The rising sun bathes the expanse of turquoise water in a golden glow, and a lone figure breaks its still surface during her morning swim. So begins another day at the Ventura Aquatic Center, where meticulously maintained facilities and engaging programs coax swimmers of all ages into the refreshing depths. A 50-meter competition pool fields the backstrokes of lane swimmers, and a 25-meter recreation pool enables laid-back play sessions. Delighted squeals and giggles drift from the kids’ activity pool, where splashes of water keep little faces smiling and a pair of water slides facilitates high-speed entries. Throughout each day, a crew of American Red Cross–certified lifeguards patrols the premises to ensure the safety of all those frolicking in and around the pools.
Dedicated to educating and entertaining patrons, Ventura Aquatic Center’s seasoned instructors also host group and private swim lessons and water-safety classes. Synchronized-swimming lessons teach pupils the art of tandem movement, and lifeguard training prepares would-be rescuers for real-world rescue situations. Diving and water-polo teams unite players for in-pool athletics, and aquatic summer camps stave off the boredom and nostalgic re-readings of last year’s report cards inherent to the summer months.
Officially opened in July 1962, Village Country Club incorporates the natural beauty of Northern Santa Barbara County’s wine country as its backdrop. Towering oaks and pine trees play a starring role throughout the course, especially on the 10th hole. There, a stately oak stands right in the middle of the fairway, marking the course's signature challenge and the location of its treasure chest of golden golf balls. At the 16th hole, meanwhile, an elevated tee tempts players to let it fly, all while avoiding a lake and brook running the length of the hole’s left side.
Next to the course, club visitors can practice on the driving range or at a practice green outfitted with a sand bunker. Or, they can step away from golf altogether by taking a dip in the pool and hitting the tennis courts—each of which remains open year-round.
Course at a Glance:
If you ask the team at Tri-California Events what a triathlon is all about, you might hear about swimming, biking and running, but what you’ll hear the most about is how fun they are. As each racing season emerges, the team gets to work running fun races from the mud-filled MORE Obstacle Course in the spring to Scott Tinley’s Triathlon in fall, replete with on-road and off-road options. One of their most popular events is the Wildflower Triathlon, now one of the largest triathlons in the world. During this packed event many athletes camp out for the weekend to ensure a memorable experience and to make s'mores as race fuel.
For more than 20 years, Channel Islands Outfitters's Paddle Sports Center has helped humans commune with nature through their guided expeditions, courses, and gear rentals. Their expert guides lead kayakers and hikers to California destinations such as Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz Island, where explorers enjoy picturesque scenery and native wildlife that haven’t yet learned about sarcasm. The outdoor fitness center also offers instruction for outdoorsmen ranging from courses that cultivate Wilderness First Responders to lessons in the art of standup paddleboarding. Meanwhile, their surf shop doles out aquatic equipment such as surfboards, paddleboards, and an array of kayaks that are available in single-seat or tandem models.
Passionate about exploration, Bakersfield Scuba's instructors ready divers as young as 8 for aquatic adventures. They get students prepped with certification classes that include training in heated pools, open-water dives, and academic study. For those in training, or those ready to go it alone, they also provide rentals of all necessary scuba gear.
Though little known to humans outside of Ventura, Hook's Landing's sailors are notoriously feared in the sea world. That's due in large part to their successful fishing charters, on which they bag hundreds of rockfish, dozens of whitefish, and multiple lobsters with a crew of tour-goers.The charter's guests can keep any legal-size lobster, crab, and fish they find in their professional-grade hoop nets. Hook's Landing snaps memorable shots of the day's catches and encourages guests to cook their catch, instead of nailing it to a board and trying to make it sing.