Posted on February 10, 2023 by Carrie Collins
Everyone looks forward to spring break, a time to stop thinking about school or work and focus on having lots of fun!
If you’ve never been to Conejo Valley in Southern California, you’re missing some of the most beautiful areas of The Golden State, along with an amazing number of family-friendly activities. Located 45 minutes from Los Angeles and 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, the region offers plenty of fun and adventure without the crowds. From horseback riding to museums and movie/TV filming locations – and everything in between – there are numerous activities to fill up a spring break week.
We’ve created an ideal five-day itinerary for your family to follow, but feel free to substitute with other adventurous activities, too. You’ll be able to plan one of the most memorable spring breaks ever!
There’s simply so much to do in the beautiful city of Thousand Oaks, a city nestled up against the Santa Monica Mountains. Located between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks is the type of place you could visit time and time again.
Many of the hotels in Thousand Oaks have wonderful breakfast options, which will definitely help you save time. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the delicious cheddar biscuits filled with bacon, country sausage or whatever you’d like at Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, or check out the variety of coffee drinks and toasts like you’ve never had before at Five07 Coffee Bar & Eatery.
After a scrumptious breakfast, a nice, relaxing walk is in order. The Gardens of the World features a tranquil Japanese garden, a French garden with a cascading waterfall, a romantic Italian garden and more. When lunchtime rolls around, be sure to take advantage of the “Dirty Dog”, a bacon-wrapped Nathan’s hot dog in a bun, topped with potato chips, blue cheese dressing, buffalo sauce and slaw at Lazy Dog Restaurant.
Prepare for some action-packed fun for the whole family at Sky Zone (formerly Defy), an entertainment park with plenty of exciting activities that involve trampolines and jumping, as well as games such as ultimate dodgeball, warrior courses and more.
After relaxing (or napping) at your hotel, head over to Mastro’s a classic steak, sumptuous fish and creative cocktails. Finish off the night with some delicious ice cream at Little Calf Creamery & Cafe – perhaps a scoop of lavender blueberry or vanilla berry crisp. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep, because Day 2 in Thousand Oaks will be a fantastic adventure.
Start another day in Thousand Oaks with a bagel or a breakfast burrito, along with a cup of Columbian coffee or a traditional espresso at Conejo Coffee. They also have fresh squeezed orange juice or hot chocolate for the littles. Then, get your hiking shoes on and try the Autumn Ridge Trail, a 90-minute course that is popular for birding, hiking and mountain bike enthusiasts.
After all that walking, you’ll be hungry, so check out Reynalda Cucina Y Amor while viewing some amazing artwork. The 33-acre Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, encircled by the city of Thousand Oaks, should be your next stop as you visit the specialty gardens, bird habitat and hiking trail. You can also learn the fascinating history, culture and influence of the Chumash people at the Chumash Indian Museum.
For dinner, partake in authentic Brazilian cuisine at Moqueca and experience the traditional style of cooking seafood in clay pots. The restaurant also features several scrumptious desserts. Since the night is still young, see one of the showstopping acts in town. During the month of March, you can catch a show at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center. The venue boasts many kid-friendly shows.
To the west is Newbury Park, a neighborhood of Thousand Oaks. For breakfast, stop in at The Waffle Experience, a perfect eatery for the whole family. You’ll see waffle dishes on the menu that you never imagined, such as fresh feta herb and cinnamon nutmeg liege waffles. If a cup of joe is all you desire, a visit to Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters is a must. Using only the highest-quality beans, Ragamuffin offers a wide variety of coffees to get your morning going.
Then it’s time to pack up your gear for an easy route at Satwiwa Loop Trail, a 3.6-mile loop with beautiful views that can be covered in less than two hours. A horse, of course, is another awesome way to see Southern California’s most scenic areas. Take an hour-long guided trail ride and see incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands with the experts at Rancho Potrero trail rides.
For lunch, visit Cronies Sports Grill in Newbury Park, a great place to relax and enjoy great food right off the grill. Burgers, hot dogs and an assortment of specialty sandwiches offer the whole family plenty to choose from.
A 20-minute drive to Simi Valley will take you to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. You can explore the Air Force One replica or the Oval office replica.
You can then head a few miles to the west to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark. Pick your own fruits and vegetables, visit with farm animals and, if you visit between March 18 and April 10, celebrate the Springtime Easter Festival featuring a variety of fun activities. Finally, order from your choice of three styles of pizza (New York, Detroit or Naples) from Parma Pizza Napoletano as you relax and talk about the day’s memories.
Start the day off with a fresh California breakfast or brunch at The Nook, a quaint spot with delicious crepes and quesadillas.
For the first half of the day, take your best swings at picturesque Los Robles Greens Golf Course, situated in the foothills of the beautiful, mountain-lined Conejo Valley. Then put your helmet on at K1 Speed Thousand Oaks for some heart-pounding go cart racing. This venue is designed to keep you entertained and engaged, whether you’re on or off the track. If racing isn’t your thing, they have an arcade and a lounge with burgers, wings, nachos, pizza and desserts.
Stop in at The Sunset Terrace, a relaxing restaurant where you can sit by a fire pit on their beautiful patio overlooking the Janss Marketplace while enjoying phenomenal California Cuisine.
About 15 minutes away is the city of Calabasas, situated between the foothills of the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountains. The town is one of the main entrances to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Calabasas is also home to the Malibu Creek Rock Pool and Century Lake loop trail. Take in previous movie sights like the Rock Pool from the Planet of the Apes or climb into a vintage car from the movie set. A few miles further is the site of the TV series, M*A*S*H.
Kick off the day in Agoura Hills.
Agoura Hills offers amazing views, family friendly trails, excellent restaurants and more, but one of its biggest claims to fame is Paramount Ranch, a location where numerous movies and TV shows have been filmed over the years. Among its credits are Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman with Jane Seymour; The Lake House with Sandra Bullock; HBO’s Westworld; and American Sniper with Bradley Cooper. When the ranch was sold and became a raceway, it was featured in The Devil’s Hairpin (1957) and Disney’s The Love Bug (1968). There are several hiking, equestrian and mountain bike trails to experience, as well as numerous wildlife sightings, making it perfect for a family adventure.
When your stomach starts talking, it’s best to listen, so take everyone to Jinky’s, a neighborhood café with a wide variety of global flavors sure to please even the finickiest of diners. Jinky’s also has more than 20 flavors of chili, with four or five featured each day.
Photo Credit: Jinky’s
The adventures continue in Agoura Hills with mountain biking at Cheeseboro Canyon, strolling around Will Rogers State Historic Park or scenic car rides only found in Southern California. If your vacation plans bring you to the area around April 1, you’ll want to participate or attend the Great Race, a celebration of running that features six races with spectacular views along the way. The award-winning event, held on April 1, benefits education in Agoura Hills and Oak Park.
Before you head back to your hotel, enjoy the authentic Italian fare at Basta. Talented chefs make everything in-house using the fresh ingredients, so enjoy a fantastic dinner with mouth-watering desserts to top off your meal.
There is so much to do in Conejo Valley, so make sure to plan as much time as possible for your family to experience this beautiful area. A short drive from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, Conejo Valley offers a quieter, but just-as-exciting time for everyone. Lodging choices include budget-friendly inns, suites and luxury hotels, all available to help you relax in between adventures. Make sure to reserve your spring-break activities soon!