Want to De-stress? A Few Places to Chill in Ventura

Meditation Mount, Ojai

Meditation Mount, Ojai

How lucky are we, living in Ventura with one of only 5 Mediterranean climates in the world!

So, how is this related to lowering stress? On any given day the weather is most likely temperate which means we can easily utilize the outdoors as a way to de-stress and not have to anticipate an insanely humid day or ice-cold mornings. In my experience, simply getting out in nature for just a short amount of time can help us calm down in our tech-filled lives and research is backing this up (although, I think we already knew this).

So, if you've ever felt a bit weighed down by who is going to do the dishes, a draining 9-5, or the,  'What am I doing with my life?' question, which is definitely not restricted to age, then a cocktail of sunny skies and fresh air may be be the trick. 

Here's 3 super chill places in our 'backyard' to calm the F*&% down :)


Surfer's Knoll Beach & Bird Sanctuary


Across from Ventura Harbor on Spinnaker Dr., there's a quiet beach and sanctuary. After you park and are on the sand, start walking to your left (toward Oxnard) and keep going, you'll find a beautiful bird sanctuary.

There's hardly anyone there during the week and it tends to be the best medicine when you want to clear your head. Every time I've walked this shore, there's a spectacle of birds. It's amazing to see the flocks changing throughout the seasons and migrating from great distances to this little hidden bird sanctuary. This is a wonderfully quiet place to relax.

Side note:

  • If you decide to take a dip in the ocean (not the sanctuary), watch out for strong rip tides.


Foster Park

Foster Park Entrance

Foster Park Entrance

Park (Fall shot)

Park (Fall shot)

Foster Bowl Amphitheater - Up the Road from Foster Park (Photographer: Casey Shaw) 

Foster Bowl Amphitheater - Up the Road from Foster Park

(Photographer: Casey Shaw) 

Foster Park is nestled at the very end of our 'Avenue' valley, right before you head into Ojai. It feels more rustic and 'woodsy' and is one of the oldest parks in Ventura. The entrance, just before the bridge, boasts these beautiful lion, stone markers. Back in the day, it was a great fishing hole and if you're into nostalgia you can find old photos from the 20's at the research library inside the Ventura Museum.

During the week, there are hardly any crowds and the majority of traffic comes from those biking the Ojai Valley Trail which runs parallel to the park. With the calm hillsides surrounding you, it's a lush environment to restore. 

What is so exciting, is the old Foster Bowl amphitheater that was opened in 1929. Just drive over the bridge, up a mile or so and you'll find it on your left. How amazing would it be to have this old place running again, under the gorgeous oak trees! It's fallen into disrepair and there are hopes to rekindle the 1,000 seat bowl. Kind of reminds me of the song, 'follow me down to the old oak tree...'

Side Note:

  • If you like to bike, you can 'park in the park', then ride all the way to Ojai on the trail or to the beach  
  • Foster Park is at 438 Casitas Vista Rd., Ventura


 Meditation Mount


Just a stone's throw away, Meditation Mount is nestled on a hill, just up above Boccali's Italian restaurant, off of  highway 150 in Ojai. When you're driving there, you may feel lost- just keep truckin' all the way down Reeves Road. You can park at the top of the hill.

Take the small pathway, situated past the few buildings perched on the mount. The path leads down a pretty, tailored garden to a grassy knoll. There are wooden benches sprinkled throughout the grounds and it's an ideal place to bring a book and picnic or just relax and breathe a little easier. Walking down to the very end of the mount you will have one of the most gorgeous views of the Ojai Valley.


Head's up:

  • The grounds are open Wednesday – Sunday from 8:30am to sunset  
  • 10340 Reeves Rd, Ojai
  • The Mount is an 'intentional' meditative space & Yoga and meditation classes are offered throughout the week  not to mention, it's a pretty place to have a wedding 


Want something more to sink your teeth into?        

 A couple interesting articles to peruse about nature and lowering stress-levels:

Berkely Article: How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier & More Creative

National Geographic Article: This is Your Brain on Nature

A quirky, throw-back article on Foster Park: 

Here's a good article about the Foster Park area and the town that used to be there


Do Share! Have any favorite nature spaces in Ventura? Let us all know and comment below.