4 Unusual Things to Do in Ventura County Coast

Are you a “road less traveled” kind of person? Do you love finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants and wandering through museums filled to the brim with unique antiques? Do you find humor in the odd, weird or strange? Well, you’re in luck! Like any cool coastal town worth its sea salt, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme all have some fun, offbeat experiences you should definitely do while in town. Here are a few unique sites to visit while exploring Ventura County Coast.

Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology Museum

439 Calle San Pablo, Camarillo

Don’t let the name intimidate you. The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology Museum—WFVZ for short—is home to one of the largest ornithology collections in the world and a once-in-a lifetime experience for avid bird watchers and novices of all ages. Here you’ll get to see one of the largest eggs in the world (the elephant bird egg, about the size of seven ostrich eggs or 180 chicken eggs!) and thousands more from over 4,000 bird species, as well as nests, preserved bird specimens, fossils, and more.

Call ahead to book your tour, and visit the website for hours and admission.

📷 : @toddlerew

Channel Islands Maritime Museum

3900 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard

Drink up the quirkiness, me hearties, yo ho! (That’s pirate talk for “You gotta check this place out and grab your friends.”) The Channel Islands Maritime Museum is a treasure trove of, well, treasure, including trinkets, ship models, paintings, photographs, and downright oddities. One exhibit is so strange, it actually made it on Atlas Obscura: the Prison of War Bone Model Ships, which French prisoners of war carved from the bones of their meat rations. 

Another exhibit, “Sailor’s Pockets,” details the odd, intimate, and useful objects sailors throughout history carried in their pockets. Take a peek at what sailors liked to eat, drink, smoke, and play with while enduring cramped living quarters and dangerous working conditions on the open ocean.

Check the museum website or call (805) 984-6260 for more information and hours of operation.

📷 : @channelislandsmaritimemuseum

Ventura Botanical Gardens

567 South Poli St., Ventura

See and smell some of the rarest plants in the world—including one that gives off the aroma of hot maple syrup—at the Ventura Botanical Gardens. Located just blocks away and walking distance from the welcoming shops and restaurants of Downtown Ventura, the gardens are filled with beautiful flora and fauna and offer unbelievable views of the nearby Channel Islands and Santa Monica Mountains.

Stroll through the grounds and stop to smell the Chilean Escallonia illinita bush (that’s the maple syrup plant) and countless other species from Mediterranean climate zones around the world. The gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

After your visit, head downtown for lunch at a craft brewery, seafood restaurant or any of Ventura’s popular local spots for a bite to eat. Not ready to end your very “unusual” afternoon? Pop into The Calico Cat Bookshop (open since 1975) to find a rare or vintage book about plants that will look great displayed as a memento of the trip on your coffee table at home. 

📷 : @vbgventura

Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum

220 Market St., Port Hueneme

Spend a laid back day lounging in the sun at Hueneme Beach Park and then mix in a little learning with a trip to the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum. Located in the old Hueneme Bank Building, this charming community museum has some peculiar finds:

  • A 3,000-piece collection of salt and pepper shakers (worth the visit alone)
  • A barbed-wire collection that dates back to 1891 
  • The original anchor and bell of the historic U.S.S. Norton Sound

Do you like bananas? You’ll be excited to know that Port Hueneme is the “Banana Capital of the West.” There’s even an annual Banana Festival! This yellow fruit takes center stage in this beach town.

📷 : @museumaday

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Visit these regions of Ventura County Coast

Camarillo
Oxnard
Ventura
Port Hueneme
Channel Islands National Park

Regions

Ventura County Coast

Ventura County Coast is a string of four communities that radiate warmth from welcoming people and California sunshine. The region embodies the casual and active spirit of classic, where the seafood is fresh, the beer is handcrafted and the weather is the kind you dream about. Spend the day exploring miles of beaches, incredible harbors or lush green golf courses. Hop on a boat for a day trip to the Channel Islands National Park, where you can see breathtaking views of the Southern California coastline. With a bustling culture, high end and vintage shopping, a lively culinary spirit and beautiful outdoor experiences, Ventura County Coast calls on every visitor to find their vibe. From hiking and biking to sailing and snorkeling, from shopping and dining to just plain relaxing, Ventura County Coast will fill your days with a lifetime of memories.

Camarillo

Camarillo

An hour north of Los Angeles, Camarillo is nestled at the base of the Conejo foothills surrounded by verdant green fields and cool ocean breezes. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, enjoy Camarillo alfresco. From outdoor shopping and concerts, to delicious dining and fun events, Camarillo has it all. With small town charm and a rich history, it is the place for romantic weddings and corporate venues. Visit the historical sites and museums during the day, and walk along Old Town for dinner and drinks at night. A great getaway for everyone, Camarillo is the ideal place to Come for the Sun, Stay for the Fun.

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Oxnard

Oxnard

Rally your tribe and head for the Central Coast. California cool, panorama-perfect, culturally authentic and vibrant beyond measure. Oxnard is home to miles of pristine white sand beaches, electric nightlife, some of the best taquerias in the state, historic Victorian era architecture, the California Strawberry Festival, and an expansively picturesque harbor that serves as the closest access point to the Channel Islands National Park. Just sixty miles northwest of LAX and in close proximity to Santa Barbara and other major destinations, Oxnard is one of California’s best kept secrets.

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Ventura

Ventura

A place that embodies a casual soul and unexpected allure, Ventura is a vibrant town that checks stress and pretense at the door.  Its artistic culture, enduring history and privileged locale is crazy-inviting, very much alive, and refreshingly human.

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Port Hueneme

Port Hueneme

Just sixty miles northwest of Los Angeles, in the heart of the Central Coast, you’ll find Port Hueneme, the friendly city by the sea. Port Hueneme is the place for travelers looking to dig their toes in the sand, take a long walk, drop a fishing line off the pier or just kick back and relax. With walking and biking trails winding throughout the city and a perfect climate almost year round, you can revive your soul in Hueneme.

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Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park is an American national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U.S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean.

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