Located in the heart of the Mojave Desert, Barstow, California offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and exciting attractions. Often overlooked as a mere pit stop between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, this vibrant city has much to offer for those willing to explore its hidden treasures. From fascinating museums to breathtaking outdoor adventures, Barstow promises a memorable experience. In this article, we’ll delve into the must-see attractions and activities in Barstow, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this desert gem.
- Delve into the History at the Route 66 Mother Road Museum:
Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of the iconic Route 66 by visiting the Route 66 Mother Road Museum. Learn about the history and cultural significance of this legendary highway through captivating exhibits and displays. From vintage vehicles to retro memorabilia, the museum showcases the spirit of the Mother Road and its impact on American travel and culture.
- Step back in time at the Calico Ghost Town:
Experience the charm of an authentic 1880s silver mining town at the Calico Ghost Town. Wander through the well-preserved buildings, take a mine tour, or pan for gold. The town offers unique shops, restaurants, and even an old-fashioned train ride, providing an immersive experience of the Old West.
- Explore the wonders of the Mojave Desert:
Barstow’s location in the Mojave Desert presents ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Spend a day exploring the Mojave National Preserve, where you can hike through Joshua Tree forests, marvel at the Kelso Dunes, or discover the mesmerizing beauty of the Hole-in-the-Wall rock formations. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking desert vistas and unique wildlife encounters.
- Discover the treasures of the Western America Railroad Museum:
For railroad enthusiasts, the Western America Railroad Museum is a must-visit attraction in Barstow. Explore an impressive collection of vintage locomotives, rolling stock, and exhibits that illustrate the crucial role of railroads in shaping the West. Be sure to take a ride on the Barstow & Southern Railroad, a short but delightful excursion on historic trains.
- Enjoy shopping and entertainment at the Tanger Outlets:
If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy or want to catch the latest movie, head to the Tanger Outlets. This open-air shopping center boasts a wide array of designer and brand-name stores, offering great discounts on fashion, accessories, and home goods. After a shopping spree, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants or catch a movie at the nearby theater.
- Experience the thrill at the Mojave River Valley Museum and Western Film Museum:
For movie buffs and fans of Western films, the Mojave River Valley Museum and Western Film Museum is a hidden gem. Discover the rich cinematic history of the region, browse through fascinating exhibits, and admire an extensive collection of memorabilia, costumes, and props from classic Western movies.
- Visit the Desert Discovery Center:
Discover the unique ecosystem of the Mojave Desert at the Desert Discovery Center. Engage in interactive exhibits, learn about desert wildlife and plant life, and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and adaptations of desert environments. The center also offers guided nature walks and educational programs for visitors of all ages.
- Explore the Barstow Harvey House:
Step into the past and visit the Barstow Harvey House, a historic railroad depot turned museum. Learn about the Harvey Girls, the waitresses who played a significant role in the development of the American West, and explore the exhibits showcasing the history of rail travel and the Harvey House restaurant chain.
- Go off-roading in the Dumont Dunes:
For adrenaline junkies and off-road enthusiasts, a trip to the Dumont Dunes is a must. Located just outside of Barstow, these expansive sand dunes provide the perfect playground for off-highway vehicles. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a novice looking for a thrilling adventure, the Dumont Dunes offer a thrilling and unforgettable experience.
- Pay homage to the Military at the Marine Corps Logistics Base:
Barstow is home to the Marine Corps Logistics Base, which plays a vital role in supporting the United States Marine Corps. While access to the base may be restricted, visitors can still pay tribute to the military by visiting the nearby Veterans Memorial Park. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by service members and learn about the region’s military history.
- Attend a thrilling event at the Barstow Fairgrounds:
Keep an eye on the event calendar for the Barstow Fairgrounds, as they host a variety of exciting events throughout the year. From rodeos and motocross races to music festivals and car shows, there’s always something happening at the fairgrounds. Check their schedule and see if there’s an event that aligns with your interests during your visit.
- Sample local flavors at the Barstow Route 66 “Mother Road” House of Jerky:
Indulge in a unique culinary experience by visiting the Barstow Route 66 “Mother Road” House of Jerky. This family-owned shop offers a wide selection of delicious jerky made from various meats, including beef, turkey, buffalo, and more. It’s the perfect opportunity to savor some local flavors and grab a tasty snack for the road.
Barstow, California may be an overlooked destination, but it offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to various interests. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking adventure, Barstow has something for everyone. From exploring the Old West at Calico Ghost Town to unraveling the stories of Route 66 at the Mother Road Museum, each experience will leave you with lasting memories. So, the next time you find yourself traveling through the Mojave Desert, make sure to plan a stop in Barstow and uncover the hidden gems of this captivating city.