San Bernardino, California, is located in the diverse landscape of a metropolis that sits in the shadows of the Southern California mountain ranges. Within minutes, you will reach the immense Mojave Desert. As the second largest city in the Inland Empire region, San Bernardino offers landmark attractions, including nine regional parks that cover more than 9,200 acres (3,723.1 hectares) and historic sights that detail the city’s past stories since the early 1800s.
Besides the nine regional parks, there are many fun things to do in San Bernardino, that suits all ages. Are you heading to San Bernardino for your holiday? From its hiking and its paragliding to its burger history and Broadway plays, here are the 10 best things to do in San Bernardino, California.
1. Hiking at San Bernardino National Forest
The San Bernardino National Forest is a national forest made up of San Bernardino Mountains on the easternmost of the Transverse Ranges, and the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains on the northernmost of the Peninsular Ranges. The forest includes five wilderness areas: San Gorgonio, Cucamonga, San Jacinto, Santa Rosa and Bighorn Mountain.
There are plenty of hiking trails at different levels of experience and the Rangers are always ready to help you with information. One of the best places for hiking is Big Bear Lake, with its beautiful landscape. There are 11 “Yellow Post” free campgrounds for use, all year round. In the summer, you can do more than just hiking, like fishing and swimming and in the autumn, the forest comes alive with its magical colours.
San Bernardino National Forest
Website: San Bernardino National Forest
2. Visit the unofficial McDonald's Museum
If you’ve seen the movie “Founder” or you are a Big Mac fan, a visit to the unofficial McDonald’s Museum is a must when visiting San Bernardino. The McDonald’s Museum is open seven days a week with free entrance. It is run on donations and serves to foster a sense of pride in the community.
You can find memorabilia from early McDonald’s history, like the story of Ray Kroc and the McDonald’s brothers, as well as collections of Happy Meals toys, donated by people from around the world. Jack, the curator, is always ready to give you all the information that you need. One thing to remember, this museum does not offer anything to eat, so you must drive to the nearest McDonald’s to get your own Big Mac.
Site of the original McDonald's
Address: 1398 N E St, San Bernardino, CA 92405
3. The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art for Egyptian artefacts
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) is the art museum of California State University, San Bernardino main campus. It boasts a world-class collection of approximately 200 ancient Egyptian artefacts, the largest display of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the western United States. If you’re an art lover, this is the place to visit. RAFFMA also arranges events at the museum and there is always something going on here.
Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art
Address: 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA 92407, USA
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4. Watersliding at Glen Helen Regional Park
Located at the based of the Cajon Pass, with scenic views of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, Glen Helen Regional Park has something for everyone. There are two waterslides and the park also has two lakes for fishing, a swimming complex with a pool, a sandy area, and a zero depth water play park. There are several picnic areas under the shady trees with amazing views, throughout the park.
Glen Helen Regional Park
Address: 2555 Glen Helen Pkwy, San Bernardino, CA 92407, USA
Website: Glen Helen Regional Park
5. Have a barbecue picnic at Perris Hill Park
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Perris Hill Park covers an impressive 64-acres (25.9-hectares) of grasslands and rolling hills, with a view to beautiful Lake Perris. It offers 300 picnic sites with tables and barbecue features and it’s a perfect place for a barbecue party with family and friends.
In addition to the picnic sites, there are playgrounds for younger visitors, as well as a baseball diamond and tennis courts if you fancy getting some exercise. After a delicious barbecue lunch, take a quick dip in the lake. There are two beaches inside the park, Moreno and Perris Beach and both have large, grassy areas adjacent to the sand.
Perris Hill Park
Address: 1135 E Highland Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92408, USA
Website: Perris Hill Park
6. Enjoy Broadway plays at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts
Immerse yourself in an art and culture journey with Broadway plays performed at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts. Since 1928, the theatre stages a huge selection of thrilling shows throughout the year, including Broadway plays, classical concerts, dance recitals, and even children’s theatre.
Began as a vaudevillian theatre, the California Theatre of the Performing Arts is a treasured gem. Don’t forget to check out the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ that will remind you of the Phantom of the Opera!
California Theatre of the Performing Arts
Address: 562 W 4th St, San Bernardino, CA 92401, USA
7. Sandboarding at Kelso Dunes (from 204.99 USD)
Kelso Dune Field is the largest sand dunes in the Mojave Desert, covering 45 square miles (116.5 square kilometres) of quartz and feldspar. With sand dunes rising as high as 650 feet (198.1 metres), the Mojave National Preserve protects Kelso Dune Field.
Enjoy sandboarding at the Kelso Dunes. Climb to the top of the crests and slide slowly down the dunes. Feel the sand moving and vibrating over the ever-shifting ground.
Grand Canyon West Rim Adventure
Price: from 204.99 USD
8. Racing with SB Raceway Indoor Karting
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
When you have had enough of the outdoor activities around San Bernardino, check out SB Raceway Indoor Karting for some indoor adrenaline time. You can race the Go-Karts with friends and family and there are better deals that offer two, three, or even five races.
You will definitely need to try at least two races to satisfy yourself. In between racing, there are other options here, such as video games and an air hockey table.
Address: 217 E Club Center Dr, San Bernardino, CA 92408, USA
Website: SB Raceway
9. Let's watch a ball game at San Manuel Stadium
Spend an evening at San Manuel Stadium, home of the Inland Empire 66ers, a minor league baseball team in San Bernardino. The stadium has regular baseball games from April to September, every year. There are many promotion nights and events like firework displays and hot dog nights. If you bring your children, there is a Fun Zone, with a range of attractions that suit all children.
San Manuel Stadium
Address: 280 S E St, San Bernardino, CA 92401, USA
10. Hangliding with High Adventure Hang Gliding & Paragliding on San Bernardino Mountain
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Adrenaline junkies, gear up and experience Hangliding with High Adventure Hang Gliding. Hangliding is a sport or a recreational activity using a hang glider, which is a light, non-motorised aircraft. Modern hang gliders are made of an aluminium alloy or composite frame, covered with a synthetic sailcloth, to form a wing.
The instructor is also the pilot and they will start you off with a foot launch from approximately 4,000 feet (1,219.2 metres). You will fly like a bird and try to pilot the hang glider throughout the journey, with the pilot. There will be GoPro videos and photos that you can purchase of your trip.
High Adventure Hang Gliding
Address: 5500 Ben Canyon Rd, San Bernardino, CA 92407, USA
Website: High Adventure Hang Gliding
Can’t get enough of San Bernardino
San Bernardino is lucky to be surrounded with an abundance of natural beauty. You can explore the nine regional parks of San Bernardino while experiencing the art and culture of the region and still not see all the city has to offer.
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