It can be hard to find the right spot for the family to ride in Southern California. The most remote and beautiful places are often too rugged for young ones. Conversely, the areas around the home can have too much automotive traffic for children and their wavering front wheels. Traveling to established bike paths solves the predicament of imperfect riding locations for children. Most paths are on near-flat ground and the lack of traffic allows each family member to be a bit more confident and focused on enjoying the ride. The best bike path is southern California goes along the Pacific Coast Highway from southern Santa Barbara County into northern Ventura County.
What Makes It Great
This coastal path is 12 miles long, beginning at Rincon State Beach in Carpentaria and ending at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura. The entire ride is beautiful and groups can make the ride as long or short as necessary. If the toddler on training wheels wants to just put around, great! But if teenagers are into riding then they can do the whole 24 miles out-and-back. Big families can easily split up into groups and, without any turns, they can confidently regroup after riding.
The ride is wonderful wherever you start, but the winds typically go from North to South, therefore, most people prefer to start in Ventura and ride north toward Carpentaria so when they turn around the wind is at their back. One of the best stopping spots is a Rincon State Beach. Located just below Carpentaria, Rincon is a regionally famous surf spot. Surfers can be seen throughout the day and it is typically a busy spot on the weekend. Keep an eye out for the stand up paddle boarders - they may be pariahs to some surfers, but they can really hold a wave for a long time.
Who is Going to Love It
Any type of cyclist can love riding on this bike path that traverses along the Pacific Coast Highway. This is a separated bike path and there is no development along this stretch of coast. For families this area is great. Whether you are riding training wheels or a race bike, this place will work. The starting location at Emma Wood State Park ideally places you at a scenic beach and park that might facilitate a fun post ride picnic or maybe a swim.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The bike trail begins at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura. From the 101 Freeway north, exit at California Street. Turn right and continue straight, at the third intersection turn left onto East Main Street. Stay on Main Street for 1.2 miles, and then turn onto Park Access Road. This leads you to Emma Wood State Beach/Seaside Wilderness Park. From the 101 South, exit at Main Street; go right on Main Street then take an immediate right onto Park Access Road. You can park here – the bike path starts on the other side of the freeway.