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Many tourists flock to Los Angeles dreaming of surfing the waves at Malibu, hiking to the Hollywood sign, or shopping on Rodeo Drive.
But once the shininess wears off, some people look for places to escape the metropolis for peace and quiet and maybe some pampering. Find all of this and more when you go camping in Ojai.
Some have found a getaway location that can provide the perfect mixture of tranquility and entertainment. Ojai, Calif., offers activities like fine dining, exclusive shopping and spa treatments, and more exuberant ones to satisfy the outdoor enthusiast.
You can go horseback riding, hiking, sailing, and cycling in this 10-mile-long valley just 15 miles from Ventura beaches.
And you can bring your RV along for some Ojai camping, with a wide variety of campgrounds. Get away from it all in the mystical allure of this mountain escape.
Where Is Ojai?
Ojai lies just 15 miles north of Ventura, Calif., inland from the coast.
It rests in a verdant valley surrounded by the Topatopa Mountain Range, with the Los Padres National Forest close by.
Ranchers first settled the region in 1837 during their assignment to Fernando Tico as part of the Rancho Ojai Mexican land grant.
Over the years, the land produced oil.
Eventually, wealthy winter visitors decided to stay, buying up much of the land.
The new residents redesigned Ojai with Spanish and Mission-style architecture.
Today the town supports over 7,000 locals with an influx of tourists in the tens of thousands.
What Makes Ojai So Special?
The town was originally called Nordhoff, after author Charles Nordhoff, who wrote “California, for Health, Pleasure and Residence.”
Many of its first settlers came to the area to restore their health.
And the region since has become a healing center for both physical and spiritual ailments.
Today, Ojai (meaning “nest” or “moon” in the Chumash language) is a tourist destination full of spas, retreats, high-end boutique hotels, and stores.
Its temperate climate makes the community a perfect getaway for residents of Los Angeles, and its recreational opportunities abound in the mountains and nearby Lake Casitas.
Is There Dispersed Camping in Ojai?
There are numerous campgrounds in and around Ojai, including forest service sites and several Ventura County parks.
Most can cater to RVs and tent campers, with scenic offerings in and around forests, lakes, and hiking trails.
Here are some Ojai camping options in the mountains surrounding town.
Lake Casitas Campground
Address: 11311 Santa Ana Road, Ventura, CA 93001
You can make reservations by phone or online for this 400 campsite campground on Lake Casitas, just outside of Ojai.
You can choose from over 13 campgrounds located on the lake’s north end.
Rent a boat or a camper if you don’t have your own and enjoy kayaking, fishing, and camping at this 39-square-mile body of water.
Sites can handle everything from tents to 45-foot-long RVs, with prices ranging from $40 to $79 per night. You’ll find tent campsites with no hookups, partial-hookup RV sites, and full-hookup ‘executive’ campsites.
Some lie next to the water, and others sit among the trees.
Additionally, all campgrounds have flush toilets and showers.
This Ojai camping option has lots to offer.
Address: 11969 North Creek Road, Ojai, CA 93023
Ventura County runs this campground just one mile from downtown Ojai.
With 15 campsites providing full hookups, RVers can enjoy up to 14 days in this park.
Amenities include hot showers, flush toilets, a laundry room, and Wi-Fi.
The nightly fees run from $20 to $22 for tents and $46 to $48 for RVs.
The campground’s proximity to Ojai means you are within walking distance of shops, restaurants, spas, and golf courses.
Rose Valley Campground
Address: Rose Valley Lake Road, Ojai, CA 93023
This small off-road campground is located 20 miles north of Ojai and has nine spacious campsites, all first-come, first-served.
It has no hookups and has a max RV length of 16 feet. You can use the pit toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits; it costs $20 a night.
It’s close to many hikes, the most popular being Rose Valley Falls, a 100-foot waterfall only half a mile from the campground.
Ojai camping isn’t complete without great hikes.
Keep in Mind: If you have time, you need to visit a few national parks in California. Let’s see which are worth visiting!
Address: 7250 Santa Paula-Ojai Road, Ojai, CA 93023
Located only 4 miles east of town, Dennison Park is a nice option for Ojai camping in the mountains.
It has 10 campsites, but most can’t handle larger RVs.
Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and you can access restrooms and water. Dennison Park costs $22 a night.
Ventura Ranch KOA
Address: 7400 Pine Grove Road, Santa Paula, CA 93060
The Ventura Ranch KOA has space for all kinds of camping vehicles.
And it has almost 200 campsites, teepees, cabins, and Conestoga wagons.
Sites range from tents to partial and full hookups.
Additionally, those looking for a more luxurious experience can get patio sites and safari tents.
OA has all kinds of family activities, with a clubhouse, pool, and an adventure course.
Prices vary from $68 to $110 per night.
Foster Residence Campground
Address: 438 Casitas Vista Road, Ventura, CA 93001
Foster Park has two operating campgrounds, Residence and Red Mountain, located 9 miles south of Ojai.
Residence Campground has 10 full-hookup sites for RVs.
All others in Residence and Red Mountain have no utilities except for toilets.
Prices at this Ojai camping area range from $25 to $46 per night.
Wheeler Gorge Campground
Address: 34.5118, -119.274
This rustic forest service campground has 68 spaces for some RVs and several large tent spots.
It has clean pit toilets but no other services. You won’t get a cell signal either.
Wheeler Creek runs through the campground wish lies in the mountains 9 miles north of Ojai.
It’s a great secluded getaway spot. Nightly rates cost $12.
Is Ojai Camping Worth It?
Ojai camping makes a great escape ringed by mountains and situated in a luxurious green valley.
You can enjoy outdoor adventure or indoor luxuries in the area.
With so many choices, Ojai offers an opportunity to sleep surrounded by nature and spend your days pursuing sporting activities or opulent indulgences.
These campgrounds provide different experiences. You can choose whether camping here is worth it for you.