Skateboard shop

1st Place
5 Points
2787 E. Main St., Ventura
652-1432

2nd Place
Revolution Surf Co.
1775 Daily Drive, Camarillo
383-1288

3rd Place
One Way Boardshop
4300 E. Main St., # B, Ventura
642-6927

Surf shop

1st Place
Ventura Surf Shop
88 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura
643-1062

2nd Place
wetSand
446 E. Main St., Ventura
652-1706

3rd Place
Revolution Surf Co.
1775 Daily Drive, Camarillo
383-1288

Dive shop

1st Place
Ventura Dive & Sport
1559 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura
650-6500

2nd Place
Pacific Scuba Center
3550 Harbor Blvd., Oxnard
984-2566

3rd Place
Channel Islands Scuba
22725 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills
818-225-1616

Golf course

1st Place
River Ridge Golf course
2401 W. Vineyard Ave., Oxnard
983-4653

2nd Place
Olivas links
3750 Olivas Park Drive, Ventura
677-6770

3rd Place
Soule Park
1033 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai
646-5633

Bowling alley

1st Place
Buena Lanes
1788 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
C-Street

2nd Place
Surfers Point

3rd Place
Mondos


cThe best place to enjoy the sand, sun and surf and to avoid the crowds

La Conchita beach 

Unincorporated Ventura County, between Ventura and Carpinteria.

Yogi Berra once said about a restaurant that “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” With La Conchita Beach, it’s kind of the reverse. It’s so empty, everyone figures there must be a reason no one goes there.

Drivers passing La Conchita tend not to even glance to either side. One reason is that it’s a tight, busy stretch of highway. Another reason is that we all recall the tragedy that befell the little roadside town when, in the midst of devastating rains in January of 2005, the cliff collapsed, killing 10 people.

Understandably, we don’t wish to revisit that memory. But for these exact reasons, La Conchita beach is an overlooked gem.

To reach it, heading north, one must pass most of the beach, look for the U-turn, and wait until it’s safe to turn, which can take a few minutes. And one must park heading south along the concrete barriers overlooking the beach, just a few feet from traffic, so it’s not the best place to take little kids or dogs. (Padaro Dunes or Bates Beach are better for that.)

But if you’re looking for nature — shellfish, dolphins, birds –— La Conchita is unbeatable, because it is so little visited by people. And, ironically, because it’s empty, it’s strangely private. A rock band can bring a generator and set up and play on the beach, and no one will say “boo” about it — honest to God, I’ve seen it happen. It’s all cool. Especially at sunset, of course.

Believe it or don’t, one of the best beaches in SoCal is also one of the least-known beaches in SoCal.

— Kit Stolz

 

Beach

 

1st Place
Silver Strand

2nd Place
Solimar

3rd Place
Pierpont

Bicycle shop

1st Place
Open Air Bicycles
2386 E. Main St., Ventura
653-1100

2nd Place
Trek Bicycles
4060 E. Main St., Ventura
644-8735

3rd Place
Metal Mountain
1987 E. Main St., Ventura
641-3968

Hiking trail

1st Place
Arroyo Verde

2nd Place
Two Trees

3rd Place
Punch Bow

2Best Urban Creek

Bubbling Springs
Surfside Road, Port Hueneme. Park in one of the paid lots adjacent to the Hueneme pier, then cross the street

Nothing beats a day out in nature — walking through the forests adjacent to Puget Sound in Washington State, hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and taking in the glory of the humongous redwoods, trout fishing in the lakes of Canada, etc. But if you find it inconvenient and/or too expensive to whisk away to some of nature’s finest spots, then head on over to Bubbling Springs and enjoy a walk alongside the creek that winds its way through a residential neighborhood
and park.

Often used as a spot for newlyweds dressed up in the appropriate wedding garb to take those momentous photos of a lifetime, this peaceful waterway is the perfect spot to sit and listen to breeze rustling the trees or to get in an energetic jog. It’s also very musical at night as the frogs and crickets croak in harmony.

The best thing about a visit to the creek is the water fowl. Although they aren’t domesticated by any means, they certainly enjoy visitors. Remember, bring bread! Those feathered friends certainly enjoy a scrumptious meal of wheat and oats. There are a variety of ducks and a pair of ornery geese. They won’t bite you, but they will come get bread out of your hand, squawking loudly as they approach.

So if you can’t jump on a jet to hike the Appalachian Trail, then get in your car and enjoy one of Ventura County’s best urban creeks: Bubbling Springs in Port Hueneme.

— Michael Sullivan

 

Campground

 

1st Place
Lake Casitas

2nd Place
McGrath State Beach

3rd Place
Emma Wood

Swimming hole

1st Place
Punch Bowl

2nd Place
Matilija

3rd Place
Ojai Hot Springs

Local adventure

1st Place
Island Packers
1691 Spinnaker Drive, Suite 105 B, Ventura
642-1393

2nd Place
Zephyr Airbrush Tattoos
804-5563

3rd Place
Wheel Fun Rentals
4526 Telephone Road, # 202, Ventura
650-7770

Best place to go spelunking

The sea caves on Anacapa Island 

The Channel Islands National Park is without a shadow of a doubt the best place to do some spelunking — inside the throng of sea caves that have evolved over thousands of years. With more than 200 documented craggy grottos on Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, the volcanic, honeycombed cliffs are a sea kayaker’s dream playground.

To narrow down the search for the best combination of toothy grottos, guano-covered rock arches, narrow fissures and gaping tunnels is a difficult task, but I would argue that East Anacapa Island has the best and most concentrated collection of these weathered, wave-battered volcanic natural wonders.

Although there is never a bad time of the year to paddle here, summer and fall are the best times to experience this beginner-friendly paddling environment. The paddling conditions there are typically the most ideal for caving. The generally calm and tranquil setting offers consistent sightings of pelagic birds, spotted harbor seals and raucous California sea lions, which only enhance this unique kayaking experience.

After Island Packers drops you off at Landing Cove, the put-in is off its dock. Paddle east toward the infamous 40-foot-tall rock arch, the symbol of the National Park, and beneath the historic lighthouse. Towering pinnacles between East Anacapa and the archway are also pockmarked with dank caverns and corridors.

Return back the way you came, and a short paddle farther, past friendly cormorants and over canopies of dense kelp beds, reveals knobby pinnacles inside Cathedral Cove. Share the cove with sleek-swimming sea lions while ducking in and out of several caverns, each one offering stupendous views of East, Middle and West Anacapa Islands.

For your boat transportation, contact Island Packers at 642-1393 or www.islandpackers.com.

For your spelunking pleasure, guided trips and rentals, contact the Channel Islands Kayak Center at 984-5995 or www.cikayak.com.

 — Chuck Graham
 

 

Skate Park

 

1st Place
Camarillo Skate Park
1030 Temple Ave., Camarillo

2nd Place
Skatelab
4226 Valley Fair St., Simi Valley
578-0040

3rd Place
Oxnard Skate Park
3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard

Park

1st Place
Arroyo Verde

2nd Place
Marina Park

3rd Place
Camino Real Park

Local sports team

1st Place
Ventura County Derby Darlins

2nd Place
Fusion Soccer

3rd Place
Ventura Pirates basketball

View

1st Place
Cross at Grant Park

2nd Place
Ventura Pier

3rd Place
Two Trees