San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura, California has an unusual amenity, especially for a public beach: a concierge.Park administrators don't call Anne Dominguez a "concierge," but it's OK for visitors to call her that. She's been special events coordinator at San Buenaventura State Beach for the past 12 years. She helps church groups, corporations, fund-raising committees and even families orchestrate the details of a beach picnic event.Room for 3,000 Beach-goersAnd with good reason. The day-use beach is so busy, and so big, that it requires a full-time staff member to help visitors, especially groups, to make their visit one to remember.The beach is arguably the perfect large-group picnic venue. It starts south of Ventura's 1,700 foot-long municipal pier and stretches south for two miles, with a small lagoon. In its center area, jetties frame swimming beaches staffed by lifeguards. Behind sand dunes, the beach offers enough picnics, lawn, barbeques, parking lots and the all-important showers for 3,000 people. It's the largest day-use picnic area at a state beach in Southern California, according to state parks officials.
Anne has helped facilitate events ranging from the annual Aids/Lifecycle bicycling fundraiser, which draws thousands of participants, to corporate team-building picnics, to families planning a baptism.She especially enjoys helping church, school and youth groups, since many of the children participating are making their first visit to the beach. For those kids, just being at the beach is thrill enough, Anne says. But she can help group organizers find kid-friendly hotels, cater picnic fare at the barbecue areas, even recommend vendors for jolly-jumps and other activities.She also likes to arrange for the lifeguard staff to give a talk so the kids have a water-friendly experience."We want everyone to be aware of what to do in the water," she says.Ventura Hotels NearbyThe beach is close to the Crowne Plaza just to the north near Ventura Pier, and the Marriott to the south, a few yards' walk from the entrance to the state beach. Families and smaller groups can also find small-scale hotels and bed-and-breakfasts an easy walk or drive away.San Buenaventura State Beach is also a good "hub" beach for vacationers looking for a Southern California beach vacation that includes not only sun and sand, but also day excursions. Ventura Harbor is two miles' south, with restaurants, shopping, and charter boats for whale watching and trips to the Channel Islands National Monument.Read more about Camarillo OutletsThe monument's headquarters are actually at the harbor. Santa Barbara is a half-hour drive to the north, the Camarillo Premium Outlets shopping area is a half-hour south, and Ventura itself has plenty to entice tourists, in its charming downtown and its Ventura County Fairgrounds right on the ocean.To reach San Buenaventura State Beach, take U.S. Highway 101 to the Seaward Avenue exit in Ventura. Turn south onto Seaward Avenue, left on Harbor Boulevard and then left on San Pedro Street. The state beach entrance is at the end of the block.Cost to enter is $8 per vehicle. Groups of more than 30 people may require a permit fee. The park recommends large groups call ahead for reservations. For families and groups of smaller than 30 people, the park is available on a first-come, first-served basis.For more info visit Camarillo Outlets