If you're heading to Ventura from out of town, here are some suggestions and things to keep in mind:
We recommend staying at the Bella Maggiore (805) 652-0277. It's a great little local hotel in the middle of 'downtown' Ventura. Nothing fancy, but there are a range of rooms and breakfast is included. The Sunday brunch is actually going to be here, so one incentive would be only needing to roll out of bed on Sunday morning for a tasty breakfast with everyone. There are plenty of other hotels nearby as well. We're trying to plan the weekend with minimal need to drive, but if you stay outside of the main section of downtown there should be plenty of free parking available for when you come in.
If you're thinking about extending the trip for extra days to check out the area, Ventura is 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara, 30 minutes from Ojai (hot springs, hiking, new age-y-ness) and an hour north of LA (either by the 101 or the coast route).
Downtown Ventura is right next to the beach. There's surfing and hanging out on the beach, hanging out in the park, hanging out and having a drink...well, you get the picture. Don't expect a booming metropolis, but it's a super-accessible town with lots of beautiful nature all around.
We'll post more information about places we like around town a little closer to the August.