Sunny beaches and sparkling stretches of coastline are just the start of the adventure in Ventura.
For some of the best beaches in California, explore Ventura County—an outdoor playground on the Central Coast. This stretch of shoreline north of Los Angeles is famous for its sandy shores and off-the-grid feel. Savvy campers come here to surf, swim, kite surf, and enjoy fresh seafood at ocean-front cafes. For beach camping near the waves, you can't beat Ventura's county parks. Besides the sun and waves, Hobson Beach Park boasts hot showers and tent sites with full hookups. At Rincon Parkway Beach, RV camping by the surf is all the rage. If you're not staying at the beach campground, be warned—day use parking is tough to find. While there's not much sand left at high tide, Faria Beach Park is a surfer's paradise. As a bonus, the wharves and historic missions of Santa Barbara are just a short drive away. Just north of Ventura, Emma Wood State Beach is rustic and wild. Cycle the eight-mile paved biking path, or spot wildlife at the Ventura River Estuary. South of town, you find Point Mugu State Park. This craggy corner of the Santa Monica Mountains boasts 5 miles of beaches and 70+ miles of hiking trails. If you're really looking for an adventure, visit the Channel Islands. The island archipelago is a haven for outdoor fun. Sea kayaking, seal watching, scuba diving, and backcountry camping are just the beginning. The Ventura County coast clearly has a lot to see, but don't miss the hidden gems inland. Sprawling Lake Casita is a great spot for boating and fishing. At nearby Foster County Park, lush hiking trails meander along the Ventura River. Thanks to Ventura's mild climate, most beach campgrounds, and state parks are open year round. Just keep in mind that the dry weather poses a fire hazard. Be on the safe side—follow all campground fire rules, and check the news for ongoing wildfires before you hit the road.