There are plenty of adventures for you, your family and friends awaiting this summer. Check out our list of suggestions. Grab your hat, water and sunscreen and hit the road or trails!
WHERE TO GO
CALM Zoo (10500 Alfred Harrell Highway): Sitting on 14 park-like acres, the beloved California Living Museum Zoo features several animal species and plants. With many businesses reopening this summer after the nationwide shutdown, CALM Zoo, along with other entertainment businesses, is starting to open its doors to the public. CALM Zoo is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult admission is $10, seniors age 60 and above are $7, kids 3 to 12 years old are $6, and children under 3 years old enter free, along with veterans and military. Visit calmzoo.org for more details and guidelines.
Color Me Mine (9000 Ming Ave., H3): Take the kids out for a couple of hours to enjoy their time at Color Me Mine, where they'll have a selection of pottery items to choose from and to paint however they want. Color Me Mine is located at The Marketplace on Ming Avenue, so when the painting session is finished, take a stroll through this plaza, grab an ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery and finish it with a movie night at Regal Edwards.
Museums: Plan a short educational trip by visiting some of Kern County's historic museums. Kern County is filled with so much rich and influential history, so why not learn more about the community that surrounds you? The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science (2018 Chester Ave.) reopened in May with several improvements and restoration after a fire. Schedule a tour, register for science camp or take part in their art challenges. Visit buenavistmuseum.org for more information on operating hours and admission. Another prominent museum to visit is the Kern County Museum (3801 Chester Ave.) where guests are able to learn about Kern's important history dating back to the 19th century. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. And there's also a 2021 summer camp available! Visit kerncountymuseum.org for more information.
Tehachapi's award-winning wine scene: Though I don't recommend bringing children under the age of 21 to wineries, places like this can be a fun time with older family members and friends. When you think of wine tasting, you might think of places such as Napa and Paso Robles. But why travel that far when there are award-winning wineries in our Kern County backyard? Triassic Vineyards (24627 Cummings Valley Road) features a wine and dine catered scene with live music. Reservations are required. Visit triassicvineyards.com for more information and operating hours. Tehachapi Wine & Cattle Co. offers a variety of wines. Visit tehachapiwinecattleandcompany.com for operating hours and information.
Balboa Park in San Diego: If you like being near the coast, San Diego is known for its beaches, parks and warm climate. Balboa Park is filled with museums, art sculptures, theaters and playgrounds — the ultimate destination for playtime for kids and adults. The San Diego Zoo is in Balboa Park. No matter where you go in San Diego, it's filled with fun for everyone.
Murray Family Farms (6700 General Beale Road): Murray Family Farms is one of those perfect family activities during the summer. Visitors have the choice to pick their own berries depending on what's harvesting, taking hayrides and enjoying tours. The fun doesn't stop during the summertime, though; stay up to date with Murray Family Farms events throughout the year to keep on with the family fun.
Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno: A beautiful garden and a historical landmark sits at Forestiere Underground Gardens, a subterranean home illuminated by natural skylights. This place dates to the 1900s and offers tours to learn about the landscape, history and nature surrounding the gardens. Though all children are welcome to visit, older children and young adults would enjoy the serenity this place offers.
The BLVD (3200 Buck Owens Blvd., Suite 300): If you're thinking of last-minute ideas to spend quality time with the kids, The BLVD in Bakersfield happens to be one of those places that has a bit of everything — entertainment and food for kids and adults of all ages. The pricing depends on activity but The BLVD offers bowling, a beer garden, an arcade, laser tag, billiards, a ropes course, karaoke and sports viewing if you're not into physical activities. The BLVD is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight.
River rafting: Get some fun in the sun and sand in your toes with river rafting. The options are endless around Kern County. You'll find rafting businesses like Kern River Outfitters (6602 Wofford Blvd., Wofford Heights), Sequoia Adventures (43365 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers) and Sierra South Mountain Sports (11300 Kernville Road, Kernville) to name a few, depending on where you're next destination is.
A day out with Picnic Planner & Co.: Who doesn't want to sit out in the sun on a picnic blanket surrounded by food and the people you love. Picnic Planner & Co. founder Cristal Garza started her business in November 2020. Garza was one of those individuals who loved to travel. One of her favorite memories is having a picnic by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. She wanted to bring that sense of happiness to Bakersfield and offer an activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plan one of these elegant and fun picnics with Garza around the Bakersfield area. Follow her on Instagram to get the latest updates @thepicnicplannerco.
SIGHTS TO SEE (while hiking, strolling)
Wind Wolves Preserve (16019 Maricopa Highway): Less than an hour away from Bakersfield lies the beautiful Wind Wolves Preserve. This land is home to Tule elk, California condors and kit foxes, just to name a few, as you may encounter them while strolling. Wind Wolves is one of many perfect outdoor activities to do with your family — an affordable day trip to hike, bike, camp, bird watch and picnic.
Breckenridge Mountain: Just 11 miles southwest of Lake Isabella and at 7,500 feet, Breckenridge Mountain isn't Kern's highest summit, but it's a beautiful vacation getaway. Take your family here for a perfect camping trip; just remember to obtain a campfire permit. Breckenridge Mountain is great for rock climbing, hiking and feeling awe-inspired by the history and sights from the mountain.
Kern River Trail: Take a nice and easy stroll out on this trail with the family. It lies between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella, where its visitors will have a wondrous view of wildflowers, lavish green trees and an alluring view of rolling hills.
Solvang: If you're familiar with the Santa Barbara area, you might have heard of this gem of a town. Solvang falls under the Santa Ynez Valley and is known for its Danish-style architecture and wineries. Traveling there is a bit of a drive, but the sights you see while you're on your way are priceless. Along with its many wineries, there are boutiques, bakeries and eateries inspired by Danish foods and a whole town to walk around. Being there will make you feel like you're in "Little Denmark."
Tehachapi Mountain Park (17350 Water Canyon Road, Tehachapi): One of nature's gems lies eight miles southwest of Tehachapi between the San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles Basin. The park is generally open year-round, but be careful during the winter season because of snowfall. If you're looking for a one-day getaway, look no further. The park offers hiking, camping and equestrian trail riding.
Jawbone Canyon: If you're feeling the desert, look no further than Jawbone Canyon near the Mojave Desert. The area was originally a popular location in the late 1800s for gold mining. Now the land covers a beautiful desert landscape with trails for any family to explore freely.
Unal Trail: Situated farther away from Bakersfield sits Unal Trail — an easy hike to the crest of the Greenhorn Mountains. The best time to visit is during the spring and summer seasons, when visitors can see Wofford Heights and the Alta Sierra. When visiting, you'll see mountain bikers, runners and hikers.
Pine Mountain Club: The southwestern area of Kern County hides a private mountain community, where adventure awaits. During the peak of the summer season, people can enjoy a variety of recreation, including golf, tennis, hiking, camping, swimming, horse riding and even summer camps. While taking a nice stroll in the area, remember to enjoy Pine Mountain Club's surrounding nature from Fern's Lake, rows of primrose flowers and the wildlife. In Pine Mountain Club's surrounding area, visitors can view Sawmill Mountain, Mt. Pinos, Westside Mountain Park and Cerro Noroeste.
Little Petroglyph Canyon: Located in Ridgecrest at the Coso Rock Art District lies a high desert immersed with rocks, sage and Joshua trees hovered by blue skies. This hidden treasure is spread in the volcanic badlands between the Coso mountains and the Sierra Nevada and it is home of one of the best preserved illustrations of Native American art in the country. Take a day trip with the family to educate yourselves and appreciate the Native American culture and history. And you get to hike a beautiful view while you're at it!
WHERE TO EAT
Bakersfield spots: There are so many delicious restaurants in Bakersfield but some iconic eateries in this city are Luigi’s (725 E. 19th St.), Frugatti's (600 Coffee Road), Hodel's Country Dining (5917 Knudsen Drive) and Dewar's Candy Shop (2700 Calloway Drive).
Tehachapi spots: If you're around the Tehachapi area, there are many popular staples such as Kohnen's Country Bakery (125 W. Tehachapi Blvd.), Red House BBQ (426 E. Tehachapi Blvd.), Steampunk Cafe and Grill (20324 W. Valley Blvd.), Keene Cafe (30256 Woodford Tehachapi Road) and Big Papa's Steakhouse and Saloon (1001 W. Tehachapi Blvd.).
Delano spots: When you pass through Kern County, you'll eventually see Delano. Though it's a small town, you'll find eateries worth visiting such as Elmer's Drive-In (1112 Cecil Ave.), Mi Nayarit Restaurant (408 11th Ave.), Generals Cafe & Grill (2343 Girard St.) and La Barca Famous Tortas (1302 S. High St., Suite C).
Kernville spots: While traveling through or near national parks in Kern County, visitors will see Kernville. The area is not only known for its prominent nature scene, but also its small eateries, like Ewing's on the Kern (125 Buena Vista Drive), The Pizza Barn (11401 Kernville Road), Kernville Saloon (20 Tobias St.), Cherly's Diner (11030 Kernville Road) and Cracked Egg Cafe (16 Big Blue Road).