Probably Thousand Oaks, of course. :)
The Santa Monica mountains extend from LA to just northwest of TO, more or less. There are HUNDREDS of miles of trails but the areas closer to LA have more things of interest for visitors in terms of visitor centers or camping.
What exactly do you wish to see and do in the Park?
Keep me informed as I hike these trails many times during the week (going today in a few minutes) as the main trailheads are virtually in my backyard.
By the way, Thousand Oaks has many restaurants, adequate lodging, and a couple nearby attractions, namely the Reagan Library and Museum and the Gardens of the World.
Sounds ideal! Where is the main downtown area for restaurants etc in T.O? I'd prefer to stay in a hotel close to places to eat or have a drink.
The plan is to visit the canyon parks rather than trek up mountains and it looks like we'll be spoiled for choice if you have any recommendations.
I just want to clarify.... The main purpose of your trip is to hike the trails?? Are you planning anything else in CA?
Some hiking the trails, mixed with mixing with the locals, eating and we'll have a car to drive around sightseeing. I missed out on a lot of the nature on previous trips by spending too much time in the big cities but I like the idea of mixing a bit of both!
You may want to consider the other side of the hill also, Malibu.... even Santa Monica. It's way better to stay around there for site seeing than TO is.
You mentioned "canyon parks" earlier.....what did you mean by that? There are multiple areas of canyons within the Park system.
I've been trying to work out where in Malibu would be a good base...it is such a big area. A lot of the hotels are out of our price range $200 and below per night, so would be good to get some recommendations. Some people suggested the Malibu Motel but I remember driving past there last year and it didn't look great.
When is your trip planned for?
October 1st -18th
I used to live in Thousand Oaks. TO has more shopping then Agoura Hills. You have the large Thousand Oaks mall plus close by in Westlake some shops. When I first moved to TO I used Hotwire and got some good deals on hotels. In Agoura there is a Sheraton which is pretty nice. In Newbury Park which is basically TO there area a couple Marriotts. All I got special rates on Hotwire or Priceline.
I am not that familiar with Malibu but why not try the bidding site for one night to see if you get a good rate and if the hotel is not great you could switch.
You've been to LA before, so maybe you are familiar with the area you are speaking of already. Just want to make sure that you know that both TO and Agoura Hills are upscale suburbs, what we call "bedroom communities". They are largely composed of housing developments of beige stucco homes and shopping centers, with the residents primarily being professional families age 35 and up, who commute into Los Angeles every day. Most restaurants and bars (not a lot of these, I'd guess) will be in these shopping centers. Both of these communities are very pleasant places to live, but I doubt that visitors will find them very lively.
Have you considered going up the coast a bit to the Santa Barbara area? Lots of hiking there, and a great place to visit.