Fall in Ventura: A Local's Guide with WetSand Surf Shop

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Perfectly lined up at C Street.

Things we love about fall: crisp air, bundling up in cozy sweaters, hot chocolate and that special California coastline of point breaks that light up with winter swell. Every year we look forward to the best season for surfing the magically long points between the Los Angeles County line and Santa Barbara.

The chill and a little bit gritty beach town of Ventura is one of our favorite stops along that stretch of shoreline. With our eyes on the long range report, we checked in with our friend Shannon Menzel, women’s buyer for WetSand surf shop in Ventura to get her insider picks on the area for a weekend day trip. She filled us in on where to get the perfect T-shirt, eat the best local tacos and surf breaks for beginners and shredders alike.

Meet Shannon Menzel of Wetsand Surf Shop, our local tour guide to Ventura.

Best Tacos: Cuernavaca. When a taco spot is not on the main drag and packed with locals, you know its “really really good tacos.” The tacos are small street style, so you can try them all. We did.

Best Healthy Food Spot: Dine outside next to one of the city park's at the organic vegan bistro Mary's Secret Garden. Shannon says to get the pistachio mint smoothie for before surfing, and The Secret Burger after.

Shown left, street style tacos at Cuernavaca. Shown right,  Mary's Secret Garden serves healthy vegan food in Ventura.

Best Classic Surf Spot: Get your longboard and experience the natural perfection of Ventura's famous C Street.

Best Spot for Shredding: Pipes. Shannon says, “It's not so much of a longboard crowd. The spot has changed a bit because they are trying to clean up the beach.”

Shannon’s Favorite Surf Spot: Find your own uncrowded spot between Emma Wood State Beach and Solimar Point. “It's a half mile of little peaks. I call it Emma-Mar.” Solimar is a Seea triple heart like (so much that we named a bikini after it) and must-surf every time we are in that neck of the woods.

Picturesque rocky beaches in Ventura. But we do not recommend trying this in Fall! Photo by Whitney Turner.

Best Place to Take a Walk: The Ventura Botanical Gardens restorative trail starts only few blocks up the road from WetSand surf shop and winds up the mountains. “I walk it every morning,” Shannon says.

A bird's eye view of downtown Ventura from the bottom of the Ventura Botanical Gardens restorative trail. 

Best Shopping: WetSand Surf Shop! The family-owned store has the essentials you need from a neighborhood surf shop (magazines, boards, swimsuits and a souvenir WetSand T-shirt) plus things you didn’t know you needed (Big Sur Country Soap and art from local talents). It also offers a great cross-section of girly fashion.

Shannon guarded her secret vintage clothing shopping spots with more security than a secret surf spot, but recommended browsing shabby chic American Home and Garden in downtown Ventura for vintage furniture and home decorating inspiration. We found a great sign there that read our minds about the fun time we had in Ventura, "If you are lucky enough to live at the beach, you are lucky enough."

Inside WetSand Surf shop.

Shabby chic beach house accessories at American Home and Garden in Ventura. 

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