Coastal Comparison: Ventura, Oxnard and Port Hueneme

Here's a locals' guide to the lifestyle and beaches in Port Hueneme, Oxnard, and Ventura.

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    Video on Coastal Highlights: Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme

    Map Location- Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme

    Port Hueneme (mustard yellow), Oxnard (pink) and Ventura (light green) are the three coastal cities in Ventura County. Each one of them has its own unique feel.

    Map Ventura County

    Lifestyle and Neighborhoods Ventura

    • Ventura stands out as a vibrant and historic city with an arts district (Westside), locally-owned stores, restaurants, and a thriving, pedestrian-friendly downtown.
    • It offers a wide range of locally owned shopping and dining options.
    • The city is bike-friendly, with bike trails stretching from the coast to Ojai and beyond.

    Check out the 61 Pros and Cons of Ventura.

    Lifestyle and Neighborhoods, Oxnard

    Oxnard is a Tale of Two Cities. The Western side of the city has 11 miles of uncrowded, gorgeous beaches and a slower paced feel. It is also further from Highway 101 and most of Oxnard's shopping centers.
    Oxnard is a Tale of Two Cities. The Western side of the city has 11 miles of uncrowded, gorgeous beaches and a slower paced feel. It is also further from Highway 101 and most of Oxnard's shopping centers.
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      • The Eastern side of Oxnard has a more urban, fast paced feel. This is closer to Highway 101, historic downtown Oxnard and a large area of suburban style neighborhoods.
      • Oxnard  boasts the Collection Shopping Center, with national chain stores and a Whole Foods. It is a destination mall with shoppers coming from all over Western Ventura County.

      Check out the in depth pros and cons of Oxnard

      Lifestyle Port Hueneme

      • Port Hueneme is far removed from Highway 101. Since it is not a major tourist destination, there is way less traffic and overall has the most low key, slow paced life style.
      • This is a popular small city for people working at the nearby naval bases, in agriculture as well as the International harbor (which is the only deep water port in between Los Angeles and San Francisco).
      • Port Hueneme is only 5 miles wide, so everywhere you live it's close to the beach!

      Check out the Pros and Cons of Port Hueneme

      Keziah and I (Bart) created this web site to help you with the best information on living in Ventura County. Please let us know about your Ventura County questions. We'd love to help you! Call 805-256-2813.


      Ventura's neighborhoods have a distinct feel to each one of them. For example, the historic downtown area has homes from the 1800's all the way up to modern, new construction condos currently being built. As you move east from the downtown, there are Spanish style homes from the early 1900's, tract style suburban homes as well as more contemportary custom home neighborhoods. (Check out the 9 Neighborhoods of Ventura).


      Map of Ventura Neighborhoods
      • Oxnard has a diversity of housing including new construction closer to Highway 101, custom beach front neighborhoods, an historic downtown and a large area of suburban tract-style homes ranging from the 1950's to 2000's.
      • Port Hueneme is by far the smallest city (about 5 miles wide). The homes are mostly suburban style, planned neighborhoods. More on Port Hueneme.

      Harbors and Boating

      • Ventura Harbor is popular for various boating activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and whale-watching tours. It's also a popular hangout with restaurants, live music and shopping.
      • Oxnard's Channel Islands Harbor offers similar boating adventures, entertainment as well as a large canals community with shopping and 5 miles of walking trails.
      • Port Hueneme's harbor is mainly utilized for naval operations and lacks recreational boating opportunities.

      Outdoor Activities

      • Ventura offers farmers markets and a diverse range of parks, including the Botanical Gardens, hiking trails, and panoramic viewpoints.
      • Oxnard features beautiful beaches, vibrant farmer's markets and lots of free festivals and events.
      • Port Hueneme has easy access to the beach and proximity to fantastic hiking in the Santa Monica National Mountains (about a 20 minute drive).


      For more information on school districts, check out Great Schools.

      Both Oxnard and Ventura have fantastic community colleges. For residents, they are extremely affordable.

      Oxnard Community College

      Ventura Community College

      Air Quality

      Port Hueneme- Residents will complain about fumes from the harbor, with lots of ships coming in and out as well as complaints about a nearby waste water treatment plant.

      Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme all can have issues related to how close you may live to agriculture. Get updates on local air quality.



      Al three cities share similar weather. Ventura can be the warmest of the three particularly in the Summer. As you move uphill in Ventura, it can be 10 degrees hotter in the foothills as compared to by the ocean.

      In the Winter, all three can feel cold and damp at times, especially with fresh, windy ocean breezes. There is also a period of overcast conditions that is common to experience in May and June.


      Ventura is the easiest city to commute from as it lies at the intersection of three major highways. There is easier access to Santa Barbara, Santa Paula and Los Angeles.

      One side of Oxnard is accessible to Highway 101, making it easier to get to Los Angeles. However, a large section of the city is further removed and not commuting-friendly. Nevertheless it is still convenient to drive to Ventura.

      Port Hueneme is the furthest removed and is like the -cul de sac- of Ventura County as it backs up to a naval base and the ocean. It does, however have convenient access to Highway 1 which leads you to Point Mugu Naval Base.



      For more information on crime statistics, you can check out Neighborhood Scout.


      Natural Disasters

      All three areas are going to have potential for earthquakes, drought and high winds.

      Ventura did have flooding in certain areas after all of the rain this past Winter (2022/2023).

      Also, Ventura is going to have an increased fire risk as much of the city borders open space and mountains. The Thomas fire in 2018 did burn homes in the city, in particular in neighborhoods along the foothills.


      Beach Comparisons (from south to north)

      Port Hueneme

      • Laid back and quiet, Port Hueneme is the least tourist friendly. The beach area includes a fishing pier, boardwalk and a seafood restaurant. Other than that, there aren't any restaurants or shops here. Dogs are not allowed on the beach and there is no free parking.

      Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard: The Happening Beach

      •  Silver Strand Beach is the most happening locals and tourist beach in Oxnard. There's an outdoor shower, restrooms and lifeguard tower. The beach is walking distance to a protected swim beach in the Channel Islands Harbor. There's also a few funky, local shops and restaurants.
      • It has a FREE parking lot and is dog friendly (with time restrictions).

      Hollywood Beach in Oxnard

      •  Even on the busiest days this beach is way less crowded than the Silver Strand. There's a protected cove....great for swimming and snorkeling  (located behind the -Rudder Room- bar.) The Rudder Room(with a Key West vibe) backs up to Hollywood beach.


      View from Hollywood Beach in Oxnard, CA

      Oxnard Shores State Beach

      • Oxnard Shores has  a LARGE grassy park, boardwalk and trail system through the sand dunes (handicap accessible). It includes playgrounds, barbecue, exercise/yoga classes is dog friendly (with time restrictions) and there are concerts here as well.
      • There's a large FREE parking lot just south of the park!

      Surfers Point in Ventura

      Surfers Point is the go-to place for:

      • People-watching, walking and biking along the miles of oceanside trails.
      • Eating and drinking at beachside bars and restaurants and its a close walk to the downtown with lots more locally owned shops, restaurants and hangouts.
      • Amazing surfing and kiteboarding (on windier days).
      • Fishing off of their historic pier.

      Emma Wood State Beach and Mondos (north of Ventura)

      • Port Hueneme attracts residents seeking a quieter and more affordable beach lifestyle.
      • With limited access to major highways, it provides a secluded atmosphere.
      • The city primarily offers cookie-cutter homes, closer to the coast, and is known for its naval base and international shipping airport.


      • Conclusion: Each coastal city in Ventura County has its unique charm and advantages. Port Hueneme offers a tranquil and affordable beach lifestyle, while Oxnard provides a growing suburban area with diverse housing options. Ventura stands out as a vibrant coastal destination with a bustling downtown and bike-friendly environment.
      Real Estate Agents Keziah Aaliyah and Bart Potter

      What would you pick, Oxnard or Ventura?  We'd also love to hear about any other topics you would like us to cover. Please comment below and email us Thanks:), Keziah and Bart

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