Ojai (pronounced OH-hi). One of the most beautiful places to visit in Southern California. We were lucky enough to spend 2 days there child-free (shout out to Grandma and Grandpa for watching the boys!) and I felt it was my civic duty to share with you this hidden gem.
The drive to Ojai took us around 2 hours. We chose to drive PCH.
This was for 2 reasons:
1. To skip the misery of LA traffic.
2. To enjoy the scenic route.
Also, I had wanted to visit Malibu for months so this gave us the chance to enjoy a little LA beach life on our way to Ojai! We sneaked in a little visit to the beautiful Getty Villa which is most certainly worth the detour for.
Where We Stayed in Ojai
There are lots of great options when looking for somewhere to stay in Ojai. We chose to do something a little different and stayed in an Airstream Caravan at Caravan Outpost. I cannot recommend this place enough. We loved it so much, I am considering going back with the boys and writing a whole post about it!
We stayed in “Audrey.” All the caravans have bathrooms, sleep at least 3 people (some sleep 4 or 5), have kitchens with a fridge and include tableware, pots and pans. They also have some pet-friendly options.
What We Did in Ojai
The pace of life in Ojai is much slower than what we are used to in Orange County. We actually really enjoyed being somewhere where most places close at a reasonable time and there isn’t a huge amount to do. It is the perfect place to visit if you want to wind down, enjoy some great food, and spend time outdoors.
Ojai Olive Oil Company
We visited the Ojai Olive Oil Company. Because we went on a Wednesday we were able to take advantage of their weekly tour*, given by Mimi. Learning about the history of the trees, the way the company is run, and how amazingly ethical the business is was definitely a factor in our $75 oil haul! They have an awesome tasting room and the oils really are outstanding. We may never buy ‘regular’ olive oil again now we’ve tasted the good stuff! The oil is organic, locally harvested and produced, and sustainable. I urge you to check out their site and learn about the great things the company are doing for their community.
*Tours take place Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday between 10am-4pm.
We enjoyed some great locally produced wine from the Ojai Vineyard and Casa Barranca. The service was great, the staff were friendly and knowledgeable, and the wine was delicious! Casa Barranca has the added draw of being an organic wine producer!
I cannot sing the praises of this book shop enough. It was like stepping off the street and entering the Narnia of bookstores. Most of the store is fully outside and it is filled with used books of all genres. Bart’s Books is internationally renowned and the largest independently-owned outdoor bookstore in the USA.
What we ate in Ojai
We LOVE to eat. Whenever we visit a new place, a big part of my research involves where to go for food, and where we can get great cocktails. Ojai has an awesome selection of restaurants and we enjoyed some great food.
Azu/Ojai Valley Brewery
We ate lunch at Azu as our first stop in Ojai and it didn’t disappoint! We ate the most delicious buffalo cauliflower, I enjoyed a fancy cocktail made with the signature Ojai pixie juice, and my husband had an Ojai Valley Brewery beer flight. The two companies are sister companies and we loved both the beers and the food!
The Ranch House
Local and fresh ingredients, cooked in a scratch kitchen, are what the Ranch House is all about. It’s one of the most unique restaurants we have ever visited (and we’ve been to A LOT!) because most of the tables are outside, in a setting that feels like you are in a secret garden. It truly is a beautiful and romantic place to enjoy a meal. The seasonal menu changes frequently but promises to always be fresh and delicious.
Ojai is mostly a sleepy town where stores and restaurants close early. The Hub is one of the few places open until late. We loved it there! We spent a couple of hours during happy hour chatting with the owner, playing tunes on the juke box, and drinking hella strong gin and tonics at happy hour prices! It isn’t your fancy cocktail bar for sure, but it is fun nonetheless. We’d definitely go back. It has a unique decor opportunity where you are given a sharpie and a piece of tape. See photos for deets…
Let me start by saying that breakfast is our JAM. My husband has to get a good breakfast when we go on vacation. It’s pretty much his law. Bonnie Lu’s did not disappoint. The staff are friendly, the decor is cute, the portions are HUGE, and the food is delicious. If you go to Ojai be sure to include Bonnie Lu’s in your itinerary. You will not regret the visit!
So as you can see – Ojai is a beautiful place to spend a lazy weekend, to go hiking, to eat food, or just to sit and watch the world go by. It’s Jones approved and we hope to go back again with the kids, so watch this space!