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Top 10 Staycation Ideas in Camarillo

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Lots of great ideas in and around Camarillo. Camarillo is a quaint family friendly place to kick back and relax for the summer. It’s got shopping, entertainment venues, museums, fantastic parks , good restaurants and access to Los Angeles via the Metrolink.

1. Camarillo Premium Outlets: For the shopaholic, this is the place to be with more than 160 outlet stores, including: Banana Republic Factory Store, Barneys New York, Coach, Cole Haan, Giorgio Armani, J.Crew, Kenneth Cole, Lucky Brand, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch and more. When you need pick-me-up from all that walking and shopping, there’s also the food court, Johnny Rockets, and Panera Bread .

2. Movie theaters: When you’re done with all that shopping, cool off with a summer blockbuster. There are plenty on the playbill this summer. The Edwards Camarillo Palace Stadium 12 and IMAX theater on Ventura Boulevard adjacent to the outlet mall, in addition to the regular summer movie fare, is part of the Regal Theaters’ Summer Movie Express, which provides $1 movies on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. during the summer. These movies are geared toward children and families, so don’t expect anything rated higher than PG during these showings. The Roxy Stadium 11 on the other side of town on Verdugo Way offers Discount Tuesday, when most current movies are only $5. The Paseo Camarillo Theater, on North Lantana Street, is the area’s only art-house theater and frequently offers screenings of foreign films, documentaries and other movies not in wide release.

3. Camarillo Fiesta: This three-day event in July offers a 5K run, Car show, carnival rides, arts & crafts vendors, live entertainment on a variety of stages and more. This is a must-attend event and tons of fun for the entire family.

4. Sky High Sports: If your action requires a little more air, this trampoline center will get you jumping in every way. There are several courts with wall to wall trampolines and a foam pit to jump into, but watch out for the Pit Monster. The facility offers organized activities like trampoline dodge ball , AIRobics fitness classes and private courts for large groups and parties as well as open jump times for the general public. There’s a special kid zone for little jumpers, ages 8 and younger, that includes a foam pit, trampoline courts and bounce houses. For parents who like to keep their feet on the floor, there’s a lounge with plasma TVs and free WiFi. Prices range from $8 to $11 per hour, depending on current specials. Check out the Sky High Sports website for additional information.

5. Camarillo Library: If you need to calm it down a little after all that high-energy action, check out the Camarillo Library. The architecture is beautiful, there’s a café, the Friends of the Library bookstore, a beautiful courtyard and fountain, and that’s before you ever walk in the doors. Once inside, there are tons of little corners tucked away for quiet reading time, Wifi access, plenty of tables, lots of available computers, quiet space for adults upstairs, and the best feature of all – the children’s area with its massive pirate ship in the children’s reading area. The children’s collection staff also is very knowledgeable and helpful with recommending titles for your kids’ reading pleasure. This library also offers a ton of activities for both parents and children from teen movie and game nights, to storytimes, movies, writers’ clubs and book clubs. It’s a great place to come in out of the heat and transport yourself anywhere in the world through literature.

6. Camarillo Parks: Camarillo has a variety of beautiful parks for children of all ages. Most have newer playground equipment and picnic areas. Check the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Parks District website for locations, reservations and other amenities. Some parks have restrooms and some don’t. Here are a few of our favorites. In addition, Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District offers a variety of summer events, including The Aquatic Center, Movies in the Park, Community Band Concerts in the Park, Skate Park events and the always fun End of Summer Campout.

Valle Lindo Park, which is a smaller park, has shelters, restrooms, barbecue grills, tennis courts, soccer fields, small amphitheater and a nice playground as well as mature shade trees and at least one that’s good for climbing. A nice breeze comes through the park, even on the hottest days. So, grab a blanket, picnic basket, a good book (see No. 5 above), your dog (on-leash) and sit back and enjoy the afternoon.

Two newly updated playgrounds can be found at Community Center Park on Burnley Street and Bob Kildee Community Park on Temple Avenue. Community Center Park is home to the district’s offices and Camarillo Community Center, too. There are restrooms, horseshoe pits, barbecue grills, picnic tables and a covered picnic shelter. Bob Kildee Community Park reopened in the spring with new restrooms and playground equipment. This park is also home to the Pleasant Valley Skate Park, which averages several hundred skaters per day, and the Pleasant Valley Aquatic Center, home to the Pleasant Valley Swim team, a 65-foot water slide and an outdoor splash zone. There are also baseball fields, horseshoe pits, soccer fields and barbecue grills and shelters.

If you’re looking for a little more than the average park, head out to Mission Oaks Park, one of the larger parks in Camarillo. There’s a playground, lighted tennis courts, restroom facilities, baseball fields and shelters that can accommodate up to 210 people. The best part of the park is it’s access to F Canyon. Walk down behind the tennis courts along Mission Oaks Drive and you’ll find beautiful walking trails. There are at least three loops there that are full of beautiful trees and nice trails. You could easily spend the entire day here, picnicking, hiking and playing.

Camarillo Grove Park is another park that’s off the beaten path. Located at the foot of the Conejo Grade, this park offers a playground, five picnic shelters that can be rented for groups ranging from 50 to 350 people, horseshoe pits, barbecue grills, restrooms and a nice hiking trail with signage identifying the plants on the trail. Monday through Friday dogs are allowed off-leash in the park; on Saturday and Sunday dogs are allowed off-leash only in the designated dog park area.

7. Camarillo Ranch House: If historic sights are more your style, visit the Camarillo Ranch House. Formerly the original Rancho Calleguas, the ranch was one of the last of the Mexican Land Grants. The Juan Camarillo family purchased the Rancho in 1875, and his son, Adolfo Camarillo, took over the ranch at age 16. The three-story, 14-room Historic Queen Anne Home built in 1892 is fully restored and open for tours, as are the ranch grounds that support beautiful gardens and native plant species. There’s also a barn, tack room and stable. Well-informed, engaging docents will intrigue you and your family with toys, stories and a lot of history. Check the website for tour days and hours.

8. Commemorative Air Force World War II Aviation Museum: Based at Camarillo Airport in Camarillo, the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force has two hangars with restored World War II aircraft on display and undergoing maintenance. Most of the aircraft housed at the museum are not static displays. These birds frequently fly in a air shows. If you’re out and about on Aug. 20-21 you can watch them fly in the Camarillo Airshow. Also on display in the museum are artifacts, photos, weapons and documents from World War II as well as some Vietnam and Korean War-era exhibits. You can arrange group-guided tours in advance, or visit Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To see CAF volunteers working on the aircraft in the restoration hangar, visit on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Donations of $7 for adults; $4 for students 10-18; and $3 for children 6-9 are suggested.

9. Old Town Camarillo: If you like to mix your history with a little food and shopping, Old Town Camarillo is a strip along Ventura Boulevard that runs parallel to Highway 101 that offers a quaint, revitalized shopping area with sidewalk cafes and specialty retail stores. Stroll down the street and take in the shops, stop by a coffeehouse and watch the world stroll by. If architecture piques your interest, stroll down the street to St. Mary Magdalen Church, which was built in 1914 and features beautiful stained glass, and a Spanish fountain, palms and beautiful mountain views from the courtyard. There’s also the Evangelical Free Church in the 2300 block. That building was built in 1891 and incorporates gorgeous Spanish details. If walking has you parched, stop by Rocketfizz, Soda Pop and Candy Shop just across the street from St. Mary’s. This unique pop shop will have you swimming in nostalgia with its retro candies and soda pop flavors. Old Town also is home to Studio Channel Islands Art Center, which provides more than 20 studios and first-class art exhibitions of local and national artists in its Old Town gallery location, 2221 Ventura Boulevard. There’s also the Farmer’s markets on Saturday mornings and Camarillo Cruise Nights every fourth Friday of the month through Sept. 25, featuring live music and classic cars.

10. Metrolink: If you’re looking for a quick getaway and want to see the sights of Los Angeles without the drive, head over to the Metrolink station at the end of Ventura Boulevard at Lewis Road and take it the train to LA’s Union Station, where you can walk across the street to historic Olvera Street with its market and 27 historic buildings, including Avila Adobe, Pelanconi House and Sepulveda House. Also nearby the station are Chinatown; Little Tokyo with the Japanese American National Museum; and the Civic Center, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. If it’s Hollywood you’re after, take the subway from Union Station to Hollywood and Highland, where you’ll find the Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Kodak Theatre among other sights.

June 10, 2014

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