Ventura Makos, Best Surf School

With a team of expert surfers, a tried-and-true program and an Aloha Spirit, this beloved institution has helped even the most inexperienced landlubbers hang 10. But surf classes (for all ages!) are just one of the many services Ventura Makos offers. Surf teams, surf camps, surf therapy and specialized offerings for corporate and group events enable anyone and everyone to get wet and appreciate the unique communion with nature that surfing can provide. Photo by @mattkolo


Billiards

1ST PLACE

Stiix 
2520 E. Main St., Ventura
805-641-2020, www.facebook.com/StiixBilliards

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Victoria Pub
1413 S. Victoria Ave., Suite F, Ventura
805-650-0060, www.victoriapubandgrill.com

Q Club
2362 N. Oxnard Blvd., Oxnard
805-278-1231, qcluboxnard.com

Bowling

1ST PLACE

Buena Lanes
1788 Mesa Verde Ave., Ventura
805-677-7770, www.buenalanes.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Harley’s Camarillo Bowl
305 Arneill Road (Pickwick Center), Camarillo
805-482-0747, www.harleysbowl.com

Discovery Ventura
1888 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura
805-856-2695, www.discoveryventura.com

Charity Event

1ST PLACE

Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival
www.casapacifica.org/news/events/annual_wine_food_festival

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Ventura Music Festival
venturamusicfestival.org/

American Cancer Society, Relay For Life Of Ventura
secure.acsevents.org

Cultural Event

1ST PLACE

4th of July Street Fair, Ventura
www.cityofventura.ca.gov/1723/Events

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Artwalk Ventura
www.artwalkventura.org

Surf Rodeo
surfrodeo.org

Drive In Event

1ST PLACE

Concerts In Your Car
10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura
concertsinyourcar.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Rubicon Theater Company
1006 E. Main St., Ventura
805-667-2900, rubicontheatre.org

Oxnard Performing Arts Center
800 Hobson Way, Oxnard
805-385-8147, oxnardperformingarts.com

Fun For Kids & Adults

1ST PLACE

Golf N’ Stuff
5555 Walker St., Ventura
805-644-7131, golfnstuff.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Skating Plus
1720 Mesa Verde Ave., Ventura
805-644-2121, www.skatingplus.com

DEFY (Previously DojoBoom)
193 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks
805-410-4690, defy.com

Golf Course

1ST PLACE

Olivas Links
3750 Olivas Park Drive, Ventura
805-677-6770, www.olivaslinks.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Best Place for an Urban Adventure
Ventura Botanical Gardens
567 S. Poli St., Ventura
805-232-3113
www.venturabotanicalgardens.com
Imagine an outdoor space with beautifully maintained, meandering trails spread out over more than 40 acres that take you past thousands of plant species from Mediterranean regions across the world. Throw in some glorious views of the city that extend to the Pacific Ocean (and — on a clear day — Santa Cruz Island), a polished welcome center and even a small but well curated garden and gift shop.
Now imagine all this just steps away from your favorite bar, shop or restaurant.
Downtown Ventura has a lot to recommend it in terms of shopping, dining, culture and (when there’s no pandemic) entertainment. And thanks to the Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG), it can lay claim to a wonderful outdoor experience, too.
VBG is sits on over 100 acres of land on the hillsides just behind Ventura City Hall on Poli Street — meaning you can hit the trail for a moderately strenuous hike after brunch or a few beers without even moving your car (although there’s a decent parking lot if you choose to drive to the trailhead). Currently only around 40 acres of this are accessible via trail, although it is hoped that by 2050, most of the area will be developed as a natural attraction on par with other Southern California gardens such as the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens or Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens.
In the meantime, visitors can enjoy a botanist’s glimpse of Chile, South Africa and Australia as well as an impressive collection of species native to California. There are representatives from Europe’s Mediterranean Basin, too, and although these sustained significant damage from the 2017 Thomas Fire, there are plenty of cultivars to take in.
More than a stroll, less than a trek, a visit to the Ventura Botanical Gardens will entail a gentle climb of about a mile (one way) with a 354-foot elevation gain. There are switchbacks, attractive benches to rest a spell and plenty of points from which to take in the spectacular views . . . with lovely plants of all kinds to guide your way. Don’t miss the sculptures of Artre Forastero on display through November, an art exhibit organized in partnership with the Museum of Ventura County.
Beaches are what made Ventura County famous, but its hillsides are a special environment all on their own. There’s no better, or easier, way to enjoy them than the Ventura Botanical Gardens.
The Ventura Botanical Gardens are open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed on Mondays. VBG members are always free; non-members pay an entry fee of $7, which goes towards maintenance of the gardens and trails. Visit free of charge on Fridays; leashed dogs are welcome on Wednesdays and Fridays. — Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

River Ridge
2401 W. Vineyard Ave., Oxnard
805-983-4653, www.riverridge-golfclub.com

Ojai Valley Inn
905 Country Club Drive, Ojai
805-697-8780, www.ojaivalleyinn.com

Museum

1ST PLACE

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library And Museum
40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley
805-522-2977, www.reaganfoundation.org

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Museum Of Ventura County
100 E. Main St., Ventura
805-653-0323, venturamuseum.org

Channel Islands Maritime Museum
3900 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard
805-984-6260, cimmvc.org

Overnight Accommodations

1ST PLACE

Ojai Valley Inn
905 Country Club Drive, Ojai
805-697-8780, www.ojaivalleyinn.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Embassy Suites
2101 Mandalay Beach Road, Oxnard
805-984-2500, www.mandalayembassysuites.com

Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
450 E. Harbor Blvd., Ventura
805-648-2100, cpventura.com

Place To Swim

1ST PLACE

Ventura Aquatic Center
901 S. Kimball Road, Ventura
805-654-7511, www.cityofventura.ca.gov/612/Aquatics

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Ventura Family YMCA
3760 Telegraph Road, Ventura
805-642-2131, www.ciymca.org

Pierpont Racquet Club
500 Sanjon Road, Ventura
805-648-5161, www.pierpontrc.com

Surf School

1ST PLACE

Ventura Makos Surf Camp
805-312-0713, www.venturamakossurfcamp.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Mary Osborne Surf Camp
1225 E. Main St., Ventura
805-973-7263, www.maryosbornesurf.com

Silver Strand Surf School
805-426-0765, www.silverstrandsurfschool.com

Tennis Court

1ST PLACE

Pierpont Racquet Club
500 Sanjon Road, Ventura
805-648-5161, www.pierpontrc.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Camino Real Park
Dean Drive and Varsity Drive, Ventura
805-652-4550, www.cityofventura.ca.gov/219/Parks-Recreation

Libbey Park
210 S. Signal St., Ojai
805-646-5581,
www.ojairec.com/parks-and-facilities/city-parks/libbey-park/

Yacht Club

1ST PLACE

Channel Islands Yacht Club
4100 Harbor Blvd., Channel Islands Harbor
805-985-2492, www.ciyc.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Ventura Yacht Club
1755 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura
805-642-0426, venturayachtclub.org

Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club
2600 Harbor Blvd., Oxnard
805-985-7292, pcyc.org