This desert oasis has dramatic landscapes and hippie vibes.
Ojai has long been a mecca for spiritual seekers, but thanks to an influx of hip boutique hotels, artisanal shops, and organic, locally-inspired restaurants, it’s chicer than ever. Just under a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, Ojai is bustling with urbanites looking to escape the sprawling city for a few days of relaxation, good hikes, and fresh fare. In an area of the country with many idyllic spots, this one is perhaps one of California's most beautiful escapes. Here, an insider guide on how to spend 48 blissful hours in Ojai, California:
Where to Stay
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is an 220-acre, Spanish colonial-style hotel that remains as the itspot for those visiting Ojai. The nearly 100-year-old hotel has so many on-property activities: There’s a golf course, tennis courts, fitness classes, an artist cottage and apothecary, several pools and an excellent spa. If you’re looking to splurge on the room, whether it’s a romantic couples weekend or an extra special trip with some of your best friends, go for one of the sweeping penthouses. You’ll feel like royalty for a few days.
Kick off your day with a walk, or take one of the hotel’s cute Linus bicycles, into town for breakfast at the local favorite bakery, Knead. A visit to Ojai isn’t complete without sampling one of their breakfast egg sandwiches, served on house-made bread. Afterwards, check out the nearby farmers market and In the Field, a boutique recently opened by husband-and-wife team Channon and Bianca Roe. The shop boasts lots of cool, modern Bohemian home goods, accessories, and clothing for men, women and children. If you’re in the mood to continue shopping, Summer Camp is a charming, oh-so-Ojai store full of pretty, locally-made home décor items, framing options, succulents and more. Art enthusiasts will also want to make their way to Galerie 102 to check out the contemporary and conceptual pieces by emerging artists, and Porch Gallery Ojai, which also presents work by talented up-and-comers. For dinner, Suzanne’s (right near the hotel) is a must during your time in Ojai. You can’t really go wrong with anything on the fresh, seasonal menu—it’s been dubbed the “Chez Panisse of Ventura County” by Zagat.
Wake up early in the morning for a hike on the popular Last Chance Trail (about 6.5 miles) or the Shelf Road Trail (3.5 miles out and back) if you want something a little less crowded. Next, stop by The Ojai Foundation—a peaceful outdoor retreat center—for a spiritual workshop or even a ropes course challenge. Next, head back to the hotel for spa treatments. The 50-minute warm Himalayan salt stone massage is equal parts relaxing and detoxing, and you can take the healing salt stones home with you. The Kuyam body treatment is another must-try; it’s the only one of its kind in the U.S. and incorporates desert clays, essential oils, inhalation therapy, as well as a traditional Chumash Native American narrative. Afterwards, pick up a green juice or smoothie at the spa’s juice bar (the juice blend of celery, watermelon and ginger is very refreshing) and then head to the accompanying pool to lounge and take a dip. By this point in the day, you’ll be feeling completely refreshed and ready for a lovely meal. If you’re up for a pre-dinner drink, go to the hip Ojai Rancho Inn, a 1950s roadhouse that’s become a local hotspot for its live folk music and craft brews. Afterwards, head to Azu, a tapas and wine bar in town where you can sample local wines from the Ojai Alisal Vineyard, and snack on stuffed dates, honey baked brie and other small plates that'll make up a perfect final meal in Ojai.