The following content is created in consultation with VenturaCountyWest, home to the idyllic destinations of Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura and the California Channel Islands. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Los Angeles' editorial staff. To learn more about VenturaCountyWest, visit VenturaCountyWest.com.
Fall Fun in VenturaCountyWest
Celebrate autumn in beautiful Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura with food, wine, music and more at these memorable events
From food tours to Victorian mansions, harbor cruises to hotels, VenturaCountyWest is the perfect fall destination.
Monday, Oct 7, 2013 Updated at 6:34 AM PST
Fall is a perfect time for a weekend getaway: the weather is still warm and there is a more relaxed and less crowded feel—the calm before the craziness of the holidays. Nowhere is the charm of the season more pronounced than in VenturaCountyWest (the cities of Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura). There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy and places to discover and explore.
Hop On The Trolley
A new trolley line in Ventura takes you on a 45-minute round trip ride through the heart of Ventura’s favorite visitor spots. Stops include the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura Harbor Village and Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau in downtown Ventura where there are more than 90 small shops and antique stores and over 60 restaurants. Also in walking distance is the gorgeous San Buenaventura Mission. The trolley route also includes local beach hotels: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, Ventura Beach Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort. The trolley is free and you can coordinate pickups and drop-offs by calling 805-827-4444.
While in Ventura, take the opportunity to experience a taste of the area’s cuisine by signing up with Ventura Food Tours. Tours offer a unique blend of food tasting, local history, culinary education, and plenty of walking! Guests will have the opportunity to meet and hear from well- known local chefs and shop owners. Tours start at 11 a.m. in downtown Ventura and last until 2:30 p.m.
Cruise the Harbor
Watch the twinkling shore lights from the deck of a 64’ powered catamaran while cruising the Ventura Harbor. Island Packers offers a number of harbor and dinner cruises during the fall. Highlights are an October 5 classic rock ‘n roll cruise featuring the Mighty Cash Cats with food catered by Milano’s Italian Restaurant. An October 26 dinner cruise features jazz and R&B by the Steve Sunnarborg Trio and food from The Greek at the Harbor. A beverage-only cruise takes place October 12.
Enjoy the Wine Harvest
Now through December is a very busy time for Ventura County wineries. Grapes are harvested, crushed and fermentation begins. The Ventura County Winery Association is offering a special Harvest Wine Passport that gives access to tastings on a self guided tour at eight wineries in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura. Most of the wineries have on-site production facilities so you can see the wine making process in action. The majority are boutique wineries, producing between 1,500 and 5,000 cases per production run so the care that goes into each bottle is exceptional. Passports are $40 each and are good for tastings at each of the eight participating wineries.
Pick Your Own Pumpkins
Agriculture is abundant in Ventura County, so it is no surprise that it has some of the freshest fruits and vegetables, many which are ready for picking in October. McGrath Brothers pumpkin patch in Ventura is fun for everyone; besides offering acres of pumpkins and squash, the farm features horse-drawn and tractor hayrides, a hay maze, and farm animals. In Camarillo, certified organic McGrath Family Farm has all sorts of fruits and vegetables that are ripening in fall, including tomatoes, peppers, melons, corn, pears, grapes and apples. The cost is $3 per person to pick plus the cost per pound of the produce.
In addition to all the fun listed above, two other fall events are worth considering, both taking place on October 27. Located at the Channel Islands Harbor Farmers Market in Oxnard, Pumpkin Fun Day includes a pumpkin decorating contest, costume contest, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin weight guessing contests, live music and a BBQ. Or check out the Adolfo Camarillo Birthday BBQ, a family-friendly event featuring great food, tours of a Victorian mansion, mariachi music and folkloric dancers.
For a full list of hotels, restaurants, dining, events and entertainment in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura, visit VenturaCountyWest.