Located in the Ventura County of California, Oxnard is a beautiful beach town. This panorama-perfect town is particularly famed for its historic downtown, pristine white beaches and authentic culture. This town is worth a visit for its evasively quaint harbour, historic Victorian-era architecture and electric nightlife.
As one of California’s budding coastal community, Oxnard might surprise those who dismiss this town as a mere agrarian destination. There is more to this alluring city than just the smell of earth in the air-modest museums, a thriving punk and hip-hop scene, professional theatres, water-filled adventures, among many others. There are so many fun activities that you indulge in while you are visiting this town. Our guide enlists some of the best things to do to in Oxnard, California to make your visit a memorable one.
Water Adventures at the Channel Islands Harbour
Lying just off of Ventura’s coast is a one-stop resource for information on the five northern Channel Islands. It was initially established as a shore protection project in correlation to a small harbour at the end of the Santa Barbara Channel in 1960.
As it is today, it is hugely famous for its waterfront resorts and craft recreation and mainly attracts the local American population. If you are in the mood for some diving, kayaking, fishing or whale watching, you might want to head up to The Channel Islands Harbor. Water taxi facility is also available here. After every three years, the Channel Islands Tall Ship Festival is hosted by this institution that attracts thousands of marine and ship enthusiasts. Visit the Channel Islands Boating Centre to enjoy some fun boating activities.
Mullin Automotive Museum for Car Lovers
This museum is a true homage to the art deco and magnificent automobiles. Housing some of the finest collections that typifies exquisitely beautiful style and amazingly engineered French-built cars, there is a lot to see her. The museum showcases the personal car collection of philanthropist and businessman Mr Peter W. Mullin. From French automobiles to vintage Bugattis, the visitors can see a large variety of cars in the museum. The French collection of the Mullin museum consists of cars which are the past winners of historic Grand Prix de Pau and Le Mans.
Tourists can visit the museum on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month by paying $15. The museum is open from 10 am till 3 pm. If you wish to book a semi-private tour, you can make a reservation and visit the museum on Tuesdays at a cost of $40.
The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park
At The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, the tourists can visit a bookstore, a featured board of marine aquatic life and take part in exhibitions that detail the features of each Island. Travellers can also enjoy a special movie called "A Treasure in the Sea" which is 25 minutes long and runs throughout the day in the main auditorium.
The Visitor Centre is open to the visitors all year but is closed on December 25th and on Thanksgiving Day. The timing is from 8:30 am to 5 pm. If you're visiting on the weekends, be sure to attend the free public programs about the resources of the park.
A Trip down the Time at Heritage Square
The Heritage Square consists of several well-preserved craftsman-style houses in a lushly landscaped square block of historic downtown. These houses once served as abodes for the pioneer families of Oxnard. Being an original historic site of Oxnard, the site exhibits 15 Victorian mansions, of whose beauty attracts tourists from all over the world.
These beautiful Victorian architecture houses provide the best grounds for couples looking for a perfect wedding site. Photography enthusiasts also flock here for its picturesque gardens and fountains. Visitors can purchase souvenirs and gifts from the local gift shops in the Square. At the cost of $5 per person, the tour is 45 minutes long. Tours are exempted on holidays but are open for the rest of the year. The docents here assist in providing you with an information-filled tour about the historic structures of Heritage Square and the City of Oxnard.
Sunbathing At the Mandalay State Beach
The Mandalay State Beach is on the list of protected beaches, currently managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. This 92-acre land was transformed into California State Park in 1985 to preserve the wetlands and for developing sand dunes. You can access the beach during the day time, provided that you do not enter the reserved area. There is no special parking area but you can find the same on adjacent public streets. Visitors can also walk and travel to the neighbouring beaches.
California Coastal National Monument
Created by Bill Clinton in 2000 and currently managed by the US Bureau of Land Management, the California Coastal National Monument is one of the most viewed sites of California. The monument is located along the coastline of California to protect reefs, rocky outcrops and islets within 12 nautical miles off the coast. The interesting bit of this monument is that most people are not aware that they are actually viewing a national monument.
In 2014, Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands was added to the California Coastal National Monument in a presidential proclamation by President Barack Obama. Furthermore, in 2017, 5 coastal sites were added in the same monument under the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act. On a sunny day, you can see harbour seals resting on rocks and surf grasses. The monument gives a unique shelter for marine life and is not to be missed by marine enthusiasts. The scenic view of the sunset is a breath-taking one and a treat for photographers.
The Serenity of the Channel Islands National Park
Also known as America's Galapagos, this site is 14 miles off the coast and is known for camping trips. Managed by the National Park Service and National Marine Sanctuary, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is the most wondrous attraction of Ventura County. It comprises five of the eight Channel Islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara Island, which are hardly visible from the mainland.
Wine Tasting At Rancho Ventavo Cellars
Remember the 15 houses of the Victorian Era? One of them, called The Scarlett House, is a famous wine cellar and a wine tasting destination. It is a family-owned winery, with a tasting room. They started off as hobbyists and were quick to turn their passion into a business. The wine tasting fees is $10 per person, including an Italian crystal logo glass of 16-oz. You can visit the Rancho Ventavo Cellar on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 10 am-6 pm for wine tasting services.
This house not just sells fine wine but also hosts events like receptions and meetings. In case you're having an event like reception or meeting, you can book the bonus room, which is a 900 square foot room upstairs. Yes, the feel of having an event in a Victorian Era house with glasses of fine wine on your table is going to be a fantastic one.
Dip In the Silver Strand Beach
Silver Strand Beach is a great place to relax. The sandy beaches here have a charisma of its own. A paved walking trail walks spans from San Nicholas Ave to Kiddie Beach Park. Visitors can park their cars near the north, specifically where San Nicholas Ave merges with the Ocean Drive.
Carnegie Art Museum
The Carnegie Art Museum was initially opened as Oxnard Public Library in 1907. It was later transformed into an art museum in 1986. Later on, Carnegie Art Museum became the first Carnegie Library in California and the first building in Ventura County to be listed in the US National Register of Historic Places. The credit of architecting this Neo-classical building goes to Mr Franklin P. Burnham. The building is currently owned by the City of Oxnard.
Since the art museum has now been closed due to city budget cuts, visitors can only see the iconic building from afar. It is the best place for photographers to capture photographs amidst this historic backdrop.
Kayaking At the Blue Ocean
If you are someone who is into water adventures, head to the Blue Ocean. Several agencies provide kayaking service at the Blue Ocean, Oxnard. While kayaking, you will be able to see natural caves and therefore, it is preferable to hire an open-air kayak. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot some dolphins and whales in the process. It is advisable to pick an agency with good guides so that you get to see more through the best waterways.
The Pirate Boat Rides
When you visit the Channel harbour at the Mandalay Bay, give the pirate boats a try. With many agencies lining up to give you a memorable ride, you have commendable options when it comes to boats. During the sail that typically lasts for 30-45 minutes, you will be able to see the harbour, the bay and the houses nearby.
The Marine Emporium Landing
One of the Oxnard's premier destination for dining and waterfront activities, The Marine Emporium Landing hosts several fun water activities. You get to enjoy kayaking, sports fishing, marine sailing, boating and whale watching. Travellers also get to experience fine dining at good restaurants and wine bars. While you are here, make sure you visit the most famous Honey Cup Coffee restaurant. In case you are too tired, you can also head for spa and massage treatments.
The Antiques of the Murphy Auto Museum
The Murphy Auto Museum displays its collection of automobiles and Americana all year long. They have a gorgeous collection of 90 vintage automobiles, starting from the ones manufactured as early as 1903 to the ones manufactured till present. With a whopping 30,000 square foot facility, they have unique vintage camping trailers and clothing displays. For a self-interpretive museum experience, they have detailed placards placed at the front of every automobile. In addition to that, they provide the best docents available to answer any of your queries. From time to time, the museum hosts exhibition on its parking lots during which facilitates owners and collectors alike to come together and show off their cars.
You can pay a visit to this amazing museum from April to December on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in between 10 am-4 pm and 6 pm-10 pm on Wednesday nights. While the days change to Saturday and Sunday from January to March, the timings of 10 am-4 pm remain the same.
Witness the Collections at the RiverPark
Being one of the finest outdoor lifestyle centres of California, you can purchase services and products at the RiverPark. Many business biggies have their outlets here, both national and regional. You can shop from some of the biggest brands here. This includes H&M, Victoria's Secret, Sephora, Target, Whole Foods, and the list just goes on. The collection also displays several mind-blowing public arts.
Channel Islands Maritime Museum
The Channel Islands Maritime Museum presents a collection of maritime paintings, artefacts and ship models. The paintings showcased here is an assortment of both new and old (some as historic as the ones that date back to the 17th, 18th and 19th century). The windows of the museum provide a scenic view of the boats sailing in the harbour. The guides provide all the assist you completely free of cost. If you want to see everything related to Maritime, especially that of the US, the Channel Islands Maritime Museum is a great option.