Travel Guide: Ojai, CA

Another California paradise – what else is new? I’ve been on a Southern California kick this year, and adding on to my Los Angeles and Palm Springs adventures, both of which I’ve visited before, is a newcomer to my travel repertoire: Ojai. Less than two hours outside of LA, this picturesque town has a wildly different vibe than the desert oasis that is Palm Springs. Ojai is lush and green, and spotted with orange groves that grow naturally there. It’s the perfect place to go and relax and reconnect with nature, plus recharge and catch an early bedtime. Read on for my Ojai travel guide!

Check out my Ojai photo diary via my hashtag #caro_in_ojai on my Instagram!

Where to Stay

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa – I could not recommend this lovely hotel more as a home base for an Ojai long weekend. It has everything that one could possibly desire – sprawling, gorgeous grounds, idyllic firepits and make-your-own s’mores kits, multiple pools and hot tubs, and an absolutely luxurious spa. We had our breakfast and lunches outside under the trellis or poolside at the resort, and ventured into town for our dinners. Their concierge was also incredibly helpful in helping us set up and book our activities, both at the hotel and beyond.

 

What to Do

Spa at Ojai Valley Inn – The Spa at Ojai Valley Inn is world class and insanely relaxing. They usher you in with a fluffy robe and you’re invited to spend as much time as you’d like in the sauna, steam room, and series of dipping pools. Then, you proceed upstairs prior to your appointment and can help yourself to homemade trail mix and hot tea, and lounge on the balcony as you wait for an attendant to come and bring you to your appointment. I got a facial here, and it was nothing short of lovely.

Horseback Riding – We signed up for a morning ride at Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company via our hotel, and it was one of my favorite parts of our weekend. We took a long, meandering ride through the countryside, and the view were just spectacular.

Explore Town – The main drag of Ojai is resplendent with adorable little shops, and it’s fun to pick an afternoon and spend it meandering through town and exploring. Some of my favorites are Bart’s Books, Cattywampus Crafts, and Fig Ojai (plus don’t forget to stop for coffee at Beacon).

Hiking – We went for a leisurely hike on the Shelf Road Trail, and it was scenic, not too long, and just right for all levels. Park at the Gridley entrance, and enjoy some beautiful views of the valley.

 

Where to Eat

Azu – This Spanish and Mediterranean tapas spot was perfect for our night one dinner. We loved the buffalo cauliflower so much that we ordered it twice, and the fig salad and chicken souvalki plate were also musts.

Ojai Tortilla House – Tiny, no frills, cash only, so good. Get a burrito here and sit outside in the sunshine to enjoy it. They’re giant, but we all managed to devour ours. Wash it down with watermelon agua frescas.

Nocciola – This may have been my favorite dinner of the entire trip. They make their own pasta, and it was all absolutely divine. The beef carpaccio appetizer is also not to be missed.

Beacon Coffee – Attached to Cattywampus Crafts is an utterly charming coffee shop that also happens to serve a blood orange lemonade that was to die for. I could drink it every day (seriously).

Agave Maria’s – For fun and casual Mexican, look no further than Agave Maria. Snag a table on the outdoot patio, sip pitchers of margaritas, and enjoy some classic, no-frills Mexican food. The guac and the tacos were crowd pleasers.

Knead Bread Co – This little local bakery boasts some serious baking chops. The bread here is gorgeous, and don’t forget to check the freezer for homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches. Grab some local jams here as gifts as well.

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