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USA Travel: Ojai, California in 3 Days, 2 Nights — Activity Recommendations

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This is a list of activity recommendations for three days, two nights in Ojai, California.

The basics

  • Ojai, California
  • Ojai is a local getaway destination of choice in Southern California as it sits inside a valley, making it feel a world away from industrial Los Angeles.
  • Most visitors to Ojai arrive by way of Los Angeles or coastal California. Ojai is 83 miles north of Los Angeles, a 1 hour, 45 minute drive and 15 miles inland from the Pacific Coast, a winding 30 minute drive. Southern California’s traffic is notorious for adding time to your drive, so plan accordingly.
  • We recommend visiting on a weekend – arrive late Friday afternoon and depart Sunday afternoon.

About Ojai

The land that we call Ojai today is a tale of transformation. It began as a home to the Chumash Indians before becoming a cattle ranch, then later into land for oil prospecting.

In 1874 it was founded into the city “Norhoff,” later named Ojai. It was Edward Drummond Libbey who financed and created the downtown we see today, that includes “a Spanish-style arcade, a bell-tower reminiscent of the famous campanile in Havana, and a pergola opposite the arcade” (Su Nido Inn, 2020).

Ojai’s name comes from the Chumash word meaning “the Nest” or “Valley of the Moon.” As the sun sets, the light hits the mountains, turning them a gorgeous pink hue fondly referred to as the “pink moment” by locals.

The town’s ban on big-box commercial retailers in favor of locally owned small businesses contributes towards the community-centric, homely atmosphere.

Map of Los Angeles to Ojai

Day 1: Arrive to Ojai; hike, craft beer tap room tasting

Stay at Ojai Rancho Inn or Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

The Ojai Rancho Inn is a quirky 18-room retro motel that was built in the 1950s. The rooms are no-frills but their wood-paneled rooms, cozy cabin vibes alongside humongous Jacuzzi style tubs gives travelers that feeling of escapism. Bikes are available for rent.

If you are looking to splurge, stay at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, a 220-acre estate that is a favorite amongst holiday-makers. Its Spanish-style casitas, championship golf course, Moroccan spa, guided hikes, beekeeping classes and open studio at the artist’s cottage attract Hollywood’s elite.

Ojai Rancho Inn

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Hike on Shelf Road Trail & Valley View Preserve

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy purchased 195 acres near downtown Ojai to create the Valley View Preserve. There are three trails for hiking: Fox Canyon, Luci’s and Foothill.

Try local craft beers at Ojai Valley Brewery

This brewery is a fully independent, family owned and operated artisan brewery. They use locally farmed and wild foraged ingredients to make tasty brews.

Dine at Azu Restaurant & Bar

This California Spanish-Mexican restaurant and bar offers local artisanal beer (including Ojai Valley Brewery), craft cocktails and local wines.

Day 2: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa; wine tasting

Head to the inn for a day of relax or activity

Whether you tee off on the championship golf course, indulge in a spa day, go for a guided hike in the Los Padres National Forest, explore your creative side at the artist’s cottage or try your hand at beekeeping, there is something to do for everyone.

The Farmhouse at Ojai is a culinary inspired event venue. Recent classes include The Art of Macarons, Mastering Chocolate Demonstration, and Fresh Pasta Making. Artists in Residence and Culinary Ambassador programs give chefs the opportunity to contribute to Farmhouse experiences including classes, demonstrations and other educational opportunities.

Sip local wine at a tasting room in downtown Ojai

Downtown Ojai has a number of tasting rooms to try locally made wine. We recommend Topa Mountain Winery and Casa Barranca.

Topa Mountain Winery is a Ojai Valley winery whose tasting room is a favorite among locals. Sip the label’s flagship Rhone red blend on the outdoor patio as you listen to live music. Space fills up fast; on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the tasting room only accepts reservations for groups of six and below.

Casa Barranca Winery Tasting Room combines Arts & Crafts Architecture with the next generation of Ojai organic chic  with the natural attributes of its historic location. Try their Syrah and Mourvdere Rosés.

If you have extra time, swing by the estate, Casa Barranca (formerly The Pratt House). “Casa Barranca is a masterpiece of the American Arts and Crafts lineage, an artistic and architectural movement that rejected the desensitized and mechanistic design of the times in favor of careful attention to detail, harmonious integration with nature, restrained decor and thoughtful practicality. Sitting upon a ridgeline overlooking the idyllic Shangri-La of Ojai, California, this historic home was originally known as The Pratt House before being named Casa Barranca, meaning house by a winding river gorge by the owners Charles and Mary Pratt” (Casa Barranca Estate, 2020).

Day 3: Support local businesses (bookshop, grocery, superfood); go for a walk

Discover your next read at Bart’s Books

Bart’s is the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the U.S.A, with new and preowned selections spanning a large variety of topics and interests.

Up your superfood game at BōKU International

Stop by BōKU International, Inc., a 100% certified organic, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free superfood company. Their shop and processing facility is located in Ojai.

Pick up provisions at Westridge Market

This grocery store offers a glorious deli spread of pre-made pastas and salads, local artisanal chocolates, wines and spirits and a solid selection of goods for those with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diets. It carries smaller, independent owned brands that are unavailable in national supermarkets.

Walk around Ojai Saddle Trails

“Global social reformer, Annie Besant, bought this historic property adjacent to the Ojai Meadows Preserve in the early 19th century for the work of J. Krishnamurti, one of the greatest philosophical and spiritual figures of the 20th century, who held gatherings here for thousands of people from the early 1920s until his death in Ojai in 1986.

Symbolically rejoining the landscape that inspired thousands through the work of J. Krishnamurti, these new trails honor the history of the land and bring its beauty to new generations. 

The Ojai Saddle Trails are approximately one mile in length” (Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, 2020).

If you find yourself far enough east on the trail, stop through the Krishnamurti Foundation of America.

Learn about Jiddu Krishnamurti at the Krishnamurti Foundation of America

The Krishnamurti Foundation of America was founded in 1969 by Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), who is regarded as one of the greatest philosophical and spiritual figures of the twentieth century.

“Krishnamurti claimed no allegiance to any caste, nationality or religion and was bound by no tradition. His purpose was to set humankind unconditionally free from the destructive limitations of conditioned mind. For nearly sixty years he traveled the world and spoke spontaneously to large audiences until the end of his life.

He had no permanent home, but when not traveling, he often stayed in Ojai, California, Brockwood Park, England, and Chennai, India. In his talks, he pointed out to people the need to transform themselves through self knowledge, by being aware of the subtleties of their thoughts and feelings in daily life, and how this movement can be observed through the mirror of relationship” (Krishnamurti Foundation of America, 2020).

Day 3: Afternoon – depart Ojai

Make your way back to the coast for a scenic drive along Highway 101. If you are headed north, plan for a few days in Santa Barbara.

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