The Best Beach Hotels in Ventura, California

The distinctive lifeguard towers of Ventura Beach have become something of a California icon
The distinctive lifeguard towers of Ventura Beach have become something of a California icon | © Alicia Massie / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lucy Thackray
25 May 2021

Too often overlooked en route to nearby Malibu and Santa Barbara, the salty surf town of Ventura is the California of local people, not tourists. Retro diners and bowling alleys converge with hipster coffee shops and thrift stores; lifelong surfers hit the breaks at sunrise and refuel at unpretentious food trucks. Getting a surfing lesson is a must here, as are the tacos distributed from what feels like every street corner. It’s a mellow place to break a Cali coast road trip and meet a friendlier, more down-to-earth crowd than you’ll find in the major cities.

Ventura Beach Marriott

Hotel, Chain Hotel
4/5 (976 Reviews)
Ventura Beach Marriott
Courtesy of Ventura Beach Marriott / Expedia

With a sultry, peanut-shaped outdoor pool to laze by and all the trappings of a smart, big-brand hotel (top-spec gym, sports bar, bike rental), the Marriott is the choice for busy urban types and digital nomads who want predictable quality and attentive service. Set slightly back from Ventura Beach, with its promenade and long pier stretching into the Pacific, you’re perfectly placed for lacing up your boots and hitting the San Buenaventura coastal hiking trail.

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Inn On The Beach

Hotel
Map View
Inn On The Beach
Courtesy of Inn On The Beach / Expedia

There’s a vintage charm to this periwinkle-blue clapboard inn, with its white wooden balconies and shutters. Sitting right on Ventura Beach, soundtracked by the hefty rollers outside, it’s got charming but chintzy decor – and every room faces the ocean. Sitting on your balcony before the sun-worshippers hit the sand is a meditative moment. Free parking onsite means it’s made for road-trippers who favour the faded Americana of a motel.

Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Hotel
4.2/5 (896 Reviews)
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
Courtesy of Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach / Expedia

You won’t find it hard to track down this hulking yellow building, sandwiched between the freeway and Ventura’s boardwalk. It’s popular with surfers and windsurfers for its proximity to the breaks at Surfer’s Point, but heading inland you’re also a five-minute walk from the taphouses and burger joints around East Thompson Boulevard. A generous outdoor pool and great mai tais at the beachfront bar complete the holiday vibe.

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The Pierpont Inn

Hotel
3.9/5 (919 Reviews)
The Pierpont Inn
Courtesy of The Pierpont Inn / Expedia

Just off Highway 101, this homey, tasteful guesthouse (established 1910) has plenty of warmth and character. Set in lush gardens with sea views beyond, it has a main building of rooms as well as several craftsman-style cottages, with original wood beams and fireplaces. The outdoor pool is smallish and unattractively fenced off, so this is more of a base for getting out and doing rather than reclining resort-style. Book one of the ground-floor rooms with a generous terrace to make the most of those balmy Cali nights.

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Waypoint Ventura

Hotel
4.7/5 (116 Reviews)
Waypoint Ventura
Courtesy of Waypoint Ventura / Expedia

A beachy trailer park of beautifully renovated vintage Airstream, Spartan and Imperial trailers is a quirky, only-in-California base. Done up in polished butterscotch-tone woods with Seventies-look furniture and light fixtures, you feel like you’re on tour with the band – but with memory-foam mattresses, TVs and bathtubs on hand. Quirky names such as Root Beer Float and Aluminaughty help you choose your palace on wheels. Rented your own campervan for the trip? You can book a pitch and BYO, too.

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  • Amanzi Hotel

    Hotel
    4.3/5 (2050 Reviews)
    Amanzi Hotel
    Courtesy of Amanzi Hotel / Expedia

    A truly central location between the beach, the highway and the cluster of diners, taco joints and bars around Main Street, Amanzi has all the bells and whistles of a business hotel, but with spacious yet cozy rooms and a great hot breakfast. On the terrace, a petite kidney-shaped pool is the place for a dip, but to keep things simple, head straight for the surf and sand, which is a 15-minute walk away.

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    Cliff House Inn on the Ocean

    Hotel
    4.2/5 (921 Reviews)
    Cliff House Inn on the Ocean
    Courtesy of Cliff House Inn on the Ocean / Expedia

    Slightly north of Downtown Ventura, sandwiched between Mussel Shoals and Pier Shoals beaches, this vintage-look guesthouse sits right on the rocks, with a sea-facing heated pool and loungers on a lawn overlooking the waves and neon-pink sunsets. Rooms are beach-house style with cream tongue-and-groove and large ceiling fans, while the locally-famed oceanfront restaurant serves up seafood salads and juicy burgers.

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    Comfort Inn & Suites Ventura Beach

    Hotel
    4.1/5 (933 Reviews)
    Comfort Inn & Suites Ventura Beach
    Courtesy of Comfort Inn & Suites Ventura Beach / Expedia | Courtesy of Comfort Inn & Suites Ventura Beach / Expedia

    Comfort Inn does what it says on the tin: smart, basic but modern rooms and a 24-hour reception, just off the Freeway. Closer to Ventura Harbor than most of the competition, it’s a nifty base for hopping onto boat trips, or kayaking and paddleboarding excursions, as well as the golf courses south of the city centre. Things to know: there’s no pool and Downtown Ventura, with the best restaurants, is a short cab ride away.

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    These recommendations were updated on May 25, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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