Ventura County Communities
Welcome to the City of Ventura, one of America’s most livable communities. We’re located between Malibu and Santa Barbara on the blue Pacific Ocean, overlooking Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands.
People have lived along this stretch of the California coast for at least ten thousand years. San Buenaventura was founded in 1782 by Father Junipero Serra, the ninth of the California missions. He named it after the Italian St. Bonaventure, hence the nickname that Ventura is the “city of good fortune.”
The City of San Buenaventura was incorporated in 1866. The minutes of the first City Council meetings were recorded in Spanish, which was still the pre-dominant language of its time. Ventura became the County seat when Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties split in 1873. That same year, a courthouse and wharf were built, a bank was opened and the first public library was created.
An oil strike in 1914 fueled rapid growth. In the years following World War II, farmland gave way to outward suburban development. Growth has slowed in recent decades as Ventura has matured into a seaside community known for its scenic coastline and hillsides, rich culture, revitalized historic Downtown and environmental stewardship.
The California city of Camarillo, located in Ventura County, is nestled in a coastal valley 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The city is situated about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 40 miles south of Santa Barbara. Running through Camarillo is U.S. Route 101 (also known as the Ventura Freeway), the city’s principal thoroughfare. Camarillo is also easily accessible to California State Highways 126 and 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway). Nearby communities include Thousand Oaks (to the east) and Oxnard (to the west).
Founded in the mid-19th century by Adolfo and Juan Camarillo, owners of the Rancho Calleguas which comprised much of what is now the city, Camarillo owed much of its early development to the Southern Pacific railroad’s choice of the site as the location for one of its depots. For several decades, development proceeded slowly but the advent of the Ventura Freeway, completed in the late 1950s, set the stage for an ensuing period of growth. In 1962, the 3M Corporation chose the city as the home of its Mincom and Magnetic Tape Divisions and in 1964, Camarillo became incorporated. The conversion of the naval operation at nearby Point Mugu to the Pacific Missile Test Center (now known as the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division) and the creation of associated civilian labs spurred employment and further growth. The city today is an attractive bedroom community combining easy proximity to nearby industry with a smog-free semi-rural living environment.
Camarillo Points of Interest
Camarillo’s location almost halfway between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles puts visitors and residents close to a multitude of attractions within easy driving distance, as well as many places of interest within the city limits. The Camarillo Ranch, located just north of the Ventura Freeway, is home to the longtime residence of Adolfo Camarillo and his family. Built in 1892, the Camarillo Ranch House has been renovated and is now one of the city’s premiere cultural, educational and event centers. The Pleasant Valley Historical Museum chronicles the history of Pleasant Valley and the Oxnard Plain, areas where many of the city’s early pioneers settled before there was a City of Camarillo. The World War II Aviation Museum recounts WWII history and features renovated vintage aircraft, historical displays, and interactive exhibits. Some of the city’s annual events include the Summer Concerts in the Park series, held at the Performing Arts Pavilion in Constitution Park; the Annual Greek Festival held every June at the Camarillo Airport; the Camarillo Air Show, which takes place in August also at the Airport; and July’s Camarillo Fiesta and Street Fair, a giant festival with food, rides and entertainment.
The geologic structure of the Ojai Valley is essential to the charm and the spiritual influence with which it affects those who live within its gentle confines.
The Ojai Valley is ten miles long and three miles wide. The unique atmosphere that impresses even the first time visitor is due to the transverse nature of the surrounding mountains, they lie in an East/West configuration, whereas most of California’s mountains run North/South.
The sun rising at one end of the valley and setting at the other provides the residents with lingering morning and evening sun, and some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets available anywhere.
When conditions are right (nearly all of the time) everyone in the valley stands transfixed for several moments at sunset watching the surrounding mountains turn a brilliant shade of rose. It has even been given a name, “The pink moment”.
If you haven’t discovered Oxnard, you are in for a treat!
Great location, friendly accommodations, white sandy beaches, outdoor adventure, downtown attractions, award-winning festivals and the Channel Islands National Park — just 11 miles offshore!
Oxnard is steeped in a rich California history. Visit the Henry T. Oxnard National Historic District and Heritage Square for a peek into early-20th century homes. Steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was one of the first to recognize the value of our city when in 1906 he donated money to build a city library. The library is now the Carnegie Art Museum, brimming with fine 20th century California art.
Known for its gentle Mediterranean climate and stunning location along the Pacific Coast, Oxnard greets visitors with a relaxed, low-key style. Put on a casual shirt, shorts and flip-flops, and spend the day walking along the waterfront or explore the museums and galleries in downtown
Thousand OaksNestled neatly within a picturesque plateau, rimmed by tree-dotted hills and scenic mountains, the Cities of Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village are 12 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, 39 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Situated near the southeastern edge of Ventura County, adjoining the western edge of Los Angeles County, in a valley called The Conejo, Thousand Oaks is a 56-square-mile area with an average elevation of 900 feet above sea level. Today’s residents in Westlake Village, live within this beautiful, natural environment of award-winning neighborhoods, thriving businesses and enviable lifestyles. The original master-planned community of Westlake Village is transected diagonally by the Los Angeles and Ventura County line. The Los Angeles County side, consisting of 3,456 acres, was incorporated as the City of Westlake Village in 1981 and became the 82nd municipality in Los Angeles County. The Ventura County side, comprised of the remaining 8,544 acres of the original Russell ranch, was annexed into the City of Thousand Oaks in two portions in 1968 and 1972. The wisdom of the master planners in preserving, protecting and enhancing the natural environment of the area is evident today in the consistent growth and vitality of Westlake Village.
Santa Paula is steeped in history. Wafting from its vintage brew are the heady fragrances of oil and citrus. Birthplace of the Union Oil Company of California and Citrus Capital of the World are just two of Santa Paula’s claims to fame. It has also been a center of the silent movie business when Gaston Melies held sway here with his Star Film Stock Company and home of the largest lemon ranch in the world.
Today Santa Paula has the greatest collection of vintage homes, commercial buildings, churches and schools in Southern California, and is the home of the Santa Paula Airport, Aviation Museum of Santa Paula, the California Oil Museum, and the Limoneira Company. Equally historic is the Santa Paula Cemetery which dates to the early 1870s and continues to serve the city. In addition, farms of the pioneers continue to produce under the skilled supervision of their farming descendants.
Surrounded by a sea of verdant agriculture, Santa Paula remains a preserved jewel basking in the Southern California sunshine.
FillmoreThe last, best small town in Southern California. Fillmore’s motto is more than words. Sunset Magazine named Fillmore one of “The West’s Best Cities”, an honor given to only 24 communities in the western U.S. Fillmore, the last unspoiled small town in Southern California is nestled in the heart of the Heritage Valley among lush citrus groves. Fillmore was founded over a hundred years ago beside a Southern Pacific railroad station, and it’s still a “railroad” town!