Visiting the charming city of Camarillo is like seeing another side of California, one that’s steeped in history and unspoiled beauty.
This town is part of Ventura County, which is part of a bustling and balmy Southern California.
But Camarillo has maintained a small-town charm thanks to the mountains that separate it from the more urbanized Los Angeles Metropolitan Area.
Because of this geography, the city enjoys constant sunny weather as well as the resources provided by the nearby land features.
The townsfolk place great importance on these natural attractions, so you can expect many parks and green spaces dotting every section of town.
And with its storied past, the city has many historical structures still used today or repurposed for new applications.
So there’s something for every preference here, whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker.
Make this place your top choice for an upcoming weekend holiday!
Here are the 15 best things to do in Camarillo, CA:
Tour the Magnificent Camarillo Ranch
The Camarillo Ranch, also called Rancho Calleguas or Adolfo Camarillo House, is a historic event place and park as old as the city.
It was owned by one of the town’s founders, Adolfo Camarillo, who used the lands to produce quality crops and care for cattle.
Today, the ranch has become one of the most prominent attractions in town.
It’s also listed under the National Register of Historic Places.
The ranch’s most recognizable is the Queen Anne-style Victorian home right at the entrance—a home with stately architecture and an immaculate facade.
If you go around it, you’ll find spacious grounds and gardens surrounded by trees on all sides.
Tours of both the house and the surroundings are available, allowing you to see the age-old decor, furniture, and other items on the property.
Watch the Festive Camarillo Christmas Parade
Every Yuletide season, the city hosts a grand parade that celebrates the community and its vibrant traditions.
There’s a different theme every year, so you can always expect something new in every visit.
During the parade, several major roads will be closed as the floats, marching bands, and other colorful participants make their way across the city.
You’ll see bands playing on moving stages, huge animal and character effigies, and people in costumes—Christmas-themed or otherwise—dance to festive music.
It’s a fun sight for the whole family, a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit since it doesn’t really snow in this part of the US.
Once the parade is done, don’t forget to visit Santa’s Village at the Community Center.
There will be booths selling Christmas-related products as well as food stalls offering yummy snacks for the whole family.
Commune with Nature at Camarillo Grove Park
Camarillo Grove Park is a scenic, 25-acre outdoor attraction lying at the foothills of the beautiful Conejo Mountain.
This facility is one of the farthest community parks from Camarillo’s city center, so it’s more peaceful and pristine.
Because of these features, the park is often used as a venue for weddings, company events, photoshoots, and other activities.
But you can come here and just enjoy the scenery.
You’ll find spacious grounds, shady areas, and the oldest tree in the city.
There is also a Nature Center where you can learn about the native plant and animal species as well as the habitats nearby.
If you want to explore a little further, you can trek the looping trails of the park, which bring you to the wilder areas on this side of the mountain.
Marvel at the Collection of Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology
There is something unique about the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology: its massive collection of birds and eggs.
This natural history attraction serves as an educational and archival facility that focuses on avian species worldwide.
With its collection of more than 225,000 items from 4,000 species, the museum is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Touring is highly regulated, as the primary purpose of this attraction is for scientific research.
But once you get inside, you’d be mind blown at the sheer number of eggs on display.
There’s one for every color and shape!
Then there are the taxidermied birds in glass cases, all still as rocks with not one feather out of place.
If you have a keen interest in avian species, this place will be a haven for you.
Understand the Past at Pleasant Valley Historical Society and Museum
The Pleasant Valley Historical Society and Museum is a museum and a garden designed to showcase the city's history.
Within the museum, you’ll find exhibits from various eras, offering glimpses of the past.
One of these is the collection of Juan Camarillo, the younger brother of the town’s founder.
It contains items he brought back after touring much of the world, such as Chumash baskets, religious artifacts, and musical instruments.
Outside is the blooming garden, adorned with bushes of native flowers bursting with color as well as towering trees offering cooling shade.
Touring the paths is like a walk in a fairytale, but you can touch and smell every sweet flower—nothing imaginary.
Keep an eye out for the colorful murals and historical structures hiding between tall bushes and grasses.
Stay Awhile at Mission Oaks Park
Another well-known outdoor facility in Camarillo is the gorgeous Mission Oaks Park.
This spacious destination covers 20.2 acres of land filled with modern facilities and amenities.
So if you’re looking for a place where you can bring the whole family, this is a great choice!
There are plenty of grassy and shady areas for relaxing picnics and lighted trails that you can explore even after dark.
You won’t have to worry if you didn’t bring enough food for the picnic—just visit the snack bar to get more meals and drinks!
For those who want to try more sporty activities, the well-maintained tennis courts and baseball fields are available.
If you happen to bring your pooch to your trip, there’s a dog park in one section of the attraction.
Your furry friend can run around and socialize with other dogs while here.
Conquer the Skies with Official Commemorative Air Force SoCal Wing
One of the most unique attractions here in Camarillo is the Official Commemorative Air Force SoCal Wing.
This museum was established to honor the memory of brave pilots and the aircraft they flew during the wars.
So during your visit, you’d be able to stand up close to some iconic airplanes that were instrumental in winning the Second World War.
You can go ahead and touch the wings and propellers, marvel at the bright paints, and appreciate the beauty of these engineering marvels.
And if you want to fly on them, you simply need to make a reservation beforehand!
The museum offers the Warbird Ride Program, where you can join a pilot and soar over Ventura County aboard one of these aircraft.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you definitely shouldn’t pass on.
Go Horseback Riding at Las Posas Equestrian Park
As one of the only parks in Camarillo that allows horses, the Las Posas Equestrian Park is a favorite place for those who like to go horseback riding.
This park is a two-acre attraction that boasts a small dirt horse arena, tack shed, horse water fountains, and other amenities for the animals.
Then there’s the looping 1.6-mile path that brings you to forested sections of the park.
It’s where horseback riders can roam around with their animals.
But this trail is also open for regular activities like jogging, running, and dog-walking.
Just listen for the thundering hooves and make a way when the horses pass to avoid any accidents!
Play a Few Rounds at Sterling Hills Golf Club
Sitting next to the Camarillo Hills is the Sterling Hills Golf Club, a scenic public golf course open to all skill levels.
So whether you’re a professional or an amateur, you’re welcome to practice your putting and course management skills in this beautiful facility.
It’s an 18-hole course that takes advantage of the area’s topography, resulting in a layout that seamlessly blends with the surrounding landscape.
And with the manicured greens and fairways, the course offers some of the most amazing vistas on this side of SoCal.
Book a tee time during your visit to Camarillo and spend a few hours under the California Sun.
Trek the Trails of Santa Rosa Valley Park
If you haven’t had your fill of horseback riding in Las Posas Equestrian Park, the other place where the hobby is allowed is in Santa Rosa Valley Park.
This is one of the biggest outdoor attractions in town, covering more than 50 acres.
It’s also located far from the city proper, next to the fields and mountains near the borders of Camarillo.
Because of these features, the destination is quite undisturbed and peaceful.
There are two dedicated riding areas for equestrians, well-equipped with amenities for a pleasant experience.
And aside from horseback riding, there are plenty of activities here for the whole family.
The open spaces and beautiful trails are ideal for wilderness explorations, hiking, and mountain climbing.
Landscape photography is also ideal, as the rugged mountains can serve as good subjects for stunning photos.
Play with the Family at harley's Camarillo Bowl
If the weather is not cooperating or the temperatures are too uncomfortable for Camarillo’s outdoor attractions, head over to harley's Camarillo Bowl.
This local bowling arena has a family-friendly atmosphere and is equipped with quality equipment.
So join a match and aim for a strike!
There’s nothing as satisfying as seeing all the pins down.
If bowling isn’t your thing, the facility also has arcade games that let you relive your childhood.
Choose from old-school classics to modern games and play the afternoon away.
For those who need to refuel after a match, the facility’s snack bar offers satisfying and energizing meals.
Bring Your Furry Friend to Springville Dog Park
While the other parks in Camarillo have spaces for pooches, the main destination for those bringing their canine companions is Springville Dog Park.
This five-acre green space is open from morning to dusk, closing only on Friday mornings for lawn maintenance.
With its vast grassy grounds, your beloved pet will have the time of its life running wild and free.
You won’t have to worry much if your dog is too small to catch up with larger dogs, as the park has dedicated sections for big and small pets.
There are also fountains where they can get clean water to rehydrate after hours of running on the grounds.
For dog owners, there are benches where you can sit, relax, and look after your pooch in case it gets in trouble.
Discover McGrath Family Farm's Farming Practices
A collection of smaller farms, including The Abundant Table Farm and Baby Root Farm, make up the 300-acre McGrath Family Farm.
For many years, Phil McGrath, the business owner and a respected mentor in the organic farming world, has advocated for more environmentally friendly and socially just agricultural practices.
He is now at the helm of a new farming generation, which he is guiding and teaching so that his family's tradition will continue.
The McGrath family has made great use of the favorable climate and fertile soil in their area to provide Camarillo with an abundance of healthy, tasty organic fruits and vegetables.
Participate in one of the farm tours to learn everything there is to know about organic farming.
Your kids will love Farmer Phil's pumpkin excursions, and aspiring organic farmers may take a private tour with him to understand the process.
Seasonally, you can choose your fruits and vegetables.
Catch the Exhibits of Studio Channel Islands Art Center
Camarillo is home to Studio Channel Islands, a group that works to improve the city's creative and cultural scene in historic downtown.
Forty artists are permanently based in the venue.
Artists' Open Studios, the Blackboard Gallery, painting courses, and other cultural events are just a few of the many things this organization offers to the artistic and culturally curious.
At the Blackboard Gallery, art enthusiasts may spend some relaxing time taking in one of the gallery's twelve annual exhibits, as well as recurring shows by the gallery's own member artists.
Join their Adult Art Classes in Studio R1 if you'd like to give painting a try.
The gallery's gift store sells one-of-a-kind items such as jewelry, pottery, and other works of art.
Try the Wines of the Region with Explore Wines Tours
For the love of great wine and the splendor of wine country, hop on an unforgettable tour of California's wine regions!
Are you looking to expand your wine knowledge?
Would you want your own sommelier to take you on the ultimate wine tour?
Get to know the winemakers, try the top-rated wines or the up-and-coming figures who will soon be household names!
Cultivate recollections that will endure a lifetime.
Explore Wines Tours aims to show you the best of California's wine country by providing you with unforgettable experiences in the vineyards and cellars of the state's finest wineries.
Explore the Stalls at Camarillo Farmers Market
Camarillo's Saturday morning Farmers Market is a must-visit if you're in town on the weekend.
All the locals gather at the market every week to socialize, enjoy the delicious food, and praise the excellent quality of the area's agricultural offerings.
Vegetables, fruits such as berries and citrus, farm-fresh eggs, and grass-fed beef are among the many fresh foods sold at the daily farmers' market.
Jams, preserves, honey, and a wide variety of other items are also available in this market.
Several food vendors also sell various goods, from bread and pastries to fish and sausages, and several flowers and plant sellers to peruse while taking a break from shopping.
Have a Retail Therapy at Camarillo Premium Outlets
Camarillo Premium Outlets houses over 160 stores.
This mall is only 55 miles from Santa Barbara and 50 miles from L.A.
Camarillo Premium Outlets is the ideal place to spend a weekend of retail therapy with your girlfriends, as it features outlet stores for numerous high-end brands, including those from the United States (Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Nike) and the United Kingdom (Ted Baker London, Lululemon, and more).
Take a break from shopping at one of the many nearby restaurants or cafes for a quick bite and a refreshing beverage.
On-site charging stations are available for both conventional and electric automobiles.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Once you’re done visiting the wonders of Camarillo, head over to these other places that are just a few minutes away.
Explore the Wonders of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
For those feeling more adventurous, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is less than 30 minutes away from Camarillo.
It spans more than 157,700 acres in total area, reaching all the way to the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Within this great space, there are many attractions like mountain ridges, old ranches, waterfalls, and even Indian caves.
The southern section contains the famous beaches of Malibu—the ultimate Californian attractions.
Make a Stopover at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa
The rugged landscapes of the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa ranch are an ideal destination for those who want to see the wilder side of Ventura County without going too far from modernity.
Aside from that, the attraction is a culturally significant place that served as home to Native Americans.
There’s even the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center right at the ranch, representing indigenous cultures from all over the US.
The rest of the park is open for hiking, camping, biking, and horseback riding in designated trails.
Go Sunbathing at Mandalay State Beach
Mandalay State Beach in the vibrant city of Oxnard is just 20 minutes away from Camarillo.
So if you’re looking for some seaside fun, this is one of the nearest places to go.
The 16.5 mile-long beach has undisturbed sections of sand dunes and salt marshes, which are designated as protected areas.
If you want to go birdwatching, these sections have an array of species native to this part of the country.
The other areas of the beach are open for recreation, so you can go sunbathing, swimming, and surfing when the swells are high enough.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, budding historian, or nature lover, the city of Camarillo has something in store for you.
There are many community parks, festive parades, cultural and historical centers, and even opportunities for flying!
Reference this list when making your itinerary so you won’t miss the top spots!