Located in a California valley just a short drive from the Pacific Coast, Ojai is a perfect weekend getaway destination from Los Angeles. With approximately 7,500 residents, this picturesque town is well-known for its beautiful scenery, charming vineyards, and fabulous art galleries and museums. Whether you wish to enjoy horseback riding lessons, sample some of the finest locally-produced wines, explore hiking trails at the Ojai Meadows Preserve, or rent a kayak and admire the beauty of Lake Casitas, there are many interesting things to do in Ojai, Ca.
This travel guide allows you to discover Ojai California from a different perspective and takes you to popular attractions such as Meditation Mount, Topa Mountain Winery, Ojai Farmers Market, and many others.
1. Meditation Mount
Perched atop a hill just a short drive from the center of the town, Meditation Mount Ojai is a sacred property with stunning views and magnificently manicured lawns. This public meditation center is an ideal place to unwind and learn how to meditate while enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Meditation Mount is also an excellent destination for picnics and their facilities can be rented out for all kinds of gatherings including wedding ceremonies.
2. Ojai Vineyard
If you wish to sample distinctive California wine, a visit to the Ojai Vineyard should definitely be included on your list of things to do in Ojai, Ca. The owner, Adam Tolmach has been producing wine for 3 decades now and makes around 6,000 cases a year. Some of the best wines here are Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier. They also have a tasting room which is situated in a nicely restored firehouse in downtown Ojai.
3. Bart’s Books
Book lovers should stop by Bart’s Books while visiting Ojai. Opened nearly 60 years ago, it is the largest locally-owned outdoor bookstore in the region and offers both used and new books. The collection is huge and the maze of bookshelves ranges from art to travel books and everything in between. The open-air seating areas at Bart’s Books make for easy browsing and you can spend a whole day here.
4. Ojai Valley Inn
Looking for Ojai hotels while exploring Ventura County? Book a room at the Ojai Valley Inn, one of the most popular spa resorts in the country. Surrounded by picturesque mountains and scenic hills and decorated in a beautiful Spanish Colonial style, this property is home to 5 restaurants, two pools, the award-winning Spa Ojai, and much more. The resort’s oak trees and landscapes garden look truly amazing and you can even attend culinary classes at the on-site Farmhouse.
5. Topa Mountain Winery
Located just outside the downtown area, Topa Mountain Winery is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a few glasses of original Californian wine. With olive trees and a lovely outdoor area fitted with picnic tables and covered patios, it’s easy to see why this small vineyard is frequently visited by both tourists and locals. In 2016, they opened up a tasting room where you can enjoy a variety of tasty wines and live music on the weekends. It’s worth mentioning that wine tastings and seating areas are first-come, first-serve.
6. Lake Casitas
Nature lovers visiting Ojai should spend a day at Lake Casitas. Originally built to provide drinking water, this man-made lake is adjacent to the Lake Casitas Recreation Area where travelers will find an abundance of outdoor activities. From kayak and boat rentals to children’s playgrounds and a disc golf course, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your visit. There is also a cute lake view café where you can have breakfast and lunch. Keep in mind that it is not allowed to swim here, as the water is used for drinking.
7. Ojai Music Festival
A four-day curated festival that has been around for seven decades, Ojai Music Festival is one of the most anticipated events in Ojai. The festival’s winning formula is quite simple. Choose a different music director each year, allow this person to come up with a program for the event, and expect to be rewarded with a music festival full of diversity. This year’s music director will be the famous composer and conductor Matthias Pintscher.
8. Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company
Hiking in Ojai is one of the most popular outdoor activities and one of the must-visit places is the Oso Ranch where the popular Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company offers everything from pony rides for the little ones to horseback riding and trail rides. Whether you wish to hike through the Enchanted Forest or walk along the beautiful River Valley Trail, there are many trail itineraries to choose from. The ranch is open throughout the year, but make sure to arrange activities well in advance.
9. Ojai Meadows Preserve
Spread across 58 acres of land, Ojai Meadows Preserve used to be a plain dumping ground for many construction sites. Although the authorities wanted to turn this open area into a commercial zone with a shopping mall, the citizens didn’t agree with this decision and managed to push the local government to build an outdoor recreational area where people could enjoy nature. Today, Ojai Meadows Preserve is one of the best recreational areas in the country with dozens of hiking trails and plenty of wildlife and birds.
10. Ojai Farmer’s Market
Open every Sunday morning, the Ojai Farmers Market is a great place to mingle with the locals and score some fresh produce. Expect to see many local vendors from the country selling everything from seafood and locally grown produce to honey products, flowers, and plants. To keep you entertained while shopping, there are live music performances at the market. The good news is that plenty of street parking is available.
11. Shelf Road Trail
If hiking is your jam, head out to the Shelf Road Trail which is located just a short drive from the town. This 3.5-mile unpaved road is good for all skill levels and passes through the beautiful tangerine orchards. The train boasts dozens of scenic overlooks and offers spectacular views of the valley below. It is best used from March to November and you can even bring your dog along, as this is a pet-friendly trail.
12. Ojai Valley Museum
The Ojai Valley Museum allows visitors to learn more about the culture, art, and history of the Ojai valley. Situated inside a former church, this charming museum houses numerous exhibits connected to the most important events in the valley. There is also the wilderness diorama where you can admire different species of animals and birds, as well as an art gallery that is home to works by local artists.