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Ocean views and easy beach access from Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, an all-suites resort in Oxnard, California, make it a top SoCal weekend getaway option. My son and I spent 3 days remote working, bike riding, beach walking, and exploring the Taco Trail in Oxnard. Key features we would go back for are all-suite rooms with spectacular ocean views, unique activity rentals, proximity to Los Angeles (two-hour drive), pricing (it’s more affordable than Santa Barbara resorts) and the Foggy Bottom cocktail at Ox & Ocean Restaurant.
Check-In and Accommodations at Zachari Dunes
Suites offer the best setup for my family. My kids still travel with me but they are adults and want their own space. My 27-year-old son was happy to give me the bedroom and take over the living room and sofa bed for himself. We each worked from there with a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean. If I had brought the whole family, we would have opted for the Presidential Suite which has 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a huge living room, fireplace and kitchen.
All rooms come with modern amenities like air conditioning, in-room charging stations, free wifi, hair dryer, and Beekind toiletries. Laundry service is also available. The front desk and concierge are attentive and happy to accommodate.
Valet parking and self-parking are available. The pricing was similar for both options when I visited, so ask before you park; it may be only a few dollars extra to valet.
Family-Friendly Activities Onsite
The resort fee at Zachari Dunes Mandalay Beach does not include parking but it does include unique activity rentals at Henry’s, the hotel gift shop. We rented a hammock, guitar, telescope, stand-up LAND paddle board (made in Huntington Beach), and a beach wagon to carry it all. Bicycle rentals and s’mores kits are available for additional charges.
I visited in October. Even then, we were able to read by the outdoor pool, soak in the hot tub, and roast s’mores by the firepit at night. One of the tennis courts is being renovated into – what else – a pickleball court, so next time we will be able to play pickleball.
There’s also a well-equipped fitness center with free weights and Peleton bikes for those who want to stay in shape during their vacation.
Dining and Room Service
Zachari Dunes OX & Ocean restaurant serves a limited bar menu during the day and a locally inspired menu for dinner. We tried both. My son can vouch for the steak and I was less of a fan of the halibut. We both agreed that the fried strawberry pie is a must as well as the Foggy Bottom cocktail. Strawberries are a big deal in Oxnard. Harry’s berries are the local favorite and Chef includes them in salads, pies and other dishes at Ox & Ocean. The outside dining area has a pool view and heaters and blankets for comfort.
Sugar Beats is an air trailer/restaurant that serves quick meals. I recommend the beet-cured salmon toast and the authentic New Jersey Atlantic City – an egg, ham and cheese sandwich. But not just any ham. Taylor Ham from Jersey. And ketchup. Don’t ask. Just eat and enjoy. I am not a huge ketchup fan but would definitely order that again.
DIVE is a poolside bar, and game room with a fast food menu. All games are included in the resort fee (no quarters needed for the pinball machine or basketball hoop).
And if the ocean views from the room are too hard to leave, there is always room service. There’s no better way to enjoy your meal than with oceanfront views of the Pacific Ocean at a beach hotel.
Zachari Dunes at Mandalay Beach is located at 2101 Mandalay Beach Road, Oxnard, CA 93035, in Ventura County.
Things to Do Nearby
- Channel Islands Kayak Center at Channel Islands Harbor
- The Oxnard Taco Trail
- The 1901 Restaurant and Speakeasy
- Camarillo Outlets
- The Revel Bar
- Iron and Resin
Channel Islands Harbor is within walking distance and provides a variety of water activities and excursions to the islands, including lovely Anacapa Island. Channel Islands Kayak Center owner and champion surfer, Mike Lamm leads tours and rents kayaks. He created a Pirate’s Cove that kids will love kayaking through.
We explored two places on The Oxnard Taco Trail. House of Tacos whips up the best horchata I have ever tasted. I was only allowed to know one secret ingredient – condensed milk. The tortillas are handmade and the tacos are huge. We shared the Taco Baja and the house special taco with sausage and chorizo. Next, we tried the birria taco at Tacos La Bonita, which was also tasty but the consomme was not my favorite.
The 1901 Restaurant & Speakeasy in Oxnard, CA
We capped off our remote work day at The 1901 restaurant and speakeasy in Heritage Square in downtown Oxnard. My kids grew up on authentic southern Italian food thanks to their Nonna so we had to start off our meal with arancini. My son gave it a B+, saying it was a little too cheesy, and then proceeded to polish off 8 lamb chops that he said were cooked perfectly.
I prefer to avoid garlic, which was a challenge at The 1901 because most of their dishes included it. They were very attentive and were able to accommodate me with a halibut and roasted vegetables entree that was very good. The real highlight for me was the very vibe-y speakeasy in the basement (of course). It’s dark and cozy with leather couches facing a huge fireplace and a black & white movie on a large screen TV. The bartender poured us a taste of his shiitake-infused bourbon and he made an excellent amaro montenegro.
Shoppers will note that Camarillo Outlets are a 20-minute drive inland. Kombuchas are on tap at The Revel Bar in the groovy town of Ojai and we bought Ventucky t-shirts at Iron and Resin in funky Ventura.
What I Drove: Chevy Trax
Chevy Trax ACTIV: Adventure-Ready Technology
Chevy loaned me the 2024 Trax ACTIV, an SUV with the latest technology, to keep me connected and safe on the road for my trip from Orange County to Oxnard.
The 2024 Chevy Trax ACTIV combines style, technology, safety, and eco-friendliness with stylish design. The ACTIV trim is specifically designed for drivers who want off-road capabilities without compromising on comfort. The ACTIV package includes a sport-tuned suspension, which offers a smooth and comfortable ride on both city streets and off-road trails. This SUV also comes equipped with a roof rack, skid plates, and unique exterior styling elements, giving it a rugged and adventurous appearance.
The 2024 Chevy Trax ACTIV offers all-wheel drive as an option. This feature provides added traction and control, especially on challenging terrains and in inclement weather conditions.
Notable Chevy Trax Features
Infotainment System: The centerpiece of the tech package is the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system, which includes an 8-inch touchscreen display. The user-friendly interface provides easy access to apps, music, hands-free calls, and sends texts using voice commands. Plus, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard, ensuring the smartphones seamlessly integrate with the vehicle’s infotainment system.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: Integrating my iPhone with the Chevy Trax Apply Car Play was as simple as plugging in with a USB cord.
Safety Assist: Safety features are essential to me, especially when road-tripping alone. It’s like having a co-pilot. The Chevy Trax ACTIV standard package includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. These systems work together to enhance safety, providing an extra pair of eyes on the road. The available adaptive cruise control system makes long highway journeys easier by automatically adjusting the speed to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front.
Chevy Trax Fuel Efficiency
Gas prices are at an all-time $6+/gallon high in California so the fuel-saving hybrid feature was important to me. Under the hood, the 1.3-liter turbocharged engine delivers power and fuel efficiency. I achieved around 32 mpg on the highway.