The Ventura Harbor is located adjacent to the mouth of the Santa Clara River, 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It resides within the city limits of San Buenaventura (Ventura), county of Ventura. In the 1950’s, the state of California was building the Coast highway in the immediate vicinity. It was agreed that the state would excavate the harbor for highway construction fill material. The City of San Buenaventura was responsible for the initial harbor design and maintenance. In 1968, Congress directed the Corps of Engineers to take over responsibility for the navigation features of this harbor. In 1969, when severe flooding of the Santa Clara River damaged the harbor, the Corps of Engineers repaired the damages and reinforced the levy between the Santa Clara River delta and the harbor. In 1971, an offshore breakwater was constructed to reduce shoaling at the harbor entrance. Currently, the Los Angeles District of the Corps of Engineers maintains the navigation features in the harbor and performs periodic dredging.
Ventura Harbor provides important recreational resources for the regional and local area. The Ventura Harbor complex includes administration facilities, the marina center, a resort hotel, parking areas, boat ramps, a sport fishing center, a boat repair yard, restaurants, marina hardware and a mobile home park. Approximately 1500 craft, including 10 sport fishing vessels and 73 commercial fishing vessels, are moored in Ventura Harbor. A commercial fish processing facility, offshore oil drilling support facility, the headquarters for the Channel Islands National Park, and two boat launching ramps for public utilization are in or based at Ventura Harbor.