The Channel Islands Harbor
Get your thrills — or just chill — at the Channel Islands Harbor
By Misty Hall
Whether you have just a few hours or a few days, the Channel Islands Harbor offers a rich variety of fun activities for the whole family. This large, sprawling harbor is one of Southern California’s hidden gems, but it’s just minutes from the freeway; exit Harbor Blvd. in Ventura, head south a few miles, and you’ll run smack into it. Families, couples, gal-pals on a mini-staycation — all will find plenty of ways to make new memories in the Channel Islands Harbor.
Here are some of our favorite spots, activities, and events. But with more than 300 acres of land and water to explore, we encourage you to get out and discover on your own!
• Keep the kids busy with camps and classes. The Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club offers youth sailing lessons throughout the summer. Not only will they learn to sail, they’ll learn important lessons on teamwork, communication, and earn a healthy respect for the ocean, too. If they’d rather be in the water than on it, consider Junior Lifeguards. An excellent gateway into summer lifeguarding, the perseverance and self-confidence they’ll gain in this program is sure to stick with them for years to come.
• Get some exercise and have a ball with the family. Go peddling on a variety of single and multi-person bicycles at Wheel Fun Rentals! Or, try a kayak adventure in the Channel Islands National Park with Channel Islands Kayak Center, Blue Ocean Kayaking, or on the Sunfish.
• Get educated. The Channel Islands Maritime Museum has tons of rotating exhibits and hands-on fun. Learn about the early maritime history of the region and see some awesome pieces of history (like canons and artwork dating back to the 15th century).
• Fill your belly by the water. In the Channel Islands Harbor, you’ve got loads of choices! Whether you want something All-American (Ventura BBQ Co. or Toppers Pizza), something sweet (Honey Cup Coffee and Kitchen, Spudnuts Donuts, or Missy’s Cupcake Creations), something a little more exotic (The Masala Twist for Indian food, or Moqueca for Brazilian), or are just craving super-fresh seafood (Sea Fresh Channel Islands, Fisherman’s House, or H.C. Seafood), you’ll find plenty to fill your belly. Want to go upscale? Try The Lookout Bar & Grill or The Waterside Restaurant and Wine Bar for killer eats and wonderful views. Or pick up goodies for a Sunday picnic at the Farmers’ Market (10 am to 2 pm) and Harbor Mart Deli & Wines.
• Order a few rounds at the Rudder Room. This local hang-out is a classic no-frills bar with a bonus — it just happens to have insane views. Get a drink and dip your toes in the sand with your friends out back as you watch the boats come and go out the mouth of the harbor.
• Go for an event (then stay and play). Love live music? What about fairytales? Or are cars more your thing? If you visit the Channel Islands Harbor this summer, consider the boxes checked. Check out channelislandsharbor.org/events-festivals before you go. You’ll find a long string of various musical acts performing in the ongoing Concerts by the Sea, car shows for British cars and Volkswagens as well as classic cars, and fairytale magic events to stoke the imagination.
• Want a day on the water? Boy, have you come to the right place! Take a sunset cruise on the Scarlett Belle, a stunning paddlewheel boat. Go parasailing with Channel Islands Parasail. Go SCUBA diving on the Sunfish. Take an island tour and go whale watching with Island Packers and Channel Islands Whale Watching. Rent a sailboat (complete with captain!) with Sail Channel Islands. Rent a kayak, stand-up paddleboard, paddle-boat, or motorboat with Hopper Boat Rentals. Go ocean fishing out of Hook’s Landing and Channel Islands Sportfishing. The possibilities are endless!
Start planning your adventures at channelislandsharbor.org, or just hit the road and hang in the Harbor!