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Awesome One-Tank Trips from Ventura and Oxnard, CA

Take advantage of some of the many opportunities to take an awesome one tank trip from Ventura and Oxnard, California. There are some amazing sights nearby. Visitors to this area often like to travel to Magic Mountain, Channel Islands National Park, Pyramid Lake, as well as the Santa Monica Pier, not to mention fun for the whole family at Universal Studios in Hollywood. 


Channel Islands Harbor is your gateway to the scenic Channel Islands, but a fun destination on its own as well. This 50-year-old working harbor has great sandy parks for picnics and swimming and a network of biking and hiking paths. You can choose from many excellent restaurants, and the Channel Islands Maritime Museum always has an exciting exhibition on display.



The museum has a great collection of ship models and some spectacular maritime art. Once in the Harbor, you can book a boat charter, rent a boat or diving equipment, join a whale-watching trip, or, if you came with your own boat, dock at the harbor and enjoy its modern facilities


Here are some other suggestions for where to take your family that are not too far away.


You can get to Palm Springs, San Diego or even Big Bear in the mountains within only 2 – 3 hours of driving from Ventura. 


Big Bear: This mountain town is home to L.A.’s closest ski slopes in winter, but don’t discount a summertime trip, when a dip in a mountain lake is the best way to cool off. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to tour the water, and keep an eye out for the white-domed Big Bear Solar Observatory perched at the water’s edge on the north shore. Owned by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this observatory also partners with the Big Bear Valley Astronomical Society. Hiking here is a plentiful and offers some amazing views. Big Bear Lake is the jewel in the San Bernardino National Forest. (See more about that below).


Laguna Beach is only an hour away so don’t forget to stop and visit this easygoing oceanfront city, which is gorgeous, with its lush vegetation, tidepools and a very picturesque rocky coastline. The Main Beach is the spot of choice for downtown sunbathing, but you’ll find pristine, less crowded beaches at tide pool-filled Treasure Island, camper-friendly Crystal Cove or hidden Victoria Beach with its weathered, castle-like turret. Walk the city’s downtown area to find a mix of shops, galleries and restaurants; many eateries cater to the well-heeled, so you might want to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on a bench at the hilltop Heisler Park.


Try a visit to Los Alamos: Only about 2 ½ hours away. Once a major stagecoach stop, this small, easy-to-miss town looks stuck in the past with its Old West style—but behind the facade are trendy treasures waiting to be discovered. Inside Bob’s Well Bread Bakery is a hip, stylish setup serving artisan breads—including gluten free options—croissants, sandwiches and more. Exploring antique shops and art galleries can easily fill a day here, just be sure to call ahead, as some places are only open on weekends. A big draw of the Los Alamos area is its wine tasting—this is Santa Barbara County, after all—which can be done at Bedford Winery, Municipal Winemakers and other local tasting rooms. If you indulge too much to drive home, make a pit stop at 1880 Union, an event space with an authentic stagecoach saloon.


San Juan Capistrano: 


Just an hour and a half away you will find a piece of real California history in the vibrant old town of San Juan Capistrano. This is off-the-beaten-path for a unique day (or overnight) trip with a lot of charm and a little learning. Stop for a good cup of coffee at Hidden House Coffee. From here, you can tour Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded in 1776 as arguably one of the mission chain’s prettiest links. This mission used to be known as a migratory destination for swallows in February, but the famous birds have been spotty in recent years. If you have your heart set on getting up close with some animals, check out Zoomars  (reservations recommended), a petting zoo for kids of all ages, which adults will love, too. It’s a historic ranch where you can also pan for gold like the California miners did. You are also very close to the Los Rios Historic District, which has historic homes and museums perfect for a walking tour. When you get hungry, you have several options: Heritage Barbecue serves remarkable Texas-style smoked meats, Ramos House is a romantic spot known for great food and huge Bloody Mary’s on weekends and Five Vines is a nearby wine bar with snacks and sandwiches. If you want to catch the night life here, head over to Swallow’s Inn, the local dive bar, where bras hang from the ceiling and bands play late into the night.


Balboa Island: 


Only an hour away, visitors to Balboa Island in Newport Beach can enter the man-made island by driving onto it via Marine Avenue, but it’s far easier—and more fun—to park your RV on the Balboa Peninsula and take the Balboa Island Ferry for a quick and scenic five-minute trip across the water. The first order of business: getting your hands on one of the island’s famed frozen bananas. Choose from rivals Sugar N Spice or Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop; both claiming to be the originators of the chocolate-covered frozen treat. Take a jaunt up and down the 1.6-mile boardwalk surrounding the island, passing by multi-million-dollar homes and streets named after gems, before strolling down Marine Avenue, the island’s main artery. Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants (Wilma’s Patio is a staple), boutique shops, art galleries and the Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society. Of course, there’s plenty to do out on the water, too: kayaking, parasailing, paddle boarding and the like. If you’ve got kids along with you, try the Balboa Fun Zone on the peninsula which hosts a Ferris wheel and plenty of arcade games. 


If you want to take a trip about 4 hours east on I-10 from Ventura, you can visit Joshua Tree National Park, open every day of the year. Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado come together in this awesome National Park. The best time for wildflower viewing is definitely the springtime. This park boasts about 700 diversified plant species and has 9 different campgrounds for you to choose from. (Make your reservations early though, as it gets busy.)


The San Bernardino National Forest is home to Big Bear Lake (mentioned above) as well as being recognized as a top destination for people escaping the urban grind for a peaceful retreat in nature. During the inception of national forest reserves in the late 1800s, the San Bernardino National Forest was recognized as one of the premier forests for recreation and for people wanting to get away from the urban sprawl.


Now, with hundreds of miles of nationally recognized hiking trails, seven designated Wildernesses, 42 campgrounds, four winter recreation resorts, seven wild and scenic rivers, the two tallest mountains in Southern California, and one of the best destinations for off-highway vehicle riding, there is about a lifetime of activities to do in the San Bernardino National Forest. It is located just north of Riverside or Banning and south of Victorville in the San Bernardino Mountains. One can get there by driving east 2 ½ - 3 hours from Oxnard. Use either California 14-N or US 101 South for about a 120-mile scenic drive.


Make sure to check with your local El Monte RV dealer before you make your next RV trip to Ventura and Oxnard and surrounding areas.

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