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Oxnard, California; Gateway to the Channel Islands

Oxnard is a stunning coastal vacation destination in sunny Southern California. Oxnard is a great city to visit, whether you are looking to relax on the beach or take part in outdoor activities like boating or biking. Oxnard has something for everyone to enjoy.
Brandon Speakman on January 20, 2021 - 12:43 pm in City Spotlight, Historical

Things to do in Oxnard, California

Oxnard is a beautiful city, right on the California coast in Ventura County. Oxnard is filled with intriguing history, stunning views, and tasty restaurants. Oxnard is sure to keep you entertained throughout your stay.

The Chumash Native Americas lived in the area we know today as Oxnard, before the Europeans moved to the area. The first European to investigate the area was explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho. Cabrilho claimed the area for Spain in 1542. Mission San Buenaventura, which was created in 1782, used the area for raising cattle. Henry T. Oxnard was operating a sugar beet factory with his three brothers (Benjamin, James, and Robert) in Chino, California, when he decided to build another sugar beet factory inland from Port Hueneme. The new factory cost $2 million to build, but helped the area gradually become a town. Henry T. Oxnard wanted to name the town “zachari” (the Greek word for sugar), but became annoyed with bureaucracy and ended up naming the town after himself.


Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

A railroad station was built in Oxnard in the spring of 1898, as the townspeople were confident that Oxnard would flourish as a town, once the sugar beet factory was finished. The railroad station attracted Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican laborers who were looking for work. The Oxnard Brothers ended up selling the “giant red-brick Oxnard factory in 1899 for nearly $4 million.” The Oxnard factory operated from August 19, 1899 until October 26, 1959 (although factory operations were delayed during the Oxnard Strike of 1903.)

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Oxnard in the 1900s Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Photo Collection/Wikipedia


Oxnard, 1908 The public library is seen at the right Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Photo Collection/Wikipedia

Oxnard was incorporated as a city in California on June 30, 1903. The city of Oxnard flourished during the mid-20th century and the areas outside of downtown began to see major growth with homes, industry, retail, and a new harbor, which was named Channel Islands Harbor. Martin V. (“Bud”) Smith (1916-2001) was an “influential developer” in Oxnard. Smith constructed the Colonial House Restaurant in 1941 (which was demolished in 1988) and the Wagon Wheel Junction in 1947 (which was demolished in 2011.) Smith also assisted in the “development of the high-rise towers at the Topa Financial Plaza, the Channel Islands Harbor, Casa Sirena Resort, the Esplanade Shopping Mall, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Carriage Square Shopping Center, the Maritime Museum, and many hotel, restaurant and retail projects.” Today, Oxnard is a picturesque city to explore and enjoy a pleasant vacation at.


Photo Courtesy Pixabay

Channel Islands Harbor

Channel Islands Harbor is located at the “southern end of the Santa Barbara Channel” in Oxnard. Channel Islands Harbor is a waterfront resort, recreation, and dining marketplace all rolled into one.


Channel Islands Harbor Photo Courtesy Piqsels

Channel Islands Harbor is the perfect place to take part in various water activities including diving, boat charters, sea kayaking, sport fishing, and whale watching. You can even take a water taxi to get from dock to dock in the harbor. Channel Islands Harbor is a fun area to explore and is Trip Advisor’s #1 recommended attraction to visit in Oxnard.


Channel Islands Harbor Photo Courtesy Fettlemap/Wikimedia Commons


Channel Islands Photo Courtesy Pixabay

Oxnard State Beach and Park

Oxnard Beach Park is a public beach located along the California Coastal Trail and the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route. Oxnard State Beach and Park is full of gorgeous scenery including palm tree lined pathways and a bike/walking path “connecting the communities of Oxnard Shores and Channel Islands Beach.”


Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Visitors can also use a bike/walking path to get to Channel Islands Harbor from Oxnard State Beach. Oxnard State Beach and Park is a beautiful area for walking along the beach, swimming in the ocean, or just relaxing. Oxnard State Beach and Park is Trip Advisor’s #2 recommended attraction to visit in Oxnard. You may also want to check out Mandalay State Beach, located 2.5 miles north of Oxnard State Beach and the Channel Islands. Mandalay State Beach is Trip Advisor’s #4 recommended attraction to visit in Oxnard.

Mullin Automotive Museum

The Mullin Automotive Museum was established in 2010 and is a must-visit for all admirers of fancy automobiles. The Mullin Automotive Museum proudly showcases the personal car collection of Peter W. Mullin, a businessman and philanthropist. Most of the cars at the Mullin Automotive Museum are fully restored and operational. At the Mullin Automotive Museum, you will find a selection of classic French automobiles and grand prix racecars, along with “a collection of Art-Deco furniture and contemporary paintings and sculpture.” The Mullin Automotive Museum is Trip Advisor’s #3 recommended attraction to visit in Oxnard.


Hispano-Suiza type H6 C Photo Courtesy Thesupermat/Wikimedia Commons

Wheel Fun Rentals at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Bay Resort

Wheel Fun Rentals at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Bay Resort is conveniently located right next to Oxnard State Beach Park. Wheel Fun Rentals is known as the “premiere bike and beach rental destination in Oxnard, [featuring] a large selection of specialty cycles, cruiser bikes, and beach rentals, perfect for exploring the area.”


Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman

Renting bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals is a terrific way to explore the beautiful city of Oxnard. Wheel Fun Rentals also offers a self-guided bike tour of Oxnard’s Channel Islands, which lasts 3-4 hours and starts at $26 for the tour, as well as the Channel Islands Harbor E-Bike Tour, which lasts 2-3 hours and starts at $49. Wheel Fun Rentals is a great way to get out, have fun, enjoy the fresh air, and get some exercise.

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Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman


Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman

Anaba Sushi

Anaba Sushi in Oxnard is a tasty restaurant that has been offering high quality sushi at affordable prices since 2008. The menu at Anaba Sushi consists of Appetizers, Special Rolls, Regular Cut Rolls, Sushi, Sashimi, Salads, and Vegetarian options. The combinations at Anaba Sushi are endless. You can order just about anything your sushi-loving mind desires. Anaba Sushi proudly serves Tuna, Salmon, Grilled Eel, Sea Urchin, White Fish (Fresh Halibut or Red Snapper), as well as Beef Teriyaki, Chicken Teriyaki, Octopus, Salmon Belly, and much more. Anaba Sushi is a great joint to enjoy some fresh, tasty sushi at. Dining at Anaba Sushi is an experience itself, as the restaurant offers waterfront dining. Anaba Sushi is Trip Advisor’s #1 recommended restaurant to dine at in Oxnard.

Fisherman’s Catch

Fisherman’s Catch is a seafood restaurant in Oxnard that “has been owned and operated by an Italian fishing family (The Guglielmo family) that dates back three generations.” The Guglielmo’s opened Fisherman’s Catch so they could “bring fresh, affordable fish to the public.” Fisherman’s Catch is not only a full service seafood restaurant; the restaurant also operates as a fish market. Fisherman’s Catch also offers “Fresh Fish Delivery.”


Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman

The menu at Fisherman’s Catch has just about everything to satisfy your seafood craving including, Coconut Shrimp, Fried Calamari, Lobster Roll, New England Clam Chowder, Grilled Tacos (Mahi Mahi, Shrimp, Salmon, or Calamari), Fried Seafood, Fish & Chips, Fried Fish Sandwiches, and Maine Lobster. You can also choose from a selection of Grilled Fish including Red Snapper, Catfish, Tilapia, Swai, Salmon, Orange Roughy, Shrimp, Scallops, Mahi Mahi, Swordfish, and Halibut. Fisherman’s Catch is open from 11:15 am-6:30 pm Sunday-Thursday. Fisherman’s Catch stays open until 7:15 pm on Friday and Saturday. Fisherman’s Catch is a delicious seafood restaurant to dine at in Oxnard, perfect for all seafood connoisseurs.


Lobster To-Go Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman

Sea Fresh Grill

Sea Fresh Grill is a tasty restaurant located next to Channel Islands Harbor that serves up fresh seafood daily that has been caught in the Pacific Ocean, including Crab Cakes, Hot & Spicy Shrimp, Steamed Clams, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Halibut & Chips, Fresh Salmon, Swordfish, Sea bass, tacos and sandwiches (Ahi, Fish, Halibut, Sea bass, Shrimp), Oysters, and Sushi. Sea Fresh Grill is guaranteed to make your mouth water, with the different fish combinations they offer. Sea Fresh Grill is a great place to have brunch, lunch, or dinner at in Oxnard.


Fresh Salmon Dinner with Clam Chowder Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman


Mac Halibut Special Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman


Wasabi Ahi Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman


Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman

El Taco De Mexico

El Taco De Mexico is a scrumptious restaurant that serves up authentic home-cooked Mexican food. El Taco De Mexico serves up some of the tastiest Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Tostadas, Tortas, Nachos, Enchiladas, Taquitos, and combination plates, at extremely reasonable prices. El Taco De Mexico is the perfect restaurant for Mexican food lovers looking for a quick and tasty meal.

Oxnard is guaranteed to be one of your most memorable family vacation destinations. For more information on Oxnard, check out the official visitor’s guide.


Mandalay Shores Beach Photo Courtesy Brandon Speakman


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