VENTURA— For boaters seeking a change of pace, Ventura may be a surprising option for optimal fun in the summer sun. Anchored by Ventura Harbor Village, a gathering spot and marina featuring 35 shops, galleries, restaurants and waterfront activities, sea lovers are sure to find their fair share of aquatic adventures.
Ventura Board Rentals
Ventura Board Rentals, the keystone water-based shop at the village, is in its 32nd year of business and offers daily 40-minute tours of the harbor, as well as kayaking, stand-up paddleboards (SUP), electric boats and even a fishing boat. The harbor tour runs daily through July and August from noon to 5 p.m. on the weekdays and noon to 7 p.m. on the weekends.
“It’s a narrated harbor tour. We go out and see beautiful homes, luxury yachts and a bunch of sea life,” said Douglass Cooper, the shop’s owner. “We normally see sea lions, harbor seals and, if we’re lucky, we see dolphins.”
Cooper said the stand-up paddleboards, which include the YOLO and Nalu boards, have been flying off the shelves.
“It’s a great way to see the water and the marine life without having to go in a big harbor like San Diego, where there’s cruise ships and military ships going around,” Cooper said.
Ventura Beach Rentals
Planted on the tranquil waters of Harbor Cove Beach, Ventura Beach Rentals carries single SUP, Nalu kayaks and double kayaks, surfboards, wet suits, swim fins, beach chairs, umbrellas and more. Customers can also cruise from the harbor to the historic Ventura Pier or C Street on beach cruiser rentals from Ventura Bike Rentals.
Ventura County Stand-Up Paddle Board School
Those testing the waters on an SUP for the first time should stop by Ventura County Stand-Up Paddle Board School. Owner Shaun Patterson said the facility offers plenty of lessons, rentals and demos, where he also has about 80 boards in stock for sale. Guided group and private lessons are always available.
Costs are $39 for up to two hours, which includes instruction if needed.
“As far as the lessons and rentals, I just have an ideal spot down in the harbor,” Patterson said. “It’s really beautiful out there and an ideal location.”
Summer Sailing Camp
Ventura Yacht Club offers one-week sailing camp sessions daily through Aug. 15. Students can learn the basics of sailing, strategy, sportsmanship and safety from experienced instructions. Additionally, students will hone their rigging skills and compete in short races.
The camp runs Monday through Friday and novice sailors are sent out on a variety of dinghies, including FJs, Optimists and Lasers.
“We have the Ventura Junior Yacht Club race team, so they attend,” Commodore Don Roy said. “We also have novices who come from Ventura County throughout. We have kids who come to visit their grandparents and the grandparents enroll them.”
A session costs $200 for non-members, $175 for members and $155 for additional weeks. Campers can also apply for a Keith Turner Sailing Scholarship.
“The Summer Sailing camp has been a long tradition at Ventura YC,” Roy said. “More recently we’ve committed to outreach into the community and this year we offer a total of 12 scholarships. We have a total of 250 juniors come through our program through the summer.”
Ventura Makos Surf Camp
Kids can also catch some wakes at the Ventura Makos Surf Camp, which runs through August. Established for children between the ages of 6 to 14, the camp is focused on teaching surfing safety, instruction, fitness and fun. Campers will be provided with surfboards, wetsuits, lifeguards and surf instructors. Cost of the camp is $60 a day or $300 for a week.
Those looking to stay dry can cruise the harbor with Island Packers, which offers beer or wine tasting cruises, allowing diners to experience five tastings, appetizers, live music and one complimentary beverage of choice.
Also available are dinner cruises, spearheaded by Milano’s Italian Restaurant, The Greek at the Harbor and Anacapa Brewery, where guests will wind through the scenic harbor and marinas. Special Saturday summer harbor cruises allow sea goers to cruise for two hours aboard a 65-foot power catamaran.