When it comes to traveling with kids, I will be the first to admit that it’s stressful. So many of my parent friends have traveled far more often with their littles than I have with my daughter in the past two years. It gives me anxiety and I tend to avoid it when possible. However, we recently went on a family vacation to Ojai, California, along with our friends and their two kids, and it was surprisingly easy and fun. Part of this may be that we are all live in California, so it was only a four-hour drive for us to get there, and we were armed with all kinds of distractions for our daughter on that journey. Mainly, I think it’s the laid-back Ojai lifestyle that made it feel relaxing despite juggling three kids under the age of 5.
Here are some great places to visit in Ojai with kids (and without, too!):
Where To Stay:
I can’t rave about this resort enough. Prior to staying there, I heard countless great reviews and it really lived up to the hype. It’s a beautiful resort that has a lot of fun activities and things to do with the kids. We stayed in one of the villas and it was perfect for dealing with my daughter’s nap schedule. She even had her own cute Frozen bed she got to sleep on (a big bonus for her)! There’s a cute café that serves McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, which was a go-to stop for the kids. Plus, the family pool area was awesome (samples of smoothies, fruit and M&Ms provided by the hotel made it even sweeter).
The husbands got to play a round of golf one morning, and the kids enjoyed scooter rides along the endless paths around the resort—spotting bunny rabbits along the way. One afternoon, we camped out and had a little picnic and the hotel didn’t mind at all! It seriously was an awesome experience.
Another great option (and a little less expensive) is Ojai Rancho Inn.
Where To Go:
OK, so this isn’t really a place that is meant for kids, but we had to include it on our list because it’s such a cool spot. It would be much more suitable for a date night or to go with just your adult friends. However, we went with our daughter and they were totally cool about it. It’s got a great wine selection and yummy bites. We stopped in to grab some delicious things to bring to our family picnic.
This place is seriously cool. It’s the world’s largest outdoor bookstore with every book you can imagine. It was so inspiring to look through vintage books and just explore what was around every corner of the store. The great kids’ section makes it fun for little ones, too.
Summer Camp is a custom framing store and lifestyle shop. It’s got a ton of cool, campy items (I found a cute romper for the new baby there!). What makes it really fun is that it was an old gas station that was converted into the shop.
A beautifully curated shop filled with clothing and homewares. Bonus: They are more than willing to let the kids run around and play while shopping!
Where to Eat:
The Oak at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa:
If you’re staying at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa than this is a good place to enjoy a meal with the kiddos. You still get a scenic view and an adult feel, but it is very kid-friendly. The staff was so helpful and accommodating to our kids’ endless requests and messes. I was really impressed. The food was great, too!
This is a fun vegetarian place that serves seriously good food (you won’t miss the meat, I promise). It’s got a great outdoor patio area and a little market inside if you need some fresh food on the go. We got smoothies and yummy taquitos.
I love this place! The food is so good and it’s just an easy spot to swing in and grab something easy. I enjoyed stopping in for a breakfast sandwich and a fresh juice in the morning.
This place is a classic. Everyone in town will recommend it. It’s great for kids because of its yummy pizzas and pastas, and it is known for its strawberry shortcakes! You can eat outside at the picnic tables and there is a grassy area in the back—perfect for the kids to run around.