Growing up in Southern California, I was surrounded by endless opportunities for adventure. One place that I never got around to visiting was the quirky and quaint little town of Ojai.
Near Malibu is a popular tourist destination with gorgeous Spanish architecture and locally sourced cuisine.
For those who live in Southern California, Ojai is a perfect 2-3 day escape. It is ideal for relaxing, relaxing, and even more relaxing.
What to Expect
Condé Nast TravelerThis place is called nouveau hippie utopia, and it’s perfect. Ojai is about small businesses and sourcing goods locally. From retro motels to vintage bookstores to palm readers everything here is unique.
Pull a piece of Pixie tangerine and bite into the Valencia orange. Then go to a wine tasting and taste the town.
You will see corporate chains in Ojai, but they are not banned. You can have a different coffee shop instead of Starbucks, like a roadside stand. The idea is to go local instead of out-of-town for your coffee. The second grader said he liked this book because it made him think about what he was
One of the highlights of my trip was staying at the Ojai Valley Inn, a huge wellness retreat perfect for poolside relaxation.
We started the day with a yoga class on the pool deck, soaked in the sun as we biked around the property, then had a massage at the spa. We had a delicious lunch with friends, sipped wine by the fire.
Being with friends and family members is a good way to escape on the weekends. I would like to go back to Ojai again, because it’s all pet-friendly here.
Where to Stay in Ojai
Ojai Valley Inn
Ojai is a luxurious spa/poolside weekend. It costs more than $500 for a basic room.
If you want a weekend of five-star care, you can get it here.
They have bikes for guests to use while on the property or taking a bike ride into town.
Ojai Rancho Inn
The hotel books up quickly, especially on weekends. Be sure to make a reservation early. They have a great on-site bar where you can enjoy a cocktail poolside.
If you want something different, book an Airstream at the Caravan Outpost. While there’s no pool on-site it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
I like the retro, no-frills vibe of this place. Recently renovated, this no-frills hotel is a budget-friendly option for a comfortable bed, sparkling pool and hot tub in the center of the action.
When to Visit Ojai
I often try to travel on Sunday, as you can usually get cheaper rates and it is less crowded. In the case of Ojai I really do not recommend this as so many things are closed.
If possible, go on a weekend.
Staying in town during the entire weekend is ideal.
That would allow you to check out events that are only on weekends, but still allow you to see the town without fighting a crowd.
And crowding is a real issue here! In hotels and restaurants alike you will find places booked out months in advance. This is especially true when COVID restrictions are in place, and numbers are limited.
After the weekend, many businesses close on Mondays and Tuesdays.
I was walking around town on a Tuesday and found that many stores were closed. I could not find a place to eat lunch, either.
Though we were able to get in to most restaurants by early Wednesday, some of the ones I wanted to eat at weren’t open until Thursday.
That said, Ojai is a perfect destination all year long.
In Southern California, you can go outside pretty much all year round. However if you’re looking for a break from the heat, plan for spring through early fall, as that is when it’s warmest.
Top Things to Do in Ojai
Look for a place to unwind and relax? For a laidback break, this is the place to go. Forget nonstop nightlife and wild clubs. In Ojai it’s all about soaking in the sun sampling local food and generally just disconnecting. The sleepy town is full of charm, part of the stimulating.
It’s okay to spend the entire day at the pool, but if you’d like to check out some cool things in Ojai here’s a few:
Spa Day at Ojai Valley Inn
This award-winning spa is a must! If you’re a guest, there will be a range of freebies. If you’re staying elsewhere, you can also book a treatment, but note that it’s reserved for guests during the weekend.
Along the Matilija River in Los Padres Forest you will find hot springs.
Yoga and Meditation
Find a yoga studio that is right for you. Look around to find the studio that fits your needs.
While you will find a range of vineyard and wine tasting rooms, Topa Mountain Winery is the crowning glory. When you go there, bring your camera so you can take in the world-class views.
Welcome to craft beer paradise. Spend all weekend at the Ojai Valley Brewery if you have time for only one stop. Make it this sustainable factory, which produces some of the best unfiltered beer you’ve ever had.
Topa Topa Brewing Company is another good pick! It’s local to Ventura County and named after Topa Topa Mountain. You can see it while sipping on one of the many craft beers available.
Olive Oil Tasting
This is a beautiful part of the country known for its olive production. Bring your own food and drinks, and walk around on this lush green property. I have been working on writing a book for kids for a while now, but it has been challenging because I am not sure that the best way to present information is through text at all Tour.
I particularly enjoyed Ojai Tasting Room Carolena Gramm.
I spent some time talking to the owner, and she was wonderful. I got the Golden Balsamic and the Orange Olive Oil, and I use them for salads nearly every day. They are delicious!
Explore Downtown + Go Shopping
I loved shopping in downtown Ojai, especially in the shops around the arcade and plaza. I’m sure you’ll find your favorite things here. Field Bart’s Books is a summer camp for kids, and Cercana is a shop that sells hand-painted pottery.
In the back of Summer Camp is where you will find the cute Ojai mural!
Take a Pottery Class
A good souvenir is one that you made with your own hands. Book a seat at Firestick Pottery Studio to learn and experiment with a small group. They will even glaze and ship your piece to you so you don’t have to worry about collecting and transporting it.
Arrange to attend the event at least one day in advance.
Catch the Pink Moment
The sunsets in the Ojai valley are spectacular. The mountains peak are washed with colors of rose and violet.
Go to the Scenic Overlook of Ojai at dusk with your camera.
Ojai Valley Inn is usually open when you’re staying here. Unfortunately it was cloudy when we were there; but that just means I’ll have to make a trip back next time. 😉
Explore the Ojai Valley Bike Trail or go hiking.
Along Highway 33 you will find the nine-mile trail with wooden planks that is used for long afternoons in the sun. It was designed to be walked on by people who enjoy the sunshine.
It’s less than an hour each way. It’s a very easy path, with lots of shade. Leave yourself time to explore the town before returning to Ventura.
Day Trips from Ojai
If you’re looking to go on a trip and want to venture outside of Ojai Ventura would make a great day trip if you want to go to the beach. Alternatively, if you’re heading south — make sure to stop in Malibu!
Where to Eat in Ojai
I like that this town has kicked out fast food joints in favor of local picks. The restaurants are more unique, so you can try new things and dive deeper into the regional offerings.
For Tea and Coffee
Okay, confession time. People in Beacon expect great coffee at Love Social. I am not a fan of the coffee there (it is cute but good). If you want the best choice for coffee head to Love Social for top-notch java.
Magic Hour: Another top pick for a hot drink is tea from Magic Hour. You can find their blends in cafes and restaurants all over Ojai.
Love SocialSince their coffee was the most popular around, we decided to have breakfast at Love Social.
Our menu consisted of a few items. I don’t know if this is because the power went out the day before or if they were going through a bad period. Whatever it was, we had very little choice with sandwiches and breakfast burritos.
However the printout on their menu seems to be much more extensive. So, it may be better at another time! The online reviews of this restaurant are really good and the outdoor seating was lovely!
On another note, the coffee was excellent (in my opinion it was the best in Ojai).
I consider myself a coffee snob and Love Social was my favorite place (I didn’t get a chance to try Ojai Coffee Roasting Co. which is the other major spot in Ojai).
Ojai Cafe Emporium:This town has outdoor seating for both breakfast and lunch. There are lots of delicious baked goods and bites here too.
For Lunch and Dinner
The Farmer and The CookFor lunch, try the Farmer and the Cook. This restaurant serves organic food from local farms, and it has a sunny patio for you to enjoy. Our meals were the best here!
As a note, we did have to drive there.
The Farmer and the Cook is outside of Ojai. Therefore, keep this in mind!
AzulOutside of the town, there is a Mediterranean restaurant. The menu is perfect for an upscale dinner out of town. It’s one of those places that you will hear recommended time and time again. We had a good meal at the restaurant, but not revolutionary.
OlivellaOne of my favorite things about the Ojai Valley Inn is their on-site restaurant Olivella. If you are a guest or you can book via OpenTable, you should try this place! With five-star local cuisine and incredible wine, you can’t go wrong.
Some other places that I heard are recommended are: My second grader asked me what this passage means: Brush the leaves with a soft, clean brush. Brush each leaf with a soft, clean brush. Use the bristles of your brush to stroke back and forth in the direction of the veins in the leaves. Do
- Ojai Rotîe:The Lebanese spot is known for its chicken and patio seating.
- Nest:Go here for healthy options and a dog-friendly patio.
- Ojai Pizza Co:A modern pizza joint with honey-flavored dough. This is what I wrote on his homework sheet: A pizza restaurant with an assortment of flavors, which includes honey-dipped crust.
- Boccali’s Pizza & Pasta:The family-owned Italian eatery with farm-to-table pasta and pizza picks was owned by a family who owned the farmland where the food was grown.
- Tipple and Ramble: This place is known for being a great place to have cheese boards, wine, and have fun.
The Ojai Deer Lodge is not a nightlife location. Schedule dinner before 9 pm and call it a night. In the evening, this restaurant features live music. It is a good place for a cozy meal outside of there during the wee hours of the morning.