Port Hueneme is a small beach city in Ventura County, California surrounded by the city of Oxnard and the Santa Barbara Channel. Both the Port of Hueneme and Naval Base Ventura County lie within city limits.
Port Hueneme has a south-facing sand beach, known for its surfing. The beach has a wooden fishing pier and is about a mile long between Ormond Beach downcoast and Point Hueneme Light at the harbor entrance shared by the naval base and the port. The Waterfront Promenade, also known as the Lighthouse Promenade, provides a paved public access along the shoreline with two historic sites at viewpoints: the 1872 Wharf and the Oxnard Packing House.
The name Hueneme derives from the Spanish spelling of the VentureñoChumash name Wene Me, meaning “Resting Place”. The town’s name was officially changed to Port Hueneme in 1939 and was incorporated March 24, 1948.
The existing street grid of the town was formally laid out in 1888. Until the construction of the Montalvo Cutoff that brought the railroad to nearby Oxnard, the wharf was the principal means of transportation for that portion of Ventura County lying south of the Santa Clara River. Hueneme was the second largest grain shipping port on the Pacific coast between 1871 and 1895.
A 650-foot-long pier was built in 1956 as a construction trestle for a sewer outfall pipeline. The fishing pier is now 1,250 feet after having been modified over the years.
On January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crashed into the Pacific Ocean due to a mechanical failure between Port Hueneme and Anacapa Island. The U.S. Navy Base Ventura County, adjacent to the Port, served as the staging ground for recovery of the wreckage.
The victims’ families later approved the construction of a memorial sundial, designed by Santa Barbara artist James “Bud” Bottoms, which was placed on the beach closest to the crash site. The names of each of the victims are engraved on individual bronze plates mounted on the perimeter of the dial. The sundial casts a shadow on a memorial plaque at 16:22 each January 31.
Looking at changing the city name to Hueneme Beach was approved by the city council in July 2021.