Ventura County - Discover the Quality of Life Ventura County Has to Offer
Ventura County is located in the southern part of the state of California along the Pacific coast. To Californians, it is considered Gold Coast. Ventura County real estate is unique unto itself, being neither north or south. However, it does identify more with Northern California. Yes, California definitely has its own North and South, with the Santa Barbara as its Mason-Dixon line. The people of Ventura see the dividing line as the City of Oxnard and consider anyone south of there as “Southerners”. Crossing the Los Angeles County line into Ventura County, you immediately see the change of the topography and feel the sense of community. Most of the county is more rural with Ventura as the seat as well as the commercial and cultural hub.
Beginning in the 1970s, Ventura County real estate surged from a rural, fairly unknown area to the forefront of the most livable areas in the United States with its “Smart Growth” plan, a series of initiatives passed by the residents. They have protected the open spaces and prevented urban sprawl. The plan has allowed the county to maintain its status as a leading agricultural area while becoming a leader in the new technological fields.
Ventura´s coast, the Gold Coast, has a reputation for being one of the safest populated places in the nation. There are 43 miles of beaches and numerous trails for hikers and mountain bikers. The trails are located along the beaches and coastline as well as in the forest and mountains of Los Padres National Forest.
With half of its land owned by the US Government, there is an abundance and richness of various natural areas and parks. Ventura County has city, county, state and national parks within its boundaries.
History of Ventura County
For thousands of years, the area was occupied by the Chumash people. The Chumash were simple people who lived by the sea and gathered all the bounties the land and sea had to offer. In 1769, the life of all of California and the world would be changed. The life and culture of the Chumash people would be changed forever in 1782.
Farming in Ventura County was established as part of Ventura’s future when Father Serra founded the San Buenaventura Mission in 1783 and began planting citrus and other fruit trees along with various vegetables. The town that grew up around the mission is named San Buenaventura, which is known as Ventura, today.
On June 14, 1846, the way of life in California would again change. A group of 33 Americans knocked on the Mexican Governor´s door and demanded that he give California over to them. Very quietly and simply, California became the Bear Republic, which immediately declared California a US Territory. Americans from all points east began arriving to make the new territory their home. Some married into the land, some purchased land and many just “squatted”.
Life for Ventura changed again when a railroad baron by the name of Thomas Scott acquired a large holding of land. Mr. Scott was impressed by one of his top employees and sent the man to California to manage his property. The employee´s name was Bard.
Bard is regarded by many as the Father of Ventura. His descendants have been actively involved with the growth of Ventura County ever since. The Union Oil Company was founded with Bard as President in 1890. His offices were located in Santa Paula. You can visit the Union Oil Company building which still stands in Santa Paula and has been preserved as a museum.
The main Ventura oil field was drilled in 1914. The soil in the area was extremely fertile and the best citrus in the state was grown here. The citrus farmers formed the Sunkist Growers, Incorporated. It is still the world´s largest organization for citrus products.
Even with the very successful oil fields and the rich farming, the area of Ventura was slow to develop because it was not readily accessible by road. What is now called the Pacific Coast Highway connected Santa Monica to Oxnard, but the highway was not heavily traveled and Ventura County real estate remained remote and rural. In 1959, 101 Highway connecting Ventura to Los Angeles was completed. And, as they say, “The rest is history.”
Education in Ventura County
The Ventura County Board of Education serves 21 public school districts with over 145,000 students in 12 different cities. Although that is a lot to oversee, the school board is committed to providing each student in K-12 with a quality education.
Transportation in Ventura County
Ventura County real estate provides wonderfully maintained roads and highways, making everything easily accessible. The County provides public transportation served by Metrolink and Amtrak, along with Gold Coast Transit, Greyhound Lines and Vista buses. Access to the County´s five islands is provided by Island Packers ferries. The County also provides commercial and general air travel via the Oxnard and Camarillo Airports.
Communities in Ventura County
Incorporated cities within Ventura County include Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Ojai, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley and Moorpark. Smaller, unincorporated towns include Oak View, El Rio, Casa Conejo, Lake Sherwood, Oak Park, Channel Islands Beach, Barsdale, Newbury Park, Somis, Piur, Saticoy, Point Mugu, Mira Monte, and Meiners Oaks.
What to See and Do in Ventura County
Only in Ventura can you sunbathe while gazing at snowcapped mountains and go hiking or even camping in the surrounding mountains later in the day. If fishing is more to your liking, you will love Ventura County with its opportunities for both deep sea and freshwater fishing readily available. There are 13 public golf courses and 10 private courses with an additional three nine-hole courses. You can also enjoy windsurfing, surfing, scuba diving, horseback riding and bicycling. The moderate year-round climate allows for all the outdoor activities to be enjoyed throughout the year.
For those who are more inclined to indoor activities, there are museums, performing art centers, skating rinks, bowling and the like. For those who enjoy life after dark, there is fine dining, movie theaters, the Ventura Downtown Cultural District and nightclubs.