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Overview: Plans changed due to extreme weather and our Channel Islands trip was cancelled. The day was spent visiting Ojai and Santa Barbara, California.
Prior to coming on the trip, my husband booked tickets for our family to venture out to the Channel Islands on a cruise ferry and then embark on a semi-private half-day kayak tour around the island.
Both Clayton and I have been to the Channel Islands National Park before – he and his brother kayaked around the island, hiked and camped overnight back in February 2019, and then he and I took the Painted Cave boat tour back in 2019. *Camping on the island = completely pack in what you need as there are no provisions on the island.
I was so excited about the kayaking part of the tour, as that is one of my most favorite outdoor activities. However, we woke up early on day 4 to find out that the cruise ferry had been cancelled going out to the island due to bad weather.
California has been having unprecedented rain and snowfall this year (2023). On this particular day, there were storms, making it too dangerous to venture out to the island. So, our plans were shot and we needed to quickly pivot to salvage our day.
When you travel with Clayton and I, there’s one thing guaranteed; you are never going to be bored, because you stay so busy seeing so many things!
Being the master trip planner that Clayton is, he was able to quickly change our plans, even with the terrible weather.
Hollywood Beach Cafe in Oxnard, California
We decided to let the kids sleep in a little longer (6am wake up calls are never that much fun on vacation, lol!). We then headed out to this little cafe in Oxnard called Hollywood Beach Cafe.
The food was delicious, the service…ehh. But out bellies were fully and we were ready to have some fun!
Zachari Dunes Beach in Oxnard, California
After breakfast, we came back to the resort to spend some time out on the beach walking and playing…the rain would start and stop every couple of minutes 🙂
Ojai Farmer’s Market
After playing for a while on the beach, we loaded up in the rental car and headed 35 minutes north and inland to Ojai, California. Ojai is a quaint little mountain town, with lots of little shops, restaurants and even a brewery.
Clayton and I stayed here back in 2019__. It reminds us of our favorite North Carolina mountain town, Blowing Rock. If you are familiar with that town, then you get it 🙂 (ohhh, how I love North Carolina!)
We had heard that Ojai’s farmers market was a fun thing to do, so we went straight there, with just a few minutes to shop before they closed for the day!
We bought several types of fresh oranges and avocados. Yum!
Downtown Ojai, California
After the farmers market, we walked around Ojai, stopping to play on some insanely old and crazy looking trees and a fun park! Then we stopped in for a couple of Mochi Crepes and Boba teas and then headed to the local brewery.
While typically Ojai is sunny and bright, the weather had drastically changed the look of downtown. Being so cloudy and rainy, it was hard to even see the mountains that line the outskirts of town. Here’s a comparison image.
*Note about Ojai – typically Ojai does not look this green! The rain surely has done a lot for the plants in the area!
Libbey Park in Ojai, California
I’m totally certainly this is how you are “supposed” to play on this spinning thing! HA! #boys!
Topa Topa Ojai Brewery in Ojai, California
Santa Barbara, California
After a few hours in Ojai, we headed 35 miles west, back to the coast to visit Santa Barbara, California. The dreary weather coming along for the ride!
I loved how these two trees, whom seem like an unlikely pair, were growing alongside each other – a palm tree and a “pine??” tree!
Beautiful birds of paradise flowers!
We headed out to the pier to get a better look at the water!
Look at those clouds! Honestly, it was a strange feeling having such dark, gloomy weather in California…where it’s normally full of sunshine!
After a couple of hours, we hopped back in the car and drove 40 miles south, down the coast, back to Oxnard.
The kids had fun playing night games of tennis, basketball and swimming!