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San Buenaventura State Beach

Buenaventura Trail

From Marina Park to the Ventura Pier is 4 miles round trip

When you walk San Buenaventura State Beach, you realize that this park didn’t simply happen, it was designed—obviously during the state park system’s pre-poverty era. Instead of the grungy tables stuck in the sand found at many beaches, San Buenaventura features wide, green picnic areas. It boasts volleyball nets, a fitness trail and even a pier.

The state beach offers plenty of room for all the popular beach activities: swimming, surfing, cycling, fishing and picnicking. It’s one of Ventura County’s safest spots for a swim because the sand slopes very gradually into the ocean.

Although San Buenaventura’s sands are easily accessible (Harbor Boulevard extends along its inland border), the low sand dunes fringing the state beach give it a feeling of isolation from freeway traffic and sounds of the nearby city.

This San Buenaventura stroll begins at Marina Park, a family-friendly enclave perched just up-coast of Ventura Harbor’s west channel. A little sandy beach, grassy hillocks and wooden windbreaks encourage spreading out the beach blanket and relaxing awhile. Children enjoy playing on the sand-locked, two-masted San Salvador, a boat load of fun, with plenty of places to climb.

Directions to trailhead: From Highway 101 in Ventura, exit on Seaward Avenue. Head briefly coastward and turn left (south) on Pierpoint Boulevard. Drive 0.7 mile to the boulevard’s end and Marina Park.

The hike:
From Marina Park, walk out to the end of the jetty, observe the many boats entering and leaving Ventura Harbor, then head up-coast. You can look across the harbor channel at an inviting sand strand, the southernmost segment of San Buenaventura State Beach.

The first mile of beach is fairly narrow and stabilized by a series of rock groins extending offshore. Houses line this length of shore. The second mile of beach, which sweeps toward Pierpont Bay and the Ventura Pier, is wider.

Stairs lead from the sand up to the Ventura Pier. The original pier was built way back in 1872. Today’s recreational pier has a restaurant and a gift shop. Stroll past the anglers and enjoy great views of the coast and islands, as well Ventura and its mountain backdrop.

If you want to extend your outing, promenade Promenade Park, which begins near the foot of the pier. You can continue to the Ventura County Fairgrounds or even the Ventura River.

© 2012 The Trailmaster, Inc.
From John McKinney’s
Day Hiker’s Guide to California’s State Parks
Trail descriptions and maps have been reproduced with the permission of the author.  To learn more about The Trailmaster and other related publications please visit their website at