Located in the Ojai Valley of California’s Ventura County, Ojai is a laidback picturesque small town in the United States of America. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the Golden State of California. It is situated about 50 miles north of Malibu, and it is south and inland of Santa Barbara. Ojai is a spiritual oasis where you can take pleasure in hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and so much more. It is also known for its charming boutique hotels and so many more recreational opportunities that you can enjoy with very scenic views.
This gorgeous town is surrounded by incredible scenery with vineyards and citrus groves. Ojai is full of vibrant and vivid culture and history with historic and fascinating museums, elegant art galleries, charming farmer’s market, immaculate theatres, and much more. The food scene in Ojai is fantastic as well. There are various impressive restaurants and cafes in the town that serve fresh and delicious Californian food. Here are some of the best places to see and the best things to do in Ojai, California.
Hike Along The Ojai Meadows Preserve
Ojai Meadows Preserve is a protected natural wetland area with meadows that are designed to connect people with their natural surroundings. It was destroyed in the 1900s due to development in the area surrounding the wetlands. However, the land was restored to its current glory with the help of the local community. Now the preserve is a popular spot for recreation in the town with hiking trails and plant nursery, along with tonnes of wildlife and plant life.
Celebrate Art At Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts celebrates the life and art of the famous New York artist, Beatrice Wood. She was a potter and an artist and she was a prominent part of the Avant-Garde movement in the United States. The centre commemorates the artistry of Wood through various displays and exhibitions. It also hosts various lectures, workshops, and classes to educate the visitors about art and its importance. There is a small gift shop in the centre where you can buy gifts along with art from local artists to remember this incredible city.
Sample The Remarkable Ojai Olive Oil
Ojai Valley’s unique geography makes it the perfect place for several family-run farms. Ojai Olive Oil is one of the largest and the oldest olive oil orchards in Southern California. It is over 150 years old and contributes largely to the diversity of the area. This family-run farm uses organic farm practices to produce the highest quality olive oil. They make several award-winning olive oils that you can buy from the local farmer’s market. You sample the olive oils in their tasting room and also take guided tours of the property to see how olive oil is made.
The Beautiful Lake Casitas
Lake Casitas is an artificial lake created after the construction of the dam on Coyote Creek. The lake was made to provide water for important activities such as irrigation. Swimming is prohibited at the lake, however, you can enjoy camping, fishing, and boating in the serene environment of the lake. It is also surrounded by the Lake Casitas Recreation Area where you can enjoy golfing, lunch with the view of the lake, water park, and more.
Sample Fresh Produce At Ojai Farmers' Market
Ojai hosts a very charming and rustic farmers’ market every Sunday where several vendors sell the freshest produce of Ojai. The farmers’ market is the perfect place to sample the local and wholesome products of the fertile lands of Ojai Valley. Apart from fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also sample artisanal jams, chocolates, soaps, candles, honey, gourmet desserts, and bread, along with fresh seafood. You can also eat local food from various vendors while enjoying the fantastic live music playing in the background.
Learn About Ojai At Ojai Valley Museum
Ojai Valley Museum is a non-profit organisation and was founded in 1966 by local volunteers. It is located inside the former St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. The museum preserves the history of Ojai Valley through collecting and displaying various artefacts, documents, photographs, and art. There is also an interpretive garden behind the museum building where you can sit and bask in the beautiful Californian sunshine after roaming around the museum.
The Magnificent Los Padres National Forest
Los Padres National Forest is the second-largest national forest in central and southern California that includes the majority of the mountainous land of the Californian coast. The forest is home to over 400 species of animals along with more than 1200 species of plants, which makes it a quintessential destination for nature lovers to enjoy birdwatching or to just explore the abundant flora and fauna of the forest. The best way to explore this green space is by walking on the various trails in the forest that are very easy to walk on.
Take Guided Tour Of The Stunning Valley View Preserve
Located just outside Downtown Ojai, Valley View Preserve is a protected area of 195 acres. The open space consists of several miles of hiking trails, dog-friendly trails along with beautiful native flora and fauna. The most popular trails to hike in the Valley View Preserve are Fox Canyon Trail, Foothill trails, and Luci’s Trail. Make sure to hike on these trails to see the stunning beauty of the preserve. You can also take a guided tour of the preserve to see and know more about it.
Enjoy The Casitas Water Adventure With Friends And Family
Casitas Water Adventure is a family-friendly water park and part of the Lake Casitas Recreation Area. The water park is very compact, has water playgrounds, a deep lagoon, snack shacks, picnic tables, and much more. The lagoon is 18-inch deep and offers several water features, bridges, a jungle gym, slides, and more. So don’t forget to visit the Lake Casitas Recreation Area water park to enjoy the Lake Casita’s water with your family and friends.
Get The Freshest Citrus Fruits At Friend's Ranch
Friend's Ranch is a family-owned and operated orchard that has been growing citrus fruits for more than 100 years in Ojai Valley. The citrus fruits grown here include lemons, oranges, tangelos, and so much more. Friend’s Ranch is best known for its Pixie tangerine; it is a sweet and sweet fruit that is very popular among the locals of Ojai. Make sure to stop by the Friend’s Ranch and get the newly-harvested produce along with freshly squeezed juice of the citrus fruits.
Spend An Afternoon At The Bart's Books
Founded in 1964, Bart's Books is the largest independently owned outdoor bookstore in the United States of America. The bookstore has over a million books available for sale that includes rare and limited edition books worth thousands of dollars. Visit Bart’s Books when you come to Ojai and spend an afternoon at the bookstore going through several different books under the shade of the glorious lemon tree there.
Horseback Riding With Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company
Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company offers horseback rides in the enchanted green trails along the Ventura River. They also have ponies on which young children can ride. Rides last for about one to two hours and you can choose the location where you want to enjoy horseback riding.
Rose Valley Falls Trail
Rose Valley Falls Trail is located in the Los Padres National Forest and this half-mile trail leads to a lovely waterfall in the forest. You can hike the trail to enjoy the beautiful green space of the forest and to see the stunning waterfall at the end. Make sure to carry a good camera with you to click stunning pictures of the gorgeous surroundings.
Taste Organic Wine At Casa Barranca
Casa Barranca is a rustic wine bar overlooking the magnificent Ojai Valley. It serves several different types of wines made from organic grapes grown in the Casa Barranca vineyard. Casa Barranca vineyard is the first organic winery on the central coast of California. All the wines are handcrafted very delicately from the best quality grapes to make sure that you taste the finest wine in California.
Appreciate the Scenic Views Of Ventura River Preserve
Ventura River Preserve is located in the western Ojai Valley and it consists of 1600 acres of gorgeous green space with 3 miles of Ventura River. The preserve provides shelter to more than 300 species of different flora and fauna. It also has various trails where you can walk, jog, or hike while appreciating the scenic views of the nearby greenery.
Learn At Krishnamurti Educational Centre
Located in the former residence of the author and philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti Educational Centre consists of a library and a quite room, where visitors can read or meditate in peace. You can learn a lot about Krishnamurti and his teaching in the education centre. Make sure to explore the peaceful gardens surrounding the building.
Stay At The Serene Ecotopia
Ecotopia is the hidden gem of Ojai. You can truly immerse yourself in nature here. It is a delightful mix of different ecologies, hot springs, and creeks and is sustained by a local community agricultural program. You can book your stay in advance on their website and choose various amenities according to your needs and budget. The serene environment of Ecotopia will make you grateful to be alive.
Mountain Biking On Pratt Trail Loop
Pratt Trail Loop is a 15.4-kilometer scenic trail and it is rated as difficult. The trail features beautiful plant life and stunning views of the city. You can enjoy running, hiking, and mountain biking while appreciating the expansive views of the valley.
Visit The Ojai Vineyard
Ojai Vineyard has been producing wine on the Central Coast for more than half a century. The expertise and finesse are visible in the wines that are produced here. You can taste the 24+ wines in the tasting room of the vineyard. Make sure to try the famous Syrahs, Chards, Rieslings, and Pinots when you visit the renowned Ojai Vineyard.
Support Local Artists At Human Arts Gallery
Human Arts Gallery was opened in 1975 and it has since grown into an important part of the local art scene. The gallery represents the works of more than 150 national and local artists. It is known for its eccentric displays and exhibits of various furniture, jewelry, ceramics, sculptures, and so much more. Don’t forget to explore the award-winning gift shop and support local artists.
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is a non-profit organisation that buys the vacant lands in the Ojai Valley and then works towards preserving them by converting them into recreational areas where visitors can enjoy hiking, walking, running, or mountain biking while relishing the beauty of the valley. Some of their trails are easily accessible on foot and are located near downtown. They also host interpretive nature walks to encourage people to connect with the environment. Don’t forget to make a small donation to support this organisation and its important work.
Start Your Day With Breakfast At Bonnie Lu's Country Cafe
Bonnie Lu's Country Cafe is a quintessential diner cafe that serves delicious American comfort food. It almost always full, so you might have to wait but that wait will be worth the scrumptious food that this diner serves. Make sure to order their famous English muffin biscuits, omelets, hash browns, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Devour Delicious Vegan Food At Hip Vegan Cafe
Hip Vegan Cafe is the perfect place if you are vegan or vegetarian. The cafe serves delicious vegan and vegetarian food made with fresh ingredients. Don’t forget to try the hummus wraps, Wagamama bowl, and tempeh burgers when you visit this charming cafe.
Appreciate The Award-Winning Wine Selection At Olivella
Olivella is an upmarket bistro that serves delectable Italian food in a warm and friendly setting. They use locally grown and sourced produce to make their food. The staff is very friendly and attentive and will make sure that your experience is nothing but great. Olivella is famous for its chocolate sphere, filet mignon, lobster risotto, and the award-winning wine selection.
Stay At The Incredible Blue Iguana Inn
Located on Ventura Avenue, Blue Iguana Inn is a charming boutique hotel. It is located only a 15-minute drive away from the magnificent Pacific Ocean. Each room is carefully curated with hand-selected furnishings and paintings, along with other prized possessions and amenities to make your stay as worthwhile as possible. The staff is courteous and informative and provides top-notch service. Make sure to stay at the Blue Iguana Inn when you visit the charming city of Ojai.
This Californian city is absolutely amazing and will take your breath away. What are you waiting for? Visit Ojai and do not forget to tell us your favourite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this charming city.