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Ventura County piers

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Ventura County piers (south to north)

Port Hueneme Pier

Overview: A pier that feels away from it all. It was opened in 1968 and is one of the few in the state that doesn't prohibit bicycles. Neighborhood kids seem to make the 1,400-foot span a destination.

Background: This pier has a peculiar shape: It heads out from the beach, turns left for about 50 feet and then straightens out again, leading to an octagonal shape at the end.

Notable views: Long expanses of beach in both directions; an excellent view of Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands on days with good visibility.

Parking: 50 cents a half-hour, $3 all day, in the lot at the foot of the pier.

Directions: Take Highway 1 to the Hueneme Road exit, go west until it turns into Port. Follow Port to Ventura Road, turn left and follow it to Surfside Drive. Turn left again and follow it all the way to the Port Hueneme Beach Park.

Ventura Pier

Overview: The well-maintained, well-lighted 1,600-foot wooden pier has a variety of things going for it. Foremost is the large oval cut-out that allows visitors to peer at the pilings and water below. Two eateries deserve attention: Eric Ericssons is a full-bar, sit-down restaurant with a seafood-heavy menu (seafood entrees $20 and up); Beach House Tacos offers specialty tacos (from $3) and taco plates (from $3.95).

Background: Since 1872, when the first wharf was constructed, more than a dozen storms have destroyed or damaged structures on the site, but Ventura has rebuilt time again. It also has a unique financial support system to ensure fiscal stability: The nonprofit Pier into the Future raises money to fund expenses as varied as exhibits on the pier and underwriting repairs. An annual fundraiser drew more than 1,000 people last year.

Notable views: Amtrak trains whiz past its base; sea views reveal Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands.

Parking: $2 an hour when leaving the gated lot; $5 all-day parking for the lot serving nearby San Buenaventura State Beach.

Directions: From Highway 101, take the Seaward Drive exit to Harbor Drive. Turn right and follow it for three-quarters of a mile to the pier.

More: http://www.ventura.com/points_of_interest/citypier

-- Christopher Smith

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