Insider Tips with Douglas Wood

Get the scoop on the coolest places in Ventura County Coast from someone who knows! We are very pleased to announce our March hotelier, Douglas Wood of Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach and he is ecstatic to give you his top tips to visit Ventura County. Read his recommendations below!


Doug, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I have been at this wonderful beach town for 11 years, but am originally from Monterey/San Jose area. I moved here for work and the relaxed area and wonderful people kept me here.

What do you like most about VC Coast?

The best part is being able to live and work near the beach. If I am having a challenging day, I walk outside my office to our patio that overlooks the stunning Pacific mere footsteps away and say “Really, what do I have to complain about?”

What are your favorite things to do in VC Coast?  

One of the best “day trips” for us is a boat ride out to the Channel Islands. Part of what is so great about this trip is the sea life you can experience. On one of our trips, we were fortunate to see a “super pod” of dolphins that live in the channel. It was absolutely fabulous to see 6,000 of them swimming. Typically, we have seen hundreds but this was truly jaw-dropping. We also enjoy hiking at the Ventura Botanical Gardens in the hills above downtown, spending time on the beach and visiting the Ventura Harbor.

Favorite outdoor activity:

As mentioned before, we love to go out to the Channel Islands but we also get a thrill out of water sports such as paddle boarding, jet skiing and kayaking.

Favorite historic landmark:

The Ventura City Hall and Mission San Buenaventura are incredible, and they both offer such a rich history of the city. The stunning workmanship of these landmarks are something you would see in Europe. We will actually be celebrating the City of Ventura’s 150th year as a city on April 2nd, so we are excited to showcase our city’s history. The other amazing landmark to see is now a restaurant called Watermark on Main. They did a fantastic job on the remodel years ago and really kept the original look and feel of the 100+ year old building. It’s also a fantastic place to eat.

Favorite park or beach:

The Serra Cross Park is a favorite for it’s stunning views of the coast line (and our hotel) that you can see for miles. Another amazing spot is the Botanical Gardens, next to the park.

Favorite shopping:

It is an absolute blast to walk Downtown Ventura and shop. We really enjoy seeing the cool boutique shops and all of the different restaurants.

Favorite restaurant to take the family:

Our restaurant, NOM Tequila Grill, is amazing if you’re in the mood for Mexican food. The fun, friendly and authentic atmosphere make this a family favorite. If we are feeling more in the mood for seafood, Lure Fish House offers some of the best in Ventura.

Favorite happy hour:

Aqua Bar has awesome deals, an amazing view of the ocean and a great fire pit, so it is definitely a favorite. Other than that, Lure Fish House and Aloha, located on the promenade, are also really great happy hour spots.

Favorite romantic spot or family-friendly activity:

For a family friendly activity, I would highly recommend miniature golf and fun bowling at Discovery VENTURA. For a more romantic activity, we highly recommend the Ventura harbor. Watching sunsets on the beach is also truly spectacular and a must-experience.

Any other insider tips that visitors should know or things to do?

The County Fairgrounds is right downtown (on the coast) and they have something fun going on every weekend. Our promenade has miles of great walking/biking with a wonderful view of the ocean. Also, one of Ventura’s “hidden gems” is to walk or drive around the Ventura Keys where people have boat slips for garages.

About Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Our hotel is Ventura’s only hotel on the beach, with an incredible location and great sunrise/sunset views.  We are in the process of a multi-million dollar renovation that will upgrade our rooms dramatically. For events, meetings and wedding we have over 19,000 square feet of space with our two best features; the Top of the Harbor ballroom can accommodate up to 500 people and our outside Lanai/patio on the lower level has great views of the ocean, pier and the Channel Islands off our coast. We can serve up to 150 people in this space and it has a huge fire pit that people gather around all the time. Our new themed Mexican Restaurant-NOM Tequila Grill is fantastic. Our chef is originally from Jalisco, Mexico where he learned the craft of cooking from his grandmother in Mexico, so needless to say our Mexican food is very authentic.  Come and join us!

Book a stay at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach by clicking here!

Located at:

Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

450 E. Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA 93001

Phone #: 1.805.648.2100

Facebook: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach                                                         Twitter: @CPVenturaBeach