A Beautiful California Weekend – California vacation
California vacation – California vacation packages Get the beautiful California weekend with these destinations – romantic getaways in California. On this easy road trip along California’s iconic Highway 101, a world of farm-fresh cuisine, unforgettable waterfront vistas, and one of America’s wildest and most inspiring National Parks beckons in Ventura County West.
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Ventura Harbor is the heart of Ventura County West. Just up the California coast from Malibu and comprising the cities of Camarillo, Oxnard, Hueneme, and Ventura, plus the five Channel Islands (known as the “American Galapagos” for their natural beauty and rare animal and plant species), Ventura County West is an easy weekend escape. Head over to Ventura Harbor for dining on super-fresh seafood and shopping. You can also fish off the historic pier or get out on the water in a rented kayak.
Ventura’s Main Street mingles small-town charm with Spanish colonial architectural styles, all in a decidedly contemporary scene where you’ll find cool art and the kind of cutting-edge, locally sourced cuisine you’d expect from one of California’s prime wine and food destinations. Downtown Ventura is home to artisan chefs who focus on the region’s incredible seafood and fresh-from-the-farm produce.
A short drive down Highway 1 from Ventura, the city of Oxnard’s Seafresh Grill serves up freshly sourced delights like fried oysters and an amazing raw bar, plus outdoor dining on Channel Islands Harbor in good weather. The harbor also offers the opportunity to go sailing and kayaking, and when you’re ready for some quiet time in the sun, you can hit Oxnard Beach Park.
Brophy Bros. Restaurant & Clam Bar, in Ventura Harbor, is one of our favorite spots for fresh seafood, clams, signature Bloody Marys, and brimming bowls of New England clam chowder that rival any we’ve tasted on either coast.
Dig into the mezze platter for two at The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood in Ventura Harbor. The restaurant not only serves up traditional Greek fare with an upscale flare, but even showcases belly dancing and Greek folk dancing on weekends.
Camarillo, a short drive down the 101 from Ventura, is home to an excellent Commemorative Air Force WWII Aviation Museum where you’ll find classic aircraft that celebrates the achievements of the Greatest Generation on weekends. Camarillo, best known for its Premium Outlets (160 designer and name-brand shops), is a destination in its own right with great wine bars and brewpubs in its historic Old Town, the opportunity to tour a restored ranch house, and the Channel Islands Art Gallery. When it’s time to rest your head in Camarillo, Bella Capri Inn & Suites is a boutique hotel in the heart of Old Town.
Channel Islands National Park is perhaps Ventura County West’s “marquee” attraction, but you can start your exploration of the islands without leaving the mainland, at the park’s visitors center in Ventura. The center includes an excellent bookstore, displays devoted to the marine life of the islands, exhibits that focus on each of the five islands, and a 25-minute film, “A Treasure in the Sea,” that you should definitely make time for.
Oxnard is a “gateway” to the Channel Islands, with service from Channel Islands Harbor. The city is also home to the Channel Islands Maritime Museum.
Channel Islands National Park is just 11 miles offshore, but its five distinct islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) have been isolated from the mainland for so many thousands of years that they are host to unique species of animals and plants, and even the source of archeological discoveries like nowhere else in the world.
Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park is an unforgettable sight as you approach it on the water. As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial year in 2016, we are psyched to visit the islands that comprise one of the wildest and most beautiful parks in the U.S. If you have a California vacation, don’t miss this attraction.
Ventura’s downtown packs a diverse cultural scene into a small package, including live theater, the Museum of Ventura County, the charming San Buenaventura Mission, and the 10-day Ventura Music Festival. Overlooking downtown stands a sculpture of Junipero Serra, who was not only the father of the Spanish missions in California but also the first to bring European winemaking to California. Ventura County West is now home to several acclaimed wineries, such as Herzog, Four Brix, and Cantara, that are giving their better-known neighbors to the north some tasty competition.
Anacapa Brewing Company, in Ventura, serves up hand-crafted ales and lagers produced in their 12-tank brewery. Can’t decide which one to sip? The brewery offers tasting flights to give you a variety from light to dark to choose from. Hungry? Tuck into the restaurant’s Two-Story Brewhouse Burger, Szechwan Shrimp Skewers, or their renowned fish & chips.