Kids love a good adventure. If you’re traveling with a little one and don’t want to spend too much time in the car – head north to Oxnard. This family-favorite getaway is a perfect destination to visit on a day trip or long weekend. From hidden gems and pristine beaches, good eats and fun parks, there’s plenty to explore just an hour away from LA.
If you want fun in the sun, don’t miss Silver Strand Beach. We drove towards the end of the beach just off Sawtelle Avenue to check out the unique murals from California-based artists and watched the waves crash on the historic remains of the La Jenelle Shipwreck.
For lunch, we picked up lobster tacos and a brisket sandwich from The Strandwich and brought them to the beach for a family picnic. Just a short drive from here, you’ll find Mandalay Beach, another gem in Oxnard. The Ed Hunt Rehab Point is an accessible scenic walking and bike path that weaves throughout the dunes so everyone can access the beach. Kids will love the playground and pirate jungle gym at Oxnard Beach Park.
Channel Islands Harbor + Seabridge Marina
My one-year-old loves boats, and we had a blast watching them pass us by at Channel Islands Harbor. We also got to see the sea lions on the docks. On Sundays, Channel Islands Harbor Farmers Market is the place to be to pick up local strawberries, shop for unique gifts and sample fresh-baked goodies, including chocolate chip cookies.
Hot tip: If you want to enjoy lunch with a view, order fish tacos at Sea Fresh and sit on one of the benches along the water. You can also rent kayaks from Channel Islands Kayak Center, Duffy boats and check out Southern California Jet Skis for a fun, unique adventure.
The Seabridge Marina is a fun place to spend the afternoon. There are two playgrounds for the kids to enjoy. Celebrating a special occasion? Oxnard-based Pop Up Party Rentals creates beautiful boho and vintage-themed picnic setups. Seabridge is a great place to enjoy fish and chips from Fisherman’s Catch and enjoy a family picnic overlooking the water. This is a great place to walk and enjoy the view just before sunset.
Downtown Oxnard + The Collection at RiverPark
When you’re in town, go where the locals eat for the best meals. BG’s Cafe is a classic hometown breakfast spot in Downtown Oxnard that serves breakfast all day, and the portions are incredibly generous. Just across Plaza Park, Tacos El Diablo makes delicious authentic Mexican food, including sopes, tacos and Aguas Frescas.
Before you head home, take the kids to the Collection at RiverPark. The outdoor playground is suitable for kids of all ages, and Jump ‘n Jammin is an indoor entertainment center designed for kids. There’s a little bit of magic around every corner, including turtle ponds near the outdoor playground and plenty of open space for little ones to run around. We loved exploring the murals and unique Oxnard artwork.
Want to grab something to go or need to pick up snacks for your road trip home? The Annex Food Hall has a mix of local places to eat, including Pho, pizza and acai bowls. I really enjoyed the matcha latte at Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters.
Where to Stay
While in Oxnard, we stayed at Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor. The location offers spectacular views of the harbor, and it’s next to Peninsula Park. We visited the playground each day of our stay. When traveling with kids, it’s very convenient to have a complimentary hot breakfast at the hotel and an outdoor pool. The rooms are pet-friendly, and there’s also a fitness center. If you stay here, don’t leave home without a visit to Toppers Pizza. It’s a short walk away, and trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
Alejandra Cerball is an award-winning journalist, writer, and editor of alexcerball.com, a Travel + Lifestyle online destination filled with compelling and honest travel tips + resources. On her blog, Alex shares inspiration for your bucket list, travel + adventure itineraries, and style guides to help you pack for your next trip.