Holiday Fun at Ventura Harbor

It’s of my favorite times of the year to visit the city of Ventura and Ventura Harbor. Bring the family to one of the most wonderful times of the year at Ventura Harbor Village. Shop local, see live reindeer, stand under faux snow flurries, see boats of all sizes decorated for a special Holiday Boat Parade, and listen to carolers clad in costume warm your spirits

The Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace at Ventura Harbor Village is on Saturday, December 11, featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus with their reindeer. Santa is going to start the day with a Stand Up Paddle at 11 a.m.  

The picturesque harbor shines brighter during the holidays with harbor views while dining on covered patios. Visitors can shop along the promenade to find seaside gifts for underneath the tree. Holiday shoppers can give the gift of year-round experiences with gift cards from Islands Packers, Ventura Boat Rentals, The Ultimate Escape Rooms, Ventura Comedy Club, and Ventura Dive & Sport. The seaside destination entices shoppers with a Holiday Shopping Passport, whereby they can get stamps and enter to win a $150+ holiday gift package plus $25 each week of gift cards from November 27- December 19, 2021.   www.VenturaHarborVillage.com.

Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace

On Saturday, Dec. 11, the Ventura Harbor Village is hosting its annual Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace from noon- 4 p.m. Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus and their live reindeer, enjoy live carolers, a faux snowfall for kids and much more while you shop at locally-owned stores and art galleries. ‘Tis the season for giving, with two opportunities to make a difference to help others this holiday season.

  1. Canned Food Drive benefitting Food Share Ventura County. Bring ten cans and receive a fun complimentary reindeer antler head band, perfect for the holidays, stocking stuffers and photo opps. 
  2. Sock Drive benefitting Ventura Rescue Mission. Get in the spirit of giving by donating socks, the item most often requested by shelters during the winter.

All Aboard the 2021 Island Packers Harbor Light Cruise and Parade of Lights Cruise

  • Island Packers Public Harbor Lights Cruise: View holiday lights with friends/family during a one-hour Island Packers Public Harbor Light Cruise from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Check for dates available on  December 8-12, 15 and 19 and December 20-23, 2021. The cost is $17 for adults, $14 for seniors 55+ and $11 for children. 
  • For those who wish to see the colorfully-lit boats up close, look no further than Island Packers Parade of Lights Public Cruise topped off by a spectacular fireworks on December 17 and 18, 2021 at 5:45 and 6 p.m. The cost is $36 for adults, $33 for seniors 55+ and $26 for children under 12 years old.  Group rates are also available www.IslandPackers.com

Winter Escape with Island Packers

Island Packers is the official boat concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park, and re-opened, as of January 29, 2021, running daily departures to the Channel Islands from Ventura Harbor Village. 

Winter is the ideal time to see the Pacific Gray Whales migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel. They start in their feeding grounds in Alaska to their breeding grounds in Baja. Sightings of the Pacific Gray Whales are normal in the National Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island beginning in late December and extending through middle of April 14, 2021. Over 20,000 whales make the 6,000 mile trip twice a year.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gray-whale-tail-_lottie-keenan-d6a7850.jpg

So far, sightings of the southern migration for Pacific Gray Whales have also included humpback whales, fin whales, and occasionally orcas. Common dolphin always entertain passengers as they frolic and ride the bow or the stern in the boat’s wake. 

IMG_7160

 For Island Packers most recent sightings visit www.islandpackers.com or find them on Twitter.

Start a half-day Winter Whale Watch Cruise viewing the Ventura coastline out to the Channel Islands. The captain may change course, depending on where the whales may be sighted.  

Winter Whale Watch excursions now thru mid-April from Ventura and/ or Channel Islands Harbor depart at 9:30 a.m. and/or 1:30 p.m.  Rates for half-day trips are $40 for adults, $36 for seniors, and $29 for children 3-12. Children 2 years old and younger ride free.  

All-day trips with landings to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island are also available year-round. On Santa Cruz, both Scorpion Anchorage and Prisone’s Harbor are now open. All-day trips run from $ 62.00 to $ 84.00 per adult.  Camping is open again on all of the islands except at Scorpion Campground on Santa Cruz Island.

The crew aboard the whale watching cruises have years of experience sighting whales and other marine life. They narrate and inform guests throughout the cruise about marine mammals, sea birds, and the coastline

 5 COVID- 19 Safety protocols keeping visitors safe and comfortable while cruising the Channel Islands include:

1.Passenger loads limited to under 50% capacity to better facilitate social distancing.

2. Island Packer employees are health screened before every shift.

3. Eating and drinking permitted outside cabin area 

4. Passengers will be given a health inquiry before being allowed access to office or boats and everyone required to wear face covering on board vessels

5. Office and boat crew wear appropriate PPE when in contact with the public

For more information about Island Packers, call 805-642-1393  or book or visit online at  www.Islandpackers.com. Island Packers at 1691 Spinnaker Dr., Suite 105B, in Ventura Harbor Village. For visitor information, contact Ventura Harbor Village at 805-477-0470, online at www.VenturaHarborVillage.com. Ventura Harbor Village is located at 1583 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura.  

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#GreatAmericanTakeout in Ventura County

Ventura Harbor restaurants and seafood markets are offering a variety of take-out/ pick-up options for the Ventura County community.  There are 11 open and participating today, March 24 for ‘The Great American Takeout.” According to Ventura Port District (VPD) General Manager Brian Pendleton, “This is an ideal way to support our restaurant owners and their employees.”

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Diners before take-out only was mandated due to COVID-19

Ventura Harbor Village’s seafood markets continue to stay open, offering customers a safe alternative to freshly caught proteins, fresh off the boats. Also, the weekly Saturday Fishermen’s Market in the Ventura Harbor Village continues from 7:30 a.m. – Noon (or while supplies lasts).

Call ahead for takeout orders and please continue to respect social distancing practices. Here’s the phone numbers and websites of the participating restaurants:

Also contact Ventura Harbor Village at 805-477-0470, or visit VenturaHarborVillage.com. Ventura Harbor Village is located at 1583 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura. Post, share, and like.   

Ventura Harbor HOLIDAY PARADE OF LIGHTS CRUISE

We arrived at the Ventura Harbor just as the sun was setting behind the Channel Islands into the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the best sunsets I have witnessed in a long time. The sky was a robin’s egg blue, the islands were visible and wispy clouds were above the horizon.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Across from the beach, the Ventura Harbor Village was decorated with colorful holiday lights on the roof lines of every shop and restaurant to celebrate Ventura Harbor’s Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

In the water were sailboats with red, green, blue and white lights running up the mast to the boom and jib line. Motorboats were decked out with live Christmas trees and a band was warming up before the show at the back of a pleasure craft. Locals and tourists placed stadium chairs along the edge of the walkway to get front row seats for the boat parade and firework show.

Strolling along the paved walkway in the Village we noticed faux snow falling near the Coastal Cone shop and Rudolph the reindeer shaking hands and posing for photos with visitors. Santa and Mrs. Claus visit children and their parents at the Carousel Stage.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Victorian Carolers serenade customers outside stores filled with holiday gifts for shoppers. On the main lawn, near Island Packers office, is a Holiday Carnival complete with Ferris Wheel, Kettle Corn and a Fun House to explore from 1 to 10 p.m.

Since it was the 40th annual Parade of Lights & Fireworks, I was invited to board a decorated 64′ Island Packers Catamaran docked at the Ventura Harbor.  While enjoying an elaborate mediterranean feast prepared by The Greek (a family owned restaurant at the Ventura Harbor since 1994), we grabbed a plate and selected triangles of pita with tzatziki and hummus; chicken breast kebobs with grilled onions and peppers; Spanakopita and etheral Moussaka.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Backing away from the dock, brightly decorated boats cruised by our boat with passengers shouting out “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” to us. There were over 30 boats joining the line for a boat parade. Power boats were first followed by sailboats and dingys.

A group of judges sat on shore to admire and rate each boat on theme, creativity,  uniqueness.  Since our boat wasn’t part of the parade, we docked at the other side of the harbor and watched the parade sail by. The National Park Boat had a small volcano erupt on board. Another boat had a line of dancing flamingos.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

After the parade we cruised to the Ventura Keys to see the holiday lights on the back of houses and docks. Many of the residents were having their own holiday party on their decks and shouted “Merry Christmas” to us as we cruised by to admire their light displays.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Afterwards our Captain took us out near the breakwater and cut the engine. At 8 p.m. the evening culminated with a spectacular launching of fireworks near our boat on a sandy berm. We all remarked that we have never been so close to fireworks, and it was quite a thrill.

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Photo by Jill Weinlein

Island Packers is cruising Dec. 19, 20, 21 and 23 on the same holiday tour through the harbor and Ventura Keys homes. While onboard it’s a party with light snacks and beverages available for purchase at the boat’s snack bar. The friendly crew members encourage guests to sing holiday carols with them during the one hour cruise. The Holiday Cruise leaves at 6:30 p.m. and returns back to shore at 7:30 p.m.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Before of after the cruise be sure to enjoy dinner near the dock at The Greek at the Ventura Harbor Village overlooking the harbor. The owners are very kind and the food is the best mediterranean cuisine in the area.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

To book a holiday light cruise go to www.islandpackers.com or call (805)642-1393. Island Packers is at 1619 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura Harbor Village.

Winter Escape to the Channel Islands with Island Packers

Island Packers, the official boat concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park, is now open (as of January 29, 2021) running daily departures to the Channel Islands from Ventura Harbor Village. Winter is the ideal time to see the Pacific Gray Whales migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel. They start in their feeding grounds in Alaska to their breeding grounds in Baja.

Sightings of the Pacific Gray Whales are normal in the National Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island beginning in late December and extending through middle of April 14, 2021. Over 20,000 whales make the 6,000 mile trip twice a year.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gray-whale-tail-_lottie-keenan-d6a7850.jpg

So far, sightings of the southern migration for Pacific Gray Whales have also included humpback whales, fin whales, and occasionally orcas. Common dolphin always entertain passengers as they frolic and ride the bow or the stern in the boat’s wake.

IMG_7160

 For Island Packers most recent sightings visit www.islandpackers.com or find them on Twitter.

Start a half-day Winter Whale Watch Cruise viewing the Ventura coastline out to the Channel Islands. The captain may change course, depending on where the whales may be sighted.  

Winter Whale Watch excursions now thru mid-April from Ventura and/ or Channel Islands Harbor depart at 9:30 a.m. and/or 1:30 p.m.  Rates for half-day trips are $40 for adults, $36 for seniors, and $29 for children 3-12. Children 2 years old and younger ride free.  

All-day trips with landings to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island are also available year-round. On Santa Cruz, both Scorpion Anchorage and Prisone’s Harbor are now open. All-day trips run from $ 62.00 to $ 84.00 per adult.  Camping is open again on all of the islands except at Scorpion Campground on Santa Cruz Island.

The crew aboard the whale watching cruises have years of experience sighting whales and other marine life. They narrate and inform guests throughout the cruise about marine mammals, sea birds, and the coastline

 5 COVID- 19 Safety protocols keeping visitors safe and comfortable while cruising the Channel Islands include:

  1. Passenger loads limited to under 50% capacity to better facilitate social distancing.

2. Island Packer employees are health screened before every shift.

3. Eating and drinking permitted outside cabin area 

4. Passengers will be given a health inquiry before being allowed access to office or boats and everyone required to wear face covering on board vessels

5. Office and boat crew wear appropriate PPE when in contact with the public

For more information about Island Packers, call 805-642-1393  or book or visit online at  www.Islandpackers.com. Island Packers at 1691 Spinnaker Dr., Suite 105B, in Ventura Harbor Village. For visitor information, contact Ventura Harbor Village at 805-477-0470, online at www.VenturaHarborVillage.com. Ventura Harbor Village is located at 1583 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura. 

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