Surprises Abound in What Seems Like a Rural Route 66 Town
Find art, history, astronomy, railroads, a scenic drive, shopping and dining off the beaten pathNot quite half-way between Los Angeles and Vegas, Barstow, CA, is known for having one of the busiest McDonald’s restaurants in the country. Turns out there are several other great reasons to make Barstow a destination. Click To Tweet
A Penchant for Museums?
An old railroad station is home to several interesting museums, the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, including one of the original Harvey Houses, dining rooms for train passengers (think Judy Garland in “The Harvey Girls”), the Western America Railroad Museum, and the NASA Goldstone Visitor Center, one of three global complexes of the Deep Space Network, two-way robotic space communication and space astronomy. The Railroad Museum’s outdoor exhibit is a super collection of railroad cars from lines in the Pacific Southwest.
Check the sites for each museum you want to visit for days and hours they are open. All in all, these are great opportunities for education of kids and adults alike.
The museums are next to a switching yard that is still very important to the region. If you get the opportunity to see BNSF work crews return around 4PM, you’ll see an amazing choreography of equipment and manpower. Watch a ballet of heavy equipment and workers gracefully negotiate full stops perfectly in turn.
Hiking, Camping and Scenic Drive
A few miles north of Barstow is another stunner: Rainbow Basin Natural Area. Lighting during the day makes the beautiful rock formations a gem of a location for photography, hiking, and biking. Fossil Canyon Loop Road is a one-way scenic drive through canyons (4-wheel drive recommended).
Owl Canyon Campground has 22 first-come, first-serve sites, perfect for an uncrowded, spectacular getaway.
Shops and Dining
Outlets at Barstow includes Nike, Columbia Sportswear and designer brands such as Kate Spade. Find an Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing across from the shops. Or head out to Yermo, CA, east of town to experience EddieWorld, California’s largest gas station for fast-casual dining and a little shopping. Peggy Sue’s diner, just west of Eddie World offers outside tables and a little shopping while you wait.
While you’re in Yermo, check out The Liberty Sculpture Park, a display of outdoor art celebrating democracy and freedom, while opposing communism. It free and open to the public.
But Wait, There’s More!