30 Fun Things to Do in San Bernardino County (& Around)

10 min read

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A turquoise lake next to rocks and a dense green forest
There are many things to do in and around San Bernardino, like visiting Big Bear Lake

There are many beautiful cities and areas in Southern California, including San Bernardino city and the County of San Bernardino. The city itself is just over an hour east of Los Angeles, and the county features museums, independent shops, breweries, and more.

A few of the most fun things to do in San Bernardino County, CA, and around include visiting the First Original McDonald's Museum, hiking the Santa Ana River Trail, and exploring Calico Ghost Town. If you've been wondering what to do in and near San Bernardino, California, keep reading for 30 fun ideas!

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  • 30 San Bernardino things to do

30 Fun Things to Do Around San Bernardino, CA

San Bernardino Things to Do Map

A map of San Bernardino. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

Fun Things to Do in San Bernardino, CA

Look around the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum

The San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum is another interesting attraction to visit. Housed in a 1918 train depot, the museum covers local history with an emphasis on railroad history in the area. You'll also get to see artifacts like old photographs.

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One of the fun things to do in San Bernardino, CA, is visiting the first McDonald's
Going to the first McDonald's is one of the fun things to do in San Bernardino, CA

Learn about McDonald's at the First Original McDonald's Museum

The first ever McDonald's restaurant was opened in San Bernardino in 1940. Today, you can visit this iconic location which houses a fascinating museum covering the history of the now globally known brand.

As you look around, you'll see various pieces of memorabilia, including Old Happy Meal toys, menus, and advertisements. You'll also learn fun facts about the brand and its first-ever outlet.

View exhibits at Norton Air Force Base Museum

If you're interested in military history, the Norton Air Force Museum is one of the San Bernardino attractions you must visit. The museum focuses on air force history and some other military topics. As you look around, you'll learn many new facts and see memorabilia, uniforms, and photos.

Admire artworks at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art

Art lovers won't want to miss visiting the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art when in San Bernardino. This museum is especially well-known for its collection of Egyptian artwork and artifacts. Other things to see include contemporary paintings, Italian pottery, and Asian ceramics.

Watch a show at the Glen Helen Amphitheater

Glen Helen Amphitheater is a 65,000-capacity venue that hosts a range of shows. At the outdoor theater in Glen Helen Regional Park, you can see concerts with a range of genres, from pop and rock to classical music, available to choose from.

Catch an Inland Empire 66ers at San Manuel Stadium

One of the best things to do in San Bernardino, California, for sports fans is going to an Inland Empire 66ers game. The Inland Empire 66ers play at San Manuel Stadium in the MiLB. The regular season runs from April through mid-September, and going to a game offers a fun way to mix with locals and enjoy an afternoon or evening of sport.

Hang out at Glen Helen Regional Park

Situated about 15 minutes from downtown, Glen Helen Regional Park is the perfect place to spend some time in the fresh air. The park features two scenic lakes and many trails to follow, including paths around the lakes.

There's also a swimming pool, picnic areas, and lots of places to relax on the grass. Glen Helen Regional Park has something for everyone and is a great family-friendly attraction.

Eat at Alfredo's Pizza and Pasta

Alfredo's Pizza and Pasta is a laid-back and friendly eatery that's popular with locals. Diners can choose from many types of pasta and pizza, with salads, appetizers, and sides like meatballs or garlic bread also available. After your main meal, you can enjoy Italian sweet treats like cannoli.

Get drinks at the Red Fox Bar & Grill

The Red Fox Bar & Grill is a fun spot to get drinks. You can also get food, play pool or darts, and watch the game, with NFL, NBA, and MLB games shown, among other sports. Drinks to order range from beer and wine to delicious signature cocktails. You can accompany your drinks with bar snacks like nachos or burgers.

Wander along the Santa Ana River Trail

Another of the best things to do in San Bernardino, CA, for outdoor enthusiasts is walking along the Santa Ana River Trail. The trial starts in San Bernardino and stretches to Orange County. You can access the trail from the San Bernardino National Forest, and following it will allow you to enjoy stunning vistas and see many species of plants and animals.

Fun Things to Do Near San Bernardino, CA

Have a great family day out at Fiesta Village Family Fun Park

Fiesta Village Family Fun Park is one of the best attractions for families that's close to San Bernardino. The theme park has numerous attractions, including go-karts, laser tag, and mini-golf. There's also an arcade and rides for all ages and thrill levels, including water slides.

A view over greenery-covered hills with green plants in the foreground
San Bernardino National Forest is a scenic park that covers over 800,000 acres

Explore the San Bernardino National Forest

The San Bernardino National Forest covers over 820,000 acres and is located just 30 minutes from Central San Bernardino. It's a great place to hike and admire the mountainous landscape. As you explore, you'll also come across a variety of tree species and will spot lots of wildlife, including many birds.

A lake with greenery-covered mountains surrounding it
Angeles National Forest has beautiful lakes and trails with mountainous views

Hike in Angeles National Forest

If you enjoy outdoor activities, one of the fun things to do near San Bernardino, CA, is hiking in Angeles National Forest. This attraction is located about 40 minutes from San Bernardino and sits within the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains.

Visitors to the park can hike various trails featuring stunning natural surroundings. As you hike, you'll see many plant and tree species and lots of wildlife.

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The Hollywood Sign sitting on a greenery-covered hill under a blue sky
When in Los Angeles, you can see numerous landmarks, like the Hollywood Sign

Plan a trip to Los Angeles

Planning a day or overnight trip to Los Angeles is a must as the famous city is just an hour and 15 minutes from San Bernardino. You will discover an array of things to do in LA, including seeing California landmarks, like the Hollywood Sign, and visiting unique attractions, shops, bars, and restaurants.

Some other fun things to add to your Los Angeles itinerary include visiting the Getty Museum or Griffith Observatory. If you plan an overnight or multi-day trip, you'll also discover no shortage of things to do at night in LA.

Swim in Deep Creek Hot Springs

Situated an hour and 15 minutes from San Bernardino, Deep Creek Hot Springs is a must-visit natural landmark. The springs can be accessed via various trails that offer scenic views of the surrounding landscape. Once at the hot springs, you can paddle and swim in the water.

A white lighthouse with a red top sitting on a green hill under a blue sky
Long Beach is a fun coastal town that's only an hour and a half from San Bernardino

Spend the day in Long Beach

Long Beach is another excellent day trip destination located an hour and a half from San Bernardino. This coastal town has something for everyone, with Long Beach activities ranging from hanging out at the beach to visiting museums and botanical gardens and much more! The city is very budget friendly too, and you'll find an array of free things to do in Long Beach.

It's also the ideal place to go for a couples getaway. Romantic things to do in Long Beach include wandering around Rainbow Lagoon, dining at stylish restaurants, and going to a drive-in movie.

A lake next to cabins and trees with a snow-capped mountain range in the distance
Big Bear Lake is a scenic place to do water sports and relax in lakeside cabins

Enjoy water sports at Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake is a scenic town located an hour from San Bernardino. The city surrounds a large lake that's ideal for water sports. Activities to enjoy on the lake include kayaking, canoeing, wakeboarding, boating, and more.

Other activities range from hiking and mountain biking to exploring the main village. You can also book lakeside accommodation if you plan to stay overnight, and star gazing is very popular here.

Stroll around Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is located 30 minutes from central San Bernardino and sits on the Pacific Crest Trail. The park surrounds Silverwood Lake and features trails for hiking and biking and a boat launch for those that want to get out on the water. You can also camp here but must reserve a campsite spot before arriving.

A white building with arches and a domed roof next to steps and palm trees
Pasadena is a charming city that you can reach in an hour from San Bernardino

Visit Pasadena

Pasadena is another of many fun day trip destinations located only an hour from San Bernardino. The city has beautiful parks, plus many unique shops, bars, and restaurants. During your trip, you can also see landmarks like Pasadena City Hall. Pasadena has a range of museums to visit too, and you'll discover fantastic nightlife if you plan to stay for more than one day.

A view across greenery-covered hills under a blue sky with some clouds
You can enjoy mountain views when driving the Rim of the World Scenic Byway

Drive along the Rim of the World Scenic Byway

If you want to experience amazing views of the San Bernardino Mountains and surrounding areas, you have to drive along the Rim of the World Scenic Byway. Along with seeing the mountains, you can drive past landmarks like Big Bear Lake and Lucerne Valley. Do note that you'll need a car with snow tires if you're planning to complete the drive in the winter.

Grab a beer at Escape Craft Brewery

Getting a beer at Escape Craft Brewery is one fun yet laid-back nearby San Bernardino things to do. The Brewery is located in Redlands, the city just next door to San Bernardino. The brewery serves a range of craft beers, including signature and seasonal brews. You can find two Escape Craft Brewery locations close to San Bernardino, one of which also serves food like pizza, burgers, and soft pretzels.

Kayak at Lake Gregory Regional Park

If you enjoy water sports, spending a day at Lake Gregory Regional Park is a must. You can kayak or canoe on the lake, with boating and paddleboarding also popular. After enjoying water sports, you can hang out on the shore or go hiking.

A lake with lots of small boats on it surrounded by green trees
Spending the day boating, kayaking, and hiking at Lake Arrowhead is a fun activity

Unwind in nature at Lake Arrowhead

This beautiful area is the ideal place for a weekend getaway and is located just 40 minutes from San Bernardino. Visitors can book lakeside accommodation and enjoy activities like hiking, kayaking, and taking paddleboat tours on the river.

Marvel at Bonita Falls

Bonita Falls is a beautiful set of waterfalls located in San Bernardino National Forest, about 30 minutes from downtown. You can hike scenic trails to the falls, where you can admire their beauty. You can then continue walking through the forest to Hidden Falls.

An old-fashioned mining building next to mining equipment on a clear day
Calico Ghost Town was a mining town in the 1880s and is now an open-air museum

Stroll around the abandoned Calico Ghost Town

Calico Ghost Town is one of the nearby unique places in San Bernardino, CA. The living history museum was a silver mining town in the 1880s. The city was abandoned about ten years later when the value of silver dropped, and mining became less profitable. Today, you can explore the park, which features restored buildings and other artifacts.

Find out about natural science at the San Bernardino County Museum

The San Bernardino County Museum is an excellent attraction for all ages. This museum has exhibits on natural sciences as well as local culture. You can learn about animals and humans that have lived and passed through the area centuries ago.

In addition, you can learn about the current biodiversity of the area. After exploring indoors, you can look around an outdoor space with native plants, like many species of cacti.

A Joshua tree in the desert surrounded by sand, a small hill, and shrubs
Outdoor activity lovers have to plan a trip to Joshua Tree National Park!

Tour Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best National Parks on the West Coast and is located approximately an hour and 20 minutes from San Bernardino. A fun and convenient way to explore the park is by booking a Joshua Tree National Park tour.

You'll be driven around the most beautiful parts of the park and can stop and explore on foot as well. As you look around, you'll get to see the park's namesake Joshua trees and spot wildlife.

Stroll around the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens

Another of the fun things to do near San Bernardino, California, is wandering around the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens. The gardens span 40 acres and feature over 3,500 species of flowers, plants, and trees. As you walk through the gardens, you'll also see wildlife, like butterflies and birds.

See photography exhibits at UCR Arts

UCR Arts is a small gallery located next to UC Riverside Botanic Gardens. The venue has art exhibits predominantly focusing on photography. Other things to see here include independent short films and performance art exhibits.

A small stone bridge and a tower next to a path and trees under a sky at dusk
You can see landmarks in Mount Rubidoux Park, like the Peace Bridge

Check out Mount Rubidoux Park

Mount Rubidoux Park is another excellent outdoor space located about 20 minutes from central San Bernardino. The park is a popular place to go jogging or to walk your dog. You can also see some landmarks within the park, like the Peace Bridge and a large cross on Mount Rubidoux's summit.

In Conclusion

San Bernardino is a fun and unique Californian town that's well worth visiting! Attractions in and around San Bernardino, CA, range from parks and National Forests to quirky local bars and fascinating museums. After exploring all of the San Bernardino attractions, you can also visit nearby areas, like Los Angeles or Long Beach.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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