30+ Best Things to Do in Oxnard with Kids

Oxnard is a picturesque Southern California beach town packed with family-friendly adventures and attractions.
Oxnard is a picturesque Southern California beach town packed with family-friendly adventures and attractions.
3/21/24 - By Kylie Williams

Just 60 miles northwest of Downtown LA, the salty air of Oxnard calls to Southern California families looking for an action-packed day trip or an epic (and easy) kid-friendly vacation. The picturesque beach town is packed with delicious restaurants, impressive museums, music venues, fun-filled parks, water sports, and miles of stunning sun, sand, and waves that are sure to keep your whole crew happy.

Read on for more than 30 family-friendly activities and attractions worth putting on your Oxnard itinerary. From catching a catamaran to an untouched island and taste-testing your way through a top-notch food hall, to spotting sea lions and parasailing above the Pacific, here are our tried-and-true picks.

Beautiful year-round temperatures make it easy to plan a visit to Oxnard.

Family-Friendly Activities in Oxnard, CA

Visit the Channel Islands Maritime Museum

This museum houses an impressive collection of model ships, an immersive whale exhibit, incredible artifacts from shipwrecks off the coast, and so much more. Kids under 18 are always free, adults are $10, and college students, seniors, and active military are $5. The museum is open Thursday through Monday.

Sail the Harbor with the Central Coast Ocean Adventures Foundation

Built in 1967 in Tarpon Springs, Florida, the Mystic Whaler is a 110-foot gaff-rigged schooner. These days, she’s docked in Oxnard, where the CCOAF invites children and families to participate in educational programs that teach STEM through nautical skills.

Go Back in Time at Heritage Square

Head to Heritage Square where docents lead visitors through 14 original farm homes constructed between 1876 and 1912, while sharing interesting facts about the families who lived there. Stop by the gift store for a coffee, or sneak away from the kids to dine and drink in luxury at The 1901, a jazz-age inspired speakeasy.

Go Next-Level Bowling at Bowlero Oxnard

This isn’t your parents’ bowling alley! Bowlero Oxnard is a 32,000-square-foot modern bowling oasis, complete with swanky lounge seating, a state-of-the-art arcade, a sleek sports bar, and plenty of lanes.

Enjoy Water Sports in the Channel Islands Harbor

The Channel Islands Harbor is the fifth largest harbor in all of California–and it’s the perfect spot for kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, sailing, and parasailing with the fam.

After some fun in the sun, attractions like Bowlero are perfect for all ages.

Spot Some Local Sea Life

Plenty of seafaring friends swim through Oxnard waters, so keep your eyes–and ears–out for them. Say hello to the barking sea lions that sprawl out on the dock to catch some sun. And see if you can spot Oxnard's iconic mascot–the biggest seal in the Channel Islands Harbor–Shaquille the Seal! When it comes to catching fish, he's nothing but net.

Set Your Inner Foodie Free at Annex Food Hall

This one’s a real win for families with assorted palates. Oxnard’s new Annex Food Hall has fare from all over the map, including Burrata House, Silverlake Ramen, and Burnin’ Mouth, plus PizzaMan Dan’s and Two Hand Corn Dogs for the kiddos.

Set Out to the Channel Islands with Island Packers

If you’re looking to explore the rugged Channel Islands right off the coast–which boast unforgettable hiking and camping opportunities–Island Packers offer year-round catamaran service. This is best for families with older kids, who are looking for a bit of adventure.

Bounce Around at Jump N’ Jammin

Before you hit another museum or sit down to an oceanside dinner, give your kids a chance to get their wiggles out at Jump N’ Jammin! This enormous, interactive, indoor playground features giant slides, rock climbing, web crawls, foam ball blasters, and a separate play area for toddlers.

Set Your Sights on Whales

During whale watching season, Island Packers and a few other services will take you out on the water in search of Pacific Grey, Humpback, and Blue whales. Oh, and because we’ve been there, make sure to take Dramamine if you get motion sick…

From whales to sea lions, keep an eye out for the local sea life as you explore Oxnard.

Enjoy the Freshest Produce at the Weekly Farmer’s Market

Every Sunday, rain or shine, vendors set up shop at the Marine Emporium Landing Shopping Center to sell fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and more. Oxnard is an agricultural town, so when we say this farmer’s market is fresh, we’re not messing around. Much of the produce was picked only minutes away.

Ride a Bicycle Built for One or Four

Wheel Fun Rentals in the Channel Islands Harbor offers wheeled rides of all shapes and sizes. Choose beach cruisers for solo riders and tandem bikes for pairs, or load the whole family into a colorful and photo-worthy surrey!

Try Your Hand at Axe Throwing

The Mighty Axe offers axe throwing lanes for adults and children 10 and over. Fortunately for families, younger kids are welcome to hang out in the lounge and play table games or try their hand at the pinball machine.

Search for Oxnard’s Famous Shipwreck

Back in 1970, the 467-foot luxury ocean liner La Janelle was downed in a storm. While most of the ship was dismantled shortly after the wreck, the rusty hull is still visible above the breakwater at Silver Strand Beach.

Grab Pizza with an Ocean View

Ask any kid who knows their way around Oxnard what dinner destination they’d recommend, and we’d put our money on them shouting “Toppers!” The Oxnard location is set right on the water, with a perfect view of rogue sea lions, cruising vessels, and casual paddleboarders.

Swim, surf, jetski, or kayak. There’s no better spot for water sports.

Tour the Iconic DW Drums Factory

Did you know the prestigious drum brand, Drum Workshop (DW), has a factory in Oxnard? If you’re in town on a Thursday, book a tour of the manufacturing facility that cranks out drums for famous musicians like Travis Barker, Dave Grohl, Chad Smith, Glen Sobel and Roger Taylor.

Slide and Swing at an Oxnard Park

Parks and playgrounds are plentiful around Oxnard! Peninsula Park features play equipment and stunning views of the Channel Islands Harbor–it’s also home to the popular summer event, Concerts by the Sea. College Park (which is pup-friendly) and South Bank Park are also complete with slides and swings. Harbor View Park doesn’t have a playground, but–true to its name–it does have excellent views of ships moving about the harbor, and plenty of picnic tables for an al-fresco lunch.

Shop 'Til You Drop at The Collection Riverpark

Oxnard’s premier shopping center boasts a movie theater, an impressive array of restaurants, and no shortage of shopping–think REI, Urban Outfitters, ULTA, and H&M, to name a few. It’s a perfect destination for tweens and teens in particular.

Get a Bird’s Eye View on a Parasailing Adventure

Check soaring over the Pacific off your bucket list with a little help from Channel Islands Parasail. While this adventure is reserved for older kids and adults, little ones are likely to get a kick out of watching the gliders from the parking lot.

Stop at a Strawberry Stand

You probably already know that Oxnard strawberries are some of the juiciest, tastiest, and freshest you’ll find near LA. Make sure to grab a flat of the delicious red berries from one of the bright yellow stands open daily all over town–and keep in mind that many only accept cash.

Hitch a ride to a nearby island or simply see the sights on one of many boat tours.

Try to Escape at Red Door Escape Room

The goal might be escaping, but you’ll have so much fun at Red Door Escape Rooms that you may not want to leave. With more than 5 immersive challenges to choose from, this escape room experience will keep your family on their toes as you race against the clock to crack the code and open the door.

Tour Oxnard’s Historic Farm Park

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Oxnard’s oldest landmarks are open for tours–a winery built in 1870 and a brick residence built in 1869. The historic grounds are also home to a number of vintage tractors, plows, orchards, and gardens that will excite curious kids and history buffs.

Cast a Line with Reel Guppy Outdoors

Head to the Real Guppy Learning Center, which invites the Oxnard community to explore hands-on displays of local marine life, participate in educational activities, and learn the basics of fishing at no cost. Scheduled classes also cover topics like knot tying, fishing pole repair, and the ocean ecosystem.

Glide Through the Harbor on the Scarlett Belle

Climb aboard this beautiful, white, paddlewheel riverboat–remarkably reminiscent of Disneyland’s iconic Mark Twain Riverboat. The vessel is available for events, but also books family-friendly public cruises. It’s docked at Marine Emporium Landing.

Treat Yourself to a Delicious Dessert

When it’s time for a sweet treat, there’s no shortage of options around Oxnard. Our favorite dessert destinations include Afters Ice Cream, Xielo Artisan Desserts (Oaxacan Hot Chocolate, please!), and Honeycup Coffeehouse and Creamery (a coffee for mom, and homemade ice cream for the kiddos).

Hit one of Oxnard’s beloved beaches to take in the sunny skies and stunning weather.

Visit the Turtles at Collection Park

See just how many turtles you can spot in the picturesque ponds at Collection Park! And, when you’re done, head to the adjacent Collection Playground for slides, swings, and a wild climbing structure.

Take a Quick Trip to Venice on a Gondola

Blur the lines between California and Italy with a little help from Gondola Paradiso. The whole family can pile in for a beautiful ride through the canals surrounding Coral Island.

Explore Oxnard’s Colorful Art Scene

From private galleries to museums to the streets, art abounds in Oxnard. Visit the Carnegie Art Museum, the Murphy Auto Museum, or the Channel Islands Maritime Museum for engaging exhibitions. Or simply walk or drive around town to take in the many sprawling murals on Oxnard streets–which also make great photo backdrops.

Treat Yourselves to a Suite at Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach

This hidden gem of a hotel was voted the #1 Best New Hotel in the US by the USA Reader’s Choice Awards. Kids can roast s’mores around the fire pits after a day of splashing in the pool, jacuzzi, or ocean. And spacious family suites make your stay feel like a true vacation. Formerly known as the Embassy Suites, Zachari Dunes has been a long-time fam favorite.

Lastly–and Most Obviously–Hit the Beach

Silver Strand is probably the most popular beach in Oxnard, with wide, stunning, sandy shores and a swelling sea. Other popular spots on the coastline include Hollywood Beach, which was a celebrity favorite in its hey-day, and Mandalay Beach.

With children in tow, Kiddie Beach and Hobie Beach are your best bets thanks to gentler waves. Kiddie Beach is also dog-friendly and lifeguard-patrolled during the summer–plus it has showers and bathrooms, which are pretty invaluable with kids in tow. Whichever beach you pick, you’re more than likely to be greeted by sunny skies and beautiful year-round temperatures. The sunsets are pretty spectacular too!

Oxnard is full of lively festivals that celebrate everything from insects to art to lima beans.

Family-Friendly Festivals in Oxnard, CA

If you’re trying to decide when to visit Oxnard, consider planning your trip around one of these awesome family-friendly events or festivals.

Oxnard Insect Festival

The Oxnard Insect Festival is an annual event taking place on the first Saturday in June. Kids and adults can celebrate the insects native to the West Coast at this very unique event.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum Father’s Day Event

If you are looking for a way to celebrate Dad, the Channel Islands Maritime Museum hosts an annual car and wooden boat show known as “Classics by the Sea.” Dad and the kids can learn to tie sailor knots during demonstrations, shop at the museum’s annual sale, or simply admire the cars and boats on display.

Oxnard 4th of July Fireworks & Boat Parade

Oxnard gets patriotic every summer, with an electric boat parade, a family parade, and a fantastic fireworks display reflecting off the sea.

Oxnard Salsa Festival

This festival will add some spice to your weekend plans! This annual event includes inflatables for the kids, plenty of salsa tasting, and salsa performances and dances.

Art Comes Alive

Reminiscent of the Festival of the Arts in Laguna, Oxnard puts on a tableau of art re-creations annually at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum. Guests are invited to dress up for the occasion, and the entire museum goes back in time to the days of seafaring sailors and traditional dress.

Lima Bean Fest

Cross this quirky festival off your bucket list with a visit to Oxnard’s Historic Farm Park, which hosts the lima bean themed celebration every September. Enjoy crafts, tastings, and a counting contest.

Multicultural Festival

The city of Oxnard is proud of its diversity, and this festival puts a wide array of cultures on full display for the weekend.

Oxnard Fall Festival

This festive carnival will get every little ghost and goblin in the Halloween spirit with pumpkins galore, Dia de los Muertos attractions, and a costume contest.

Oxnard’s Christmas Tree Lane

‘F’ Street in Oxnard is the hub of holiday spirit, with scaled-down merry-go -rounds, thousands (maybe millions?) of lights, and dazzling displays. Families can also hop aboard a city trolley to take in the sights. More than 200,000 people flock to this “Candy Cane Lane” annually.

Oxnard Tamale Festival

Year after year, an entire festival dedicated to tamales comes to Oxnard on the first Saturday of December. This celebration also kicks off the holiday season in Oxnard, and occurs in conjunction with the Annual Christmas Parade.

More Family-Friendly Events

Other popular annual events include Celebration of the Whales, the Summer Concert Series (Rock The Collection, Downtown Summer Concerts, and Concerts by the Sea), Dia de los Muertos, Fiestas Patrias, VC Farm Day, Parade of Frights, Parade of Lights, Santa to the Sea Half Marathon, and Port Hueneme Banana Festival.

Browse additional restaurants, attractions, events, accommodations, and more on VisitOxnard.com–a must-have resource for planning your memorable trip to Oxnard.

All photos courtesy of Visit Oxnard

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