Oxnard, California—Much more than Islands, Wineries and Strawberries

photo courtesy of Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau

For couples 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 paradise for couples for so many more reasons.

Rarely in Southern California does one find 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 or Centennial Plaza will show the proof in the pudding where couples stroll hand in hand while enjoying local jewels like the farmer’s markets and concerts in nearby Heritage Square. There, beautiful turn of the century historic farm homes 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 will please Italian foodies and the new Rancho Ventavo Cellars in the 1902 Scarlett House is worth a peek and a tour.

A beautiful city steeped in rich culture and history, resident or visiting couples can appreciate Oxnard’s numerous museums, music venues, excellent eateries, and theater. The Carnegie Art Museum, Ventura County Maritime Museum, Woolworth Museum, and Murphy Auto Museum, are just the tip of the iceberg to whet the appetite for rich yet affordable fun. Local eateries such as Fresh and Fabulous make downtown come alive for locals and visitors alike.

Herzog Wine Cellars, the only Kosher winery on the west coast is a true gem in and of itself and the food is nothing short of superb, prepared under the direction of nationally acclaimed Chef Todd Aarons at Tierra Sur Restaurant. Anyone visiting Oxnard would miss the pinnacle of Oxnard’s culinary delights if not for a chance to savor the amazing creations and local flavors of this extraordinary cuisine. It is quite simply the best food at any California winery!

One cannot help but appreciate the quality of the wines. They not only pair beautifully with the food created by Chef Aarons, but do prepare to take some home because the painstaking quality of the winemaking is evident in every sip of each and every variety. Visitors will certainly appreciate Herzog’s commitment to sustainable and green viticulture. Plan to spend some time tasting and then dining in an unrushed manner because it truly cannot get any better than this with fresh locally incorporated flavors in tantalizing combinations that will undoubtedly far exceed your expectations with each and every course.

photo courtesy of Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau

As if that was not enough, the most exciting undiscovered outdoor gems are the nearby Channel Islands with Oxnard’s action being centered around the Channel Islands Harbor, the cleanest harbor in the state. The Channel Islands Harbor Water Taxi is an excellent option for enjoying the harbor and dining at various romantic wharf-side restaurants. Visitors will enjoy seeing the harbor where Gilligan’s Island Castaways began their ominous “3 hour tour.”

In the harbor itself are 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 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.

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. Sealife is abundant on the Channel Islands and the virtually undeveloped and uninhabited islands offer countless opportunities to study and commune with nature in ways that are simply impossible on the mainland. From migratory birds and whales and native plants to rich Native American history, tidepools, porpoises, and wonderfully peaceful solitude, nature hikes afford couples 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.

photo courtesy of Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau

As a 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.