I first heard about Ojai when I was living in San Luis Obispo, hearing rumors of a hippie enclave nestled in the hills near Ventura where celebrities go to escape LA. When travel restrictions had me wanting to explore more of my own backyard, I decided it was time to pay this little town a visit. I mapped my route and excitedly realized that Highway 33 connects Ojai to Carrizo Plains National Monument, an incredible area known for its technicolor superblooms. Here’s my Highway 33 Road Trip Guide!
Day 1 – Morning – LA to Ojai
I started my journey from LA, up to Ojai which is quick and beautiful hour and half journey. I first had to stop at my new favorite coffee shop in Culver City, Sachi.LA. I then took the long way and curved up the coastline of Malibu but you do you!
Day 1 – Mid Afternoon – Exploring Ojai
Ojai is right off of Highway 33 and only 14 miles from Ventura. Its nestled in a valley protected by lush mountains on all sides. Ojai is known for its “pink moment,” the time of day when the valley turns pink at sunset, for its incredible views, and for its vegetarian/vegan restaurants. When I arrived, I went straight to Hip Vegan Cafe for a cacao date smoothie on the patio. I then walked around the shops in the main strip area and made my way over to Ojai Tortilla House for a taco (cash only, bring a $20! You might want to take some tortillas home with you!).
Hop back in your car and drive up the road to Summer Camp, a clothing + home wear store with major Wes Anderson vibes. The store is cute and can be and carries local goods, as well as, some vintage items. Everything is curated to perfection!
Make your way to Meditation Mount. Meditation Mount is a Tibetan inspired area that invites prayer and reflection while taking in the views of Ojai Valley. It is currently closed for COVID 19, but check their website for updates. On your way out of Ojai, grab some snacks and a bottle of wine and some face masks for later at Rainbow Bridge Natural Foods. Also, make sure you have a full tank of gas because there aren’t many if any stops between Ojai and New Cuyama.
Day 1 – Late Afternoon – Ojai to New Cuyama
This is where Highway 33 gets crazy pretty! The highway curves through the mountains with lots of scenic pull-offs to take in the beauty! You will pass by creeks, mountains, rock formations, all while smelling the fragrant sage brush. Big fan. Don’t forget a road trip playlist. This is when it comes in handy! Highway 33 will meet with Highway 166, keep going!
You’ve arrived in New Cuyama! This town is way out there! With scenic views over Carrizo Plains, and not much of a town to speak of, the Cuyama Buckhorn hotel is your roadside hero! A trendy oasis in one of the most isolated parts of California. This area is known for crazy wildflowers in the spring and for amazing stargazing year round.
Order your dinner from Buckhorn Restaurant and Grill – I suggest their burger! Right now, because of COVID19, dinner can be ordered ahead and delivered to your room with breakfast for the following morning. Enjoy the campfire at night with your complimentary s’mores kit and make sure to look up at the stars!
Day 2 – New Cuyama to San Luis Obispo
Start the morning off with complimentary Verve coffee and enjoy your breakfast that was delivered to your room the night before. If you visit in the spring, make sure to go explore Carrizo Plains! Head towards Santa Maria to the final leg of your trip, San Luis Obispo!
For an itinerary for what to do in San Luis Obispo, check out this 48 hour guide to San Luis Obispo I wrote for the Bon Traveler blog.
Some aspects of my trip may have been gifted or complimentary, but all opinions are my own.