Ever since the pandemic broke out, I’ve been spending a great deal of time at home. When we do go out, though, it’s usually to a handful of places we know and trust. (Think: lesser-known beaches, wide-open picnic areas, gardens and hiking trails). When we do feel an urge to grab a bite to eat, though, we almost always head out to Ventura — a lazy, historical town splayed out by a slate-blue (and freezing cold, on most days) ocean.
In Ventura, every other day is foggy. The beach is unfussy and unpretentious. The shore is dotted with pebbles and the occasional lime-green lettuce seaweed that washes up. Seagulls flock there, screeching and squabbling as they look for a crumb of something someone has left behind. In a way, Ventura has an identity entirely of its own—a sleepy one at that, but it’s all the more charming because of it. And these days, it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
Below, I’m including a roundup of my favorite spots, all of which allow for plenty of room for social distancing. (That said, please understand that “low risk” is not “no risk.” There’s always going to be some risk involved when you venture out in public. But you are hell-bent on going out, might as well do it as safely as possible. One pro tip I have is to call ahead and ask what their least crowded hours are.)
1. Sip the afternoon away at Old Creek Ranch Winery
(Perks: lots of room and various outdoor lounge areas, plus some really fabulous wine)
2. Soak up the sun (maybe) at San Buenaventura State Beach
(Pro tip: It’s a hit or miss in terms of crowd levels, so if you do end up going, I suggest doing so on a weekday, if you can.)
3. Hunker down for some beer at Topa Topa
(Perks: At the Colt St. location, picnic tables are spread out, and every Sunday, the place plays host to Game Over Catering, which churns out some of the best tacos I’ve had in California!)
4. Watch the sunset at Ventura Village Harbor
(Pro tip: The shopping/dining area here does draw a crowd, so the farther you venture out along the harbor, the better. Personally, I love watching the sun set over the lovely boats.)
Crop cardigan with tie front
Longline denim shorts in blue