Explore Barstow California: Attractions & Tips

barstow california

Barstow, California is a charming city that serves as the gateway to Route 66 adventures, unique desert attractions, and historical gems. With its rich history, diverse attractions, and beautiful desert landscapes, Barstow offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in exploring the military insignia-covered Painted Rocks or the colorful sedimentary rock layers of Rainbow Basin, there are plenty of unique sights to discover in Barstow.

Barstow, California is located in the Mojave Desert, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to hike, rock climb, or simply enjoy the stunning desert scenery. The city is also home to a number of historical sites and museums, allowing visitors to delve into the region’s past and learn about its significance in American history.

Key Takeaways

  • Barstow, California offers a mix of unique desert attractions and historical landmarks.
  • Visitors can explore the scenic Painted Rocks and Rainbow Basin.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as hiking and rock climbing in the Mojave Desert.
  • Barstow’s rich history is evident in its museums and historical sites.
  • The city serves as a gateway to Route 66 adventures.

Things to Do in Barstow, California

Barstow, California offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. One popular destination is Calico Ghost Town, an authentic silver mining town that provides a glimpse into the Old West. Visitors can take walking tours with a historian, explore a narrow gauge railroad, and even venture underground in a hard rock silver mine.

Another must-visit attraction is the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, where you can learn about the history of this iconic highway and its impact on American culture. The museum features a collection of vintage cars, neon signs, and memorabilia that bring the nostalgia of Route 66 to life.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventures, the Rainbow Basin Natural Area is the perfect place to explore. This unique geological formation offers stunning landscapes with colorful rock formations. Whether you’re hiking, birdwatching, or simply enjoying a picnic, the Rainbow Basin Natural Area is a hidden gem in Barstow.

Explore the Colorful Wonders of Rainbow Basin Natural Area

When visiting Barstow, don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant beauty of the Rainbow Basin Natural Area. This geological wonder is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.

As you explore this desert landscape, you’ll be captivated by the layered rock formations in shades of red, orange, and yellow. The unique colors are the result of millions of years of erosion and mineral deposits.

Take a leisurely hike along one of the many trails, where you’ll encounter breathtaking vistas and fascinating geological features. Keep your camera handy, as the Rainbow Basin Natural Area offers countless photo opportunities that showcase the beauty of the Mojave Desert.

  • Marvel at the colorful sedimentary rock formations
  • Embark on an adventure-filled hike through the canyons
  • Capture stunning photographs of the desert landscape
  • Enjoy a serene picnic amidst the natural beauty

When planning your trip to Barstow, be sure to add the Rainbow Basin Natural Area to your list of must-see attractions. It’s a place where you can connect with nature, witness awe-inspiring geological wonders, and create lasting memories.

Unique Attractions Near Barstow

In addition to the attractions within Barstow itself, there are several unique destinations near the city that are worth exploring.

Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner & Diner-Saur Park

If you’re looking for a nostalgic dining experience, make sure to visit Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner & Diner-Saur Park in Yermo, California. This kitschy eatery serves classic diner meals and features a dinosaur sculpture garden. Enjoy a delicious meal surrounded by funky decor and larger-than-life dinosaur statues.

Calico Ghost Town

Just a short drive from Barstow, you’ll find Calico Ghost Town, located in Yermo. Once home to over 500 silver mines, this well-preserved ghost town offers a glimpse into the past. Stroll through the old streets, explore the town’s historic buildings, and learn about the fascinating history of the silver mining industry.

route 66 in barstow ca

Liberty Sculpture Park

If you’re interested in art and history, a visit to Liberty Sculpture Park in Yermo is a must. The park features a collection of anti-communist sculptures set in the picturesque Mojave Desert. Take a leisurely stroll through the park and admire these unique and thought-provoking artworks.

Route 66 Attractions

While exploring Barstow, don’t forget to discover the historic Route 66 attractions. Visit Old Town Route 66 to experience the charm of the past with its vintage shops and neon signs. Erlanger’s Route 66 Museum is another must-visit destination, where you can delve into the rich history of America’s most famous highway.

Barstow’s Historical Significance

Barstow, California has a rich history that is deeply intertwined with Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America. This iconic highway served as a major transportation route connecting the Midwest to the West Coast, and Barstow played a significant role as a stopping point along the route.

With its location on the Old Spanish Trail and its association with the silver mining industry, Barstow holds a unique historical character that is worth exploring. Many of the city’s attractions today pay homage to its historical significance, offering visitors a glimpse into Barstow’s past.

Route 66: Connecting the Nation

Route 66 was once a lifeline for travelers, spanning over 2,400 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. This historic highway symbolized freedom, adventure, and the great American road trip. Barstow’s strategic location made it an important resting point for weary travelers, and it still retains remnants of that bygone era.

To experience the allure of Route 66, visitors can explore Old Town Route 66, a vibrant district lined with vintage shops, diners, and motels that embody the nostalgia of the golden age of travel. Erlanger’s Route 66 Museum is another must-visit destination, offering a fascinating collection of artifacts that tell the story of this iconic highway.

Old Spanish Trail and Silver Mining Heritage

Barstow’s historical significance extends beyond Route 66. The city is located along the Old Spanish Trail, a historic trade route that connected Santa Fe, New Mexico to Los Angeles, California during the 19th century. This trail played a vital role in the development of the American Southwest and provided a pathway for trade and exploration.

Furthermore, Barstow has a rich silver mining heritage. In the late 1800s, silver mines were discovered in the nearby Calico Mountains, leading to a boom in mining activity. While the mines are no longer in operation, the remnants of this era can still be seen in Calico Ghost Town, a well-preserved mining town that offers a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Barstow California History

Barstow, California’s historical significance, shaped by its connection to Route 66, position along the Old Spanish Trail, and silver mining heritage, makes it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and road trip adventurers alike.

Practical Information for Visitors

When planning a visit to Barstow, California, it’s important to have some practical information at your fingertips. Here are some key details to keep in mind:


Barstow offers a variety of hotels to accommodate visitors, ranging from budget-friendly options to more luxurious accommodations. Whether you prefer a cozy inn or a well-known chain hotel, you’ll find a suitable place to stay during your visit to Barstow California. Some popular hotels in Barstow include Best Western Desert Villa Inn, Comfort Suites Barstow, and Hampton Inn & Suites Barstow.


Barstow experiences a desert climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The summer months, especially July and August, can be extremely hot, with temperatures often reaching above 100°F (38°C). It’s important to pack lightweight, breathable clothing, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.


Barstow offers a range of dining options to satisfy any palate. Whether you’re craving classic American cuisine, Mexican flavors, or international delights, you’ll find a restaurant to suit your taste. Some popular dining establishments in Barstow include Idle Spurs Steakhouse, DiNapoli’s Firehouse Italian Eatery, and Los Domingos Mexican Restaurant. Don’t forget to try the local specialty, the famous Barstow-style chili burger!


If you enjoy shopping, Barstow has several options for you to explore. The Tanger Outlets Barstow offers a wide range of brand-name stores, where you can find clothing, accessories, and more at discounted prices. The Barstow Outlets and Barstow Mall are also popular destinations for shoppers. Take some time to browse the stores and find the perfect souvenir or gift to take home.


Barstow hosts various events throughout the year, so be sure to check the local calendar when planning your visit. From festivals and parades to art exhibits and live performances, there’s always something happening in Barstow. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the vibrant culture and community spirit of this charming city.


Barstow is easily accessible by car, with major highways such as Interstate 15 and Interstate 40 connecting the city to other locations. If you prefer public transportation, Barstow has a train station served by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route. This makes it convenient to travel to and from Barstow by train. Additionally, there are local taxi services available for getting around the city.

With this practical information in mind, you can plan your visit to Barstow, California and make the most of your time in this fascinating city.


As I wrap up this exploration of Barstow, California, I am amazed by the wealth of experiences this hidden gem has to offer. Whether you are a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique desert adventure, Barstow has something for everyone.

One of the standout features of Barstow is its rich history, particularly its connection to the legendary Route 66. This iconic highway played a crucial role in the city’s development, and today, you can still witness the remnants of its glory through attractions like the Route 66 Mother Road Museum and the historic Old Town Route 66.

But Barstow is more than just a historic landmark. The city boasts a diversity of attractions that cater to all interests. From exploring the colorful sedimentary rock formations at Rainbow Basin Natural Area to immersing yourself in the Old West ambiance of Calico Ghost Town, there is no shortage of unique experiences to be had.

So, why wait? Plan your visit to Barstow, California today and immerse yourself in its fascinating history, diverse attractions, and stunning landscapes. Discover the charm of this hidden gem that awaits you in the heart of California.


What are some popular attractions in Barstow, California?

Some popular attractions in Barstow, California include Calico Ghost Town, the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, and the Rainbow Basin Natural Area.

Are there any unique destinations near Barstow?

Yes, Yermo, California is home to Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner & Diner-Saur Park, the Calico Ghost Town, and the Liberty Sculpture Park.

What is the historical significance of Barstow?

Barstow played a significant role as a stopping point along Route 66 and has a unique historical character due to its location on the Old Spanish Trail and its association with the silver mining industry.

What practical information should I know before visiting Barstow?

Before visiting Barstow, it’s important to know about the available hotels, the weather, dining options, shopping opportunities, events happening in the city, and the transportation options.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *