A Guide to Taking a Day Trip to Ventura

Zack Garhart
Untitled Design 372

A Guide to Taking a Day Trip to Ventura

Southern California is filled with small surfer towns and hidden gems for travelers. Tucked in between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara is the city of Ventura. No longer a well-kept secret, Ventura is thriving. It’s filled with plenty of things to do for travelers as they explore the California coast. Accessible by train, bus, and car, visiting Ventura is a perfect day trip for those staying in Santa Barbara or Los Angeles.

Untitled Design 370

Getting to Ventura From Santa Barbara

The fastest way to get to Ventura from Santa Barbara is via car. From downtown Santa Barbara, hop on Highway 101 and head south. The highway typically takes 30 minutes without traffic but this can vary depending on the time of day. For travelers without a car, taking the train is a great option for getting to Ventura. Amtrak runs trains to Ventura daily and their station is just steps away from our Santa Barbara ITH Hostel. A one-way Amtrak ticket from Santa Barbara to Ventura costs less than $20.

For travelers on a budget, the VCTC bus has a route (Coastal Express: Route 80) that runs from downtown Santa Barbara to downtown Ventura. This is a fast and affordable way to get to Ventura from Santa Barbara. However, this bus runs less frequently and only makes a few stops. It is best to check their schedule before planning your trip to Ventura, or you will have to take the Amtrak train back to Santa Barbara. A ticket for Route 80 is only $4 each way, but the bus requires cash fare.

Getting to Ventura From Los Angeles

If you’re coming from Los Angeles, taking the train is a good way to access Ventura. Traffic in Los Angeles can be thick and your commute time can quickly double during rush hour. If you’re driving, plan your trip to Ventura during the day instead of during the morning or around dinner time. Traffic in Los Angeles typically picks up when people are coming and going from work. This means leaving at the right time can be tricky but highly important.

By train, Ventura is easily accessible from Los Angeles. From Union Station, trains regularly service Ventura. A one-way train ticket from Los Angeles to Ventura costs less than $30. Amtrak’s website offers a daily schedule of trains going to Ventura from Los Angeles.

Pamela Heckel 4dPm LIbW7I Unsplash

What to do in Ventura

Ventura is filled with local shops, great restaurants, and awesome beachfronts. For bookworms, we recommend checking out Timbre Books. This quaint bookstore is the perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing and reading something new. The bookstore hosts open mics and author events as well. If you’re looking for a good place to get some work done, Timbre Books has a great vibe for remote workers. For coffee, we recommend Singing Sun. Their interior space is cozy and it’s a great place to relax.

There are food options abound in Ventura. Being so close to the ocean, seafood is a popular choice and Ventura has no shortage of places to get fresh catches and fish tacos. A few of our favorite seafood joints are Spencer Makenzie’s Fish and Lure Fish House. Don’t miss out on the fish tacos at Spencer Makenzie’s! For other fare, check out Casa de Soria. This local Mexican restaurant serves excellent food at affordable rates and provides great service. Keep an eye out for when they feature Birria as a special!

Once you’ve cruised through town for coffee and grabbed a bite to eat, hit up The Garage Bar. This local favorite has a rotating calendar of events like Tiki Thursdays, Trivia on Tuesdays, and Karaoke on Wednesdays. It’s a great place to hang out with friends and experience Ventura like a local.

Untitled Design 369

And if you like to surf, Ventura has some of the best surfing in the area!

Being close to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles makes Ventura a great place to plan a day trip. With plenty of things to do and see, plus awesome beaches, don’t skip Ventura on your next trip to Southern California!

Are you interested in seeing more of Ventura? Watch this video!

For your solo travels, joining our Traveler’s Club is a great way to save money on future bookings at all ITH properties. It’s free and easy to sign up!

Leave a comment