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.
Instructors at Paragon Jiu Jitsu & Kickboxing channel personal sparring experience into Brazilian jiujitsu, kickboxing, and boxing classes. Jiujitsu classes ease exercisers into fitness and the ability to physically overpower unmanned fire-hydrant hoses with beginner, intermediate, and advanced tiers of Greco-Roman wrestling, judo, and submission wrestling maneuvers. Fists slam heavy bags and feet pummel targets in kickboxing, which fuses Western-style boxing and muay thai kickboxing for a blood-pumping workout that, when combined with jiujitsu, makes for an MMA-medal-winning brew. Tiny tendons spring into action in kids' classes and MMA summer camps, arming tykes with self-confidence and the ability to quickly take down invisible frenemies.
Open seven days a week, Ventura Bike Depot is a full service bike shop, renting the majority of their inventory to suit the peddling aspirations of their wheel-less clientele. Today's Groupon allows customers choose any one of the hybrid, beach cruiser, front suspension mountain, and kids bikes from the fleet of man-powered velocipedes valued at $24 or less. If desired or required, customers are welcome to upgrade to a tandems, quadricycles, or other premium peddle-powerhouses for an additional fee. Regardless of how you ride, Ventura Bike Depot will throw in all necessary helmets, locks, seat belts, and leg bands. Likewise, the staffers will happily fill water bottles with mineral-rich Kangen water for free, saving thirsty travelers from the woes of waiting for rain or preying for proximate killer whale shows.
Nestled amid avocado and citrus groves that line the rolling fields of Ventura County, Sterling Hills Golf Club's 18-hole course pairs scenic terrain with an inventive design from Robert Muir Graves and Damian Pascuzzo. The 6,813-yard gem plays to a par 71 from the tips and features a multitude of green-side and fairway bunkers, including particularly well fortified putting surfaces on holes 5, 7, and 18, and six water hazards that threaten balls throughout the round. Before taking to the course, golfers can warm up at a driving range or by bench-pressing their golf bag at the practice green.
Course at a Glance: