As you coast along the Conejo Grade while venturing north of Los Angeles, catch a glimpse of the dramatic Oxnard Plain and on clear days, you might even see the Channel Islands off in the distance. Venture just a bit further and there it is: the seaside City of Oxnard. A relaxing beach town, this destination feels small but is the largest city in Ventura County. With its miles of stunning sandy white beaches & playful sand dunes, not to mention its historic attractions and outdoor adventure galore, Oxnard is ripe for exploration. Here are our favourite things to see and do.
Enjoy the beaches & majestic Channel Islands
Hollywood discovered Oxnard’s majestic beaches during the 1920s when Rudolph Valentino shot the movie, The Sheik, and Clark Gable and friends frolicked along the shoreline. And so Hollywood Beach earned its name. Silver Strand, Mandalay Beach, Oxnard Beach and Ormond Beach all followed suit, lending themselves to great, uncrowded spots to drop a towel, take in the golden rays and breathe in the ocean air. But the beauty extends beyond the shores. The pristine Channel Islands National Park are not far off the coast, accessible to travellers via an hour-long boat ride; watch dolphins lap alongside the boat and whales migrating through the channel along the way. Upon arrival, fill your time with guided hikes, kayaking through the sea caves, snorkelling the clear waters below or simply finding a peaceful spot to witness the beauty of these incredible islands.
Get outside with a little adventure
Picturesque Channel Islands Harbor, the gateway to the Channel Islands is an ideal spot to enjoy the outdoors. Marine Emporium Landing provides a slew of outdoor activities including kayaking, jet skiing, stand up paddle boarding, bike rentals and more. When hunger strikes, you will have your pick at the harbor which features an array of culinary delights from California cuisine to fresh seafood to traditional Brazilian fare.
Immerse yourself in history & culture
To get a glimpse into Oxnard’s past, a trip to Heritage Square is a great launching point. Heritage Square is home to a collection of Victorian houses from the 1800s that were saved from demolition from the Oxnard Plain. You can roam through the charming grounds and if you visit lands on the weekend, take a docent-led tour. Special events such as the Victorian Christmas Tours and Summer Concerts are held there yearly. Down the road, stop by the Carnegie Art Museum, an original Andrew Carnegie Library that features fine art exhibits from both local and visiting artists. See some of Oxnard’s original houses along the Oxnard Historic District, ten-city blocks of Craftsman, Spanish Colonial, Period Revival bungalows and eclectic houses, either by foot or car. During December, this district serves as the city’s Christmas Tree Lane. Car buffs will find interesting historic automobiles at both the Murphy Auto Museum and Mullin Automotive Museum. More than 90 pristine vintage automobiles spanning from 1903 to present day are housed at the Murphy Automotive Museum open on the weekends. The Mullin Automotive Museum features classic cars from historic French automobiles including Bugatti and Voisin, open on select Saturdays.
Take advantage of farm-to-table dining
Agriculture is a huge staple in Oxnard and in fact, its name originates from the Oxnard Brothers who started a Sugar Beet Factory in town and agriculture continues to have a large presence. Best known for its strawberries, Oxnard highlights this tasty fruit every year during the annual Strawberry Festival in May. Other crops include avocados, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and more. Two weekly farmers’ markets provide fresh varieties of these home-grown favourites held on Thursday mornings in Downtown Oxnard and on Sunday mornings at Channel Islands Harbor.