Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

Isla Vista, the little corner of the world that we as UCSB students call home, has its charms and is a wonderful place to be. However, living in a small college town can get claustrophobic really fast. Isla Vista is part of the beautiful American Riviera: Santa Barbara. With this comes the chance to visit so many small towns nearby that can provide a much-needed getaway or just a quick change of scenery.

The next time you find yourself in need of a fun Sunday plan or spring break getaway, ditch the dayger, put your key in the ignition, and hop on the 150 freeway towards Ojai! Ojai is a quaint and picturesque town situated in the Topatopa Mountains 40 minutes east of Santa Barbara. This small town is filled with art, culture, and lots of charisma (as well as many vegan restaurant options!) 

Here is how to spend a full day in Ojai, California:

Start your day off with coffee at Java & Joe

Like most students, I run on caffeine. The weekend is no exception to my daily dosage of caffeine intake, and when going to Ojai, stopping at Java & Joe Specialty Coffee, Tea & Gifts is a must! Java & Joe is my favorite coffee shop in Ojai for a multitude of reasons, specifically for the charming, intimate atmosphere.

Being in Java & Joe feels like being inside a coffee shop you would see in a movie or read about in a book. It is a warm and inviting shop with amazing coffee and cute merchandise (take a look at their vast array of cards for every occasion!). There are so many flavor combinations and alternative milk options, and in my opinion, there is something for every type of taste bud. I recommend trying their Pistachio Rose Latte, my personal favorite. 

Visit the local shops

After grabbing a coffee, head downtown and explore all the shops and boutiques. Whether you are looking to purchase or not, getting acquainted with the local shops and looking at handmade and unique items such as clothing, gifts, jewelry, candles, and artwork can be a fun way to explore the city on foot and surround yourself in the charms of this small town. It is so fun to simply just walk around and appreciate the locally crafted items, and enjoy the local atmosphere. 

Go Honey Tasting

While walking around and exploring, step into Heavenly Honey located downtown. If you are a fan of honey or are unsure, take the opportunity to go honey-tasting! Before visiting Ojai, I had heard of wine tasting and olive oil tasting, but never of honey tasting! As an avid consumer of honey, this felt like the perfect place to expand my palate and try the many flavors offered, including sage, wildflower, avocado blossom, and orange blossom honeys, among others. The honey supplied here is all-natural and produced locally by hand. I highly recommend adding honey tasting to the top of your itinerary, and who knows, you might even take a jar or two home with you!   

Eat Lunch at Hip Vegan

When lunchtime strikes and the hunger from time spent exploring settles in, check out Hip Vegan. As a non-vegan, I wasn’t actively searching for a solely-vegan restaurant; but after scrolling through Yelp, this restaurant particularly caught my eye for its amazing reviews and mouth-watering photos. There are so many delicious and inclusive options to eat here that will appeal to anyone with an appetite. Whether you go for a smoothie or a burger, the options are sure to satisfy.  

Attend the weekly Famer’s Market on a Sunday!

If you find yourself in Ojai on a Sunday, visiting the town’s local farmer’s market is a great way to participate in a special event held weekly in Ojai. Ojai Certified Farmers Market features fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally, fresh seafood caught locally, raw chocolate, fresh flowers, beeswax candles, as well as olive and walnut oil, and many other local foods and items as well. Walking around the farmer’s market and picking up some goodies or fresh foods to take home with you can be a perfect way to immerse yourself in the local Ojai community. 

The small valley town of Ojai is an incredible destination to spend the day at, and a great place to visit when you feel like traveling but need to be back home to Isla Vista by sunset, as it is one of the many cities neighboring Santa Barbara. With its unique atmosphere, it’s hard not to love this sweet town after just a day of exploring it.

Hello! I am a third year Communication major here at UCSB. I love trying new food places, going to museums, getting coffee with friends, and traveling. I am so excited to write and share my life, thoughts, and experiences.