Top 11 Fun Things To Do in San Bernardino County

October 16th, 2023  / Author: Zachariah Peterson
Insights / Locations

There’s a wealth of sights, events, and other interesting and fun things to do in San Bernardino County. This is to be expected, as the County of San Bernardino is the largest county in the country and the 14th most populous one. And it falls within the Inland Empire in California. Does a county need a better pedigree to be considered worth a visit?

If it does, we’ll say you can find beaches, deserts, forests, parks, and mountains within San Bernardino County. The only things you can’t find here are the oceanfront and some of California’s more famous wine regions. Yet, this is barely noticeable with all the other fascinating activities in San Bernardino County.

But there’s no reason to continue talking in generalities. We’ve made a checklist of the top 11 things to do in San Bernardino County that should top your to-do list if you visit. And yes, there are many other things worth checking out, but we had to narrow down the list. Otherwise, it would barely fit in a book.

In any case, let’s explore the beautiful County of San Bernardino and all it has to offer!

When was San Bernardino Founded?

Ah, the city of San Bernardino! Founded on the sunny shores of California on April 20, 1810, this city has been making history for over 200 years! It's a place where the sun always shines, the palm trees sway, and the history books come to life. 

From its early days as a Spanish mission to its booming hub of commerce and industry, San Bernardino has always been a city on the rise. So raise a glass to this fantastic city, and let's explore the rich history, bright future, and stunning places to go in San Bernardino!

How Large is San Bernardino County?

San Bernardino County is one impressive chunk of land! With a whopping 20,105 square miles, it's one of the largest counties in the United States by area. Imagine a county so big, it could fit the entire state of New Jersey inside its borders and still have room to spare. Talk about a big backyard!

But size isn't everything, and San Bernardino County has plenty more to boast about. From the stunning mountain ranges to the rolling deserts, there's something for everyone in this county. So grab a map, a compass, and a sense of adventure, and feel free to explore the vast and wonderful land and all the things to do in San Bernardino county, CA.

What is the Area of San Bernardino Known As?

San Bernardino is part of a larger area known as the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire is a bustling metropolitan area in Southern California, encompassing San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. This area is known for its rich history, diverse communities, and beautiful natural landscapes.

So, visiting the heart of the Inland Empire, where the sun always shines, and the opportunities are endless, is a no-brainer. And we’ve got you covered with a list of the top things to do in Inland Empire, CA and make life-long memories.

What is San Bernardino Best Known for?

Is San Bernardino a good city to pay a visit to? With a rich and storied history, Sand Bernardino is known for many things and has a little something for everyone.

For history buffs, the historic Route 66 passes through San Bernardino's heart and provides a glimpse into the city's past. There's the stunning San Bernardino National Forest for nature lovers to hike, camp, and explore outdoor activities. And for foodies, there's an amazing variety of delicious cuisine, from traditional Mexican dishes to mouth-watering BBQ and the original McDonald’s.

But what San Bernardino is truly famous for is its spirit. This city has faced its fair share of challenges, but through it all, the people of San Bernardino have remained resilient, optimistic, and always looking forward. So, come see what all the fuss is about, and discover why San Bernardino is one of the most dynamic, diverse, and delightful cities in the United States. Trust us when we say that San Bernardino vacations are unmatched!

How Far is the Beach from San Bernardino?

If you're looking to trade the desert for the beach, you won't have to go far from San Bernardino! In fact, you can be soaking up the sun on the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean in just a short drive.

Now, exactly how short depends on which beach you choose, but most beaches in Southern California are within a couple of hours' drive from San Bernardino. Before you know it, you'll be feeling the ocean breeze and hearing the sound of the waves.

And the best part? After a day at the beach and exploring attractions near San Bernardino CA, you can head back to the comfort and convenience of San Bernardino itself. It's the best of both worlds. So, pack your sunscreen, grab a towel, hit the road, and head to a Sand Bernardino beach!

Top Things to Do in San Bernardino County, CA

If you’re wondering what is there to do in San Bernardino, know that you'll never run out of options! This county is brimming with excitement and adventures that are sure to please everyone. Whether you're looking for outdoor thrills, cultural experiences, or just a fun day out with the family, San Bernardino activities won’t let you down.

So, without further ado, let's dive into the top places to visit and things to do in San Bernardino County.

1. The First McDonald’s 

What to do in San Bernardino County? Well, let’s start off with a bit of Americana. And what’s more American than fast food? The first, original McDonald’s, can be found in the County of San Bernardino on Route 66. The fast-food restaurant isn’t in operation anymore but has been turned into a museum and a State Historic Site.

It has the largest collection of pre-Ray Krock memorabilia, and visitors can come in for free. You can find everything from MacDonald’s-related news articles to Happy Meal toys from all over the world. For that matter, the collection keeps growing, as you can bring your own Happy Meal toy and add it to the collection.

2. The National Orange Show Festival

May is one of the best months to put your house on the market, but it’s also the time to visit the National Orange Festival in San Bernardino. Founded in 1911 to promote the citrus industry (a big factor in San Bernardino’s economy), the festival has since outgrown its initial purpose.

Nowadays, although still honoring the eponymous fruit, the festival is more of a carnival than anything. Rides, booths, games, and everything else you would expect from a carnival can be found here. However, the onset of the pandemic has caused the festival to shut down live events, but it has since gone virtual. Live or online, this festival is one of the top places to visit in San Bernardino. It will give you a sweet taste of the San Bernardino nightlife!

3. San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum

The museum is located in a Santa Fe depot dating back to 1918. The San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum is a must-see for history buffs and train enthusiasts. It provides a deep dive into the transportation and railroad industry in the United States. 

Visitors can view a recreated 1910 railroad station, horse-drawn buggies from the 19th century, a fire department wagon from 1890, a fully restored handcar, and much more. In short, this museum tells the fascinating story of the development of the modern County of San Bernardino and the Inland Empire.

4. California Theatre of Performing Arts

Located in downtown San Bernardino, the California Theatre of Performing Arts was opened in 1928. The San Bernardino Symphony has also called it home since 1929. Musicals, Broadway plays, concerts, dance recitals, and theatrical plays take place here. And the theatre is not just a haven for the arts, but a historical sight in its own right.

It still houses the majestic ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ pipe organ, which you can hear on special occasions. The California Theatre was also the place where early Hollywood movies were test-screened. If you visit here, you are sitting in the same place where world-famous classics like the Wizard of Oz and King Kong were first screened.

5. San Manuel Stadium

The County of San Bernardino isn’t home to a nationally-acclaimed sports team. But what’s the next best thing to do in San Bernardino if you are a sports fan? Visit the San Manuel Stadium, home to the Inland Empire 66ers Minor League team. It may be one of the less well-known San Bernardino attractions, but it’s worth checking out.

The season lasts from April to September, and the stadium can house 5 000 people. Besides the standard fare, like hotdogs, popcorn, and beverages, there is a designated area for children with child-friendly attractions. Yet, one of the most impressive sights you can witness here are the firework displays, some of the largest in San Bernardino County, held on special occasions.

Another one of the worthy mentions and fun things to do in San Bernardino county, CA is paying a visit to the Regal Stadium 14 San Bernardino, too. 

6. The San Bernardino National Forest

Up until now, we’ve focused on venues and attractions, but what truly makes the County of San Bernardino stand out is the nature. There are many things to do in San Bernardino if you prefer the outdoors, and they are mostly located in the San Bernardino National Forest. 

It spans approximately 680 000 acres and covers parts of the San Bernardino, Santa Rosa, San Jacinto, and San Gabriel Mountains. There is a plethora of vistas, hiking trails, camping, and picnic grounds, trails for horseback riding, and fishing spots to be found here. We’ll cover the most prominent, but we encourage you to explore further.

7. Rim of the World Scenic Byway

You should start by taking a drive along the Rim of the World Scenic Byway. This 110-mile-long road will take you along the rim of the San Bernardino Mountains, from Cajon Pass to San Gorgonio Pass. These scenic views are truly one of a kind from this vantage point.

While you are driving along this road, you can choose which place you’d like to visit first. It connects all the main San Bernardino attractions, and you will be able to see everything from Big Bear Lake to small San Bernardino County towns nestled in the hills. Just make sure to bring chains if you are coming during winter.

8. Big Bear Lake

Looking for attractions near San Bernardino, CA? The lakes in San Bernardino county are breathtaking and definitely worth visiting.

Once you enter the San Bernardino National Forest, it will take about an hour by car to reach Big Bear Lake, one of the most popular ones. Hiking, mountain biking, and fishing are some of the more popular summertime activities and things to do near San Bernardino. But Big Bear Lake is a year-round retreat. So, if you are into snowboarding and skiing or winter hiking, you should not miss out on visiting Big Bear Lake.

You can find accommodations in small, locally-owned cottages or patron larger hotels, most of which are nestled on the southern side of the Lake. Big Bear Lake is often called the jewel of the San Bernardino Mountains, so you might want to make it your first stop.

Big Bear Discovery Center in San Bernardino County

If you plan to visit Big Bear Lake, make sure to visit the Big Bear Discovery Center, too. It is run by the Mountaintop Rangers of San Bernardino County and you can find any information you need about the National Forest here, including maps about camping places and mountain trails. You will also find the local natural history museum.

9. Deep Creek Hot Springs

The Deep Creek Hot Springs are naturally occurring hot springs located in the Mohave Desert section of the National Forest. You can bathe in both hot and cold water. The hot springs can be reached by three hiking trails, the first two being approximately 2 miles long and the third one 6.

The hot springs are closed to the public from sundown to sunrise and the closest town is Hesperia, so you might want to plan an overnight stay there if you plan to visit here. But, we should note that you might want to skip the Deep Creek Hot Springs if you are uncomfortable with public nudity, as clothing is optional here.

10. Silverwood Lake

Silverwood Lake is another one of the stunning lakes in San Bernardino county – a recreational area within the San Bernardino National Forest located on the West Fork Mojave River. It was created during the construction of the Cedar Springs Dam in 1971. 

If you are starting from the city of San Bernardino, it will take you about an hour by car to reach it. Boating, fishing, water skiing, and swimming are some of the more popular fun activities here during warmer months. You will also find hiking trails and picnic areas near it. 

11. Glen Helen Regional Park & Festival Grounds

We’ll finish our list off our list with the Glen Helen Regional Park (which is not within the San Bernardino National Forest). The park has two lakes and a swimming complex, so it’s your choice whether you want to go for a bit of fishing or down some waterslides. But probably the most impressive sight here is the Glen Helen Amphitheatre. 

It is the largest outdoor amphitheater in the US and can fit 65 000 people. It hosts many concerts and festivals, and the season starts in March and ends in November. Swimming or concerts aren’t your thing? Then you can go to the San Helen Raceway for some professional and amateur racing. All in all, Glen Helen is one of the most alluring parks in San Bernardino that you should definitely check out.

Looking for More Things to Do in San Bernardino?

If you want to explore every corner and find more fun things to do in San Bernardino County, simply visiting won’t be enough. You’ll need to move here to truly enjoy everything this county has to offer. And SleeveUp Homes can help you make this dream come true.

We buy houses all across Southern California and can buy your house for top dollar. If you are looking to sell your old house and relocate to San Bernardino County, contact us to request a no-obligation cash offer. We are direct buyers, so you won’t be paying any commissions, and we’ll take care of all the closing costs.



If you want to sell fast and are worried about how long the traditional process takes, and the commission and fees involved, consider working with SleeveUp Homes.