Located just one hour north of Los Angeles, nestled into the hills just east of the Pacific Ocean sits Camarillo, a fantastic destination to experience the easygoing Southern California lifestyle — without the chaos of a larger, urban crowd. This quaint Ventura County city is steeped in small-town charm and mixed with a rich agricultural history (but also hosts a collection of bold activities for those who are feeling adventurous).
Visitors can expect almost year-round sunshine with plenty of thrilling excursions to encounter. There’s seemingly something to do for everyone in this historic Southern California destination; from soaking in some sun rays at a nearby beach, and shopping at the Camarillo Premium Outlets (one of the largest outlet malls in the state), to visiting its dozens of family-friendly attractions, museums and outdoor activities – and more.
Its proximity to the sea and its walkable, historic downtown area serves as an appealing advantage for many visitors and families who want to explore the region without running into traffic.
Metrolink connected with Yuliana Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Camarillo Hotel & Tourism Association, for more insider insight into what makes Camarillo a standout destination in SoCal when planning a rail trip.
Deep Rooted Sense of Community (No Pun Intended)
Camarillo was formally incorporated as a city in 1964 and since then has steadily grown and developed into an established community. In 1875, Juan Camarillo Sr. became the owner of Rancho Calleguas – one of the last Mexican land grants in the State of California. Roughly 10,000 acres was inherited by his oldest son Adolfo Camarillo in 1880 after Juan Camarillo Senior’s death.
Adolfo Camarillo was very active in his community and helped pioneer Camarillo’s agricultural progress – including Ventura County’s history with lima beans. For this reason, the city is named after him.
Today, this agricultural legacy continues as Camarillo’s rich soil, ample water supply, and favorable climate give the region a year-round growing season for multiple crops and harvests– including strawberries, celery, cabbage, citrus, berries, and more.
It’s also important to note that since Adolfo Camarillo gave permission for the Southern Pacific Railroad to lay its tracks on the western edge of Rancho Calleguas, which paved the way for the state’s current rail services, the opportunity to explore the region via Metrolink would not exist.
Today, visitors can still experience the historic Camarillo Ranch House, which was the original home of the Camarillo family. It currently serves as a museum with rotating exhibits to offer insight into the city’s rich heritage.
What to See and Do
“One detail I would like to emphasize is the abundance of outdoor activities in and around Camarillo,” said Gonzalez. “The Pacific Ocean is a 15-minute drive from Camarillo and there are plenty of hiking and biking trails to enjoy.”
Those who prefer a shopping outing or a dining excursion over a museum visit can spend time exploring Camarillo’s quaint Old Town, a downtown district located within walking distance to the train station — making for an enjoyable, easy and affordable weekend getaway, accessible via Metrolink.
“My personal favorite part of Camarillo is the small town feel that you can experience paired with big city adventures,” said Gonzalez. “You can go from a relaxing evening in Camarillo Old Town to Flying high with Skyrider Ultralights all in the same day.”
A few other standout destinations to add to any Camarillo bucket list include Camarillo Grove Park, Hill Canyon Trail, Camarillo Old Town, and the Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Museum.
While in town, be sure to inquire into the collection of fun local events that Camarillo hosts each year. There’s the Wings Over Camarillo spring airshow, A Taste of Camarillo, the annual summer wine, brew, and food festival and the Camarillo Fiesta which is a fall-timed, eclectic community street fair – just to name a few highlights! These events offer an enthusiastic sense of the city’s community, while welcoming visitors from all over the Central Coast and Southern California regions.
Small Town Charm, Big City Energy
Gonzalez said her favorite part of living in Camarillo is the city’s long-lasting connection to the importance of growing food and the appreciation of its local farmers.
“Having the opportunity to learn about local agriculture and taste the food grown in our backyard is amazing,” she said. “We have a great community of neighbors in Camarillo. Our community has a lot of small-town charm, and our residents are the type to wave and smile as you pass them in the street. That sense of community can also be felt with our local businesses who welcome all with fantastic service and hospitality.”
Visitors can plan a trip to Camarillo year-round to explore the plethora of activities this destination has to offer. Travelers of every age and background can experience an adventure that fits every interest — from historical landmarks, to delicious dining options, to exceptional shopping choices, and beyond.