Best hotels in Ventura
Ventura IntroductionCalifornia’s historic Camino Real runs through the heart of Ventura, a testament to the city’s roots in the Spanish mission of San Buenaventura. After more than a century as a largely self-contained agricultural community based around the mission complex, the construction of U.S. Route 101 from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara heralded a new era for this community. The discovery of oil in the 1920s then brought a real-estate boom, and many of the heritage landmarks of Ventura’s storied downtown date from this period. Ventura was also the birthplace of Earl Stanley Gardner’s famous ‘Perry Mason’ novels, many of which were drafted in the First National Bank building.
Hotels in VenturaVentura hotels epitomize the same spirit of generous hospitality that characterized the early missions, although the standard of comfort is a lot higher these days—expect to find soft mattresses and crisp linen in place of simple wooden bunks and meager blankets. Many hotels in Ventura have pools and fitness suites, while others enjoy panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean. Spread out in a spacious hotel suite or enjoy the retro ambience of a traditional motel. Demand peaks during the popular summer and Christmas vacations, so you’ll need to book well in advance to secure the most competitive Ventura hotel rates and your first choice of dates.
Where to stayMost of the hotels in Ventura are clustered around Route 101, and dramatically located between the mountains and the ocean—meaning you’ll never be far from a spectacular view. Stay in a well-appointed downtown inn, with Ventura’s lively restaurant scene and fabulous shopping facilities all within a pleasant stroll from your hotel lobby. Rent a condo close to Marina Park and benefit from beautiful vistas across the bay and the lively ambience of the Ventura Harbor Village complex on your doorstep. Or head southeast toward Riverpark to find a convenient highway motel and enjoy tranquil walks along the Santa Clara River.
Things to seeThe Mission San Buenaventura is one of the highlights of Ventura’s historic downtown. The 1809 chapel that replaced the original 1782 building after it was destroyed by fire has been carefully restored for worship and also houses a small museum. Wander round the charming garden to absorb the spiritual atmosphere and hear the tolling of the single remaining mission bell. Then stroll along Main Street to the grand neoclassical City Hall, an architectural masterpiece dating from 1910, and admire the statue of mission founder Father Junipero Serra. Another important link in Ventura’s heritage trail is the Olivas Adobe, a magnificent adobe hacienda dating from 1841. This rare surviving example of traditional California Rancho architecture is set in a beautiful courtyard decorated with rose murals. You can take a tour of the hacienda or check out the program of outdoor events, which includes fascinating living-history reenactments.
How to get to VenturaU.S. Route 101, the Pacific Coast Highway, is still the most atmospheric way to arrive in Ventura. This storied highway is the longest in California, running from Los Angeles to the Oregon state line, and includes many sections that follow the historic mission road, El Camino Real. Ventura is also a station on Amtrak’s scenic Pacific Surfliner route from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Travel in Ventura is provided by the bus network operated by Gold Coast Transit, and a free trolley service runs between downtown and the Ventura Harbor Village complex.