San Bernardino is a county state in California, US, that extends to the east and makes contact with the state lines of both Arizona and Nevada. Being the nation’s largest county, its border touches five other counties of California. The county serves as a pleasant refuge for tourists as there are many exciting things to do in San Bernardino.

Moreover, the hotels feature top amenities, markets are there for shopping, and recreation areas grab the attention of tourists. San Bernardino becomes a winter sports paradise when the pass road is closed in the winter.

Things to Do in San Bernardino

If you plan a trip to this beautiful city, here are the top things to do in San Bernardino:

1- Visiting Original McDonald’s Site and Museum

Off Route 66, this is the first-ever McDonald’s site opened in 1940. The owner of the local chicken restaurant bought it and turned it into a museum. The museum is a must-visit site for fast food history lovers. Founded by brothers (Maurice) Mac and (Richard) Dick, the site rapidly became a popular food spot for people craving a quick and tasty meal.

McDonald's Site and Museum
McDonald’s Site and Museum

The museum features the largest collections of historic McDonald’s merchandise. You can find an extensive collection of Happy Meals Gifts from all over the world. The visiting hours are from 10 AM to 5 PM. As soon as you walk in, you will meet a historian who will guide you through the museum and explain all the fascinating artifacts and other collections. 

2- Hiking in San Bernardino National Forest

Encompassed of many hiking trails and pleasant viewpoints, this National Forest comprises 660,000 acres of the San Bernardino Mountains. With the highest elevation at Mount San Gorgonio, This National Forest is one of the most famous places to visit. The hiking allows backcountry camping throughout the forest.

However, some places, such as San Bernardino Peak, require an additional permit for overnight stays. The forest is home to Californian wildlife. Some notable peaks here include Jepson Peak, Anderson Peak, and San Bernardino Peak. To satisfy hunger after a challenging hike, you can visit popular local restaurants like Hortencia’s at the Cliffhanger, Leno’s Rico Taco, and Rosa Maria’s. 

3- Exploring San Bernardino Downtown

Like most downtowns, San Bernardino Downtown is the heart of the region. It is home to government buildings and a market and business industry hub. You can find main markets and do shopping from multiple shopping malls.

San Bernardino Downtown
San Bernardino Downtown

There are many renowned restaurants and bars in Downtown. Seccombe Lake Park Downtown is a fantastic place to hang out with family and friends. For art lovers, an art hub is there with many art shops and galleries. Downtown also hosts a Farmer’s Market where tourists can buy and taste local food and juices.

4- Picnic at Glen Helen Regional Park

Glen Helen Regional Park is about twenty minutes away from Downtown. This pleasant escape to nature is in the panoramic hillside of Cajon Pass northwest of the city center. The serene park encompasses a land of 1,340 acres. Whether you are with family or a group of friends, the park invites you to spend quality time here.

Moreover, the main activities at Glen Helen Park include disc golf, fishing, and swimming; There is a large swimming complex with a pool and multiple waterslides. The Glen Helen Amphitheatre in the park is one of the largest outdoor stages in the country. The Amphitheatre hosts fun festivals in the summer, so schedule your visit accordingly. 

5- Wandering around Big Bear Lake

Wandering around Big Bear Lake is one of the most popular things in San Bernardino. The Lake is located an hour’s drive from San Bernardino Forest. The temperature around Big Bear Lake is lower than that on the valley floor. There is a zoo in the Lake’s scenic area where many disabled animals are kept.

Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake

For lunch, Big Bear’s stylish pop-up picnic company serves seasonal items in lunch. The hiking destination here is a part of the renowned Pacific Crest Trail. The Lake hosts thousands of visitors every year. In winter, Skiing at Big Bears Mountain Resort is one of the top activities in San Bernardino. 

6- A Short Trip to Joshua National Park

Joshua National Park is not only famous in San Bernardino but also one of the most famous national parks in the United States. It showcases a dreamlike desert scene for about one and a half hours. Also, it is easily recognized from far by thousands of trees spread across its unique desert landscapes.

Other notable attractions include Jumbo Rocks, Ryan Campground, and Indian Cove. There are many hiking trails with scenic views. Many tourists climb rocks and go hiking to witness beautiful sunrise and sunset at the national park. With serene views, Joshua National Park is a popular site for photography in San Bernardino.

7- Learn History at San Bernardino County Museum

This county museum is 15 minutes drive from the San Bernardino Downtown. Tourists interested in history must visit the museum to learn about the fascinating history of this place. The museum has been dedicated to displaying the local, regional identity since 1957.

San Bernardino County Museum
San Bernardino County Museum

In addition, the cultural and natural history collection contains over 2000 artifacts on display. There are two halls in the museum. The Main Hall hosts the Hall of Earth Sciences and the Hall of History. A life-size mastodon and a covered wagon are featured in the Main Hall. The Hall of Earth Sciences features a pretty cool collection with many fossils and prehistoric artifacts.

8- Dive into Deep Creek Hot Springs

Many tourists need to be made aware of this local Californian spot. We hear about waterfalls, but have you ever experienced soaking in the hot springs? The Deep Creek Hot Springs is settled amidst the San Bernardino mountains. To reach the hot springs, tourists have to cross the Colorado River.

There are six or seven main pools. Despite the busy hiking activity at Pacific Crest Trail, few tourists are at the pools. Most hikers relax and enjoy a break at the Deep Creek Hot Springs. The best time to visit there in the summer is early mornings and on weekdays. 

9- Enjoy the Rim of the World Scenic Byway

Trips and vacations are all about looking for places with the best views. The Rim of the World Scenic Byway roams around the San Bernardino Mountains encompassing the highways SR-13, 18, and 138. The SR-18 showcases the best views of the valley below and surrounding peaks up to 8,000 feet.

World Scenic Byway
World Scenic Byway

The road further leads to the top attractions of the city, including Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino National Forest. Although the Scenic Byway is open all year round, you need chains in the winter season.

10- Spend Quality Time at Lake Arrowhead

This worthwhile mountain destination is about 40 minutes from San Bernardino. The charming residential town of Lake Arrowhead attracts plenty of tourists every year. While planning for activities, tourists add this Lake to their plans because it has a lot of fun things to do. Also, there are cottages and resort hotels, markets to shop from, and many restaurants to taste delicious foods. Also, a concert venue hosts concerts all year round. Boat trips are offered, and it is a must-take visit, especially on sunny days. 

Final Thoughts

San Bernardino is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. Travel enthusiasts who strongly urge to have fun activities include this place in their tour plans. Along with showcasing natural beauty, the city is full of famous attractions, and each has many activities to engage tourists. The best time to visit San Bernardino is in the summer season.

From exploring Downtown to hiking the highest peaks of the county, the city offers travelers a vast range of experiences. Besides top things to do in San Bernardino, there are top-rated restaurants, theaters, and picnic spots to have quality time with your family and friends.

FAQs about Things to Do in San Bernardino

What are some top things to do in San Bernardino on a sunny day?

On a sunny day, famous lakes, including Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead, are the best places to visit. You can take boat trip tours, fishing, and swimming. Moreover, relaxing in the Deep Creek Hot Springs is also a good idea.

What is the best time to visit San Bernardino?

The best time to visit San Bernardino is from April to September. However, July, August, and September are dry, and the city experiences its coldest weather in December and January.

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