If you are driving between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, you should consider spending a day or two exploring Camarillo which lies approximately half-way between these two Californian cities. Camarillo is home to Camarillo Premium Outlets, where shopaholics and spend hours browsing for bargain designer labels. You can go for a joy ride in a vintage military aircraft at the World War II Aviation Museum and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking and picnicking at Camarillo Grove Park.
1.Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Museum
© Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Museum
Aviation enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the fascinating Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Museum (CAF SoCal) where you can get up close and personal with some of the most amazing original Air Force combat aircraft. In addition you can admire their collection of artifacts and displays from World War II and their aviation library. The museum is entirely operated by volunteer enthusiasts who keep the collection of planes in perfect working order – for the thrill of a lifetime you can book a ride on their War Bird Ride Program – choose from the P-51, the PJB bomber, the open-top PT19 or the historic SNJ.
CAF SoCal, World War II Aviation Museum, 455 Aviation Dr, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-482-0064
2.Explore Wines Tour
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Camarillo lies at the gateway to the Central Coast Wine Country, and there are several vineyards and wineries that welcome visitors to come and see their vineyards and cellars and enjoy an informative wine tasting. The folks at Explore Wine Tours know all the best vineyards, all the best varietals and, best of all, they do all the driving so that you can do all the tasting. When you join one of their private wine tours you can discuss your wine preferences with your knowledgeable guide who will customize your tour to your particular tastes. Your tour will include pick-up in Camarillo, all-day guided wine tour including exclusive cellar access, tastings and lunch.
Explore Wine Tours, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-364-2397
3.The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology
© The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology
The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) is basically a non-profit organization which specializes in birds. The foundation strives to educate the public about bird conservation and showcases their amazing collections of eggs, nests and other birding specimens. You can join a public tour of the museum every second Wednesday and every last Friday of each month (phone at least one day ahead to book) or you can phone them to arrange a walk-through tour (without a guide). Avid bird watchers can attend bird-identification courses in spring (April, May and June) which include both evening lectures at the museum and afternoon field trips.
WFVZ, 439 Calle San Pablo, Camarillo, CA 93012, Phone: 805-388-9944
4.McGrath Family Farm
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The McGrath family has taken full advantage of the mild Camarillo weather and the excellent soil conditions to produce an enviable abundance of delicious organic fruit and vegetables for the community. The McGrath Family Farms are owned and operated by fourth-generation Irish American farmers who welcome you to come and find out all about organic farming on one of their farm tours. Children will have great fun on the October pumpkin tours while aspirant organic farmers can book a one-on-one tour with Farmer Phil to learn the ropes. Pick your own produce is seasonally available or you can stop by their Camarillo Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 8am to 12pm.
McGrath Family Farms, 1012 West Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-983-0333
5.Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum and Botanical Gardens
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You can spend a few very pleasant hours learning about the history and culture of the Pleasant Valley area at the Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum. The museum is dedicated to protecting and showcasing a large collection of vintage bits and pieces, including the Bill Doctorman Telephone Collection, the beautifully hand-made Roland Gisler Fire Trucks and a huge collection of photographs and historic documents. If you would like to delve even deeper into the area’s history you are welcome to make use of the reference library. The museum is surrounded by the beautiful Charles L. Honn Botanical Garden and Amish Gazebo, which you can visit after touring the museum.
Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum and Botanical Gardens, 720 Las Posas Rd, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-482-3660
6.Camarillo Farmer’s Market
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If you find yourself in Camarillo on a Saturday morning you can join the locals at the popular Camarillo Farmer’s Market. The market is a local tradition and everyone comes to meet, eat, mingle and celebrate the region’s wonderful fresh produce. The regular market vendors bring their choicest fresh produce including vegetables, fruit, citrus, berries, farm-fresh eggs and grass-fed beef. In addition you will find many allied market products like jams and preserves, honey and much more. You can also buy flowers and plants at the market and when you need a break you can grab a bite to eat or drink from one of several food vendors who sell everything from breads and pastries to seafood and sausages.
Camarillo Farmer’s Market, 2220 Ventura Blvd, Old Town Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-987-3347
7.Camarillo Grove Park
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When you need to escape the city and spend a bit of time enjoying the remarkable Camarillo weather you can make your way to Camarillo Grove Park. The park occupies what was once a stage-coach stop in a rustic spot near the end of Camarillo Springs Rd. The park boasts a new Outdoor Nature Center where visitors can learn about local eco-systems and endemic flora and fauna along an interpretive trail. If you enjoy hiking you can explore the two hiking trails, one of which takes you up to a lovely panoramic view point. You can do some bird-watching along the way and you may be lucky enough to come across some small animals. The park offers picnic sites, BBQ grills, restrooms, play equipment and a dog park.
Camarillo Grove Park, 1605 Burnley Street, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-482-1996
8.Studio Channel Islands
© Studio Channel Islands
Studio Channel Islands is a Camarillo organization dedicated to advancing the cultural and artistic side of Old Town Camarillo. The organization operates several programs for artists and art lovers including Artist’s Open Studios, the Blackboard Gallery, art education classes and several other cultural events. Art lovers can spend some happy time admiring the ever-changing art exhibitions (12 per year) at the Blackboard Gallery, which also hosts regular exhibitions by their member artists. If you want to try your hand at painting you are welcome to attend one of their Adult Art Classes on Tuesday nights in Studio R1. Before you leave the gallery you can buy some unique art pieces (jewelry, ceramics and arty accessories) at the gift shop.
Studio Channel Islands, 2222 E. Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-383-1368
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Wine lovers have much to look forward to during their visit to Camarillo, starting with Cantara Winery which is located just a few blocks west of the city. The winery offers cellar tours and wine tastings from Thursday to Sunday each week – perfect for weekend visitors to the city. The winery harvests ten varietals each year and brings in much of their other grapes from Lodi, where wine-maker Mike’s parents have vineyards. Some of the wines you can look forward to tasting include Syrah, Zinfandels, Tempranillos and some delicious blends like the Mischievous Lodi. There is also a Chardonnay from grapes brought in from Lodi.
Cantara Cellars, 126 Wood Rd, Suite 104, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-484-9600
10.Back Patio Cellars
© Back Patio Cellars
Back Patio Cellar owners Frank and Jen started off by lovingly making a small batch of red wine, by hand, on their back patio. Today their hobby has turned into an award-winning commercial winery where you can come and taste a selection of quality wines right in the heart of Camarillo. The winery is open to the public for tastings from Friday to Sunday (other days are possible by arrangement). The winery currently produces as least eight wines each year including red and white blends and single varietals like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. All the wines are produced in small batches and often sell out quickly – you can join their wine club to ensure you don’t miss out on new releases.
Back Patio Cellars, 930 Flynn Rd, Unit F, Camarillo, CA 93012, Phone: 805-388-3457
11.The City Of Camarillo Public Library
© The City Of Camarillo Public Library
The Camarillo locals are particularly proud of their Public Library which is located in an excellent purpose-built building on Las Posas Rd. Visitors to Camarillo are encouraged to visit the library, particularly if you are travelling with children. The library has a particularly good children’s section with a reading room and pirate-ship feature which is sure to whet young appetites for the excellent selection of exciting books. Regular events are scheduled for younger readers including “reading with your pet” days and other popular themed reading days. The décor is very inviting and includes a beautiful mosaic bench (you will think you have landed in Barcelona), comfortable seating and a nice little café.
Camarillo Public Library, 4101 Las Posas Rd, Camarillo, CA 93010-2539, Phone: 805-388-5222
12.Camarillo Premium Outlets
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Conveniently located just 55 miles from Santa Barbara and 50 miles from Los Angeles, Camarillo Premium Outlets offers great shopping at 160 retailers, under one roof. A perfect destination for a girly weekend of retail therapy, Camarillo Premium Outlets has outlet stores for many of your favorite American designer labels including Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Nike, together with some British labels like Ted Baker London and Lululemon. When you need a brief break from shopping you can enjoy a coffee, meal or drink at one of several restaurants and coffee shops. There is plenty of parking on site and a charge station for electric vehicles.
Camarillo Premium Outlets, 740 E. Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93101-5847, Phone: 805-445-8520
13.Institution Ale Company
© Institution Ale Company
You are very welcome to take a break from your Camarillo sight-seeing to visit the Institution Ale Company Brewery and Taproom, where you can sample a variety of delicious hand-crafted beers. Open seven days a week, the taproom offers a rotation selection of innovative craft beers following traditional brewing methods. At any time you can expect to find around 12 beers on tap, including several Ales and IPAs as well as a couple of interesting Stouts and Lagers. The brewery has an on-site kitchen serving up artisan flat-bread pizzas and delicious soft pretzels to enjoy alongside your beer. Tuesday nights are Trivia nights in the Taproom and there is often live music on the weekends.
Institution Ale Company, 3841 Mission Oaks Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93012, Phone: 805-482-3777
14.Antique Mall of Camarillo
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Located in quaint Old Town Camarillo, the Antique Mall of Camarillo is a must-see attraction for anyone who loves bargain hunting and antique shopping. The Mall is housed in the former premises of Camarillo’s first dentist and comprises several rooms, each of which showcases collectables from different periods or styles. This means that you will find art deco pieces, French provincial treasures, Native American crafts and cottage-style chic all under one roof. The Mall is open from Monday to Saturday and is the ideal place to shop for once-off statement pieces, quirky home or garden décor or a nostalgic piece of antique furniture.
Antique Mall of Camarillo, 58 Palm Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-484-7710
15.Friends of Camarillo Library Bookstore
© Friends of Camarillo Library Bookstore
In this fast-paced digital world there is something very comforting about settling down to read a “real” book. If you are one of the many bookworms who still appreciate reading books and love finding a bargain book for yourself or your children, you will enjoy visiting the Friends of Camarillo Library Bookstore, located in the library courtyard. Besides a really good selection of lightly-used second-hand books the bookstore also stocks previously-loved magazines, puzzles, audio and video material and much more. As you come into the store you will find two book carts at the door which hold the real bargains – many of the books on these carts have been reduced by 50%.
Friends of Camarillo Library Bookstore, 4101 Las Posas Rd, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone 805-388-5275
16.Lure Fish House
© Lure Fish House
When you are craving a delicious sustainably-sourced seafood meal, Lure Fish House is the place to go in Camarillo. Family-owned Lure Fish House is proud to offer a delectable menu of freshly caught local fish and seafood accompanied by organic local produce. You can expect to find pleasant nautically themed décor and an oyster bar which serves up several choices of fresh or broiled oysters. Fish dishes include several species of Pacific Ocean fish (served simply grilled with your choice of sides), delicious ceviche, calamari and crab cake appetizers, and a choice of House Specialties. In addition there are four seafood pasta choices, salads and desserts. You can choose local wines and beers to accompany your seafood feast.
Lure Fish House, 259 W. Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-388-5556
17.Eggs ‘n Things
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When you have a long drive or a busy day of sight-seeing ahead of you, you need a good breakfast to get your day off to a winning start. At Eggs ‘n Things you will find exactly what you are looking for in a breakfast. The restaurant serves all your favorite egg dishes including omelets, scrambles, and fried eggs and you can personalize your dish with your choice of tasty sides. If you happen to be on a health kick you can skip the eggs and opt for a Continental breakfast of oatmeal or cereal with fresh fruit, fruit juice and an English muffin. They also make delicious Swedish pancakes with blackberry preserves.
Eggs ‘n Things, 92 Daily Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-987-4497
© Twenty88 Bistro
You are invited to join Chef Alex Castillo and his team at Twenty88 Bistro to enjoy fresh, innovative California Fusion cuisine. Chef Alex believes in using the freshest locally sourced ingredients wherever possible and for this reason the seasonal menu at Twenty88 changes regularly to showcase whatever happens to be available from local producers. You will always find a good variety of choices on the menu including tasty starters, soups, and salads. Main courses will always offer fresh fish and seafood dishes, a selection of steaks and some House favorites like the Bourbon Pork Chop and Sicilian Pasta alla Norma. Visit during Happy Hour (before 6pm) for delicious nibbles and (almost) half-priced drinks.
Twenty88 Bistro, 2088 Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93010, Phone: 805-388-2088
18 Best Things to Do in Camarillo, California
- Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Museum, Photo: Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Museum
- Explore Wines Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Microgen - Fotolia.com
- The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Photo: The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology
- McGrath Family Farm, Photo: Courtesy of Tim UR - Fotolia.com
- Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum and Botanical Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of ExQuisine - Fotolia.com
- Camarillo Farmer’s Market, Photo: Courtesy of eskstock - Fotolia.com
- Camarillo Grove Park, Photo: Courtesy of John - Fotolia.com
- Studio Channel Islands, Photo: Studio Channel Islands
- Cantara Cellars, Photo: Courtesy of karepa - Fotolia.com
- Back Patio Cellars, Photo: Back Patio Cellars
- The City Of Camarillo Public Library, Photo: The City Of Camarillo Public Library
- Camarillo Premium Outlets, Photo: Courtesy of beer5020 - Fotolia.com
- Institution Ale Company, Photo: Institution Ale Company
- Antique Mall of Camarillo, Photo: Courtesy of Josu Ozkaritz - Fotolia.com
- Friends of Camarillo Library Bookstore, Photo: Friends of Camarillo Library Bookstore
- Lure Fish House, Photo: Lure Fish House
- Eggs ‘n Things, Photo: Courtesy of Swetlana Wall - Fotolia.com
- Twenty88 Bistro, Photo: Twenty88 Bistro
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of EuToch - Fotolia.com