Expectant parents looking for one last hurrah before the baby arrives will love Ojai. Just a short 2-hour south drive from LAX, this small Southern California town provides couples with the chance to get away and reconnect over good food, relaxing spa treatments, and a wide choice of activities. Here's how to make the most of your Ojai babymoon.
Once you get off the I-5, the road to Ojai becomes a pleasant winding drive into the Topatopa Mountains until you reach the picturesque downtown of this city of 7,500 residents. An affluent and artistic small town, Ojai offers independent small businesses, a strong local and organic food and restaurant scene, several spiritual retreats, and a good selection of hotels, resorts and spas to cater to varying budgets and tastes. The downtown is walkable, with the arcaded main shopping area hosting a great variety of restaurants, art galleries and independent retailers (no chain stores allowed).
Ojai is blessed with warm weather throughout the year. Ojai's dry, desert climate is invigorating and not too hot for expectant moms (save for the summer months when temperatures can reach over 90 degrees Farenheit). The weather allows for all manner of outdoor babymoon activities, such as golf, tennis, biking, hiking, swimming, and walking.
Biking and books
A walking and biking trail runs parallel to the main street in Ojai, and local inns and resorts offer bikes for hire to tour around the relatively flat and scenic downtown. Be sure to stop and spend some time strolling the well-labelled aisles of Bart's Books, the World's Greatest Outdoor Bookstore, in business for nearly half a century.
Ojai dining options
Enjoy a delicious organic breakfast of apricot scones and breakfast sandwiches on homemade bagels at the family-run Knead Bakery. For lunch, locals love Feast Bistro, featuring local California produce prepared with Asian and American influences (vegan and vegetarian options included).
Dinner options are plentiful and within walking distance of downtown inns. The popular Azu Restaurant and Tapas Bar presents delicious Mediterranean-inspired food from local Southern California suppliers. Sharing a variety of tapas (like delicious stuffed dates) is a great way to enjoy the variety of menu items at this excellent restaurant. Be sure to order the chocolate soufflé for dessert as soon as you sit down; it takes time to prepare and it's to-die-for delicious.
While husbands may wish to partake in the wine tasting at local organic winery Casa Barranca's downtown room, expectant moms can drive the short distance to the Ojai Olive Oil Company estate for a complimentary tour of the 100-year old olive groves, and enjoy some organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings. Owner Alice Asquith is passionate about her family's sustainable and organic olive oil company. You will want to bring home some lovely blue bottles of her excellent olive oil to remember your visit to this special place.
Every babymoon needs some shared spa and relaxation time. The five-star Ojai Valley Inn and Spa offers over 31,000 stunning square feet of spa services for men, women and couples. Spa Ojai is self-contained on the ground of the Ojai Valley Inn. The spa offers a full spa menu (massages, facials, mani/pedis, body treatments), and boasts two pools, whirlpools spas, saunas, a full workout room, and Mind and Body Studio. The on-site Cafe Verde offers light spa cuisine snacks and lunches.
For some special pampering, book the Expectant Mothers Massage. Choose from soothing massage oil scents (citrus was my favorite) or unscented if preferred. The gentle, 50-minute sideline massage focuses on those sore areas like feet, back and neck. Afterwards, couples can meet in the quiet spa lounge and relax while reading magazines, sipping tea or citrus water, and snacking on complimentary dried fruits and nuts.
Where to stay in Ojai
A central accommodation choice is the Su Nido Inn, right in downtown Ojai. Su Nido, meaning ‘your nest' in Spanish is exactly that, cozy and intimate. This Mission Revival inn offers spacious suites for couples. Each suite has a kitchenette, comfortable king beds, large bathrooms with mosaic soaker tubs, and two televisions. The rooms have a small patio in the shared courtyard, perfect for morning coffee or reading the paper. Even though you're staying right downtown, Su Nido's location is quiet and relaxed. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and there are his and her bicycles to borrow to ride into town or wander along the trail system at your leisure. Both the WiFi and parking are free.
For the ultimate in luxurious spa accommodations, the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is the place to be. If you're headed to Ojai for a solo trip or girlfriend getaway, consider staying at the Oaks at Ojai.
Have you ever gone on a babymoon? Where did you choose to go, and what did you enjoy best about the babymoon experience? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from The Curious Travel Mama: Thank you to Visit California and the Ojai Visitors Bureau for hosting my California babymoon research trip. All opinions expressed are honest and my own, as always.
All photos by Claudia Laroye.