This Beautiful Beach In A Lesser-Known California Beach Town Is Perfect For Swimming

If there's something California does really well, it's beaches. With a sprawling coastline that stretches over 840 miles, the Golden State has hundreds of beaches that are accessible to the public. The many beaches are perfect for everything from swimming to surfing, lounging in the sun to working out, and playing beach volleyball to paddle boarding. However, finding a spot that isn't overrun with tourists can be a challenge.

Luckily, away from the crowds of Malibu and Big Sur, there are plenty of underrated California beaches perfect for some crowd-free relaxation. Roughly 68 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the city of Ventura beckons beach bums and sun worshippers who want to spend some well-deserved time outside and in the water. Specifically, the low-key charm and family-friendly amenities of Harbor Cove Beach — including a nearby parking lot, toilets, changing rooms, complimentary beach wheelchairs, and a lifeguard on duty — make it the ideal destination if you're looking for a quieter beach day. Easily accessible and conveniently located near other activities, Harbor Cove Beach ticks all the boxes.

Spending a day at Harbor Cove Beach

Harbor Cove Beach — also referred to as "Mother's Beach" — has a little something for everyone. Unlike other nearby beaches, Harbor Cove Beach is sheltered by jetties and a breakwater, both of which help prevent any dangerous rip currents. This makes it an ideal spot for worry-free swimming and an excellent choice for families. However, despite the added protection, it's always best to stay vigilant for any posted signs and changing weather conditions that could affect your and your family's safety. Lifeguards are also present over the summer.

In addition to being a great spot for swimming, Harbor Cove Beach is also popular with visitors who want to practice other water sports and activities — from kayaking to paddle boarding. Outside of the water, other popular activities include flying kites and enjoying a picnic on the beach — all while keeping an eye on the boats that sail in and out of the nearby harbor.

Lastly, pet owners will also be happy to know that Harbor Cove Beach is very welcoming of any four-legged companions who also want to soak up some rays. That said, if you do plan to bring your furry friend along, it's important to be mindful of other beachgoers — both in and out of the water — and that you keep them on a leash if they're prone to misbehaving. Also, make sure to pack enough water and food for them (and yourself)!

Other nearby activities to enjoy

Once you've had your fill of swimming, lounging, and having fun in the sun, there are plenty of things to do near Harbor Cove Beach to help you wrap the day up in style. First, if you can feel your stomach rumbling after an exciting day out, the Harbor Cove Cafe is just across the road and a local staple that's been cooking up some mouthwatering meals since 2005. Serving everything from hearty breakfast burritos to burgers, seafood baskets, and a dedicated kid-friendly menu, it's the best place to get some grub before heading out.

From there, the Ventura Harbor Village is a quick 10-minute walk from the beach and is home to many other eateries and bars, as well as a couple of hotels, an arcade, boutique stores, and a front-row seat to some truly spectacular sunsets over the water.

Alternatively, for travelers who want to keep the adventure going, there's Island Packers. Operating since 1968, the company offers plenty of tours and excursions to the nearby Channel Islands National Park — home to one of the world's largest sea caves — starting from $66 for a roundtrip and $88 for an overnight stay. Along with these trips, the company also organizes seasonal whale-watching trips, birding excursions, and more.