Inspiration Point on Anacapa Island is a treasure of the Channel Islands. This volcanic island separates into a chain of carved islands creating a jaw-dropping vista that drops to the ocean. A 2 mile round trip hike takes you across the tiny island to the viewpoint.
Piedra Blanca, meaning white rock in Spanish, are a series of geological rock formations in Los Padres National Forest. The Gene-Marshall Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail takes you just over a mile each way to the site. After crossing the Sespe Creek, the white rocks appear and create a stark contrast to the surrounding forest.
At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. A moderate-strenuous 3 mile round trip hike takes you to one of the best vistas in Southern California. Malibu, the Channel Islands, Ventura and Santa Barbara can all be seen on a clear day. Once at the top, do not forget to sign and enjoy the log.
With its swaying palm trees framing the scene, Surfers Point Park is a great place for a beach stroll in Ventura. Between the Pier and Emma Wood State Beach, it is an inviting place where surfers flock and everyone is welcome.
Grant Park is one of the best views in Ventura. Sweeping views of the ocean, Channel Islands, Santa Monica Mountains and the city itself go on for miles. A cross has marked the top of the park since 1782 named 'Serra Cross' after Father Serra, the father of the mission system. It lies directly above Mission San Buneaventura. A new 2 mile trail makes a great hike to the top from City Hall though can also be reached by a short, winding drive.
Off the Central Coast lies Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Channel Islands owned by the National Park Service and Nature Conservancy. Inhabited by Chumash Native Americans for at least 10,000 years, they called the island 'Limuw' meaning 'in the sea'. Legend has it that the Chumash found a priest's staff left behind from the Spanish Portola expedition of 1769 and returned it. The island was then named 'La Isla de Santa Cruz' or 'Island of the Sacred Cross' from this friendly gesture.
Santa Cruz Island is the largest island in California and contains 77 miles of varied coastline from sandy shores to rocky coves. More than 600 plant species dot the island while eight grow nowhere else on Earth. A highlight to the island is spotting the curious Island Fox. Hikes for every skill level can be explored in this marvelous place for solitude.
Rocky Peak Park is a great way to escape the bustle of the city without traveling far. Shared by Los Angeles & Ventura Counties, giant sandstone boulders dominate the landscape among chaparral and oak woodlands. It is also a great place to see spring wildflowers. The parkland has been used by the Tataviam, Tongva and Chumash Native Americans for at least 8,000 years.
Cathedral Cove is one of the jewels of Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park. Its crystal clear waters and rocky shore provide a dramatic ocean vista while seclusion and lack of visitors make it an extremely peaceful treat.
Emma Wood State Beach named after Emma Catherine Wood is a secluded beach in Ventura on the Central Coast. Sitting at the mouth of the Ventura River, the Santa Ynez Mountains beautifully frame the beach and estuary in the background. Whether coming for relaxation or a stroll, this stunning beach with views of the Channel Islands will delight.
Matilija Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest is a beautiful serene wilderness in Ventura County. Trails wind through mountain streams, woodlands and springtime wildflowers. At more than 29,000 acres Matilija Wilderness is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy the present.