CSU Channel Islands University Park in Camarillo

CSU Channel Islands University Park is a 367 acre parcel located adjacent to CSU Channel Islands off of S. Lewis Road in Camarillo. It is a regional educational and recreation area owned and operated by California State University Channel Islands.

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The park is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. Do note that there are no facilities at this park, like restrooms and drinking fountains. You can walk, hike, run, bike, etc. and perhaps come across some wildlife.

Disbanded dairy farm in the distance at CSU Channel Islands University Park

Disbanded dairy farm in the distance at CSU Channel Islands University Park

One item of historical interest at the park is the "Scary Dairy," a dairy farm located on the parcel that closed in the 1960s and was disbanded and subsequently vandalized and graffittied upon over the decades.

"Scary Dairy"

"Scary Dairy"

From Camarillo, take Lewis Road south to Camarillo Street and turn left (east).  Cross the bridge over Calleguas Creek and the entrance is on the left. Parking is $6 per vehicle (as of April 2019). Visit www.csuci.edu/cipark for more information.

Bring cash to pay for parking at entrance.

Bring cash to pay for parking at entrance.

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Ventura County Wine Trail

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Ventura County Wine Trail offers 14 family-owned, award winning wineries right here in Ventura County and adjacent areas! Unique wine tasting tours, five star restaurants, luxury hotels, wine events and attractions, make an amazing wine country destination getaway.

Visit www.venturacountywinetrail.com.

Here are the 14 wineries (updated April 2019) that are part of this trail.

Alma Sol Winery in Thousand Oaks www.almasolwinery.com

Back Patio Cellars in Camarillo www.backpatiocellars.com

Boccali Vineyards and Winery in Ojai www.boccalivineyards.com

Camarillo Custom Crush Winery www.camarillocustomcrush.com

Clos des Amis in Ventura www.closdesamis.com

Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard www.herzogwinecellars.com

Labyrinth Winery and Tasting Room in Ventura www.LabyrinthWinery.com

Magnavino Cellars in Oxnard www.magnavino.com

Malibu Sundowner in Westlake Village www.malibusundownerwines.com

Millesime Cellars in Camarillo www.millesimecellars.com

Panaro Brothers Winery in Ventura www.panarobrotherswinery.com

Rancho Ventano Cellars in Oxnard www.ranchoventavo.com

Strey Cellars in Oxnard www.StreyCellars.com

Sunland Vintage Winery and Tasting Room in Thousand Oaks www.SunlandVintageWinery.com

Butera's Billiards in Moorpark

Butera's Billiards is located at 476 West Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark, offering 10 nicely maintained pool tables, dartboards, trivia (Wed nights) and a nice selection of beers as well as snacks. A popular place for professionals, local dart leagues and the community.

Visit buterasbilliards.com for more information or call 805.523.3088.

Camarillo Grove Park

NOTE: Camarillo Grove Park recently (April 2019) re-opened after being closed due to damage resulting from the Hill Fire in November 2018. The following areas remained closed until work is finalized; small dog park, Nature Center and the trails. Nature Center and small dog park are planned to be re-opened by the end of April. The trails will take a bit more time due to the extensive damage. The play structure has been removed and will be replaced at some point in the future.

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Camarillo Grove Park is located at the bottom of the Conejo Grade at 6968 E. Camarillo Springs Road (Camarillo Springs exit). This is kind of an off the beaten path park that has a variety of interesting activities. There is an off-leash dog park where you can bring your pooch. There is a small playground area for the kids. There are several large outdoor covered group picnic areas that are popular for parties.

Additionally, the park has some fun trails for roughly a mile** or so of hiking and exploring. At the back (east) end of the park you'll see the trail sign. the lower loop is fairly short, with some interesting, large rock formations. The upper loop is more significant and steep and provides for some nice views.

Two miles of new trails with over 20 interpretive signs were added in January 2017.

This park offers multiple options for hiking. The lower loop is an easier gently sloping trail with oak trees, sage, volcanic rock formations, and more.  You can even take dogs off-leash on weekends Saturdays and Sundays before 10 a.m.

The park opens at 7:30 a.m. until dusk. There are parking fees at this particular park to help pay for the upkeep of the park. As of January 2018 these fees are $3 on weekdays, $5 on weekends and $10 for oversized vehicles (RVs, etc.) on weekends. Or buy an annual pass for $55.

Learn more at pleasantvalley-web.civica2.granicuslabs.com/parks/park_list/camarillo_grove_park.asp .

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Dog Parks In and Around Ventura County

Here's a compilation of parks in and around Ventura County as well as adjacent areas that have off-leash opportunities for your pooches. The days and times indicated below are subject to change; links to the local recreation and park districts have been provided below.

Thousand Oaks

Conejo Creek Dog Park at 1350 E. Avenida de las Flores is a 3 1/2 acre dog park with separate sections for large and small (30 lbs or less) dogs. Open daily 7 am to 8:30 pm; closed Thursdays 7-9 am and all day the 3rd Thursday of each month. crpd.org/parkfac/dogpark

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A bit brown at the Conejo Creek Dog Park due to the drought. But there are grassy sections too.

A bit brown at the Conejo Creek Dog Park due to the drought. But there are grassy sections too.

Additionally, Conejo Recreation and Park District opened three smaller off-leash area dog parks in 2015 at Estella Park, 300 Erbes Road, Thousand Oaks, Kimber Park, 3295 Bear Creek Road, Newbury Park and Walnut Grove Park, 400 Windtree Avenue, Thousand Oaks. These areas do not have grass. More details at crpd.org/parkfac/dogpark.

Westlake Village

The 1.2 acre Westlake Village Dog Park opened to the public on July 21, 2018. The park features small and large dog areas, shade shelter with seating, pet wash stations and more. Located at the southwest corner of West Oak Crest Drive and Agoura Road. On street parking available.

Camarillo

The Friends of Camarillo Dog Parks is a volunteer organization that looks out for the needs of pooches and their owners in the Camarillo area. Learn more at www.camarillodogparks.com. They work with the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District to support dog parks in the city, which include:

Mission Oaks Park at 5501 Mission Oaks Boulevard has a designated off-leash area open the following time frames: Monday - Friday: 4pm-Dusk; Saturday - Sunday: Dawn-Dusk. Learn more at www.pvrpd.org/parks/dog/mission_oaks_park.asp.

NOTE: Camarillo Grove Park is closed until further notice as a result of the Hill Fire of November 2018. Updates at THIS LINK.

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Camarillo Grove Park at 6968 E. Camarillo Springs Road has a dedicated dog park that is open daily from 7:30am to dusk. The entire park is also an off leash park Mon-Fri. On Sat/Sun, dogs are allowed off-leash only in the enclosed dog park area and on the trails until 10am. www.pvrpd.org/parks/dog/grove.asp

The Springville Dog Park opened in September 2012 at 801 Via Zamora, Camarillo. Open 7 am to dusk daily; closed Fri mornings until 10:00 am for lawn maintenance.  www.pvrpd.org/parks/dog/springville.asp

Simi Valley

The Simi Dog Park at 2151 Lost Canyons Drive is open daily from 7 am to dusk and is closed for maintenance on Thursdays from 7 am to 10 am. There's a separate area for large and small dogs. To get to the dog park, enter through Big Sky Park. www.rsrpd.org/simi_valley/parks/simi_dog_park.php

Oak Park

The Oak Canyon Dog Park is located towards the top of Oak Canyon Community Park, 5600 Hollytree Drive. Open 7 am to dusk daily; closed 7 am to 10 am Fridays for maintenance. There are areas for large and small dogs. www.rsrpd.org/oak_park/parks/oak_canyon_dog_park.php (NOTE: As of 4/9/19, Oak Canyon Community Park continues to be closed to vehicle access due to fire/flood damage. Dog park is open to walk-in traffic.)

A view from above of the nicely appointed Oak Canyon Dog Park in Oak Park.

A view from above of the nicely appointed Oak Canyon Dog Park in Oak Park.

Ojai

The County of Ventura maintains the Mitchell Edelson Dog Park at Soule Park, 1301 Soule Park Road, Ojai. Open at 7:30 am daily and closes at 5 pm Nov-Feb, 6 pm Mar and Oct, 7:30 pm Apr, May, Sep and 8 pm Jun-Aug. Parking is $2 per vehicle on weekday; $4 on weekends/holidays. There are areas for larger dogs and dogs under 20 lbs. www.ventura.org/gsa/parks/mitchell-edelson-dog-park-at-soule-park

Oxnard

There is a designated dog park at College Park, 3250 South Rose Avenue, Oxnard. It is open 7 am to dusk daily. An additional dog park is at Campus Park at 5th and H Streets. Also open dawn to dusk daily.

Ventura

There is a non-gated off-leash dog park area at Arroyo Verde Park at the corner of Foothill and Day Roads in Ventura. It is available for off-leash use Tuesday through Sunday from 6 am to 9 am. 

There's a fenced in dog park at Camino Real Park at Dean Drive and Varsity Street in Ventura. Open every day from dawn to dusk.

More information at THIS LINK.

Calabasas

The Calabasas "Bark Park" is located at 4232 Las Virgenes Road. Open 5 am to 9 pm daily. www.cityofcalabasas.com/recreation/barkpark.html. Bark Park is now partially re-open after it was closed for months as a result of damages from the Woolsey Fire of Nov 2018.

View of the Calabasas Bark Park from the Bark Park Trail

View of the Calabasas Bark Park from the Bark Park Trail

Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa in Newbury Park

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We are fortunate to have such great trails and views of Boney Peak from in Newbury Park. At Wendy and Potrero is the Western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains where Sycamore Canyon cuts through Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Point Mugu State Park.

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Roughly a mile easy hike from Wendy/Potrero gets you to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center where you can explore some native Chumash items and educational information and chat with rangers. This is a nice little hike to take the kids on. There are restrooms and water at the center, which is open from 9 to 5 on weekends.

Learn more about hiking in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa at THIS LINK.

You can get easier access to the center by parking in the adjacent National Park Service parking lot via Lynn Road to the access road at Via Goleta in Newbury Park.

Another mile and a half of hiking gets you to a small waterfall, which is fun to check out with the kids but somewhat more strenuous of a hike. Note that in recent years (2012-2015), the waterfall has barely flowed due to low rainfall.

Here is more information about the Boney Mountain Trail, leading up to Hidden Valley Overlook, the waterfall and Danielson Monument.

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Click here for a pdf file describing these and other local trails or go to the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/samo.  Visit www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/rsvsatwiwa.htm for a map and site information on the National Park Service website.

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Trailhead at the corner of Wendy Drive and Potrero Road in Newbury Park. Park on the dirt on the south side of Potrero or on the street on Wendy.

Bark Park Trail in Calabasas

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The Calabasas "Bark Park" is located at 4232 Las Virgenes Road. To get there from the 101, take Las Virgenes Road south just under a mile. The entrance is on the left (east). If you're going fast, it is easy to miss it. It's a nice, local dog park open 5am to 9pm with a plenty of space for the doggies as well as a separate gated kids' play area and plenty of parking.

Bark Park was closed after the Woolsey Fire of November 2018 but is now (as of April 2019) partially reopened.

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Trailhead to the Bark Park Trail is on the north side of the park.On the north side of the park is the trailhead to the Bark Park Trail, a 1.2 mile climb that links you up with the New Millenium Loop Trail. Round trip you're talking about a 2 1/2 mile hike.

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It is a nicely maintained trail with a steady, uphill climb, which means that the way back is a lot quicker than the way up. I would call it a moderate climb for the most part. A good walk to take the kids on. But it can get a bit hot up here, so bring water and sunscreen on summer days.

Trail sign at the junction of Bark Park Trail and New Millennium Loop Trail.

Trail sign at the junction of Bark Park Trail and New Millennium Loop Trail.

As you can see from the sign, there's a lot more exploring you can do on these nicely maintained trails in Calabasas.

A view of the Bark Park from the trail above.

A view of the Bark Park from the trail above.

A view of the Bark Park from the trail above.More on the Bark Park at www.cityofcalabasas.com/recreation/barkpark.html.

Malibu Creek State Park

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Malibu Creek State Park is accessible in Calabasas, at 1925 Las Virgenes Road, south of Mulholland. The park contains over 8,000 acres of rugged, beautiful hills, trails and scenery. It stretches from Agoura Hills down to Malibu, down to Malibu Lagoon State Beach, covering much of the 25 mile Malibu Creek that flows from Boney Mountain down to the Lagoon. Malibu Creek is the only stream channel that crosses through the Santa Monica Mountain range.

There are three natural preserves in the park, Liberty Canyon, Udell Gorge and Kaslow, which protect Valley Oaks, rare plants and volcanic formations.

Things to do in Malibu Creek State Park include hiking, running, biking, camping, picnicking, fishing and checking out the wildlife. There are over 35 miles of trails and fire roads throughout the park. A fun added bonus is the old M*A*S*H series set, filmed from 1972 to 1983, that resides there.

Dogs are not allowed in Malibu Creek State Park trails.

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Malibu Creek State Park contains roughly three dozen different trails, many easy, and some...extraordinarily challenging, such as the Bulldog trail, taking you to 2,500 foot peaks with panoramic views out to the ocean and surrounding peaks and valleys.

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Parking for the day at Malibu Creek State Park is currently $12, or $3 per hour. You can also park at the corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes and make your way into the park via the Grassland Trail.

The campground at Malibu Creek State Park has 62 campsites and 4 RV sites. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=614 for more information. It has been closed since June 2018 as a result of a fatal shooting. It was still closed as of 4/18/19 but the ranger I spoke to was hopeful that officials would re-open it next month.

The old M*A*S*H site is about 2 1/2 miles from the parking area.

The old M*A*S*H site is about 2 1/2 miles from the parking area.

M*A*S*H site with plenty of picnic tables

M*A*S*H site with plenty of picnic tables

The Visitor Center is only a 10 minute walk from the parking lot and is generally open from noon to 4pm on weekends.

The Visitor Center is only a 10 minute walk from the parking lot and is generally open from noon to 4pm on weekends.

There's also an interesting visitor center about 1/2 mile from the main entrance to the park. It is open on Saturday/Sunday from noon to 4pm, subject to availability of docents. Worth a stop as there are some neat things to see in there, including wildlife and rocks/artifacts and other useful information. You can also purchase drinks in there as well as a small assortment of other items.

Hike to the Rock Pool at Malibu Creek State Park!

Century Lake Hike at Malibu Creek State Park

Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu

NOTE: CHARMLEE WILDERNESS PARK SUSTAINED MAJOR DAMAGE IN THE WOOLSEY FIRE OF NOVEMBER 2018 AND WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. CHECK THEIR WEBSITE FOR UPDATES. WE WILL ALSO STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES.

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Charmlee Wilderness Park is a 532 acre park located at 2577 Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu, just 15 miles from the Conejo Valley. It is located within the Santa Monica Mountains. There are over eight miles of hiking trails, a nature center, picnic areas and more. Park hours are 8 a.m. to sunset and the nature center is open on weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or dark, whichever comes first). Parking is available for $4.

Visit the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority website at mrca.ca.gov/parks/park-listing/charmlee-wilderness-park for more information, trail maps and more or call 310.457.7247.

To get there from the Conejo Valley, take the 23 (Westlake Boulevard/Decker Canyon Road) toward the ocean and turn left on Lechusa Road. Continue on Encinal Canyon Road and look for the sign on the right.

Photos below courtesy of Suzy Demeter Photography.

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Camarillo Premium Outlets

Camarillo Premium Outlets

The Camarillo Premium Outlets at 740 East Ventura Boulevard offers 160 outlet stores, including (as of April 2019) 77 fashion/clothing, 21 footware, 9 kid-related, 4 leather/luggage, 20 accessory/jewelry, 3 housewares/home furnishing, 10 gift/specialty and 16 eateries.

Open 10am-9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-8pm on Sunday.  More information at www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=20 or call 805.445.8520.

On Tuesdays, show your photo ID if you are 50 or older for 50 Plus Shopper Perks...an additional 10% off your purchases at participating stores.

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Get there by taking the 101 to either Carmen (make a left over the freeway and then right on Ventura Blvd.) or Los Posas (left over the freeway and then left on Ventura Blvd.).  If you're on a diet, you might take Los Posas as the Carmen route takes you past a large, alluring In-N-Out Burger.

As you can see on the map below, there are three main sections. The original outlets are on the left side, including the Main Court and across Camarillo Center Drive is the Fashion Court. In 2009 the outlets expanded to the west between the Edwards Movie Theater and Las Posas Road to include The Promenade section.

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The Main Court contains suites 100-744, Fashion Court suites 800-1118 and The Promenade suites 1200-1514. The CP Outlets website has a listing by store type as well as a map.

The outlets are pretty massive. You can park anywhere and walk the entire way, though I prefer to park in the Main Court and cover the Main Court and walk across Camarillo Center Drive to get to the Fashion Court.

You can also walk to The Promenade, where you’ll find the most eateries, including Johnny Rockets, Los Arroyos, Panera Bread and Pink’s Hot Dogs…not to mention, in the parking lot (and not listed in the mall’s directory) , PizzaRev, Smashburger, Chipotle, Pick Up Stix and Yogurtland. Also, there’s a Cracker Barrel restaurant planned further west in The Promenade parking lot by Thanksgiving of 2019.

A small kids’ playground area has been added in 2019 to The Promenade section near Wetzel’s Pretzels/Lids/Sunglass Hut.

Not a great pic but gives you a feel for the kids’ playground area at The Promenade (new in 2019)

Not a great pic but gives you a feel for the kids’ playground area at The Promenade (new in 2019)

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Join the VIP Club to receive special discount offers and coupons at www.premiumoutlets.com/vip/

The two videos below provide a quick drive-through around the Main/Fashion Courts and the newer The Promenade.

Sapwi Bike Park in Thousand Oaks

Beginners’ pump track at Sapwi Trails Community Park.

Beginners’ pump track at Sapwi Trails Community Park.

The Sapwi Bike Park project is a partnership between the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) and Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD). The park is a free, public recreational bicycle skills park facility located in the heart of beautiful Sapwi Trails Community Park in Thousand Oaks.

The park also features several miles of multi-use trails, natural habitat preservation, and other activities such as disc golf, cross-country running, and a non-motorized glider flying area.

The Sapwi Trails Bike Park offers a wide range of trails and features to challenge all ages and skill levels. In addition to a pump track, the park features progressive drop and jump lines – varying in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Outside of the dedicated bike park area, there are several trail side feature areas and a hard-surface beginner level pump track.

This 145 acre Sapwi Trails Community Park is located in the open space between Erbes Road (at Scenicpark Street) on the west and Westlake Boulevard east, with Avenida de los Arboles on the north. There are three parking lots off of Erbes, Arboles and Westlake Boulevard.

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Western Plateau Trail Loop Hike From Newbury Park

If you're looking for a trail a bit off the beaten path, check out the Western Plateau Loop from Conejo Center Drive in Newbury Park.

The trailhead for this hike is adjacent to the City of Thousand Oaks Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 2010 Conejo Center Drive, Newbury Park. You can park in the dirt lot next to the trailhead and head on your way.

The trailhead on Conejo Center Drive.

The trailhead on Conejo Center Drive.

It is mostly downhill over the first half mile or so of this 5 mile round-trip hike until you get to the Hawk Canyon Trail turnoff.

It is mostly downhill over the first half mile or so of this 5 mile round-trip hike until you get to the Hawk Canyon Trail turnoff.

You can either go straight from here and do a clockwise loop via the Western Plateau Trail or you can turn right on Hawk Canyon, which is a direct route to the Conejo Canyons Bridge.

Hawk Canyon Trail is a fairly narrow, mostly single-track trail.

Hawk Canyon Trail is a fairly narrow, mostly single-track trail.

The Hawk Canyon Trail is a fun, narrow trail surrounding by trees and other vegetation, like you're in the middle of nowhere. There's an old car in a crevice as you approach the Conejo Canyons towards Santa Rosa Valley.

Odd to see this old car out in the middle of nowhere. steep embankment makes it somewhat challenging reaching it.

Odd to see this old car out in the middle of nowhere. steep embankment makes it somewhat challenging reaching it.

Bring a snack and sit at a picnic table in the middle of what feels to be nowhere. Then either head back the way you came or find your way to the Western Plateau Trail and loop back counter-clockwise back towards where you parked.

See the Conejo Open Space Foundation's map of this trail at www.cosf.org/website/html/western-plateau-hikes.html.

It can get a bit overgrown in the spring as seen here on the Hawk Canyon Trail but quite beautiful nonetheless!

It can get a bit overgrown in the spring as seen here on the Hawk Canyon Trail but quite beautiful nonetheless!

ImmotionVR at The Oaks Shopping Mall in Thousand Oaks

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We were just passing through The Oaks mall recently when we looked up and saw ImmotionVR on the first floor near Aveda. ImmotionVR offers up virtual reality experiences for $8 per ride (5-8 minutes), $25 for 30 minutes and $40 for 60 minutes.

VR experiences offered include Delta Zero, Jinx Thriller, Legend of Lusca Adventure and more.

Hours are 10am to 9pm Mon to Sat and 11am to 7pm Sun. immotionvr.com