Need a break? Why spend your precious leisure time stuck in traffic? Or fighting crowds at the airport? The beautiful coast of Ventura County is so close, with lots of things to do that are free or very cheap indeed.
1. Visit Ventura Pier and Promenade for free – Take a walk on the Ventura Pier, built in 1872, watch the sunset or bring your fishing pole, and walk, run or bike the promenade. The Channel Islands are just offshore. Parking is $2 in an adjacent lot. There’s an annual culinary festival, this year on Oct. 7. 750 Harbor Blvd. Ventura. cityofventura.ca.gov/644/Ventura-Pier
2. San Buenaventura Mission – a Spanish mission that is open for the public to explore and enjoy. Founded by Franciscan Father Junípero Serra in 1782, San Buenaventura Mission was the ninth Spanish mission to be established in California and the last by Father Serra. Move over San Juan Capistrano, it only costs $4 for adults to get into this mission, $1 for kids and $10 for a family of four. This mission has an interesting history, including attacks by pirates, earthquakes, tidal wave and fire. Location: 211 E. Main St. Ventura. Learn more: sanbuenaventuramission.org
3. Ventura Botanical Gardens. These gardens are free to visit, and spread out along a walking trail that leads uphill, with fine ocean vistas, lookout points and benches to sit and enjoy. The garden plantings are constantly being expanded. Bring your dog. There’s free parking behind City Hall. Sturdy shoes are useful here. Location: 398 Ferro Drive, Ventura (at Grant Park). Learn more: .venturabotanicalgardens.com
4. Dallas Cowboys. Yes, you heard that right. The Dallas Cowboys are in town until Aug. 18 for their training camp, and you can visit a practice for free. Location: River Ridge Playing Fields, 2101 West Vineyard Ave. Oxnard Learn more here: visitoxnard.com/dallas-cowboys-training-camp/
5. Murphy Auto Museum. This repository of classic, rare and vintage vehicles that date all the way back to 1903 is a joy to visit, and, right now, they’re having an exhibition of vintage trailers, too. Admission is free, you can donate if you wish. They also have special events including an upcoming rally. It’s near Port Hueneme. Open Saturdays and Sundays, also many Fridays. Location: 2230 Statham Blvd. Oxnard. Learn more: murphyautomuseum.org
6. Beach it in Oxnard. Park and play for free at the beautiful Silver Strand Beach for surfing, kayaking and…