Skateboard Shop

1ST PLACE
Five Points Skate & Snow
2787 E. Main Street, Ventura
652-1432

2ND PLACE
One Way Board Shop
4300 E. Main St., St. B, Ventura
642-6927

3RD PLACE
Revolution Surf Co.
1775 Daily Dr., Unit C, Camarillo
383-1288
701 Wendy Dr., Newbury Park
376-1969

Dive Shop

1ST PLACE
Ventura Dive & Sport
1559 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura
650-6500

2ND PLACE
Peace Scuba Center
4572 Telephone Rd., Ste. 906, Ventura
650-3483

3RD PLACE
Pacific Scuba Center
3550 S. Harbor Blvd., Oxnard
984-2566

Golf Course

1ST PLACE
Olivas Park Golf Course
3750 Olivas Park Dr., Ventura
642-4303

2ND PLACE
River Ridge Golf Club
2401 Vineyard Ave., Oxnard
983-4653

3RD PLACE
Saticoy Country Club
4450 North Clubhouse Dr., Saticoy
485-4956

Bowling AlleyBowling

1ST PLACE
Buena Lanes
1788 S. Mesa Verde Ave., Ventura
656-0666

2ND PLACE
Ventura Bowling Center
1888 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura
648-3395

3RD PLACE
Harley’s Camarillo Bowl
305 Arneill Road, Camarillo
482-0747

Surf Spot

1ST PLACE
Surfers Point

2ND PLACE
C Street

3RD PLACE
Silver Strand

Beach

1ST PLACE
Pierpont

2ND PLACE
Silverstrand

3RD PLACE
Solimar

Bicycle Shop

1ST PLACE
Avery’s Open Air Bicycles
2386 E. Main St., Ventura
653-1100

2ND PLACE
Bill’s Bike Shop
2370 Las Posas Rd., Ste. A, Camarillo
484-1203

3RD PLACE
Metal Mountain Bike Shop
1987 Main St., Ventura
641-3968

 

Best waterfall

Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks

FallsPeople are sometimes surprised to discover a beautiful 70-foot waterfall right in the middle of the city of Thousand Oaks.

Visitors to Paradise Falls in Wildwood Park feel as though they’ve left urbanized Southern California behind and experienced what local terrain was like before all the development. “Most people are kind of confined to their homes and their jobs and they don’t get into nature, and it kind of brings you back to it,” says Kurt Gunning who’s the Outdoor Unit coordinator for the Conejo Recreation and Park District.

Paradise Falls flows down a rugged rock formation and splashes down into a pool reflecting the surrounding hills.

It’s about a three-mile round-trip hike to the waterfall depending on the route selected. Visitors can take Lynn Road to Avenida de los Arboles, where they turn left. There’s a gravel parking lot at the end of the road. The Moonridge

Trail leads to a big teepee, where signs point to Paradise Falls.

Gunning says that it’s a popular stroll. “It’s pretty easy to access, and there’s actually a picnic area right down by it, so it’s a nice area,” says Gunning. A lot of people take their kids down there or walk their dogs.

Honorable mention
Another scenic waterfall loved by people who’ve experienced it is Rose Valley Falls off Highway 33 about a dozen miles north of Ojai in the Los Padres National Forest.

It’s a short hike up a forested trail from the Rose Valley Campground, and the waterfall is a popular stop for people camping or fishing in the area.

During the summer, it provides a cooling splash as water rushes over its moss-covered face. During winter, icicles sometimes grow on it and create a frosty wonderland.

— Alex Wilson

 

Hiking trail

1ST PLACE
Arroyo Verde

2ND PLACE
Two Trees

3RD PLACE
Punchbowls

Campground

1ST PLACE
Lake Casitas Recreation Area

2ND PLACE
McGrath State Beach

3RD PLACE
Faria Park County Campground

Skate Park

1ST PLACE
Ojai Skate Park

2ND PLACE
Oxnard Skateboard Park
3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard

3RD PLACE
Camarillo Skate Park
1030 Temple Ave., Camarillo

 

Best bird watching spot

Santa Clara River Estuary

bird watchSecluded ponds that are part of Ventura’s city wastewater treatment facilities as well as the nearby Santa Clara River Estuary get high marks from bird watchers. They flock to the adjoining habitats to watch local birds like pelicans and sandpipers as well as migratory species that stop to rest on their long journeys.

It seems slightly surprising that settling ponds where chemicals evaporate before treated wastewater is discharged into the river would be attractive to birds. But city leaders encourage people to visit the area they call the Ventura Harbor Wetlands Ecological Reserve.

Ventura Audubon Society board member Art Marshall says there’s usually a concentration of beautiful birds there, including egrets, herons and many types of ducks. “It’s an interesting place to see a lot of different kinds of birds in a fairly short field trip,” says Marshall.

Birders like the opportunity to see migrating birds they may never have encountered before in Ventura County. “They get pretty excited about that because a lot of people keep life lists of birds they’ve seen,” says Marshall.

The settling ponds are open to the public but are a bit tricky to access since birders need to enter through the city’s wastewater treatment plant during business hours or when special tours are organized by the city or by bird watching groups.

Visitors stop by the administration building off Spinnaker Drive and Angler Court to sign in and get directions. City leaders are working to make the reserve a more popular destination by building walkways, interpretive signs and public art exhibits.

The Santa Clara River Estuary is accessible from the beach near the Ventura Harbor Village and Surfers Knoll parking lots by walking south along the beach until you reach the river.

— Alex Wilson
 

Park

1ST PLACE
Arroyo Verde
Ventura    

2ND PLACE
Camino Real
Camarillo

3RD PLACE
Marina Park
Ventura

View

1ST PLACE
Grant Park
Ventura

2ND PLACE
Two Trees
Ventura

3RD PLACE
Cemetary Park
Ventura

Historical Landmark

1ST PLACE
San Buenaventura Mission
Ventura

2ND PLACE
Grant Park
Ventura

3RD PLACE
Two Trees
Ventura

 

Best beach to find sand dollars

Port Hueneme/Ormond Beach

One of Ventura County’s greatest attractions is it numerous beaches. From the swells at Surfer’s point to the playground at the pier in Ventura to the seemingly endless dunes of Oxnard Shores and the breaks at Silver Strand, there is little to be desired that can’t be found here. But one thing simply seems to elude some treasure seekers: unbroken seashells and sea glass.

While bits and pieces can be found strewn along the various destinations, the beach at Port Huemene has left visitors with pockets full of sea glass and whole sand dollars. Some other types of unbroken seashells can be found there, but stick to sand dollar hunts.

Spring and summer are the best seasons of the year to go, and go only when the tide is out, usually in the early morning. The stretch of beach between the pier and the electricity plant can yield up to eight to 10 sand dollars during any casual morning walk.

Just remember to keep scanning the ground while walking, and don’t get discouraged by the large number of broken sand dollars — a whole one is only a few feet away.

A variety of sea glass — glass that has been tumbled and smoothed by the water and sand, creating small pieces of smooth, frosted glass — can be found on occasion. A lot of brown and clear glass can be found. Blue and red sea glass are rare.

— Michael Sullivan