We’ve just spent a few days at the Ventura Ranch KOA campground, a place designed for kids and families with enough space for couples who want a place to stay without any kids. The land is terraced on a hillside with the pool and inflatable jumping pod at the lowest level.
A rock climbing wall, pedal carts, and the end of a zip line are at the bottom along with a number of teepees and “glamour tents.” The pool is also at the lower level and the activities are well-placed to keep them separate from the rest of the camp.
This was our second trip and we pulled in on a Saturday afternoon to a full campground and spent the afternoon and evening at the pool.
A highlight was the weather. In early August, the mornings and evenings were wonderfully cloudy and cool.
A major difference between Ventura and Los Angeles counties is Ventura has more contrast on the hillsides.
Orange groves and avocado trees provide a darker green along the lower portions of the hills while the ridges are bathed in the sun and give a golden hue and not just the burned-out brown of LA.
In the afternoon, we went two miles up 150 and parked near St. Thomas Aquinas College where we went hiking along a trail that follows the Santa Paula creek. After a couple of hours, you reach the first of two “punchbowls” with waterfalls and a rock slide.
Monday was a trip to the Ventura Pier and bike riding north along the beach, past the Ventura County fairgrounds and toward the river before a fish and chips lunch on Seaward Avenue and playing at the park and beach at the end of Pierpont Drive.
The campground emptied out Sunday afternoon so we had a stretch of time with a cool breeze and sleeping under trees after the hike.
The Ventura Ranch KOA is about one hour and twenty minutes from Pasadena and a twenty-minute drive from the Ventura Pier.
Cabins built for a couple who wants privacy but not the sterility of a hotel room add a romantic flair to a time away. Plenty of rooms have a view of the mountains and groves across the road.
Downtown Santa Paula is home to many of the region’s agricultural workers with a farm museum and oil and gas museum that take you back to the region’s history and its importance in the development of Southern California.
Whether you’re visting Los Angeles or you live and work in So Cal, camping off Route 126 and up Route 150 in Ventura County is a welcome change of pace.