If you’re planning a vacation to Southern California, add Camarillo to your must-see list for family travel!
Living in Southern California, there are plenty of great weekend vacation spots to choose from, in October we chose to visit Camarillo, CA where the arts and early California heritage are celebrated. I grew up 40 minutes away in Ojai, CA but I had never really explored Camarillo. I am so glad I finally did, it was a wonderful family vacation!
As we arrived in Camarillo I was reminded how nice it is to live near the coast, the weather was mild and the sun was shining. We grabbed lunch at Adolfo Grill and Daily Bar, which I highly recommend. The waiter said jokingly that they had the best fries in town, so Ava was all over that. When our food came I tried a fry and was shocked, they really were delicious and Evan and I ate 2/3 of Ava’s fries during the meal. I’m so glad I raised a “good sharer” because I do not know if I would have been quite so generous. For all my grain-free foodies: the salads are delicious.
After lunch we did my favorite activity of the whole trip: a tour of Studio Channel Islands. This non-profit, which has transformed an old elementary school into workshops and classrooms, is committed to fostering arts in the area. We got the chance to visit some of the artists in residence, see their studios, and hear about the community events that take place at Studio Channel Islands. I was especially excited because the local Weavers and Spinners Guild was having a fair in front of Studio Channel Islands with displays of the yarns they had spun, scarves they had knitted, and rugs they had woven. As a former weaver myself, I totally geeked out!
We then hopped over to our hotel, the Residence Inn, to check in before dinner. We had never stayed at a Residence Inn before and we were so excited to learn that we had a two bedroom suite! I get now why people love Marriot. Ava was so excited to have her own room, and honestly so were Evan and I. Usually when we stay in hotels she ends up staying up way too late because she cannot sleep if we are moving around, talking, or at the sink with the light on. But since the two bedrooms were separated by the living area, we were able to stay up late talking and watching TV while she snoozed away. Evan is committed to exclusively staying at Residence Inns from now on.
Before dinner we stopped by the Camarillo Outlets for some shopping. Ava is our tiny fashionista and she had the best time modeling her fashion finds at The Children’s Place. She ended up getting a sparkly dress, and Chrsitmas cat shirt, sparkly high-top shoes, and a hair accessories. I love having a girl who loves fashion as much as I do and has her own style.
The next morning we had breakfast at Hidden Cafe. This breakfast restaurant is so well hidden it doesn’t even have a sign! haha. Before our trip we had planned ahead and asked my mom to join us for breakfast. It was so fun to have three generations of women together! The breakfast menu was tasty and well priced and the staff had no issue substituting hashbrowns for the english muffin in my Eggs Benedict in order to keep the meal grain-free.
After breakfast we strolled in the quaint downtown area of Camarillo. We found the coolest store filled with board games you can play called Zander’s Game House. The shelves are lined with open board games for all ages and you can buy a day pass and play all day. They also have giant chess on the floor and community events like Cosplay Day and game tournaments. It is a wonderful place to take a break if you have kids with you.. or let’s be honest, even if you don’t because my husband and I could probably spend hours there finding new fun games to play.
Down the street we visited the best candy and soda store. The Original Rocket Fizz is located in downtown Camarillo and features so many candies from my childhood that I had forgotten even existed! They also have the largest selection of sodas I have ever seen. Including strange flavors like Bacon and Ranch Dressing! I broke my month-long sugar fast that day and it was TOTALLY worth it.
Our next stop was the Camarillo Ranch, the beautiful historical home of the city founder, Don Adolfo Camarillo. His birthday is celebrated yearly with a huge (and free) party. The property is beautiful and I have actually been to two weddings on the property within the last year. But on this weekend we were able to tour the house, the grounds, and the barn with displays of historical significance and hands on activities for kids.
When we visited the home the docents patiently answered all my indepth questions. I learned that all the hardware in the house is original and that the “Camarillo White Horses” which were originally bred by Adolfo Camarillo himself, were recently deemed their own breed after DNA testing determined that the Camarillo Whites have strands of DNA that no other white horses have. We also learned that the giant fig tree on the property is not good for food but excellent for kids to play on.
The finish to our visit could not have been better. Our last dinner was at Twenty 88 Restaurant & Martini Lounge. They had an excellent menu with Gluten-Free options clearly marked. When I asked about grain-free options I was surprised that I had 4 choices, which was probably 1/4 of the menu! As my fellow grain-free eaters know, this is almost unheard of and an extremely foreign concept for us. I didn’t know what to order when faced with so many options (seriously, grain-free is hard.) I went with the Seabass Escocado, and I am so glad I did, it was delicious. Of course, Ava chose Gluten-free Mac N Cheese because: she’s seven and living the life.
It was so hard to say goodbye to Camarillo because we were having so much fun. We may or may not have stopped at Rocket Fizz again before we left to grab some snacks for the road and since we will be spending Thanksgiving with my family and we have already planned to bring everyone to Zanders to play games together … AFTER we stop at Rocket Fizz for snacks!
photo courtesy of Camarillo Visitors Center
Like what you see? You could win a trip to Camarillo too!
An hour north of Los Angeles, Camarillo is nestled at the base of the Conejo foothills surrounded by verdant green fields and cool ocean breezes. With more than 52 weeks of great weather, enjoy Camarillo alfresco. From outdoor shopping and concerts to delicious dining and family fun events, Camarillo has it all. A great getaway for everyone, Camarillo is the ideal place to Come for the Sun, Stay for the Fun! Find more info at www.VisitCamarillo.com.
Click on the link below and enter for a chance to win a two night stay in Hampton Inn Camarillo, a Channel Islands Aviation Flight Simulator Experience, dinner at Lure Fish House in Camarillo, and a personalized tour of the Camarillo Ranch House (Prize Value: $600)