Located along the coast of Southern California, approximately 30 miles west of the Los Angeles city limits, Oxnard is fast becoming a popular destination for people who enjoy California beach vacations.
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A Brief History of Oxnard
Inhabited first by the Chumash Indians, the region was later claimed for Spain by the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. During the mission period, the Spaniards established here the Mission of San Buenaventura. Around the 1850s the area was settled by American farmers, who began cultivating barley and beets.
Shortly after the 1896 beet campaign, Henry Oxnard, who operated a successful sugar beet factory with his three brothers in Chino, California, decided to build a two-million dollar factory here, creating this way the conditions for a new town to emerge.
Ironically the Oxnard brothers never lived in their namesake city, and they sold both the Chino and the giant red-brick Oxnard factory with its landmark twin smokestacks in 1899 for nearly four-million dollars. The town was incorporated as a California city on June 30,1903.
The small community of Oxnard is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the fabulous resorts on the California coast. But while the city is not famous for its high-end shopping or classy restaurants, the beach front properties in Oxnard are a lot more affordable than that of its more famous neighbors, like Malibu or Santa Barbara.
That’s why, over the past few years, many Los Angeles-based executives in search of second homes and summer rentals on the coast began flocking to Oxnard and its beautiful white beaches.
Today Oxnard is the 7th richest city in America, claiming that about 10% of its population is among the top 5% of the country’s wealthiest citizens. Its more than 20 miles of coastline, with some renowned spots like Hollywood Beach, mandalay State Beach, attract thousand of beach lovers in search of nice, affordable rentals.
Oxnard may not have the glitz of Malibu or the excitement of Santa Barbara, but don’t count it out. You may even come across some celebrities in Oxnard. In fact the city was a celebrity escape for a long time, when names like Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne used to be on the visitors’ list and Sonny and Cher built their beach house here.
Best Things to Do in Oxnard
If you are a wine lover, Oxnard won’t disappoint you. The town’s historic Heritage Square is the perfect place to sample exquisite wines. The beautiful 1902 Victorian building of the Rancho Centavo Cellars is waiting for you.
lso, the Herzog Wine Cellars have the country’s largest collection of kosher wines. You can also enjoy a gourmet meal at the adjoining restaurant –Tierra Sur. This top-rated ZAGAT serves kosher food and uses fresh ingredients from local farmers.
California Strawberry Festival
Oxnard is California’s largest strawberry producer, supplying about one-third of the State’s annual strawberry production. Each year the city hosts the California Strawberry Festival, attended by vendors from all around California. Besides strawberries, the festival features food items based on the fruit. You can taste anything, from strawberry cake, strawberry pizza, strawberry sundaes, and even strawberry champagne.
Beaches are perhaps the biggest attraction in Oxnard. There are lots of fun beach activities that you can do on the wide beaches of Oxnard. From sunbathing, swimming and beach volleyball, to rollerblading, biking and walking.
And if you are a beach lover, resorts like Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort will keep you close to the water 24/7. There are many such hotels with direct access to the beach and excellent amenities.
Visit Channel Islands National Park
Oxnard most renowned attraction is the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary and National Park, close to the mainland yet worlds apart. The islands, which are one of the closest national parks from L.A., are just a short boat ride away from Oxnard.
The park harbors thousands of species of plants and animals. Some of them are unique for this area and you can’t see them anywhere else in the world.
Two of the islands in the park –Anacapa and Santa Barbara– have been designated a national monument. They are a refuge for nesting seabirds, seals, sea lions and other marine animals.
Each island is unique and worth visiting. There are numerous day trips to the Channel Islands from Oxnard. Or, if you feel more adventurous, you may stay there overnight. There are campgrounds on each of the five islands and they are open year round.