If you’re in the Southern California area, an activity you have to add to your bucket list is a day trip to Ojai. Ojai (which is a Chumash Native American word for “the nest”) is a charming, easygoing town that offers the perfect getaway for anyone wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the larger SoCal cities.
While the vibe in Ojai is laid-back, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of things to do. From enjoying the natural beauty of the area on a hike, to shopping at one-of-a-kind boutiques and antique stores in town, to sipping on wine while basking in the sun at a local winery, you won’t have a hard time filling up your itinerary.
Want to plan the perfect Ojai day trip? Here is everything you need to know!
Getting to Ojai from Los Angeles
If you’re coming from Los Angeles, you have a few transportation options. Keep in mind that Ojai is a very walkable town, so you’ll still be able to get around if you don’t drive your own car. That said, there are a few activities on the itinerary below that will require you to get a taxi or rideshare if you don’t drive yourself.
By Train & Bus
Depending on where in LA you’re coming from, you can catch an Amtrak Train from Union Station (DTLA), Glendale Station, Bob Hope Airport Train Station (Burbank), Van Nuys, Chatsworth, or Simi Valley. There isn’t a train stop in Ojai, so you’ll have to take the train to Ventura, and then take the bus from there.
Once at the Ventura train station, you’ll need to head over to the Thompson & Figueroa bus stop (a three-minute walk) and take the number 16 bus (you’ll find the most up-to-date bus schedules here), which will take you directly to downtown Ojai. The bus ride will take approximately 40 minutes, and the train (from Union Station) will take about an hour and 45 minutes.
Travelling to Ojai by car will take you about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on where you’re coming from. From central Los Angeles, you’ll make your way to the 101 North (take the 405 North to the 101 North if you’re further west). You’ll take the 101 all the way up to Ventura (about 80 miles from central LA), and then take exit 70B for the 33 North towards Ojai.
After 8 miles, you’ll turn right onto Creek Road, continuing for 5.5 miles until it turns into S Ventura Street. Continue up that road for half a mile, and you’ll hit E Ojai Street, right in the middle of town.
When to Visit Ojai
There really is no bad time to visit Ojai! Summer is the peak season, so expect larger crowds from June through early September. Ojai tends to have warmer summers, with the average high temperature hitting the mid-80s in August – although it can sometimes hit the 90s and low 100s.
For less crowds, plan to visit in the fall, winter, or spring. The hotter summer weather does often run into the fall, but the average temperatures are around the mid-70s. In the winter and spring, you can expect weather averaging in the low to mid-60s.
The Perfect Day Trip to Ojai
Here is a step-by-step guide to making the most out of your one day in Ojai!
First things first: get some caffeine in your system before exploring! Beacon Coffee is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The cafe offers high-quality coffee from around the world, and the menu has everything from cappuccinos to mochas to matcha lattes. It’s also a great spot for a quick bite, with plenty of delicious pastries to choose from (including some vegan and gluten-free options).
Another popular Ojai coffee shop is Love Social Cafe, which is a great option if you also need some breakfast to go with your coffee. In addition to coffee and tea, Love Social Cafe has a great breakfast menu that includes a breakfast burrito, breakfast sandwich, oatmeal, a scramble, and more.
Take a Hike (or a Walk)
Once you’ve got caffeine in your system, consider going on a hike or nature walk. Ojai offers gorgeous natural scenery, so this is the best way to really take in the views. Here are a few trails that are perfect if you’re spending just one day in Ojai, starting from easiest to hardest.
Ojai Meadows Preserve
This is a super easy walk on a mile-long out and back trail (although there are plenty of off-shoots to go down if you want to do a little more exploring). At this peaceful preserve, you’ll see lots of birds, bunnies, squirrels, and other wildlife, and take in the natural landscape and surrounding mountains.
Rose Valley Falls
This easy hike in Los Padres National Forest follows an out and back trail that is just over a mile long to a waterfall. Keep in mind that it’s about a 19.5-mile drive to the trailhead, but the beautiful views you get along the road makes the drive an activity in itself!
Shelf Road Trail
If you’re looking for an easy hike in town, this 3.5-mile out and back trail is a great option. It’s perfect if you want to take in views of the valley from above!
Pratt, Foothill, and Fox Canyon Trails Loop
This moderate 3.1-mile loop is just a mile outside of the center of town, and great for those wanting to get in more of a workout. You’ll experience beautiful views of Ojai as you hike your way through the foothills.
Matilija Creek Trail
If you want to dedicate most of your day in Ojai to hiking, this one’s for you! This moderate 8.8-mile out and back trail (which is about a 10-mile drive from town) features a waterfall, and takes you through the gorgeous mountains.
Explore Downtown Ojai
Now that you got a bit of a workout in, it’s time to head to downtown Ojai! The town features beautiful Spanish architecture, and plenty of eclectic boutiques, antique stores, and restaurants to check out (no chain stores here!).
You probably worked up an appetite on your hike, so be sure to start by getting some lunch – you’ll find recommendations below! If you end up getting takeout, you can bring it to Libbey Park, a spacious park with plenty of tables (as well as lots of trees to keep you cool on a hot day!).
After lunch, take a leisurely stroll through town and check out the local businesses. If you’re an art aficionado, there are a variety of galleries to check out. Porch Gallery is located in the historic Montgomery House, and features the work of contemporary artists. Another great option is OVA Arts, a gallery owned by seven local artists that displays contemporary arts and crafts work done by artists in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
If you’re in a shopping mood, be sure to stop by some of the local boutiques and antique stores. Treasures of Ojai is an antique store offering vintage furniture, jewelry, clothing, décor, and more. For gifts and home goods, stop by Fig, which sells handmade, local, and fair trade goods, including candles, planters, ceramics, glassware, natural bath and body products, and so much more.
Summer Camp is another popular store featuring home and lifestyle goods, including vintage collectibles and pieces from local artists.
A trip to Ojai isn’t complete without a stop at Bart’s Books, the world’s largest outdoor bookstore. It’s located on the outskirts of the downtown area (but still walkable if you park in the center of town), so remember to make a mental note to stop by.
Keep in mind that this is just a sampling of the many galleries and stores in Ojai. There are over 50 stores and galleries, so be sure to walk around and check out any businesses that speak to you during your one day in Ojai!
Stop by the Ojai Farmers Market
If you’ve planned your trip to Ojai on a Sunday, you’re in luck. The Ojai Farmers Market happens every Sunday in the downtown area, and has been serving the community for over 18 years.
The market is fairly small, but filled with tons of local vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, jam, honey, bread, desserts, eggs, flowers, plants, soup, handmade bath and body products, and so much more. It’s the perfect stop if you want to bring a little piece of Ojai home.
Enjoy Some Local Wine or Beer
After exploring the town of Ojai and finding some goodies at the farmers market, it’s time to kick back and enjoy a drink! If you’re in the mood for wine, there are some great options to check out.
Topa Mountain Winery is a wonderful spot with a gorgeous patio and even better wine. Their wine is made with grapes sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in the Ojai Valley region and Santa Barbara.
At Topa Mountain Winery, they offer a wide variety of wines, including Syrah, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Chardonnay, Rosé, and Viognier. You can enjoy wine by the glass or bottle, or opt for a tasting flight. I highly recommend the tasting, as it’s a great way to get a glimpse of their best wines (their Syrah is my favorite!). If you’re feeling hungry, they also have a snack menu.
Heads up: you’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time. Be sure to get on their mailing list, as they send out emails on Monday about open reservations for the week and weekend ahead.
Another great option on the opposite side of town is family owned and operated Boccali Vineyards and Winery. Boccali produces their wines solely using grapes from their vineyards, and currently offers Syrahs, a Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Grenache Blanc, and more. On the weekend, tastings are offered outdoors on the lawn, which is shaded by oak trees.
Side note: the Boccali family also owns a pizza and pasta restaurant, which is in the same location as the winery. Be sure to pick up some food to enjoy with your wine!
In the mood for beer instead? Stop by the Ojai Taproom of Topa Topa Brewing Co., a craft brewery founded in Ventura. They offer everything from IPAs to stouts to sours, so there’s an option for everyone. If you have someone in your group who isn’t a beer fan, they also have hard seltzers on tap.
Where to Eat & Drink in Ojai
Close your day out with a nice glass of wine or beer and a farm-to-table meal before making your way back home.
Eating in Ojai
There is no shortage of great restaurants in Ojai. Here are a few of the best eateries to stop by during your visit:
- Bonnie Lu’s: This charming diner is a great spot for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. It offers everything you could want from a diner, including pancakes, waffles, omelettes, benedicts, burgers, and sandwiches.
- The Nest: The Nest is an Ojai native-owned restaurant open for lunch and dinner, with a menu that features innovative takes on classic comfort food. You’ll find items like crispy brussels sprouts, bao buns, calamari tacos, a variety of pizzas and sandwiches, and rotating specials.
- Hip Vegan: Whether you’re vegan or not, Hip Vegan is a great casual spot to stop by for lunch or early dinner. They offer burgers and sandwiches, bowls, soups, salads, and shareable sides (I highly recommend the gunpowder fries!)
- Nocciola: If you’re looking for a slightly more upscale dining experience for dinner, Italian restaurant Nocciola is a great spot. The menu features classic Italian food, including traditional homemade pasta dishes.
- Ojai Rotie: This casual eatery describes its cuisine as a Lebanese French picnic, with delicious salads, soups, sandwiches, snacks, and more. They also make their own bread in-house, and sell whole loaves to take home.
Drinking in Ojai
In addition to the wine and beer spots mentioned above, there are some great bars to check out at the end of your day in Ojai. Here are a few favorites:
- Chief’s Peak: Chief’s Peak is a cozy, trendy bar with hipster vibes located at Ojai Rancho Inn. Enjoy beer, wine, or a soju cocktail while sitting in front of the fireplace and listening to classic vinyl spinning on the record player.
- Tipple & Ramble: While an outdoor bar and home décor shop isn’t your typical business combination, Tipple & Ramble does this hybrid extremely well. On a warm day, enjoy some beer, wine, or hard kombucha on the festive (and naturally well-decorated) outdoor patio.
- The Vine: This laid-back wine bar and restaurant is right in the middle of Ojai. It serves not only a variety of reds, whites, and sparkling wine, but also beer and craft cocktails.
Plan an Unforgettable California Adventure
Heading to California? We’ve got all sorts of super detailed, in-depth California travel guides written by locals to help you plan an amazing trip.
- San Francisco: We’ve got a guide to spending 3 days in SF, one day in San Francisco for planning a shorter trip, and a complete guide to finding the perfect place to stay in San Francisco. We also have guides to 14 perfect weekend getaways from San Francisco and the best day trips in the Bay Area. Oh, we almost forgot, here are the 15 best hikes near San Francisco, written by two Bay Area locals.
- Los Angeles: Read our perfect 2 Day L.A. itinerary, our guide to spending one amazing day in L.A. (with two versions!), and a guide to helping you figure out where to stay.
- San Diego: Learn how to spend a day in San Diego, a weekend in San Diego, and where you should stay.
- Lake Tahoe: Plan the perfect summertime adventure with our 3 day Tahoe itinerary, guide to the best hikes, and our guide to the best things to do in Tahoe.
- Santa Barbara: We have a guide to planning a weekend in Santa Barbara, and a guide to a day trip to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles if you’re pressed for time.
- Mammoth Lakes: To plan a perfect getaway in the Eastern Sierra, read our guide to the best things to do in Mammoth Lakes in the summer. Plus, our guide to the best hikes in Mammoth, featuring the epic climb to the top of Duck Pass.
- Big Sur: Plan the perfect weekend away with our complete Big Sur itinerary.
- Yosemite National Park: Plan an amazing trip with our guide to planning an amazing Yosemite itinerary, and our guide to choosing where to stay at Yosemite.
- Joshua Tree National Park: Plan the perfect trip with our perfect weekend itinerary (or a day trip, if you have less time), a guide to the best hikes, and some cool places to stay in Joshua Tree.
- Death Valley National Park: We have a SUPER detailed guide to planning the perfect Death Valley itinerary, and a guide to the best hikes in Death Valley National Park.
- California Road Trips: See the best of the Pacific Coast Highway on our San Francisco to San Diego road trip, or make the trip up Highway from on a Los Angeles to SanFrancisco road trip. If you’re more into mountains than beaches, a Highway 395 road trip from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe might be more your speed.