Take a virtual vacation


t is finally, officially summer; and, of course, summer is nearly synonymous with vacation. But if you can’t get out of town this month, read on for some ways to make a weekend at home feel more like a week on a tropical island.

Surf’s up!

If you’re looking for waves or looking to take up surfing, there’s absolutely no reason to ever leave Ventura County, which boasts some of the best surfing spots in Southern California. Plus, surfing is just about the best way to get a workout and work on your tan at the same time. The Magic Model, by Walden Surfboards, is one of the most sophisticated longboards ever designed. Originally built in 1981, the Magic Model performs great as a beginner board, yet it is still perfect for the more advanced surfer. And, well, it’s pretty good-looking, too. Walden Surfboards, 853 East Front St., Ventura. Call 653-1717 or visit

Pack Lightly

The biggest advantage to staying in town for the weekend as opposed to, say, hopping a flight to Hawaii, is that you don’t have to pack … except for the bare necessities, which should all fit perfectly in this wonderful little tote. The Tidal Tote by Queen Bee ($74) is lined with sturdy blue-and-white-striped cotton canvas ticking. The inside features a convenient pocket that’ll keep your sunscreen and sunglasses separated and easy to find, and the straps are lined with webbing for strength and to prevent stretching. Korazon Organics, 671 East Main St., Ventura. Call 652-0899 or visit

Easy Rider

During the summer, the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon has got to be taking a bike ride along the beach. And the only way to really do it in true summer style is on a genuine beach cruiser. It’s guaranteed to get you from here to there, all the while making you feel like you’re 7 years old all over again. Luckily, Giant Bicycle brings us the Simple 7, a stylish presentation of an old-fashioned beach cruiser in state-of-the-art lightweight aluminum … with Shimano Revo 7-speed shifters. That’s right, a beach cruiser with gears! That way, you don’t have to break a sweat or break your cool on those pesky uphill climbs. We like red, but Giant’s cruisers do come in a variety of colors — and for the truly authentic there’s always the Simple Single, which comes with one solitary gear and the promise of much huffing and puffing. The Camarillo Bike Company, 2263 Pickwick Dr., Camarillo. Call 482-7742 or visit

Skip Into Summer

Crocs — those strange gardening clogs that have become all the rage among celebrities and soccer moms alike. Honestly, we never quite knew what to make of Crocs until they came out with their own awesome variation on the flip-flop. These sandals, the Croc’s athens model, have a double cushioned, extra soft foot bed so you can hike around all day and still feel like you’re walking on air. They’re also slip- and odor-resistant. Whoever dreamed these beauties up deserves a raise. Wild Planet, 560 East Main St., Ventura. Call 643-5238.

Island (Mini) Vacation

Forget Fiji, there are five islands and seven destinations available for you to visit right in your own backyard (well, almost). The Channel Islands National Park is only a quick boat ride away. Island Packers, which operates out of both the Ventura Harbor and the Channel Islands Harbor, lands at Anacapa Island’s Landing Cove, and two destinations on Santa Cruz Island, Scorpion Anchorage and Prisoners’ Harbor year round. The National Park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy an island experience or, if you’re so inclined, the islands also offer numerous hiking trails. Those who are up for a more active mini vacation can snorkel from shore or, with prior arrangements, explore the island coastline in a kayak. Island Packers, Ventura Harbor, 1691 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura, and Channel Islands Harbor, 3600 S. Harbor, Oxnard. Call 642-1393 or visit


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