Memorable meetings are often as much about what happens around the event as what happens at the event. From farm-to-fork cuisine to extra-day stays, Ventura County West offers advice for attracting the corporate meeting attendee.
1. Inspire Within Your Destination
The goal of any conference or company retreat is to educate, inspire and provide attendees with meaningful experiences. Keep in mind, corporate guests are also travelers who want to explore the destination to which their meeting has taken them. In the heart of California’s Central Coast, Ventura County West, made up of four unique city destinations — Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme (why-nee’-mee) — is perfect for groups craving uninterrupted surf, sand, sunshine and shopping.
“What makes our destination so special is its small-town charm and exceptional hospitality,” says Rebekah Evans, Executive Director of the Ventura County Lodging Association (VCLA). “It truly is a breath of fresh air for organizations and groups that need to get away.”
2. Highlight Authentic Adventures
The small town of Camarillo is brimming with history. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through Old Town and tour the impeccably- restored Camarillo Ranch House. Some other highlights include two pristine public golf courses and explore World War I & II aviation at the Commemorative Air Force Museum.
In the casual seaside city of Oxnard, you will find an active boating harbor, the nation’s largest kosher winery, the world-class Mullin Automotive Museum, and a historic downtown bursting with multicultural flavors and architectural treasures. Discover Channel Islands Harbor and find waterfront fun at Marine Emporium Landing.
Port Hueneme is a small seaside community nestled between Oxnard and Ventura. The 50-acre Hueneme Beach Park offers expansive beaches, sand volleyball and a quaint beachside promenade.
There’s a lively arts and shopping scene in the area. That paired with fusion of agricultural abundance and ocean-side proximity makes it a chef’s paradise. The charming Ventura Harbor Village offers a waterfront promenade with boutique shops, popular restaurants and even a comedy club. Rent paddle boats, kayaks, electric boats, or hop on a charter boat with Island Packers to the Channel Islands National Park for whale watching, kayaking with Channel Islands Outfitters or Scarlett Belle & Blue Ocean Kayaking, as well as riverboating and island hiking. While out to see, enjoy a gourmet, locally-sourced catered lunch from Channel Islands Provisions.
3. Offer Affordable Options for Guests to Stay an Extra Day
More affordable than Los Angeles and closer than Santa Barbara, Ventura County West combines small-town charm with big-city access and all the conveniences of a seasoned hospitality industry with more than 5,100 guest rooms and 200,000 square feet of meeting space within 60+ internationally-known hotel brands.
The relaxing coastal destination offers competitive rates for prime meeting spaces and unique event venues such as beachfront/oceanview, historic, arts/entertainment, museums, natural environments and full-service hotel conference centers.
The Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach has 19,000 square feet of event space directly on the shores of the Santa Barbara Channel. Groups can book their event inside the newly-renovated Top of the Harbor ballroom, where guests are treated to 360-degree panoramic shoreline views.
The Wyndham Garden Ventura Pierpont Inn exudes whimsical charm with lush landscaping and craftsman-style architecture. The property features two 1925 English Tudor revival cottages and a 1935 Spanish Revival Banquet Center that sits atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The Residence Inn by Marriott at River Ridge in Oxnard, adjacent to River Ridge Golf Course, is the perfect balance of work and play, with two pools, three spas, four lighted tennis courts, and outdoor patio with a fire pit.
Convenient to local attractions, Hampton Inn & Suites Camarillo is the closest hotel to the Camarillo Premium Outlets, one of California’s hottest shopping destinations. The Holiday Inn Express Port
Hueneme, steps from the gorgeous beaches, is a no-brainer for groups seeking rest and relaxation.
4. Feature Farm-to-Fork Dining
Located along an agricultural green-belt, Ventura County West is ideal for sampling fresh local seafood and locally-sourced produce. For a behind-the-scenes experience, the Ventura Food Tour gives foodies a chance to meet local chefs, chocolate makers, and brew masters. The outdoor farmers markets are popular for fresh seasonal produce, hand-crafted items, artisan cheeses, gourmet sauces and olive oil, plants and flowers.
The Ventura County Wine Trail links 11 artisan wineries in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura that source premium grapes from vineyards all along the California coast. The wine trail has plentiful options for gourmet dining, such as the award-winning Tierra Sur, inside Herzog Wine Cellars.
Oxnard’s multicultural influences and farming heritage make it a great place to try exciting Mexican, Brazilian, Thai and Italian dishes. The destination is quickly becoming known for its brew pubs and wine bars, like Twenty88 Wine Bistro in Old Town Camarillo.
5. Encourage Outdoor Exploration
Groups can unwind with seaside activities such as sport fishing, whale watching, boat tours and cocktail cruises to inland adventures including golfing, go-kart racing, shopping and wine tasting. Port Hueneme is a serene beach city whose name comes from the Chumash Indian word for resting place. True to its name, Port Hueneme Beach Park features a long strip of soft white sand and 50 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland with picnic areas, barbecue pits, volleyball nets and a pier that is popular among local fishermen.
Those seeking leisure at its best can head to Camarillo, which has four golf courses, including two public courses open year round: Sterling Hills Golf Club and Camarillo Springs Public Golf Course.
At the San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura, visitors can parasail over the ocean, bike along the promenade, paddle through the harbor and catch waves at Surfers Point. History buffs can tour Mission San Buenaventura, the ninth and last California mission founded by Padre Junípero Serra.
How do you turn conferences, meetings and corporate retreats into an enjoyable experience that extend past the event? Share your tips in the comments below!
For more information about places to go, things to do, and ideas about hosting a meeting or event, visit Ventura County West.
Just an hour north of Los Angeles, Ventura County West — encompassing the cities of Oxnard, Ventura, Camarillo, and Port Hueneme — offers a convenient getaway to the California coast, where year-round sunny skies meets seaside charm and inland adventure. Boasting a diverse natural landscape, thriving arts and cultural scene, plentiful shopping, historic sites, golf courses, and ingredient-driven dining fueled by its 125,000 acres of farms, orchards and vineyards, the region is the ultimate seaside escape for leisure travel, corporate retreats, sports travel and beyond.