Looking to get away from it all without traveling too far from home? Unplug and escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a family trip to the quaint, charming town of Ojai, located about four hours north of San Diego by car. With its nature-focused sensibility, chill vibe, healthy eats and relaxing activities, it’s just the place to hit the reset button. Read on for the best spots to unwind in Ojai.

photo: Caravan Outpost via Yelp

Where to Stay

Caravan Outpost: A ring of modern bohemian Airstreams make up Caravan Outpost, a perfect spot to live out RV dreams just five minutes from downtown Ojai. Each shiny Airstream feels private, surrounded by plush palm landscaping and the grounds include a darling General Store. Opt for screen-free fun like cornhole or check the community room trunk for a treasure trove of games. Caravan Outpost also offers complimentary bikes and helmets for adults, kids and even a bike with a pull behind trailer for the littlest travelers. Use them on the adjacent Ojai Valley Trail for a car-free ride that parallels town. When the sun sets and the twinkle lights come on, so does the campfire and s’mores kit, complete with dark chocolate, long sticks and marshmallows. Glamping never looked (and tasted) so good. 

Caravan Outpost
317 Bryant St.
Ojai, CA 93023
Online: caravanoutpostojai.com

Ojai Valley Inn: If you’re looking for a little more pampering, there’s no place finer than the coveted Ojai Valley Inn. Bask in the luxury among the sprawling well-manicured grounds, gorgeous pools and Spanish hacienda design. On-site activities include Kids in the Kitchen cooking classes, Camp Oak children’s camp and summer Dive In Movies. But if you really need some R&R, and what parent doesn’t, make an appointment at Spa Ojai. Consider it required self-care and breathe in the eucalyptus steam room or enjoy a pre-treatment yoga class. An aromatherapy relaxation massage in a fireplace room (hello paradise) will put you in the right headspace to take on whatever mom-life challenges come your way.

Ojai Valley Inn
905 Country Club Rd.
Ojai, CA 93023
Online: ojaivalleyinn.com

Where to Eat

NoSo Vita: Start the day at NoSo Vita, a social cafe inspired to be a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. With a wall to pay-it-forward and another to mail someone a kind letter, it’s a great spot to set some good vibes for the day. Grab a spot on the patio and opt for fresh-squeezed OJ and veggie tacos if you’re getting in your healthy groove. Morning classics like breakfast sandwiches and pastries are available too.

Noso Vita
205 N. Signal St.
Ojai, CA 93023
Online: nosovita.com

The Nest: The Nest meshes order-at-the-window casualness with gourmet, locally-sourced eats. A perfect match for foodie parents who are looking for a kid-friendly spot. Order the oh-so-good Buddha Bowl with crispy brussel sprouts and tahini sauce for you, kids-menu pizza for them and everyone is happy.

The Nest
401 E. Ojai Ave.
Ojai, CA 93023
Online: thenestojai.com

Hip Vegan Cafe: Ojai is a small city with a large vegan population. So when in Ojai, eat as the locals do. For skeptical carnivores, try the Old-Fashioned Burger, Date shake and fries at Hip Vegan Cafe for a shockingly-tasty vegan spin on an American classic.

Inside scoop: on our visit, we spotted tidying-up guru Marie Kondo dining with her family!

Hip Vegan Cafe
201 N. Montgomery St.
Ojai, CA 93023
Online: hipvegancafe.com

Ojai Tortilla House: If going all-out vegan is vetoed, try local Mexican favorites like the Ojai Tortilla House. Order burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas and bring them across the street to Libbey Park. Or enjoy traditional Mexican eats on Agave Maria’s outdoor patio.

Ojai Tortilla House
104 N. Signal St.
Ojai, CA 93023

Agave Maria’s
106 S. Montgomery St.
Ojai, CA 93023
Online: agavemarias.com

Ojai Activities

Bike: One of the best ways to explore Ojai is by bike––and the Ojai Valley Trail, with its paved car-free pathway, is perfect for new pedalers. The trail parallels the main road and extends from the back-side of Caravan Outpost all the way to Ventura. Enjoy mountain views and wildflowers and when you’ve hit your halfway point, turnaround and head back. If you’d rather hike it than bike it, try the local-recommended Shelf Road Hike at the top of Signal Street.

Shop: When you’re not on the move, check out local shops in the main stretch of Ojai Ave. From kitschy Summer Camp on the far end of town to Ojai Baby children’s boutique next door to NoSo Vita. Check out Cattywampus Crafts to channel your inner artist. On Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., join the locals at the Ojai Farmers’ Market, rain or shine. Shop for fresh fruits and veggies, homemade bread, olive oils and local goodies.

Play: Give the little ones a break from shopping at Libbey Park, a super-sized playground in the center of town. With ample play structures for kids of all ages, it’s a great spot to relax and let little explorers climb, slide and swing. Don’t forget to the check the calendar for the adjacent Libbey Bowl, which offers outdoor productions and concerts in a magical open-air venue.

Libbey Park & Libbey Bowl
210 S. Signal St.
Ojai, CA 93023
Online: libbeybowl.org

—Kerry Cushman (photos by Kerry Cushman except where noted)


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