This Magical City in California Is the Perfect Long Weekend Destination — and Home to One of the Best Hotels in the State

Here's how to plan the perfect three-day weekend in Ojai, California.

If "rest and relaxation" were a place it would be Ojai Valley, California.

The retreat community, located about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, encourages guests to find a little peace and quiet and to leave their worries behind — at least for a long weekend.

Ready to shut off your cell phone and smell the lavender fields and pixie tangerine blossoms instead? Here's how to spend three glorious days in Ojai, California, and come back totally renewed.

Day 1:

Start your weekend in Ojai by checking into Ojai Valley Inn, voted one of the best hotels in California by T+L readers in 2022. This chic luxury hotel is ideal for those looking to indulge in deep restoration thanks to its robust spa offerings, and its artist cottage and apothecary with creative activities like jewelry making and tie-dying classes.

After checking in, it's time to hit the town with a cup of coffee in hand. Get the best brew at Beacon Coffee. The Ojai shop notes on its website, "you should be able to taste where the coffee comes from, so we roast in a style that allows you to do just that." Snag your favorite concoction if you must, but truly, its black coffee comes packed with plenty of flavors.

Next, head down the block to Bart's Books, an Ojai institution. The book store looks rather unassuming from the street, but the second you walk through the door you'll be transported, as Bart's Books happens to be one of the largest outdoor bookstores in the U.S.

Next, make your way to Harvest Moon, a bohemian comfort food restaurant that offers outdoor dining so you can sit and people watch while you eat.

End the day with another great meal at The Nest, which sources its ingredients from nearby farms and local purveyors.

Exterior of Farmer and the Cook
Susie Hudson/Courtesy of Farmer and the Cook

Day 2:

Start off day two in Ojai with a bang at the Farmer and the Cook, a restaurant located about a five-minute drive from the center of town. Next, make your way to the Ojai wilds for a wander through the Ojai Meadow Preserve, a 58-acre space where you'll find plants, animals, and hiking trails galore. While you're there, make sure to see how many of the preserve's 40 species of birds you can spot along the way.

After filling your soul with some time outside, it's time to fill your suitcase with souvenirs. For that, head to Summer Camp, an adorable shop boasting locally made ceramics, plants, and other cute goodies.

Finally, end the day with a good drink and an even better meal at Deer Lodge. If you come on a weekend, you can grab a plate of its smokey barbecue, or just come for a beer or cocktail on its outside patio around one of its fire pits. If you're feeling competitive, you could take to one of Deer Lodge's pool tables for a game or two as well.

Day 3:

It's your last day in Ojai, which means it's your last chance to fill up on local morning delights. Get a seat at Bonnie Lu's, a diner that serves massive stacks of pancakes, toast with butter smothered all over it, and plates of meat and eggs. Yes, it deviates from Ojai's other more health-conscious options, but sometimes rest and relaxation means letting it all go and just enjoying the comfort foods you really love.

After breakfast, make your way to Meditation Mount, whose mission is "to promote the building of an enlightened and compassionate world through the power of creative meditation." The space invites guests to visit for both classes and events or to come for a guided tour of the grounds. The tour even includes a stop at The Portal, a structure built from a 1,200-year-old Douglas fir, which was reclaimed from the Ventura-Ojai rail line.

An archway at Meditation Mount
Courtesy of Meditation Mount

Before you depart, make one more stop at the ultra Instagrammable Tipple Ramble, an indoor/outdoor home décor shop that also serves wine, beer, and bubbly. Walk through the store to pick up something fun to remember your trip, then make your way to the patio for a toast and a charcuterie plate before you have to go back to reality.

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