June is the start of summer vacation for many locals and Bakersfield’s central location provides myriad opportunities to beat the heat, take a break from the daily grind and escape. Whether it’s getting lost in nature, engaging in nightlife in cities that never sleep or disconnecting from our mobile devices and connecting with family, there’s a destination near and far for you.

Outdoor recreation

• Lake Tahoe. There are over 20 campgrounds, plenty of hiking trails and fishing locations throughout the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin. Straddling the state line between California and Nevada, the largest alpine lake in North America has no shortage of memorable scenery that changes depending on the season you visit. Distance from Bakersfield: 380 miles.

• Yosemite. Yosemite is a must-visit national park featuring giant sequoias, waterfalls and untamed wilderness across nearly 1,200 square miles. It’s no wonder nearly four million people visit on an annual basis. From barebones camping to luxury resorts and everything in between, it’s a destination that can be as rugged or easy as you like. Distance from Bakersfield: 170 miles.

• Death Valley. If lush forests and roaring rivers are too cliche, head on over to the unforgiving environment of Death Valley National Park. With temperatures reaching 120 degrees, the largest national park outside of Alaska contains 3.3 million acres of sand dunes, salt flats, rocks and sandstone canyons, attracting over 1.5 million visitors in 2018 looking to brave the heat. Distance from Bakersfield: 174 miles.

• OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Mendocino. A coastal community in Northern California, Mendocino is wedged between beaches of Mendocino Headlands State Park to the west and the Russian Gulch State Park to the northeast. Hike surrounding trails, rent bicycles, or rent a canoe or kayak and explore the Big River estuary. Distance from Bakersfield: 429 miles.

• CLOSE TO HOME: The Kern River. If you’re going to test the waters of the Kern River, we highly recommend you do so under the guidance of trained professionals. There are many organizations that provide training and safety equipment to experience the roaring rapids of the only river in the Sierra that drains in a southern direction. Distance from Bakersfield: up to 42 miles away.

Ocean views

• Santa Monica. There’s something for everyone at this popular beach destination, from the shops and rides on the pier, nearby restaurants and Ocean Front Walk that connects to other popular stops like Venice and Muscle Beach. Hop in the water, lounge on the sand or rent bikes and explore the surrounding area. Distance from Bakersfield: 112 miles.

• Coronado. This San Diego-area beach is perfect for couples, families and pets. The walkable beach’s waves are manageable, the north end allows dogs to roam freely, and the adjacent boardwalk is peppered with various shops and restaurants. Distance from Bakersfield: 237 miles.

• McClures Beach. This “hidden” beach is a bit of a drive, tucked away in the northwestern shoreline of Point Reyes National Seashore, but McClures Beach has a wild and remote feel with its colorful crumbling bluffs. Distance from Bakersfield: 333 miles.

• OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Glass Beach. What was once a trash dump is now a hauntingly beautiful beach abundant in colorful sea glass polished by ocean waters. This is a great place for kids to explore or to capture that Instagram-worthy travel photo. Distance from Bakersfield: 446 miles.

• CLOSE TO HOME: The Central Coast. With myriad beaches to choose from only a couple of hours away, it’s no wonder the Central Coast is such a popular getaway spot for Bakersfield residents. Whether you’re looking to surf, fish, lounge, camp, wine or dine, there’s a Central Coast location for you. Distance from Bakersfield: 121 to 221 miles.

Arts & entertainment

• Las Vegas. There’s no shortage of entertainment in Las Vegas, from its energetic nightlife, exhilarating shows, mesmerizing exhibits and museums, theme parks and more. At four hours away, it can even be a daytrip destination for the truly bold. Distance from Bakersfield: 286 miles.

• San Francisco. San Francisco seems to have it all, so it’s really a matter of finding something that tickles your fancy. Examine the internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, take a stroll back in time at the Walt Disney Family Museum, venture through Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, learn and explore at the California Academy of Sciences or catch a show at one of the many local theaters and entertainment venues. Distance from Bakersfield: 283 miles.

• Los Angeles. The sprawling, energetic city is home to countless museums, shopping destinations, top-notch theaters, restaurants and more. There’s really nothing you can’t find here and it’s just over the Grapevine. Distance from Bakersfield: 113 miles.

• OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Laguna Beach. Not only does Laguna Beach host the annual Sawdust Festival, which showcases all forms of fine art and crafts, food and entertainment June 28 to Sept. 1, it runs concurrent to the Pageant of the Masters, which recreates classical and contemporary works of art with real people July 7 through Aug. 31. Distance from Bakersfield: 178 miles.

• CLOSE TO HOME: There’s absolutely no need to leave Bakersfield to get cultured and be entertained. From First Fridays, Second Saturdays and the constant productions and concerts held at local theater and event venues, the real question becomes what should you do tonight?

Families

• Anaheim. It doesn’t get more family friendly than Disneyland. In addition to being home to the happiest place on earth, Anaheim is also home to Adventure City, a budget-friendly family theme park occupying just over 2 acres, making it one of the smallest theme parks in California, and close to Knott’s Berry Farm. Distance from Bakersfield: 138 miles.

• San Diego. If variety is what you seek, San Diego features close to a dozen amusement parks, like SeaWorld, Legoland, Belmont Park, Inflatable World, Boomers! San Diego, Uptown Jungle Fun Park, Boardwalk and more. Distance from Bakersfield: 232 miles.

• Santa Barbara. There’s something for all ages at this coastal city, from the MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation; Santa Barbara Zoo; Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History; Santa Barbara Mission; and more. Distance from Bakersfield: 147 miles.

• OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Costanoa. For families looking to disconnect from the city and connect with nature, Costanoa provides multiple opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, from “roughing it” in traditional tents, camping in luxury in one of resort’s lodges or somewhere in between, whether in a cabin or bungalow. Outside, there are countless hiking and biking trails, kayaking, horseback riding, guided tours, stargazing and more along coastal stretches and towering redwoods. Distance from Bakersfield: 271 miles.

• CLOSE TO HOME: Buck Owens Boulevard is home to The BLVD, which features bowling, laser tag, arcade games and more; Flight Fit N Fun, which provides high-flying bounce-house fun; and Track House, which suits families with a need for speed. All are family friendly and just a hop, skip and a jump away from one another. 

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