If you haven’t yet heard of the little town of Ojai, California, you’re in for a treat. Located not too far North of Los Angeles, So Cal people in the know have long been retreating to this chill little hippie paradise, but I hadn’t yet had the chance to visit and had been really wanting to.
The opportunity presented itself when my husband was scheduled to spend the weekend at a bachelor party and I began considering my options of what to spend my weekend doing. It was obvious that the weekend would involve some sort of trip, but the question was to where. I considered visiting my friend in Florida, but the fact that the very next weekend would see my jet-setting off to Tennessee and then North Carolina meant that I couldn’t really spend the kind of money on flights to Florida at just that moment. It was obvious that it would have to be a road trip. Considering my options of road trips that could be reasonably completed in the course of a single weekend, I was left with options all over California, Arizona, and into Nevada. Then it hit me: Ojai!
I had always been wanting to go check it out, and my husband never seemed particularly interested for some unknown reason, so a weekend away from him was the perfect opportunity for a little solo exploration.
I booked myself a charming little Airbnb and started to look forward to my trip.
From my home in Northern San Diego County on a Friday night, it took me 6 hours to get there. Seems like a while, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the drive to Ojai involves crossing DIRECTLY through Los Angeles (a.k.a. the trafficocalypse). I made it a little easier on myself by stopping off in L.A. on Friday night to have dinner with my parents to both squeeze in a visit and also take a break from traffic. I didn’t include the time spent eating with my parents in the drive total though, that’s just pure driving time. I do have to say that I don’t recommend driving through Los Angeles rush hour on a Friday night if you can at all help it, but considering I live in San Diego and I only had the weekend, I just had to suck it up. But ugh! Anyway, it was nice when I arrived, though!
My Airbnb hosts greeted me upon arrival and gave me a little tour of the place, which was lovely and quiet. I settled in and got some much needed rest that first night.
What I did
Ojai is a chill town, and chilling was exactly what I had in mind for my little solo retreat weekend. Turns out, I arrived on the weekend of Ojai Day, so I wandered into town after having a little bit of breakfast to check it out. There were all these booths with all sorts of different arts and crafts, foods, live music, and other interesting things such as birds of prey and information on local hiking trails. Very cool. While I was there, I also strolled around the downtown Ojai area enjoying galleries and a wonderful organic restaurant called Food Harmonics where I had a delightfully healthy salad as well as some incredible tea. After lunch, I strolled around a bit, enjoyed some people dressed in renaissance clothing singing a capella, and explored the town. I ended up at an organic grocery store where I bought some food to take back to my Airbnb for dinner that night.
I then went back to the Airbnb briefly to relax a bit before heading back out again to hike around Lake Casitas Recreation Area. This also seemed to be a great area for camping, as I saw people in tents all over the place. I had a great time hiking around a bit and exploring the area before heading back to my Airbnb to chill for the night on the incredible patio at my apartment.
The next morning, I had a leisurely coffee on the patio before heading back to San Diego. I didn’t want my relaxing weekend to end, but I knew one thing for sure…I would be back.
There are so many more wonderful experiences around Ojai to be had, I felt like I only scratched the surface. Can’t wait until my next visit!
I should note that the December Thomas fire completely surrounded Ojai (this was after my visit). However, Ojai was actually spared from the fire. They are still open for business, they are still lovely, and they would certainly appreciate your visit! Definitely go visit Ojai!