Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, Gelato and Other Frozen Treats Around Ventura County

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Here's a handy list of frozen yogurt, ice cream and gelato places in and around Ventura County for your dining pleasure. There are over 90 such establishments in Ventura County and surrounding areas.

(Current as of 8/11/18. Things change...call to confirm....let us know of any changes!)

Conejo Valley (TO/WLV/NP)

Ventura/Ojai/Santa Paula

Thrifty Ice Cream, a brand that brings me visions of childhood joy, is still around at Rite Aid stores throughout Ventura County.

Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream Graveyard

Counting Crows in the Conejo Valley and Nearby Communities

Counting crows. Maybe not literally, but figuratively, in the skies of the Conejo Valley, Simi Valley and beyond. We see the crows in the hundreds flying west in the morning and east in the evening ever so frequently here. These fellows were seen from the Conejo Valley Plaza, Moorpark and Janss Roads, the night of August 9, 2018.

Speaking of birds, the Conejo Valley Audubon Society hosts birding activities year-round.

"That's From Disneyland!" Pop-Up Exhibit in Sherman Oaks through August 24th

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The 20,000 square foot "That's From Disneyland!" free pop-up exhibit at a former Sports Authority store in Sherman Oaks is worth going out of your way for!

It is located at 13730 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks (directly next to the Westfield Fashion Square Mall - cross-street is Woodman). Just 25 miles from the Conejo Valley.

This wonderful display allows Disney fans to experience artifacts from Disneyland from a private collection going back to the beginning of the amusement park. The artifacts are from the collection of Richard Kraft, who after 25 years of collecting them is auctioning them off on August 25-26.

Some of the numerous items on display include:

  • It's a Small World figures.
  • 15 Disneyland ride vehicles, including Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan's Flight Ship, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Car, Haunted Mansion "Doom Buggy," Fantasyland Skyway Bucket, Tomorrowland People Mover, Matterhorn Bobsled, Space Mountain Vehicle, Disneyland Ticket Booth and many more.
  • Haunted Mansion Stretching Room paintings.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room bird and signage.
  • King Arthur Carrousel items.
  • Massive Submarine Voyage Sea Serpent that closed in 1998 (after operating for nearly 30 years).
  • Miniature Disneyland Model by Robert Olszewski with a replica of Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A. between 2002 and 2012.
  • Frontierland posters and artifacts.
  • New Orleans Square items.
  • Lots of poster, artwork and maps of the park going back to the early 1960s.

This pop-up exhibit will be on display Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 8pm through August 24th. Over 900 lots from the collection will subsequently be auctioned off. on August 25-26. Learn more at www.thatsfromdisneyland.com.

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Life's a Beach! Public Beaches Spanning From Carpinteria to the Ventura Harbor

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The beaches of Ventura County have something for everyone, be it the sand, the ocean breezes, surfing, volleyball, sunning, picnicking 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. Separately we highlight beaches stretching further down the coast through Oxnard, Channel Islands Harbor, Point Mugu and Malibu as well as up the coast in and around Santa Barbara.

The Santa Claus Lane Beach Area in Carpinteria is a south facing beach area popular with surfers, boogie boarders and sunbathers. Get there from the 101 by taking the Padaro Lane exit towards Santa Claus Lane, then taking a left on Santa Claus Lane. You can park in a small dirt area (there's room for maybe 10 cars there) on the ocean side or find street parking, which is plentiful. This is not an "official" beach to my knowledge, as in city or county-run. Just a private beach. No restrooms to my knowledge. Oh yes, you'll have to cross the railroad tracks...so be careful! Down the street is Padaro Beach Village, where you can grab a bite to each and do a little shopping.

On a separate note, you may be wondering why it is called Santa Claus Lane. Well the old-timers among you (including me) know that a gigantic roadside Santa used to reside here that now greets us off the 101 freeway in the Nyeland Acres section of Oxnard. Learn more about the history at this link.

 Surfers, boogie boarders, body surfers and frolickers at the Santa Claus Lane area beach.

Surfers, boogie boarders, body surfers and frolickers at the Santa Claus Lane area beach.

 Just down the street is the quaint Padaro Beach Village, where you can grab a coffee, breakfast, lunch, do a little shopping, etc. Very relaxing little area.

Just down the street is the quaint Padaro Beach Village, where you can grab a coffee, breakfast, lunch, do a little shopping, etc. Very relaxing little area.

Carpinteria State Beach is a mile long beach for swimming, surf fishing, tidepool exploring and camping. Dogs are allowed only at the picnic area. The park originally opened in February 1932. There are four 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 near 4th Street. Call 805.968.1033 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=599.

Note: Campfires are only allowed in the campground in fire rings provided. No fires are allowed on the beach.

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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 Carpinteria State Beach campgrounds or beach area.  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. The Carpinteria Harbor Seal Rookery can be reached by following trails east of the park.

 Beach view from Tar Pits Park in Carpinteria.

Beach view from Tar Pits Park in Carpinteria.

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. 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 separate parking  and restrooms there. Campfires are not allowed on the beach here or at any Santa Barbara County day-use park.

 Great photo opps here at Rincon Beach Park :)

Great photo opps here at Rincon Beach Park :)

South of Rincon Beach Park is a brand new (premiered September 2014) Class I bike path that takes you through the La Conchita Beach area to Mussel Shoals. La Conchita Beach is low key, with several access points from the La Conchita Bike Path area. You can park at Rincon Point and bike or walk to one of several access points from the path or perhaps even better, drive into La Conchita and take the new undercrossing that'll get you to the beach by walking under Highway 101.  When I last looked, there were no restrooms or other facilities at the beach.

 La Conchita Beach

La Conchita Beach

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. 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.

 Mussel Shoals

Mussel Shoals

The beach between Mussel Shoals on the northwest and Seacliff on the southeast is referred to Oil Piers Beach. There used to be piers here until they were taken down in 1998. You get here either via the La Conchita Bike Path or by taking the Seacliff Exit (#78) from Highway 101, then take Pacific Coast Highway northbound to Mobil Pier Road, where you will drive under the 101 to find parking (and if there's no spots available, go back to PCH and you'll find some). No facilities to my knowledge at this beach.

Oil Piers Beach Ventura

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. No day use parking. CLICK HERE for more info.

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 they are allowed in camping areas. CLICK HERE for more info or call 805.654.3951.

South of Faria Park and north of Solimar Beach is an area referred to as Mondos Beach. We recently rode bikes from the Ventura Pier past this area and saw plenty of families enjoying the sand and the water. There is parallel parking available on the old highway. I believe there are also some porta-johns available.

 Mondos Beach area in Ventura, south of Faria, north of Solimar.

Mondos Beach area in Ventura, south of Faria, north of Solimar.

There's a strip of beach along Old Highway 1 between Mondos Beach and Solimar Beach that has parallel parking available, with large rocks separate the street from the beach. I don't know the name of this beach, but it is there, open to the public. There's not a specific street address but it is in the proximity of 3456 Pacific Coast Highway.

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. Directions at this link. Campfires not allowed on the beach.

 We noticed a new sign at Emma Wood in the summer of 2015

We noticed a new sign at Emma Wood in the summer of 2015

The Downtown Ventura Promenade beachfront area stretches 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. 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.

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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 the Jolly Oyster. Bike trails connect to other nearby beaches. The 1,700-foot pier has a snack bar, Eric Ericsson's restaurant and bait shop. Wheel Fun Rentals is right near the pier if you need a bike. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=600 or call 805.585.1850. Campfires not allowed at this beach.

Marina Cove Beach is a very popular family spot located at Marina Park, with a newer, small playground area, lots of parking (though weekends can get pretty packed), restrooms and a nice family-friendly beach.. Walk from Marina Park south to Soter Point for picnic area, mermaid statue and more.

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 Fun stone jetty to navigate at the beach adjacent to Marina Park in Ventura.

Fun stone jetty to navigate at the beach adjacent to Marina Park in Ventura.

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 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.

 Harbor Cove Beach Lifeguard Station

Harbor Cove Beach Lifeguard Station

Surfer's Knoll Beach is located in Ventura adjacent from Ventura Harbor Village and as its name implies, is geared towards surfers, as well as others looking to relax and explore. Riptides are common here so be careful if you're a novice swimmer. There are restrooms and showers but no lifeguards on hand. Free parking!

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!

But wait! Here's a compilation of beaches in the City of Santa Barbara and surrounding areas!

Compilation of Public Beaches Spanning From Oxnard to Hueneme to Malibu

In a separate post, we highlighted beaches ranging from Carpinteria down south to the beaches at the Ventura Harbor. This is the 2nd installment of local area beaches that stretch from McGrath State Beach on down to the beaches gracing Malibu. We hope these compilations prove useful in guiding you to all the oceanfront fun Ventura County and adjacent areas have to offer!

Additionally, here's a compilation of beaches in the Santa Barbara area (excluding Carpinteria).

McGrath State Beach has been closed for both day use and camping since August 10, 2014 until further notice due to flooding from the Santa Clara River Estuary. Visit parks.ca.gov/?page_id=607 or call 805.968.1033 for more information.  When open to the public, McGrath has 2 1/2 miles of beach great for walkers, sunbathers and surf fishers. Swimming, surfing, and water sports are discouraged because of rip currents. McGrath also has a campground with 174 sites, restrooms and coin-operated hot showers. Make reservations by calling 800.444.7275. There's a .2 mile nature trail through jungle-like vegetation along the banks of the Santa Clara River. McGrath is 5 miles south of Ventura off the 101 freeway via Harbor Boulevard.  Parking was $10 as of August 2014.

Mandalay Beach Park is 94 acres of undeveloped beachfront land located south of Reliant Energy's Mandalay Generating Station. The natural sand dunes and the wetlands ecosystem are recognized for their important natural value and houses several threatened bird species. This is a passive, natural open space park with no support facilities. The sandy ocean beach and adjacent coastal dunes are available for public day use only. The beach is managed by the County of Ventura on behalf of the California State Parks Department. Located at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and 5th Street in Oxnard. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=609. No dogs allowed.

Oxnard Beach Park has one of the best kids play areas around town, restrooms, lots of grass, and easy access to miles and miles of beach. The sand dunes are really large in Oxnard. The park is located at 1601 S. Harbor Boulevard. For more information, contact the Oxnard Recreation & Community Services Department at www.oxnardrec.org/17/3/960.

 Oxnard Beach Park looking towards the beach.

Oxnard Beach Park looking towards the beach.

Hollywood Beach is a great spot for swimming, sunning and viewing the Channel Islands offshore. Free public beach volleyball courts, public restrooms on the north end of beach, on-street parking and lifeguards on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Located right next to Channel Islands Harbor off of Harbor Boulevard. Dogs are allowed at Hollywood Beach on leash before 9am and after 5pm.

 Hollywood Beach

Hollywood Beach

Silver Strand Beach is a 1 mile long sandy beach about 150 yards in width. It is capped by the north and south jetties, which both have small parking lots, one next to San Nicholas Avenue (at Ocean Drive), the other next to Sawtelle Avenue. Free parking from sunrise to sunset/ Limited restroom facilities. The coast is a sandy bottom beach break which can sometimes feature rip tides and an undertow. Dogs on leash allowed before 9am and after 5pm. Lifeguards on duty daily during  summer months. Accessed via S. Victoria Avenue. Visit visitoxnard.com/listing/silver-strand-beach for more information.

There's a Kiddie Beach Park off of S. Victoria Avenue at Sunset Drive with available parking, restrooms and benches. It is a small sliver of sand that fronts the south end of Channel Islands Harbor and thus does not face ocean waves.

Hueneme Beach Park is 50 acres with picnic tables, barbecue pits, walking paths, a 24-hour fishing pier, sand volleyball courts, Surfside Seafood snack bar, lifeguards and restrooms. Beach parking lots and Surfside Drive parking available for a fee. No dogs allowed! Visit www.ci.port-hueneme.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=926 for more information. Located at 550 E. Surfside Drive, Port Hueneme

Ormond Beach is 1,500 acres composed of agriculture, industry and wetlands. A two mile long beach extends from Port Hueneme on the north to Naval Base Ventura County on the south. This is one of the few areas in southern California with an intact dune transition zone marsh system, hosting over 200 migratory bird species. The California Coastal Conservancy is restoring these wetlands. A bit off the beaten path, it is probably more geared towards bird watchers and hikers. Get there via Hueneme Road, going south on either Perkins Road on the north and Arnold Road on the south.

Naval Base Ventura County occupies roughly 6 miles of oceanfront space between Ormond Beach on the north and Point Mugu State Park on the south. This space is not accessible by the general public. However, there are periodic opportunities for civilians to catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from NBVC during organized events open to the public.

Mugu Beach is the first publicly accessible beach area south of Naval Base Ventura County off of PCH, located adjacent to the prominent Mugu Rock. For the most part this is the most quickly accessible beach to Camarillo and Conejo Valley residents. There is paid parking ($12 last time I was there) as well as parking available on PCH. Nothing fancy here and only a porta-john is available. Click here for map.

South of Mugu Rock there is also some beach that is accessible with plenty of parking on PCH. No facilities and not a lot of beach, but beautiful views and a quick place to explore.

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Thornhill Broome Campground and Beach is also part of Point Mugu State Park, located a mile or two south of Mugu Beach. This is a campground right on the beach with a capacity for about 60 or so RVs. But of course you can visit for the day for a parking fee. Plenty of parking also available on PCH. Porta-potties available. Dogs are allowed around here as long as they are on a leash (and paleeeze...pick up after them).

Across the street on PCH is a gigantic, steep sand dune that I've always found to be interesting. Learn more about that sand dune here.

 Unusually large sand dune on the east side of PCH across from Thornhill Broome Campground

Unusually large sand dune on the east side of PCH across from Thornhill Broome Campground

Sycamore Cove is at the southernmost beachfront portion of Point Mugu State Park. Point Mugu State Park features 3.6 miles of ocean shoreline (Sycamore Cove to Mugu Beach), with rocky bluffs, beaches, sand dunes, rugged hills and uplands, two major river canyons and wide grassy valleys dotted native trees.

Sycamore Canyon Campground across PCH from Sycamore Cove has 58 campsites. For a challenge, ride or hike down through Sycamore Canyon from Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park. You'll most likely have to pay to park here (most recently $12 for day use) as there are not many spots on PCH available on the south side...watch out...there are no parking signs all over the place.

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Sycamore Cove Beach has a number of picnic benches shaded by trees and is thus a popular spot on summer weekends for the BBQ crowd as well as with the campers from the campground on the other side of PCH. Located at 9000 Pacific Coast Highway. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=630.

 Trees shade the picnic tables at Sycamore Cove Beach

Trees shade the picnic tables at Sycamore Cove Beach

In the 3.3 mile stretch of PCH between Sycamore Cove Beach and County Line Beach (below) there are three or four places where you can park on PCH and access the beach.

Enjoyable and beautiful, with some great photo opps. Do watch for speedsters blazing by you as you get out of the car.

County Line Beach is located across the street from the iconic Neptune's Net, 3 miles south of Sycamore Cove at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Lots of surfers and places to explore. Park on PCH. Watch out for bikers...there can be hundreds of them hanging out here on many a weekend. There are outer reefs for scuba diving that have an abundance of sea life. Activities include diving, surfing, and tide pools. No lifeguards on duty. There are a few porta-johns here.

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Leo Carrillo State Park has 1 1/2 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing and beach combing; one of our favorites for exploring sea caves, rocks and tidepools. Leo Carrillo is about 1 1/2 miles south of Neptune's Net at 35000 West PCH, Malibu. On the other side of PCH, Leo Carrillo has 135 campsites, with over 2,500 acres of land. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=616 or call 805.488.1827. Dogs on a leash are allowed in day use areas, campground and north beach (north of lifeguard tower 3). Dogs are not allowed on back country trails or south beach (south of lifeguard tower 3). Park on PCH or in the State lot ($12) and take the tunnel under PCH to the beach. More details on how to get to Leo Carrillo from the 101 freeway at this link.

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Nicholas Canyon County Beach is 1 mile east of Leo Carrillo at 33850 Pacific Coast Highway. Great beach where you can hang out, fish, picnic, surf and more in about 25 acres. About 150 parking spaces available. Generally $10 to park, or park on PCH. More info at beaches.lacounty.gov/nicholas-canyon-beach. Restrooms available.

 A view of Nicholas Canyon County Beach, just a mile east of Leo Carrillo.

A view of Nicholas Canyon County Beach, just a mile east of Leo Carrillo.

Located between Leo Carrillo and Point Dume State Beaches, Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach is made up of a number of cove or cliff-foot strands known as "pocket beaches" along the west end of Malibu, including El Pescador, La Piedra and El Matadorwww.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=633 Dogs are not allowed on state beaches.

El Pescador State Beach is 1.4 miles east of Nicholas Canyon at 32900 Pacific Coast Highway. Steep stairs lead to about 10 acres of narrow, sandy beach. It is just east of Decker Canyon, the curvy, steep road that takes you up to Hidden Valley/Westlake Village. Dogs are not allowed on state beaches. Parking is $8 or park on PCH. Small, secluded beach. Restrooms available. www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=146

 Sign on PCH east of Decker Canyon Road, prior to El Pescador State Beach to the west of it.

Sign on PCH east of Decker Canyon Road, prior to El Pescador State Beach to the west of it.

La Piedra State Beach is .3 miles east of El Pescador at 32700 Pacific Coast Highway. Stairs lead to 9 acres of narrow, sandy beach. Dogs are not allowed on state beaches. Parking is $8 or park on PCH. Small, secluded beach. Restrooms available. www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=149

El Matador State Beach is .3 miles east of La Piedra at 32350 Pacific Coast Highway, just east of where Encinal Canyon Road intersects with PCH. A dirt path, then stairs, lead to 18 acres of narrow, sandy beach with beautiful rock formations and caves.

Dogs are not allowed on state beaches.  There is a parking lot with room for 25 or so cars where you can pay $3/hour or $10 for all day (as of July 2017).  You can also park on PCH, but on the north side...for whatever reason parking is prohibited on the south side of PCH. This means you have to cross PCH, which can be a challenge. There are porta-johns available. www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=145

Lechuza Beach in Malibu, a mile east of El Matador State Beach, is maintained by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. It is a small, sandy beach with beautiful rock formations and views up the coast. Accessible via the northeast end of Broad Beach Road.  More information and specific access points at www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=663.

Zuma Beach is located at 30000 Pacific Coast Highway about 3.5 miles east of El Matador. At 4 miles long, Zuma is one of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County, Zuma is known for its long, wide sands and excellent surf. Plenty of facilities, including several food stands, restrooms, showers, volleyball, etc. Plenty of street parking on PCH and over 2,000 parking spaces (currently $8 weekdays and $10 weekends). Visit beaches.lacounty.gov/zuma-beach for more information. Zuma is known for riptides, so do be careful out there.

NOTE: Fires, including BBQs, are not allowed on any beach in Malibu; the exception is that fires may be allowed in designated spots at some state beaches.

 Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach

Point Dume State Beach is a 63 acre promontory that juts out into the Pacific and features headlands, cliffs, rocky coves and vast beach access for swimming, surfing, scuba diving and fishing. Westward Beach borders Zuma Beach at Zuma's south side. There is plenty of parking on Westward Beach Road, which parallels Westward Beach. To the southeast of Westward Beach is a small 300 foot or so beachfront area called Pirate's Cove Beach (which due to its seclusion was once used as a nude beach).

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At the end of Westward Beach Road (WBR), access to the protected 34-acre Point Dume Natural Preserve begins from the cul-de-sac. A gradual ascending trail leads to an ancient coastal bluff sand dune with spectacular views...we've seen whales, seals and dolphins over here. A stairway from the east side of the bluff-top preserve allows access to a more isolated beach and tidepools (look but don't touch). Location/Directions: Take Kanan south to PCH and turn right. WBR is over the rise, at the foot of the hill. Park free on WBR or pay a fee at Westward Beach lot. No restrooms at the Preserve but some can be found on WBR. Call 310.457.8143 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=623 for more information.

NOTE: Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Point Dume Natural Preserve or on the beach.

 Looking down on the beach at Point Dume

Looking down on the beach at Point Dume

Paradise Cove Beach is a private beach located at 28128 Pacific Coast Highway, accessed via Paradise Cove Road. It is a small, private beach open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset. Parking (as of March 2017) is $6 ($8 weekends/holidays) for if you spend 4 hours at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe (and spend at least $30 there) or $35/$50/day (weekdays/weekends) if you park there for the beach. There are restrooms, cabanas, lounge chairs and chairs for rent, a small pier. Visit www.paradisecovemalibu.com.

Escondido Beach is a short, narrow strip of beach accessible just west of Geoffrey's Malibu via a long stairway at 27420 PCH or near the corner of Escondido Beach Road and Malibu Cove Colony Drive. Look for access signs. No dogs allowed. No facilities.

Dan Blocker Beach is located at 26000 Pacific Coast Highway (between Solstice Canyon and Corral Canyon Roads. A sandy, narrow beach that draws surfers and scuba divers. Limited free roadside parking. Restrooms are available. Corral Canyon (trail map HERE) is located across the street at 25623 PCH. The trailhead is on the north side of PCH next to Malibu Seafood restaurant. The beach can be accessed from via a seasonal trail under PCH. 310.305.9546

On June 14, 2016, a new beach stairway access was completed at 24038 Malibu Road. Very little parking available there and no facilities at the beach. Read more at THIS LINK.

Malibu Beach is a 167 acre beach at 23050 and 23200 Pacific Coast Highway that includes Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Lagoon Museum and the Malibu Pier. Malibu Surfrider Beach next to the pier is quite popular with local surfers. Parking available for a fee, or park on streets surrounding Malibu Country Mart and walk across PCH at the signaled crosswalk at Cross Creek Road.

 Malibu Surfrider Beach viewed from the Malibu Sportfishing Pier

Malibu Surfrider Beach viewed from the Malibu Sportfishing Pier

Perhaps the most expensive strip of beach in the world is Carbon Beach, which stretches about a mile and a half between the Malibu Pier and just east of Carbon Canyon Road. This wide beach is a beautiful strip of sand, but public access points can be challenging to find and parking can be a challenge. Learn specifics at THIS LINK but specifically, the public accessway points are at 22670 PCH, 22466 PCH and 22126 PCH. No restrooms and no dogs allowed at this beach.

Las Tunas Beach is located at 19444 Pacific Coast Highway, about 4 1/2 miles east of the Malibu Pier. It is a narrow beach beneath the bluffs that holds a special attraction to surf casters. Free parking lot. Located between Tuna Canyon and Las Flores Canyon Roads.

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And there's more...the California Coastal Commission Shoreline Public Access Program helps maximize public access to the beach along the California coast. When you see one of those "Coastal Access" signs, that means you can get to the beach. More on the program at www.coastal.ca.gov/access/accndx.html. The L.A. County Dept of Beaches and Harbors has published Malibu beach accessways at file.lacounty.gov/dbh/cms1_151453.jpg, including 11 accessways on PCH, Malibu Road and Broad Beach Road. But if you do check them out, be mindful of those who live there!

Craft Breweries with Onsite Tasting Rooms In and Around Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

According to the Brewers Association, there were 6,372 total U.S. breweries at the end of 2017, up 16% from one year prior (and over double the number of breweries in 2013). Over 98% of these breweries are craft breweries, consisting of microbreweries, brewpubs and regional craft breweries.

A craft brewer is defined as being small (annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less), independent and traditional (flavors derived mostly from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients).

We've seen and experienced this growth in and around Ventura County, so how about if we summarize them right here! This list includes local craft breweries with onsite tasting rooms ranging from the Conejo Valley out just past Ventura County into Carpinteria.

14 Cannons Brewery and Showroom opened at 31125 Via Colinas, Suite 907 in Westlake Village opened in September 2017, featuring a handful of freshly brewed craft beers as well as an actual brewery showroom where others can learn how to set up their own breweries! www.14cannons.com 818.652.6971

Surf Brewery was the first packaging craft brewery in Ventura County when it opened in June 2011. It is located in an industrial park at 4561 Market Street in Ventura and has a large tasting room with seating for 75. Food is not served, but you can bring your own or purchase from a local gourmet food truck in the parking lot on Tuesdays through Sundays. Learn more at surfbrewery.com 805.644.2739

Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, the Conejo Valley's first microbrewery and brewpub, opened in November 2009 at 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills. Offering a full selection of craft brews and full lunch/dinner menus daily. ladyfaceale.com 818.477.4566

Institution Ale Company is a microbrewery founded in 2013 that that recently moved to a brand new, larger location and tasting room at 3841 Mission Oaks Boulevard in Camarillo (visible from the 101 next to the Camarillo Ranch House). Food offered includes artisan flatbread pizzas and soft baked pretzels. institutionales.com 805.482.3777

Topa Topa Brewing Company is a microbrewery that opened on June 6, 2015 and is located at 104 E. Thompson Boulevard in Ventura, offering up a variety of microbrews in a small tasting room area. www.facebook.com/topatopabrewingco 805.628.9255

Five Threads Brewing Company at 31133 Via Colinas, Suite 109, Westlake Village opened its doors in October 2015. Offers fresh brewed craft beers in its tasting room Wednesday through Sunday. www.fivethreadsbrewing.com 805.457.5990

Enegren Brewing Company opened in July 2011 in Moorpark and is now located at 444 Zachary Street, #120 (a newer, 15 barrel brewery opened in January 2015). Quite a large tasting room at Energen. Limited food choices but bring your own. Food trucks periodically on hand. www.enegrenbrewing.com 805.552.0602

MadeWest Brewing Company opened its doors in January 2016 and is located at 1744 Donlon Street, Ventura, offering a variety of craft beers, plenty of indoor/outdoor seating, food trucks and more. www.madewest.com 805.947.5002

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company opened its Westlake Village taproom at The Shoppes at Westlake, 30770 Russell Ranch Road, in December 2015. Offers up craft beers brewed onsite as well as at other locations in Santa Barbara. Also a full-service restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating open daily. www.figmtnbrew.com 818.874.1305

Poseidon Brewing Company opened its tasting room on August 11, 2014 at 5777 Olivas Park Drive, Unit Q, Ventura and is open Tuesday through Sunday. Ooh, they offer up a free pint on your birthday if you present Valid ID with birthdate! www.poseidonbrewingco.com 805.477.0239

Anacapa Brewing Company opened its doors back in 2000 with a seasonal rotation of over 25 beers in this full service restaurant/brewery in the heart of Downtown Ventura at 472 E. Main Streetanacapabrewing.com 805.643.BEER (2337) (gotta love that phone number)

Twisted Oak Tavern opened in 2015 at 30105 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, offering a full gastropub experience with a full lunch/dinner menu and over 30 craft beers on tap made onsite. Open daily. www.twistedoaktavern.pub

Leashless Brewing opened in early July 2017 at 585 E. Thompson Blvd, Ventura, offering organic, Belgian style ales. www.leashlessbrewing.com

The Ojai Valley Brewery Tap Room is located at Azu Restaurant and Bar at 457 E. Ojai Avenue. The brewery is located 3 blocks away. The taproom is open noon to close 7 days a week. ojaivalleybrewery.com/the-tap-room 805.640.7987

Rincon Brewery at 5065 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria is a craft brewery and restaurant open 7 days a week. rinconbrewery.com 805.684.6044

Casa Agria Specialty Ales is a small brewery located at 701 N. Del Norte Boulevard, Suite 310 in Oxnard, brewing up a handful of specialty beers since February 2015. There is now a small onsite tasting room open to the public Thursday through Sunday. www.casaagria.com 805.485.1454

Red Tandem Brewery is a nanobrewery featuring 7 high quality ales brewed onsite to customers at its tasting room at 109 Harbor Boulevard, Oxnard Shores at Channel Islands Harbor. It was founded in September 2014 and opened to the public in May 2016. Open Wednesday through Sunday. www.redtandembrewery.com 805.236.2105

Westlake Brewing Company opened its small volume brewery in early 2016 at 31111 Via Colinas #200, Westlake Village. Offers craft beers and craft soda in an industrial feel.  The taproom, open Wednesday through Sunday, has old school pinball machines, shuffleboard table and live entertainment. westlakebrewingcompany.com 818.851.9052

Island Brewing Company has been brewing in Carpinteria since July 2001 at 5049 Sixth Street (Linden at the railroad tracks). Its open redwood beam tasting room was originally built as a packing house for lemons and citrus. Located right next to Carpinteria State Beach too! Open 7 days a week. www.islandbrewingcompany.com 805.745.8272

BrewLAB is an artisinal nano-brewery located at 4191-8 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria. Tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday. www.brewlabcraft.com 949.922.9152

Ventura Coast Brewing Co. is at 76 S. Oak Street in Downtown Ventura. Offers indoor/outdoor patio seating, flights, 4 and 16 ounce pours of its creations. Open 7 days a week. www.vcbc.beer

Fluid State Beer Garden is located at 692 E. Main Street, Ventura offers craft beers, sourdough pizzas and more. www.fluidstatebeer.com 805.628.3107

Coming soon to Thousand Oaks at 244 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard: Tarantula Hill Brewing Company sometime in early 2019. tarantulahillbrewco.com

Mad Era Brewing will be coming soon (Fall 2018 anticipated) to the former home of Marie Callender's at 20 W. Cochran Street in Simi Valley (cross street Madera Road. Hmm. Mad Era. Madera. Hmm.)

Other Options on Tap

Some additional craft beer tasting options in the area are highlighted below. These ones serve up tap beers from other craft breweries and/or produce the beer elsewhere. We have included on this list bars/taverns serving up at least a dozen craft beers on tap.

McGregor's Craft Beer and Wine is a new tasting room/bottle shop at 144 W. Los Angeles Avenue #105 in Moorpark, with 16 rotating taps and an expanding library of wine. Patrons are encouraged to bring food from home or from neighboring eateries or can indulge in a custom made cheese platter and various in-house snack items. 21+ only. Open Mon-Sat noon to 10pm and Sun 1-8pm. 805.553.9818 www.mcgregorscraftbeer.com

The Dudes' Brewing Company Tasting Room opened at Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks on July 15, 2016. Although the beers and are not brewed on site (this is done in Torrance), they have 20 tap handles for your imbibing pleasure. www.thedudesbrew.com

Barrelhouse 101 at 545 E. Thompson Blvd, Ventura has an insane number of craft and micro beers on tap...over 100. Open daily with full menu. www.barrelhouse101.com 805.643.0906

Bottle & Pint is a specialty craft beer store and taproom at 1714 Newbury Road, Suite G, Newbury Park. Open seven days a week, they have a revolving list with 12 tap beers on tapl. Food is not served but you can bring your own in or have it delivered. 805.480.9500 www.bottleandpint.com. There is now a 2nd location at The Annex, a cool food "court" area within The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard.

Draughts Restaurant & Bar at 398 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks has 45 craft beers on tap as well as a full restaurant menu the includes pizzas, pastas and much more. They also have over 20 TVs in every direction. 805.777.7883 www.draughtsrestaurant.com

The Crown and Anchor at 2891 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks has 17 draft beers and ciders on tap, serves food, lots of TVs and periodic live entertainment. Open 7 days a week. www.crownnanchor.com 805.497.0070

Boney Mountain Tavern, located at 722 N. Wendy Drive, Newbury Park, has 32 beers on tap, including a variety of craft beers. boneymtntavern.com 805.498.6511

Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen just opened at the Westlake Plaza, 982 S. Westlake Boulevard, Westlake Village, in the former home of Galletto. They serve up 30 craft beers on tap. www.facebook.com/Finneyscrafthouse 805.230-9950

The Dugout Sports Grill serves about 22 taps of beer along with cocktails, food and 32 TVs at 109 W. Cochran Street, Simi Valleywww.thedugoutsimi.com 805.955.9200

Winchesters Grill & Saloon at 632 East Main Street in Ventura has over 30 beers on tap, mostly craft types. They also have a full menu and full bar. www.winchestersgrill.com 805.653.7446

Yard House at The Collection at Riverpark in Oxnard has well over 100 beers on tap of all varieties...Cider, Fruit/Lambic/Sour, Malty/Balanced, Hoppy/Floral, Strong/Dark, Light/Easy, Wheat/Wit/Weiss, Dark/Roasted and Strong/Spiced.  www.yardhouse.com/locations/ca/oxnard/oxnard-the-collection-at-riverpark 805.981.8707

Cask Alehouse is located at 5952 Telegraph Road in Ventura (at Victoria), offering a rotating selection of 32 beers on draft, many of which are brewed here in Ventura County (such as Surf Brewing, Made West, Topa Topa, Poseidon and Five Threads). www.facebook.com/caskalehouse 805.765.4201

Two Trees Restaurant and Taps is located at 7822 Telegraph Road in Ventura, serving up 28 beers on tap along with full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. www.twotreesrestaurantandtaps.com 805.659.3365

LOOKING FOR WINE? CLICK HERE FOR LOCAL WINE TASTING OPTIONS!

NIGHTLIFE OPTIONS IN AND AROUND VENTURA COUNTY

Closing/Closed

Darryl's Couch is a craft beer bar located at 795 Camarillo Springs Road in Camarillo, with 11 rotating taps and a selection of over 30 bottled craft beers.  www.darrylscouch.com Darryl announced he will be closing its doors on Sunday, March 11, 2018, after operating for 5 1/2 years.

Go Bowling in Ventura County - Fun For All Ages!

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As you can see in Conejo Valley Guide, there is no shortage of things to do in Ventura County.  But how many of you have bowled recently?

Archaeologists found ancient bowling balls and bowling pins in an Egyptian grave site in the 1930s that date back to 3200 B.C., thus making bowling the world's oldest documented sport.  The first indoor bowling alley was Knickerbockers of New York City in 1840.

But who cares!  Here are six reasons to go bowling:

  • You don't have to dress up. In fact, you can rent ugly shoes to bowl.
  • Retractable bumpers make bowling more fun little ones and terrible bowlers alike.
  • Bowling teaches kids math and geometry skills. Well, kind of.
  • Bowling is a great team building activity.
  • Bowling is an activity where striking is a good thing.
  • Beer and bowling go together nicely (and in my case actually seems to improve my score).
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So go support one of these local bowling alleys.  You will have fun.  Bring the little ones.

Bowling in the Conejo Valley!? Nope. Not since, 1995, when the 40 lane Conejo Village Bowl closed. It was located where Borders was until January 2010 and various county medical services now reside. Conejo Village Bowl opened in June 1960, as did the short-lived Acorn Bowl, which was located at 3089 Ventura Boulevard (subsequently renamed Thousand Oaks Boulevard).

 Acorn Bowl Thousand Oaks in the early 1960s (Photo Credit: City of Thousand Oaks Library, Pat Allen Slide Collection - Thousand Oaks Boulevard Survey)

Acorn Bowl Thousand Oaks in the early 1960s (Photo Credit: City of Thousand Oaks Library, Pat Allen Slide Collection - Thousand Oaks Boulevard Survey)