For traveling families looking for a special place to relax, recreate, and commune with nature, Oxnard offers much more than meets the eye at first appraisal. At first glance, a beautiful coastal community lush with rolling hills of strawberries, farm fresh produce stands, excellent restaurants, and quaint homes might intrigue. But if you look a bit closer, Oxnard is a true family vacation paradise for so many more reasons.
Vacationing Families Feel Right at Home in Oxnard
Rarely in Southern California had we ever found a community with such a sense of personal ownership, where the residents actively take care and feel a true passion and sense of commitment for their town.
Oxnard City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Andres Herrera puts it beautifully, “God help us, the day we have more government. In this city the residents hold the key to the city.” Councilman Herrera exhibits a true pride in his city that is rare these days and it exudes and spills over into the local residents who are amazingly active in keeping Oxnard a beautifully safe and impeccably clean community.
One walk around Oxnard’s historic town square and Centennial Plaza showed us the proof in the pudding where families stroll while enjoying local jewels like the farmer’s markets and concerts in nearby Heritage Square. There, we loved the beautiful turn of the century historic farm homes that have been renovated and placed in the square for all to enjoy and appreciate, now acting as restaurants and even local micro theaters like the Petit Playhouse. Dinner at La Dolce Vita with its generations old recipes in a historic Victorian, pleased this Italian food-loving family.
In the harbor itself, we found some wonderful restaurants including family owned and authentically operated Brazilian restaurant Moqueca where clay bowls of seafood are served in a delicious and unique Brazilian style along with authentic sauces and amazing cocktails. The service is impeccable and the views are superb. If more casual seafood is your style then several eateries are on the wharf for appetizers and such. Consider a progressive dining tour by water taxi.
For lodging around Oxnard, the choices are many and varied but if a more casual home away from home style is needed then The Residence Inn Marriott is ideal for families with kitchens and dining areas in the suites along with a golf course and surprisingly tasty, friendly happy hour treats. If elegant ocean views are calling to you then the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort sits directly on the beach with its outstanding Capistrano’s restaurant, a favorite even with the locals. Many return visitors love it so much that they come back yearly for family get-togethers and reunions.
Oxnard’s Best Kept Secret for Families on Vacation
The best kept secret in Oxnard’s backyard is the Channel Islands National Park where Island Packers offers unforgettable chartered service to Anacapa Island from the Channel Islands Harbor all year round. We loved the abundant sealife on the Channel Islands and the virtually undeveloped and uninhabited islands offered countless opportunities to study and commune with nature in ways that are simply impossible on the mainland. From migratory birds, whales, and native plants to rich Native American history, tidepools, porpoises, and wonderfully peaceful solitude, our nature hike afforded us dramatic, unparalleled views of both the flora and the fauna of the islands.
Oxnard is home to the famous California Strawberry Festival held each May, with the city producing more than 20% of the state’s crop. Every July residents and visitors alike enjoy the Oxnard Salsa Festival, and fun events like Taco Thursdays, Muy Caliente Thursdays, Historic tours, art exhibits, foreign films, and summer concert series only adding to the excitement.
As a family vacation destination all its own or as a stop over road trip when visiting Southern California’s more prominent attractions, Oxnard offers much more than meets the eye and once you visit you will certainly return again and again to catch a glimpse of the magic and hidden treasures of Oxnard.
Oxnard is located 60 miles from Los Angeles and the Oxnard airport offers daily service from LAX. There are 42 miles of beautiful beaches in Ventura County with 7 miles in Oxnard, all within a one day’s drive from Sacramento.
Carmel L. Mooney is a travel columnist, author, and radio talk show host. Over two thousand of her bylines and photographs appear in national and international magazines and newspapers. Carmel co-hosts The Good Life, radio talk show with Mike the Wine Guy, airing on KAHI 950 AM. Carmel is Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit organization that trains and places Service Dogs for special needs children. A true Renaissance Woman, Carmel has written about many things professionally and now loves sharing her multi-faceted background and passions with her readers at TMOM as she travels with her family and while delivering service dogs to disabled children all over the country.