The next time you are thinking about the possibilities of a road trip from Los Angeles, give some thought to visiting Oxnard. Only an hour drive from Los Angeles off of the 101N, Oxnard offers history, shopping, dining and some spectacular beaches to those who are in the know.
Whether it is the Maritime Museum in Channel Islands Harbor, the Victorian era homes in Heritage Square or the gorgeous Oxnard State Beach, singletons and family travelers alike will fall in love with Oxnard. And the best part? The main attractions in Oxnard are under $20 (and during the week, many of the sights are actually free).
Here are some of the “can’t miss” spots in Oxnard for your next trip up the 101.
Oxnard State Park
Oxnard State Park is a family friendly area that shares parking with Oxnard State Beach and can be found off of Harbor Blvd. The park facilities include bathrooms, soda machines, BBQ and picnic facilities, volleyball courts, baseball batting area and a playground area. Paved trails make it easier for people running, biking or skateboarding. Parking is free on weekdays, and there is wheelchair access into the park. It’s beautiful, clean and a perfect way to enjoy the day.
Oxnard State Beach
Oxnard State Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Southern California. From the top of the dunes you can see miles of pristine coastline, as well as the beauty of the mountains to the north. During the week, the beaches are practically empty with an added benefit of free parking (there is a fee to park in the lots on the weekends and on holidays).
Situated in the historic district of Oxnard, Heritage Square offers visitors a taste of the Victorian era. Guided tours are available on the weekends ($5 for adults), but feel free to wander during the week on your own. The town has included helpful information next to each building describing its architecture and origins. Businesses residing in these gorgeous buildings include a restaurant (which offers cooking lessons), wine tasting room and gift shop. Summer concerts are held in the central park and gingerbread houses will be on display in Heritage Square Hall in December.
Carnegie Art Museum
Originally built as a library in 1906, the building became first a cultural arts center and then an art museum in 1987. The permanent collection was actually established in the 1920s and features the art of California. The current exhibition (running until November 24, 2013) is a sampling of artists creating major public art installations for “The Collection at Riverpark.”
Channel Islands Harbor
Channel Islands Harbor offers up a whole host of fun activities for both the single traveler and family-oriented wanderers. Shopping, dining, paddle boarding, kayaking and sailing are all popular here, and adventurers can head toward the biking and walking paths along the coastline. You can also check out the Ventura County Maritime Museum for its brilliant collection of maritime art and ship models.