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Updated September 2023

Welcome to Ojai, California. An enclave for artists, those looking to escape city life, and truly one of the most relaxed California destinations.

My first time visiting Ojai I was completely smitten with the town. I tried to find a comparison, but truly nowhere else in California compares. It’s intimate, connected with nature, and a place to rest. I found myself slowing down and soaking in smaller moments.

What caught my attention during my time visiting Ojai was the focus on “local” by so many of the businesses. You found it at restaurants through the ingredients they used and at stores that carried local artisans. And when a town has a focus on supporting local, you sense it, you sense their passion for highlighting just what makes their home so great.

So while I came with the intention to relax and reconnect, which I surely did, I left with a much greater appreciation. An appreciation for what local can mean and just how truly wonderful it is to be connected with a community.

I hope you’ll find Ojai a place to be inspired and to disconnect. Soak it all in at those sun-filled patios at restaurants and try the local produce. Enjoy wonderful accommodations that will spark a love for design in your own home. A weekend trip to Ojai, California does wonders for the soul.

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in Ojai:

  1. Ojai Valley Inn, for the best luxury hotel
  2. Ojai Rancho Inn, for the best overall hotel
  3. The Capri Hotel, for the best design-for-dollar hotel

For more on where to stay, read my in-depth guide to the best hotels in Ojai.

The Weekend Travel Guide to Ojai, California


What to Know Before Visiting Ojai

Best Time of Year to Visit Ojai

Ojai can truly be a year-round destination given its location and generally sunny weather. If you’re looking to spend time poolside, I would aim for later in spring through late summer to have warmer days.

Amount of Time in Ojai

Two nights is the perfect amount of time to visit Ojai. It will give you a chance to enjoy the restaurants, relax, shop, and do a few activities.

Location of Ojai

Ojai is located in Ventura County in the valley under the Topatopa Mountains. It is 75 miles north of Los Angeles and not far from Santa Barbara. There are a few airports to fly into, LAX would be one good option. I use Skyscanner to find the best flight deals.

Do I Need a Rental Car in Ojai?

The short answer is yes. While you could Uber around town, getting to Ojai is best by car. Pick up a rental car at your arriving airport and head out on a scenic drive. I use Discover Cars for booking the best low-cost car when possible.


The Best Hotels and Resorts in Ojai, California

The Capri Hotel

During our trip to Ojai, we stayed at the hip Capri Hotel. This renovated hotel has an incredible design and is set up perfectly for those who are coming in for a few nights. It has a pool and hot tub to enjoy during the day as well. What drew me to this hotel, in particular, is that it is boutique and the interiors are stunning. Inside the lobby, don’t miss to shop their favorite finds as well. Complimentary coffee in the morning and WiFi throughout. Book the best rates here.

Ojai Rancho Inn

Ojai Rancho Inn
Image via Booking.com

My husband stayed at the Ojai Rancho Inn last year and loved the setup with the pool. It’s a wonderful choice located just as you get into town. They have their own bar as well so you can sip drinks while you hang out poolside. This is one of those smaller hotels, so you will want to book in advance especially on the weekends. Book the best rates here.

Caravan Outpost

Caravan Outpost
Image via Booking.com

A very popular choice for their unique Airstreams you can book for a stay. Their chic Airstreams are really beautifully done with all of the amenities you need. It’s good to note this property does not have a pool. The lush grounds and communal spaces make for a wonderful backdrop for your stay. Book the best rates here.

Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai Valley Inn
Image via Booking.com

Ojai Valley Inn is the most “resort-like” property in Ojai set with a golf course and a very large pool. If you’re looking for this kind of experience, you’ll love this hotel. The Spanish-style architecture is very chic, making it one of the more expensive choices in the valley. There is even an onsite spa as well to enjoy here. Book the best rates here.


Best Restaurants in Ojai, California

Farmer and the Cook

Many pop by this market to shop their local produce but did you know it’s also a vegetarian cafe? Mexican-inspired dishes, you can order plates like their delicious Huarache. I adored the food here and they have plenty of outdoor seating. If you’re headed on a hike, you could also stock up on supplies here. Don’t miss their baked goods as well!

Tipple and Ramble

One of the most charming spots in Ojai is Tipple and Ramble. They’re open in the late afternoons for charcuterie boards, wine, and drinks. This is a fun spot to come by for a relaxed night out with drinks. Their back patio is perfect as well for the year-round dining.

Ojai Rôtie

So much love for Ojai Rôtie and the food they serve. It’s dubbed as Lebanese French picnic food with a focus on the rotisserie and it is so delicious. Try their small plates, order their half chicken, and don’t forget to try their fresh-baked bread. One of our favorite meals in Ojai while we were there!

Hip Vegan

A totally vegan restaurant open for lunch and dinner, this spot is always busy. They have a wonderful patio to eat outdoors.

LOVE Social Cafe

One of the best spots for breakfast, pop in here for food made with extra love. Their mostly vegetarian menu has something for everyone, but don’t miss the breakfast burrito!

Travel Guide to Ojai, California
Ojai Rôtie

Drinks & Coffee

Topa Topa Brewing Company

Local to Ventura, Topa Topa Brewing Company (named after the mountains nearby) has wonderful craft beer on draft. Their patio sits out on the main street of Ojai and you can even see the Topa Topa mountains! If you’re looking for a snack, grab a bite at the in-house Little Sama that serves food.

Ojai Coffee Roasters

Our go-to coffee shop while in Ojai

On My List But Didn’t Make It


Things to Do in Ojai, California

Take a Pottery Class

One of the more unique things to do in Ojai is to take a pottery class with Firestick Pottery Studio. We spent a wonderful afternoon learning some of the basics of how to make our own ceramics. The studio is lovely, you can even pop by to shop for work done by local ceramicists.

The pottery class is a small group and mostly outdoors, so you can feel very comfortable. After going through the process, you create your pieces which you can leave there. You can then pay to have the pieces fired and glazed, then sent to your home. We just got ours back and absolutely love them. Book the class here.

Chill Poolside

Capri Hotel

While the weather is amazing most of the year, I would personally take advantage and chill poolside. Bring a few good books, stock up on snacks and a few drinks at the market, and stay by the pool for the afternoon.

Explore Downtown

The main street downtown has a ton of wonderful shops and eateries. If you’re looking to go for a stroll, I’d work your way down Ojai Arcade and Plaza. The section below has all of my favorite local boutiques as well if you’re looking to shop.

Go Olive Oil Tasting

One of the top things to do in Ojai is to try the local olive oil at Ojai Olive Oil Company. Set off a country road, it’s a stunning location to spend an hour or two. Amongst the olive groves, the tastings are given to you to go to enjoy at one of their picnic tables. My suggestion would be to bring a lunch or a snack to enjoy with. It’s a lovely spot to spend the afternoon on a sunny day.

Try a Honey Tasting

In downtown Ojai, the family-owned Heavenly Honey Company opened up a storefront. You can pop in to shop local honey (trust me you’ll want to bring some home). You can also stop by to do a honey tasting. I had never done one before and learned so much about the different kinds of honey. Plus, it was very educational to learn the importance of shopping for local honey!

Catch the “Pink Moment”

Ojai is very famous for what they call the “pink moment” in the valley. It’s when the sunset comes down and the alpenglow lights up the mountain peaks with pink and purple hues. The incredibly popular phenomena happen frequently hence why Ojai is so known for it. I would recommend looking at sunset times and getting there a bit before to catch this. One popular spot to see the “pink moment” is The Scenic Overlook of Ojai located on the 150.

Take a Hike

For those looking to get outdoors, there are a few places to go hiking in Ojai. You’re not far from Los Padres National Forest which would have more adventurous hiking trails. In town, the Ojai Meadow Preserve is popular for walking trails that are surrounded by stunning seasonal wildflowers.

Day Trips Nearby

You’re not far from popular destinations like Ventura, the Channel Islands, Montecito, or Santa Barbara. You could consider taking a day trip to any of these places while staying in Ojai. Check out my Slow Road Trip Guide To Santa Barbara, Ventura, And Ojai for more tips!


Where to Shop in Ojai, California

One of the best parts of visiting Ojai is getting to shop at the local boutiques. The shops are incredibly well-curated and there are a variety of stores in town.

In the Field

This may be the most upscale shop with a section for women, men, babies, and home. You’ll find designers like Isabel Marant to incredible local ceramics. This was one of my favorite stops in Ojai.

Summer Camp

A hip store located in an old gas station. Pop in to find plants, things for the home, and other oddities. I also love the range of incense they have in the store as well.

Bart’s Books

No trip to Ojai is complete without a stop at Bart’s Books. The largest outdoor bookstore around, come stroll through a wide selection of books. While you browse, you can also find plants for sell too!

deKor & Co

A lovely home and design store with a range of pieces. You’ll find homeware, rugs, and furniture like antique chairs. There is even a selection of clothing as well. This shop is very well-curated and loved the atmosphere.

Fig Curated Living

The store for all things home and garden. You can find a little bit of everything here from ceramics to plants.


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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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