variety of cuisine choices, and toast to summer with refreshing hand-crafted cocktails.
Showcasing a variety of duos and trios with a musical line-up that includes pop to soul and rock to a blend of Caribbean and reggae, Ventura Harbor’s live Summer Sundays LIVE musical performances, from 1-4 p.m. on the oceanfront Promenade Stage, are the perfect way to spend the afternoon. With an array of options to sit back, relax and listen to music on the scenic Promenade patios, on the water aboard a kayak, SUP, electric boat, or on a paddle boat, all offer ways to get the best floating seats in the harbor.
Ducks and Dragons and Swans Oh My
Cooling off on the glistening sea is the ideal way to stay cool all summer long, and Ventura Boat Rentals has just the remedy. Ventura Boat Rental’s largest fleet of pedal boats, now comes in a variety of choices and colors with new swan, ducks, and dragons! These have already become a seaside favorite excursion to give visitors a fun and unique, one-hour on-the-water excursion like no other. NEW to the Harbor for summer season are the nighttime lit swan, dragon, and duck pedal boat rentals that have recently made their debut with special weekend hours- reservations for Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings recommended. Visitors can also partake in other watersport favorites that include kayaking, stand up paddle boards, and electric boats, which are all ideal ways for family & friends to gather together and cruise the marina waters and view wildlife.
“Seas” the day and jump aboard an Island Packers whale watching vessel and embark on 5-6 hour (July-September) awe-inspiring summer whale watching excursion, one of Ventura Harbor Village’s major seaside attractions. Adventure enthusiasts travel from the Ventura Harbor through the Southern California waters off Santa Barbara Channel, known for their marine mammal diversity. It is here where visitors witness breathtaking mammals (blue whales, fin whales, humpbacks and year-round residents such as common dolphin, seals and sea lions) that cavort in waters off the Channel Islands.
Soak in Some Vitamin D
When the temperature soars, there is no better place to beat the heat than at the beach, and Ventura’s Harbor Cove Beach is the ideal place for a variety of fun activities on and off the water, including stand up paddle boarding, surfing and kayaking and biking. Harbor Cove boasts the nickname “Mother’s Beach” for its calm waters. Located steps away from great surfing off the south jetty, Harbor Cove Beach offers parking and restrooms. Another big bonus: The Ventura Port District funds lifeguards at Harbor Cove Beach through Labor Day. With amazing views of the coastline and Channel Islands, Surfer’s Knoll Beach also serves as a wonderful sanctuary to relax, indulge, play, refresh, and explore. Located on Spinnaker Drive across the street from the Ventura Harbor Village, this beach has a great surf break at the Santa Clara River Mouth. A fun experience for all, this beach features sunbathing, sea glass hunting, and leisurely walks towards the bird sanctuary along the beach.
Get In The Swim Of Things
Always in fashion, Ventura Swimwear’s, a legend in the business, has got you covered with an extensive selection of board shorts, bikinis, and long-sleeve one pieces with sun protection, perfect for surfing and scuba diving. This shop, which has been in business for close to 40 years and attracts both new and loyal customers from throughout California, has everything sun worshipers need for a fun-filled time at the beach: towels, apparel, hats, cover-ups, and trendy costume jewelry, too. Have a swimsuit that you love, but that doesn’t love you? Ventura Swimwear provides swimsuit alterations in-store!
Seaside Dining Savored
After a day of sun and fun, pull up a chair at one of Ventura Harbor Village top seaside restaurants where a bevy of dining and cocktail options prevail. Offering picturesque harbor and ocean views with colorful sunsets overlooking boats and waves, casual alfresco eateries with fabulous waterfront patio dining to full-service sit-down restaurants are the norm. What’s more, take out brings dining to a different level. This leisurely choice can be paired to a variety of on-site picnic style locations (a seaside takeout zone on the large grass lawn, the beach or aboard an electric boat). From fresh seafood, famous Fish N’ Chips at well-known Andrias’s Seafood Restaurant & Market, and American fare to international culinary cuisine such as Cuban, French, Greek and Mexican cuisine for breakfast, lunch, dinner and during happy hour, Ventura Harbor Village serves it all.
How Sweet It Is
Whether celebrating a special occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, birthday or graduation, Sugar Lab Bake Shop, is baking someone happy. One of Ventura Harbor Village’s newest shops specializes in delicious custom cakes and mini desserts that not only look great, but taste amazing. The local owners create hand-made, mouth-watering, scratch-made desserts in a small-batch process to ensure a high-quality product that is baked fresh daily. The shop only uses finest ingredients, including Cacao Barry chocolate, Valhrona Dutch cocoa powder, Neilson-Massey vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and local sourced fresh fruits, dairy, and eggs. In addition, the sweet shop serves locally roasted coffee and local tea all day long to accompany a savory selection of delectable sweets.
Ventura After Dark
Head into one of several popular after dark entertainment zones for continuous entertainment as the sun sets. The Ultimate Escape Rooms provide endless fun for 8-10 thrill seekers with a choice of unique one-hour “escapes,” including The Attic and Wizards Lair, two Ventura Harbor favorites. The excitement comes in the form of teamwork. The challenge is to use what is in the room in order to solve puzzles, and the answers to the puzzles lead visitors to the code where teams need to unlock the door which allows one to “escape.”
Laughter is the best medicine! For some serious comic relief, join in a fun-filled evening performance of live comedy at the Ventura Comedy Club, Ventura’s popular hometown entertainment favorite for laughs. From international names to hometown heroes, Ventura Harbor Comedy Club consistently presents the best in the business with a stellar roster of comedians.