Oxnard, California Beachfront Gem: Zachari Dunes Mandalay Beach

Kim Orlando Avatar

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach - view of the hotel

The writer was hosted.

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.

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach lobby
Lobby at Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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.

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach man on hammock with guitar.
My son enjoying his guitar, one of our unique rentals. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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.

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach. Woman and man roasting marshmallows over a fire pit.
Roasting marshmallows at Zachari Dunes! Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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.

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach - fried strawberry pie
The amazing fried strawberry pie at Ox & Ocean restaurant. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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.

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach - Sugar Beats
Sugar Beats, an airstream fast food stop. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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).

View of the ocean from a balcony at the Zachary Dujnes on Mandalay Beach.
Spectacular ocean sunset view from our room at Zachari Dunes Mandalay Beach. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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.

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach Oxnard taco trail
Giant delicious taco variety at House of Tacos in Oxnard, CA. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Things to Do Nearby

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.

Read More: 18 Fun Things to Do in Oxnard and Ventura County

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach - 2024 Trax ACTIV
2024 Trax ACTIV Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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.

Zachary Dunes on Mandalay Beach. Rear of the 2024 Trax ACTIV loaded with luggage.
The 2024 Trax ACTIV held everything we needed. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

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.

Kim Orlando Avatar
Kim Orlando, founder of SheBuysTravel, is a lifelong traveler, an entrepreneur and a sought-after social media and marketing consultant. She has made hundreds of appearances on TV and in digital and print media, sharing advice and tips built on decades of travel experiences. Hailing from the hills of Kentucky and taking her story to New York, Los Angeles, and beyond, Kim built an online platform, the original TravelingMom, that has reached millions of moms and empowered them to explore the world with their families. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel. Kim has been featured on “News Nation,” “Today,” “Good Morning America” and on numerous satellite media tours. She has contributed travel guidance to outlets including The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more. (Read more about Kim’s media appearances here) Her travel mantra is simple: All travel counts. “You don’t have to go far. Leaving your home is travel,” Kim says. “Wherever you go, even just to the next town over, you can learn something new, see someone and something you haven’t seen before. “It’s good for the brain and good for the soul.” An epiphany in early parenthood started Kim on the journey that led to SheBuysTravel. She’d been a fan of a newsletter for women travelers, and she saw an opportunity. “I thought something like that for moms could be extraordinarily helpful,” she said. “I was traveling for work, traveling for fun, and I was looking for support.” That seed grew into the award-winning website TravelingMom, created as a resource for traveling families of all stripes. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel, with an expanded mission to serve women travelers at any stage of life. Millions of readers have visited the site for trip planning help, travel secrets, destination information and gear recommendations. What sets SheBuysTravel’s content apart, Kim says, is its foundation in real-world experience. “Our writers and editors have actually gone out there and done this stuff,” she says. “They’ve booked the flights, tried the tour, tested travel clothing, visited that new hot spot to see if it’s worth the hype. It’s all real.” Memorable Adventures A 2022 tour Kim guided to Bhutan was a particularly standout experience. “Bhutan sounds so exotic, of course,” she said. “But the part where my heart just glows and warms is thinking of the people we met – amazing women doing amazing things in Bhutan.” Their ranks included a former police officer whose ventures into food science helped mitigate food insecurity for residents of Bhutan’s highlands. Top Tips Planning for travel can be daunting, Kim acknowledges. “I always say: Go anyway. No trip is going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something you didn’t expect, something that doesn’t go the way you pictured or planned it. And that something is what’s going to make it a great trip.” And on a practical note: “Go early! Getting to the airport or hitting the road just an hour earlier relieves so much stress.” Kim’s Background Kim, a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, holds degrees in finance and entrepreneurship and has deep experience in developing and running businesses. Her previous work includes developing and running communications workshops and overseeing document management for corporations. SheBuysTravel hits a sweet spot where Kim’s two loves of travel and entrepreneurship meet. “The longer I work in this field, I only want to do more,” she says. “I find the travel world so exciting – not just the trips, but the whole online world of travel. There are still so many opportunities.” The World Awaits “The ‘best trip ever’ probably won’t be the same for an empty-nester or mom of three versus a single woman celebrating a bachelorette party with her friends,” Kim says. “We want to keep it real for traveling women, no matter what their age, life stage, where they came from or where they’re going. “We want to inspire women to travel in any shape or form.” In her free time, Kim enjoys visiting her adult kids, creating trips and traveling with her BFFs to explore the world. Her most recent adventures can be found on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.
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