From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Simi Valley is a city located in California, which is part of the Greater Los Angeles Area. Some 10,000 years ago, the area was inhabited by the Chumash people, giving it the name ‘Shimiyi’, which refers to the “stringy, thread-like clouds” that are characteristic of the region. Simi Valley is also referred to as ‘Reagan Country’, as the city is the final resting place of late president, Ronald Reagan.
Speaking of Ronald Reagan, Simi Valley is also home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, as well as other intriguing attractions such as the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, America’s Teaching Zoo, and Underwood Family Farms.
Even those who have lived in the city for a decade would agree they haven’t experienced all that Simi Valley has to offer, while for those new to the region – well, they’ve got a lot to look forward to as well.
Ready to discover the best of Simi Valley, California? Let’s get started!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Simi Valley isn’t all hustle and bustle! There are also plenty of state parks and national parks both within and surrounding the area, all of which provide a tranquil escape for those looking to surround themselves by nature.
Just a 45-minute drive from Simi Valley is the popular Malibu Creek State Park, an area that was the center of Chumash Native American life for centuries. These days, you can enjoy recreational activities here such as hiking, fishing, bird watching, mountain biking, rock climbing and horseback riding. You’ll love the breathtaking views of the Las Virgenes Valley and Malibu Canyon, as well as the sycamore woodlands and volcanic rock gorges.
At just a 13-minute drive from the city center, Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park is conveniently close-by. It was once home to two distinct California Indian groups, the Tongva and the Chumash, and its iconic landscapes has been used as the background for several western films. You can enjoy recreational activities here such as hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, picnicking, nature and wildlife viewing, and more.
Topanga State Park is another state park within the region, and it’s located in the cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains. If you love to hike, you’re in luck, as the park is home to 36 miles of trails through open grassland, which provides spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Topanga is actually considered to be the world’s largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city, so you won’t want to miss it!
Point Mugu State Park is also located in the Santa Monica Mountains and it boasts five miles of ocean shoreline with rocky bluffs, sandy beaches, and two major river canyons. It’s a popular destination for swimming, body surfing, and surf fishing. Other activities include hiking, bicycling, camping, geocaching, and more.
Another popular beach destination within the region is Leo Carrillo State Park, which is just 45 minutes from Simi Valley. It’s a great spot for activities such as swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing, and beachcombing, as well as other outdoor activities including camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing. The campgrounds are shaded by giant sycamore trees, creating a cooler and more scenic atmosphere.
Still need to get your nature fix? If you’re craving seeing even more of the beautiful scenery that surrounds Simi Valley, then there are also plenty of hiking and walking trails for you and your family to enjoy.
The popular Las Llajas Canyon Trail is located in the northeast portion of Simi Valley. It’s a maintained road that is 5.5 miles in length and takes hikers along the bottom of the Las Llajas Canyon. The trail also connects to other major trails within the region, including the Chumash Trail or Santa Susana Pass.
TheTapo Canyon Trail is another much-loved trail located near Simi Valley and it also features a stunning array of wildflowers. It’s 6.9 kilometers in length and is rated moderate, so while you can bring your dogs along, it’s vital that they’re on a leash. The trail is accessible year-round and is popular among hikers, runners, and bird watchers.
Pack a backpack and head over to the Hummingbird Hiking Trail in Hummingbird Ranch. This is one of the most popular wedding venues in Ventura County – think open spaces, rolling hills, and Spanish architecture. Don’t wait for a wedding to experience it for yourself; it’s a must-see and makes for a great photo op or 10.
Simi Valley is home to a bustling and trendy dining scene, so there’s sure to be a restaurant, café, or diner to satisfy your cravings. If you’ve worked up an appetite after a long hike, or simply feel like treating yourself to a delicacy, then you’re in luck. Here are our top restaurant recommendations!
Greek House Café has been voted as the winner of "LA's Best Food Award" since 2001, so you know you’re in for some fantastic fare. They offer authentic tastes of Greece and make all of their dishes from scratch using fresh ingredients. Just some of their menu standouts include Chicken Souvlakia, Spanakopita, and Grilled Salmon.
Ali Baba’s prides itself on bringing authentic recipes from the Mediterranean and has been doing so within the region since 1999. Along with their popular kebabs and pita sandwiches, you’ll also find menu items such as meat, seafood and vegetarian entrees, homemade soups, and daily lunch and dinner specials. It’s sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters!
If you’re craving authentic Italian cuisine instead, then you’re in luck. Beto’s Italian Restaurant is a local go-to for traditional Italian food, whether it’s soups, appetizers, pastas, risotto, or more. They also offer Monday night specials, if you feel like treating yourself at the start of the week, and is certainly a place that the whole family will enjoy.
The Sutter’s Mill Restaurants have been in operation for over 62 years now. The Simi Valley location wasn’t opened until 2007, but since then it has become one of the must-visit restaurants within the region. On their menu, you’ll find dishes such as BBQ pork ribs, rib eye steak, hamburgers, shrimp, lobster, and so much more. You just can’t go wrong!
With island inspired food that’s sure to tingle your taste buds, we recommend a visit to Fire Island Grill while spending time in Simi Valley. All of their sauces and dressings are made in-house, while everything on their menu is made from scratch with an island flair. There are tropical chicken salads, island platters, North Shore pipeline sandwiches, and small Islander’s meals for the kids.
If you’re looking for barbecue, this is your place! When you head over to Green Acres, be sure to leave your windows down – you’ll want to be able to smell the rolling smoke from the Santa Maria-style barbecue from miles away. Come here for an exceedingly casual outdoor barbecue spot with a small market and an incredible meat selection inside. Don’t miss this spot!
After feasting and enjoying all that the hiking trails and state parks have to offer, you may be wondering: “what next?” Well, when it comes to Simi Valley’s attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!
Looking to entertain some little ones? Or perhaps you’ve got some teenagers in-tow who are starting to get a little bored? Either way, these attractions will entertain both children, teens, and adults alike!
Who doesn’t love seeing rare and exotic animals up-close? At America’s Teaching Zoo, they host special events (including kids birthday parties), field trips, group shows, and more. Just some of the attractions here include reptiles such as the Galapagos tortoise, a butterfly conservation section, primate garden, and more.
If you’ve got a skateboarding fan among your family, or simply feel like exploring all things related to the sport, then take a visit to the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. It has been operating since 1995 and was created to honor the passion, dedication and contributions to skateboarding history and culture by skateboarders and cultural icons throughout the decades. It’s also home to the world’s largest collection of skateboard memorabilia.
What should you do in Simi Valley once the sun goes down? We’re glad you asked! Here are our suggested night-time attractions.
The Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center is a venue that hosts numerous night-time events, whether it’s a show, performance, special dinner, or more. Their motto is “fun, wholesome entertainment for the entire family”, so it doesn’t matter who you’ve got in-tow – there’s sure to be something to put a smile on their face! Keep an eye on their calendar for an activity that takes your fancy.
Whether it’s Halloween or not – that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a spooky time at the Reign of Terror Haunted House! It’s an award-winning, walk-through haunted house collection and showcase, featuring more than 120 custom rooms in 9 different, inter-connected sections. Enter, if you dare!
What can you do in or around Simi Valley that won’t cost anything more than a few dollars? The answer: plenty!
Looking for a farm experience within Simi Valley? At Underwood Family Farms, you can enjoy activities such as pick-your-own produce, educational farm tours, an animal center, and more. They also host numerous special events throughout the year, whether it’s a fall harvest, springtime Easter festival, or Christmas on the farm.
Looking to get the most out of your time spent within the city of Simi Valley? Whether you want a fun way to waste away a Sunday afternoon or a date idea that won’t break the budget – here are our most recommended things to do in Simi Valley that won’t cost you a cent.
Corrigan Park is known to be beautiful, but did you know it also has an intriguing past? It was once named the Corriganville Movie Ranch and was the filming site for over 3,500 movies, TV programs and commercials over the past decades. These days, the site is popular for its four trails: the Loop Trail, Wildlife Corridor Trail, Lower Stagecoach Trail, and Interpretive Trail. You’ll have hours of sightseeing to do here, all for free!
The Chumash Indian Museum is a historical site and living history center. It’s dedicated to restoring and preserving an awareness of the Chumash people through exhibits, events, and educational programs. You’ll love the gift shop selling Chumash inspired items, as well as the Chumash demonstration village, remains from a historic homestead, and more.
This is a beautiful landmark filled with so much history and gorgeous, open outdoor spaces. Walk the museum and take in the American history; they have everything from Air Force One memorabilia to an actual piece of the Berlin Wall. Or simply take a walk outside and enjoy the view of Conejo Valley and the surrounding farmland. Pack a lunch, bring the kids, and enjoy the views!
Alright, by now you’ve probably been on your feet all day exploring the sights and delights that Simi Valley has to offer. If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.
At Salt and Sage Spa, you’ll find a wide range of treatments to help you look and feel your best, including massage, body treatments, facials, waxing, hair services, and nail treatments. They also have a sauna, steam room, and Vichy shower on-site, or if you’re looking for a wellness service such as Reiki, Chakra Clearing, Tarot Readings, and more, you’ll find it all here!
Located in Simi Valley Town Center is Me Spa, which offers everything from spa packages and facials, to waxing, peels and hydrodermabrasion, massage, body treatment, manicures, and pedicures. In fact, they offer one of the most comprehensive spa menus in the region, so there’s certain to be a treatment to help you look or feel better.
If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Simi Valley is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.
Looking for a high intensity interval training group workouts fitness boot camp? It might sound like a mouthful, but it works! Simi Valley Fit Body Bootcamp promises unrivalled weight loss results within the region and provides signature Afterburn workouts that are just 30 minutes in length. It combines High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Active Rest Training to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Yoga Nook is run by Jeni Winterburn, who has over 25 years of experience in the yoga world. She offers a wide variety of yoga classes – both in person and online – and encourages others to embrace the way yoga can relax, reenergize, and replenish one’s soul. It’s the perfect way to start or end your week!
Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend decades within Simi Valley without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this large city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.
Did you know that Sequoia National Park is home to the world’s largest trees (by volume): the giant sequoias? You’ll find the park just south of Kings Canyon National Park and around a 3.5-hour-drive from Simi Valley, making it the perfect place to visit for a long day – or long weekend! Here, you can also admire huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, and vast caverns. It’s a world of wonder! Outdoor activities on offer include hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing, snowshoeing, stargazing, and more.
Just over an hour’s drive from Simi Valley is the major city of Santa Barbara. Known for its sunny beaches, fine dining, and local wine tasting, there is something for absolutely everyone in this region. Just some of the city’s top attractions include Stearns Wharf, the Santa Barbara Zoo, Old Mission Santa Barbara, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, and more!
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Simi Valley that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Simi Valley? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.