The great state of California needs almost no introduction, but the city of Oxnard is often one of the less visited areas of this part of the United States.
Those who don’t choose to come here however are missing a trick, as Oxnard is known in the local community for being a vibrant Southern California beach haven, and the sands and waters here are said to be some of the best in the region.
There are a huge number of beaches and islands to visit, thanks to Oxnard’s position in the Channel Islands, and activities like surfing and whale watching can all be enjoyed here.
As well as the beach, there are interesting museums and historical districts, as well as attractions such as parks and art galleries.
Oxnard is also no slouch when it comes to fun, and is known for its dynamic nightlife, as well as fabulous shopping and dining opportunities.
Lets explore the best things to do in Oxnard:
1. Mandalay State Beach
Mandalay State Beach is known in Oxnard for its pristine stands and old world feel.
The beach is covered in sand dunes, scrub plants, wetlands, and a plethora or flora and fauna, and has been deliberately left in its rugged state so that visitors can enjoy the natural beauty that abounds here.
As such, know that there are no beach facilities, but if you want to get away from it all, then this is the place to come.
Bird watchers in particular will enjoy spotting rare birds like the Snowy Plover, and there are some nice breaks here if you want to do something a little more adventurous like surfing.
2. Mullin Automotive Museum
Not to be missed by anyone who loves cars, the Mullin Automotive Museum was founded by Peter W. Mullin, a car enthusiast who turned his hobby into a museum.
The vehicles on show here feature classic cars that start from the beginning of the twentieth century, and there are both static and revolving exhibits of the different collections on show here.
You can take a guided tour of the museum with a friendly docent who will fill you in on the cultural and historical significance of the cars in the collections, and you will get to see these amazing feats of engineering up close, as well as take in a range of supporting memorabilia like photographs and antiques.
3. Oxnard State Beach and Park
Said by locals to be one of the best beaches in Oxnard, the Oxnard State Beach and Park is a wide strip of fluffy sand that is covered in romantic rolling dunes, flowers, and palms.
The beach leads to the Oxnard State Park, and here you will find picnic areas, grassy lawns, and paved trails.
If you are travelling with children, then there are delightful playgrounds in the park as well as fun sea-themed play areas that feature giant sculptures of turtles, seahorses, and sharks.
4. Carnegie Art Museum
The Carnegie Art Museum has a mission statement to present the best artwork from the California area, and you will find permanent collections here with a range of pieces by prominent local artists.
The museum has something to suit all tastes, from traditional pieces to more contemporary styles, and as well as paintings there are also other art forms like photography and sculpture.
5. Silver Strand Beach
Silver Strand Beach is the place to come for anyone interested in surfing, and you will find a mile of squeaky sand beach here if you prefer just to sunbathe.
One of the signature features of the beach is the viewing platform that sits at the edge of the Channel Islands Harbor, and from here it is not uncommon to see marine animals like dolphins and seals.
Once you actually get in the water, snorkeling is also popular here thanks to the abundance of aquatic life beneath the waves.
6. Heritage Square
Heritage Square is not actually a square as such but more a group of historical buildings all in the same place.
The square sits in the downtown area of Oxnard and you can go on a docent tour here where you will get to walk around and hear about all the history.
To help you get in the mood even more, the docents often wear period costumes that add to the fun.
After the tour you can refresh yourself by taking afternoon tea in the famous Rose Garden that also sits in the square.
7. Marine Emporium Landing
Marine Emporium Landing is the place to come if you want to spend some time on or near the water in Oxnard, and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of options on offer here.
There is a waterfront promenade here if you feel like taking in the vistas over the harbor, and the area is also dotted with dining options including waterside bars.
If you want to get out on the water itself, then boat tours leave from Marine Emporium Landing and will take you out to see the abundant marine life in the area including dolphins, seals, and, if you are lucky, even whales.
8. Magnavino Wine Cellars
If you like wine then consider a trip to Magnavino Cellars where you can learn all about the tipple is made at this spectacular winery.
Magnavino Wine Cellars has won awards for their blends of wine, so know that you are in good hands when you come here and you can actually watch the wine being made behind the scenes, including the fermenting and bottling processes that take place.
Once you have finished your tour of this charming working winery, you can move on to the tasting room and sample some of the blends for yourself.
These are also available for purchase at the end of your visit in the onsite wine shop.
9. The Pirate Boat Ride
Something of an icon in Oxnard, The Pirate Boat Ride is perfect for anyone who wants to take to the waters and explore the Channel Islands and Mandalay Bay.
The main focus of the boat ride is to take in this beautiful city from the water instead of on dry land, and to that end you will cruise past hidden gems such as tucked away historical buildings and hard to find islands.
As you drive around, you will also see local sea life in the form of resident seals and dolphins.
10. Channel Islands Maritime Museum
The Channel Islands Maritime Museum is bursting with maritime history, and is a great place to come, especially if you are travelling with children.
The museum has a range of galleries that include educational exhibits and rotating exhibitions, and there are maritime paintings, models of ships, and nautical memorabilia throughout including paintings.
11. The Murphy Auto Museum
The Murphy Auto Museum was created in order to showcase the history of cars, and to that end you can take a trip back in time over the last 100 years of automobile production.
There are over 60 different cars here as well as other collections that feature vehicles like a model working railway that spans an amazing 1800 square feet, and if you come at the weekend this is operated by helpful local volunteers.
Aside from the lovingly restored classic cars on display, you will also find photographs, period memorabilia, and other antique items related to vintage automobiles.
12. The Collection at Riverpark
The Collection at Riverpark is known amongst locals in Oxnard as the place to come if you want some serious retail therapy.
This shopping center has a huge range of shopping options, from well known department stores to local supermarkets, to small craft boutiques that showcase the best of Oxnard’s local products.
As well as shops there are also dining options galore here, and you can also find spas, salons, and entertainment venues at The Collection at Riverpark.
13. Blue Ocean Kayaking
Oxnard is a city on the water, but if you want to get out and about yourself then look no further than Blue Ocean Kayaking, where you get to be in control of where you go.
If you choose to take a trip with Blue ocean Kayaking, then you will be able to paddle to Anacapa Island where you will get to spend the day bobbing in and out of the picturesque caves and inlets here, as well as picnic on the island as you enjoy the beachfront vistas and azure waters.
14. Herzog Wine Cellars
It’s hard to believe, but Herzog Wine Cellars has been in the business for over a century, and with that in mind this is a great place to visit if you want to see how the history of wine making has developed over the years.
The Herzog Wine Cellars have a tasting room where you can try some of their delicious beverages, and there is also an onsite restaurant where you can pair some delicious bites with a glass of wine.
15. Channel Islands Whale Watching
Nature lovers should not miss the chance to take in some of the most spectacular flora and fauna in the region with a trip with Channel Islands Whale Watching.
Here you will get up close to the local wildlife as you cruise around the idyllic waterways here and you can choose from a variety of trips to suit your needs.
These include fishing trips where you can try to catch some of the abundant sea life in these waters or you can go on a whale watching expedition where there is a good chance that you will get to see these amazing mammals in their natural habitat.