The beaches of Ventura County have something for everyone, be it the sand (case in point shown above), the ocean breezes, surfing, sandcastles, volleyball, sunning, picnicing or just chilling out to the sound of the waves. Here we have compiled a listing of beaches just north of Ventura County in Carpinteria down the coast to the Ventura Harbor. In a separate post we highlight beaches stretching further down the coast through Oxnard, Channel Islands Harbor, Point Mugu and Malibu.
Carpinteria State Beach is a mile long beach for swimming, surf fishing, tidepool exploring and camping. Dogs are allowed only at picnic area. The park originally opened in February 1932! There are 4 campground areas with 216 family campsites and seven group campsites available. Seals and sea lions can be seen in the area December through May, as well as an occasional gray whale. Tidepools contain starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails, octopi and sea urchins. Exit the 101 at Casitas Pass Road, go west to Carpinteria Avenue, make a right at the signal; then turn left on Palm. The beach is at the end of Palm Avenue. Address is 5361 6th Street, Carpinteria. Call 805.968.1033 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=599.
Tar Pits Park in Carpinteria provides hiking and biking trails and a few benches, but no other park amenities. Access to the park is very remote and it is suggested that you enter from the State Beach campgrounds or beach area. The Carpinteria Harbor Seal Rookery can be reached by following trails east of the park. Here you will see tar oozing out of the hills...so watch where you step! The Carpinteria Tar Pits are one of the five natural asphalt lake areas in the world! Visit www.carpinteria.ca.us/parks_rec/park_system.shtml for more information.
Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve is 53 acres of open space situated overlooking the Pacific Ocean is a series of walkways, trails and open space for ocean views, whale watching and fresh air. There are restrooms and I believe parking is free. This is not a beach for hanging out on the sand. Visit www.carpinteria.ca.us/parks_rec/park_system.shtml for more information. Take the 101 Freeway to Ballard Avenue and turn towards the ocean.
Rincon Beach Park is near the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line just a few miles east of Carpinteria. Just take the Bates Avenue offramp off the 101 Freeway to the ocean and on the right you'll find plenty of free parking and easy beach access, with picnic tables and restrooms. Run by the County of Santa Barbara. No parking fees! Yeah! Just steps to the south of Rincon Beach Park is Rincon Point, known as one of the best surfing spots in the world. There is separating parking there and restrooms.
Mussel Shoals is a small beach community in Ventura with around 50 homes. There are about a dozen public parking spots along Old Pacific Coast Highway, paralleling the 101 near the Cliff House Inn. No restrooms or anything. If you go there, perhaps have lunch at the Cliff House Inn and take in the peaceful views, while also checking out man-made Rincon Island.
Hobson Beach Park is located north of Faria Beach Park and the Rincon Parkway, at 5210 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura. It is managed by the County of Ventura. Day use parking is free but limited. Restrooms available. Limited beach space. Camping and RV spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. CLICK HERE for more info or call 805.654.3951.
Rincon Parkway is located between Faria Beach Park and Hobson Beach Park on Highway 1 off the Ventura Freeway at 5275 Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura. 127 parallel parking spaces are available for RV use only; no camping. All RV's must be fully self-contained units as there are no hookups, utilities, etc. Minimal beach, mostly rocks. Next to a train track. But nonetheless fun to stop by from time to time.
Faria Beach Park is located south of Hobson Beach Park is another popular RV/camping spot at 4350 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura. Also managed by the County of Ventura with spots available first come, first served. There are restrooms. No dogs on beach but allowed in camping area. CLICK HERE for more info or call 805.654.3951.
Solimar Beach is a strip of beach between Faria and Emma Wood known for surfing, swimming and fishing. Park along Old Highway 1. No facilities. There are about 60 homes along this beach.
Emma Wood State Beach is popular for swimming, surfing and fishing. The Ventura River estuary is at the mouth of the Ventura River at the southeast end of the park. It attracts a variety of wildlife including raccoons, songbirds and great blue herons. Dolphins are occasionally seen just offshore. The park also features the crumbling ruins of a World War II coastal artillery site. Emma Wood offers family camping for self-contained vehicles only and group camping is available at Ventura River Group Camp. There are 90 campsites. There is a day use area in the park and beach access is available. A bike path connects the park to Ventura and to the coast highway to the north. Parking is currently $10. Call 805.968.1033 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=604.
The Downtown Ventura Promenade beachfront area stretch from Surfers' Point and Promenade Park at Figueroa Street and Shoreline Drive on the north down the Promenade bike/walk path to the Ventura Pier. This is a popular area with lots of surfers, a cool kids' playground area just north of the pier and plenty of beach with lots of interesting looking rocks. There are several restrooms in the area. Great place to go bike riding with the family as you can keep riding north and south quite far. Plenty of parking in the area on the north end. On the south side by the pier you may need to pay for parking at the Crowne Plaza on Harbor Blvd east of California Street or at San Buenaventura State Beach further east. CLICK HERE for a pdf map of the area.
San Buenaventura State Beach stretches from the Ventura Pier down south past the homes of the Ventura Keys to Marina Park. This beach features swimming, surfing and picnicking. There are two miles of sandy beach, sand dunes, picnic sites, a parking lot, and a snack bar. Bike trails connect to other nearby beaches. The 1,700-foot pier has a snack bar, Eric Ericcson's restaurant and bait shop. Wheel Fun Rentals is right near the pier. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=600 or call 805.585.1850.
Harbor Cove Beach is located at the west end of Spinnaker Drive near Ventura Harbor Village and across from the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center. It is a "still water" beach protected by jetties that as a result is considered one of the safest family friendly beaches in the area (and also referred to as "Mother's Beach"). Restrooms and showers are available and across the street, next to the Visitor Center, is the Harbor Cove Cafe. Free parking! Visit www.venturaharborvillage.com/ventura-harbor-village-beaches.htm or call 805.642.8538.
Surfer's Knoll Beach is located in Ventura adjacent from Ventura Harbor Village and as it name implies, is geared towards surfers, as well as others looking to relax and explore. Riptides are common here so this beach so be careful if you're a novice swimmer. There are restroom and showers but no lifeguards on hand. Free parking! Visit www.venturaharborvillage.com/ventura-harbor-village-beaches.htm or call 805.642.8538.
And there you have it! Let's take a break for now but as mentioned above, beaches stretching further down the coast through Oxnard, Channel Islands Harbor, Point Mugu and Malibu are covered in this separate post!