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Port Hueneme Pier and Beach

Ventura, California, USA


When you first arrive at Port Hueneme Beach, it looks kind of desolate. The sand is very clean and nice, but the openness of it all and the industrial smokestacks on one side, and navy base on the other take away from it. But, continue walking till you get to the pier, and you'll be captivated by the loveliness of it! The pier is not your average pier! It is crooked in every way possible- in its length, and also in its supports. They go every which way! They are covered in a black plastic that makes them look particularly cool silhouetted against the shiny sea. The waves here are sometimes massive and wild, and it's fantastic to watch them crash against the pier! Huge waves curl out at sea, and closer in, little waves roll along horizontally like dominoes falling in a sudden, quick zip!
Kids will get all caught up in the magic of it. And if they are the bird-chasing type, they will love the hundreds of gulls here that stand ready to be chased!
There are swings in the sand, far back from the water, and picnic tables that are cleverly shielded from the cold sea air with wooden barriers.
This is a wild beach- not the kind you feel cozy on. Enjoy the loud crashing waves, and the deliciously salty sea air around you. Breathe it in! It'll heal your soul!
The pier was built in 1871, the idea of Thomas Bard, who held land from a Mexican land grant. He discovered an underwater canyon 30 foot deep caused by a freshwater aquifer's strong current. Ships could actually get the fresh water while still at sea! Bard decided the area could make a great wharf and had the first wharf from Santa Cruz to San Pedro built here. The same company that built the Santa Barbara and Santa Monica wharves built this one. But the wharf wasn't the commercial success he had hoped for, because the railroad decided to bypass the area and stop in Oxnard instead. In 1939, a barge broke loose from its anchor and cut the pier in half! A new pier- a support for sewer pipes- was built in 1956, but soon it sat atop sand, not water! This was because the Army Corps of Engineers began taking sand from Port Hueneme for the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. This made Port Hueneme Beach the very wide beach that it is today (what a shame). In 1967 the pier was extended, and followed the line of a previous seawall built to stop erosion, and that is why it is crooked today! It has been damaged and repaired many times since then after huge storms and taken on a more silly appearance each time! The pier is now used mostly by fishermen, and the beach is a favorite with families going for a stroll. Dogs are not allowed, which is kind of nice for a change- sorry, Fido!
While you're in the Oxnard area, a nice place to go is Oxnard Beach, where kids can play on the sand dunes. Channel Islands Harbor has some fun activities on holidays. Peninsula Park is a great park by the harbor where kids can watch the boats go by and toddlers will like the playground.
For some history, head over to Downtown Oxnard and Heritage Square, with its Victorian houses- at Christmastime the houses are decorated beautifully and you can do a tour.
Check out also the US Navy Seabee Museum, a state-of-the-art museum with lots of interesting displays, though not interactive for kids.

Photo Gallery

Port Hueneme Naval Station in the distance- lots of seagulls overhead.

Serious seagulls staring out to sea...

Port Hueneme pier!

A gorgeous stormy day at Port Hueneme pier!

Big wave at the pier.

The funny crooked pier!

Standing underneath the pier is so much fun!

Waves crash below the pier! The pier is an exciting place to be during a swell!

Kelp on Port Hueneme Beach.

The parking lot has so many palms!

Swings and picnic spots on the beach.

Summer day at Port Hueneme Beach.

Military base to the west of Port Hueneme Beach.

Bodyboarding on a windy yet nice summer day at the beach!

Walking paths behind the beach and dunes.

Walking paths along Ocean View Dr.


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

From Highway 1, go west on Port Hueneme Rd (this is a long, ugly drive). Turn left on Ventura Blvd and follow it to the end. Turn left on Surfside Dr .
From Highway 101 southbound, exit at Seaward Ave (this is the most scenic route and just about as long). Turn left on Harbor Blvd and follow it along all the way to Channel Islands Blvd where you will turn left. Turn right on Ventura Blvd and follow it to the end. Turn left on Surfside Dr.
From Highway 101 northbound, exit at Ventura Rd and follow it south all the way to the end (this will be a long ugly drive through dusty agricultural fields and industrial areas). Turn left on Surfside Dr.
Parking: If you want to pay for parking you can park in the big lot where there is a sign for Hueneme Beach Park. Or you can follow Surfside Dr as it veers left/north and park along the road for free and walk to the beach.
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