Bakersfield Escapes: Adventures in Central California

Discover Bakersfield, California

Traveling to Bakersfield, California, unveils a dynamic destination nestled in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Bakersfield’s vibrant atmosphere is complemented by its rich agricultural heritage, evident in the surrounding farmlands and roadside produce stands offering farm-fresh delights. The city’s historic downtown district beckons with its charming boutiques, art galleries, and local eateries, inviting travelers to explore its hidden gems and immerse themselves in the local culture. From outdoor adventures along the Kern River to the renowned Buck Owens Crystal Palace, which celebrates the city’s country music roots, Bakersfield offers a blend of experiences that captivate and inspire.


Best time to visit
Best places to visit

Three Fun Facts About Bakersfield


Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace, built by country music legend Buck Owens, is a renowned music venue and restaurant in Bakersfield. It pays homage to the city’s country music heritage and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.


Basque Culture

Bakersfield has a vibrant Basque community, with several Basque restaurants and cultural centers throughout the city. Basque cuisine, known for its hearty and family-style dining experience, is a beloved culinary tradition in Bakersfield.


Country Music Roots

Bakersfield is often referred to as the “Nashville of the West” due to its significant influence on the country music genre. The Bakersfield Sound, characterized by its raw and honky-tonk style, emerged in the 1950s and 1960s with artists like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard leading the way.


Must See Attractions

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Kern County Museum

Speciality Museum

The Kern County Museum showcases the rich history of the area. With over 56 historic structures, you can walk through a pioneer village and even an oil exhibit.

The Park at River Walk

Nature & parks

This park is your go-to spot with its serene bike trails and expansive green spaces. If you’re here on Saturday, you might catch a concert or two at the outdoor amphitheater!

California Living Museum (CALM)

Speciality Museums

CALM is the perfect spot to meet some rescued wildlife and learn about conservation. Don’t miss the chance to say hi to the local Californian species!

Lakes Near Bakersfield

Hey there! Seeking a splash of fun around Bakersfield? You’re in luck! This sun-kissed slice of California is more than just scenic drives and good eats—let’s talk about the lakes you’ll love. Can you feel the water calling yet? Whether it’s a lake day or a pool day, you’re all set for sun and fun. Just don’t forget the sunscreen, and you’re golden!

Lake Ming

Lake Ming Road Bakersfield, California 93301

Just a stone’s throw away, Lake Ming is a local fave. Think about it: only 15 minutes to swap city sounds for nature’s playground. Ready for fishing or kayaking? You got it!

Distance from Bakersfield: 13 miles
Activities: Fishing, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, camping, swimming

Buena Vista Lake

13601 Ironbark Road Bakersfield, California

Approximately 30 miles southwest of Bakersfield, Buena Vista Lake is a natural lake and reservoir known for its recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and camping.

Distance from Bakersfield: 29 miles
Activities: Fishing, kayaking, picnicking

Kern River Canyon

14000 Sierra Way, Kernville, California 93238

The Kern River Canyon, located northeast of Bakersfield, is home to several smaller lakes and reservoirs, including Hart Park Lake and Lake Ming. These lakes offer fishing and boating opportunities in a scenic canyon setting.

Distance from Bakersfield: 53 miles
Paddleboarding, tubing, fishing

Secret Fishing Destinations Near Bakersfield

Did you know that Kern County is home to some low-key fishing spots that are perfect for a quiet weekend? If you’re in Bakersfield and looking to escape the city bustle, these hidden gems might just be your ticket to a peaceful angler’s paradise. Remember, the best fishing tales come from experiences that are a little off the beaten path, so why not add a surprise chapter to your Bakersfield vacation by visiting these less-crowded spots? Grab your tackle box, and let the tranquility of Kern County’s waters rejuvenate your spirit!

Lake Isabella

Highway 178 & Highway 155 Lake Isabella, California 93240

Less than an hour’s drive northeast, you’ll find Lake Isabella. It’s not just the run-of-the-mill lake; here, you can reel in a variety of game fish like largemouth bass, trout, crappie, catfish, and the occasional landlocked Chinook salmon.

Fishing: Shoreline, boat, kayak
Species: Trout, bass, crappie, catfish, salmon
Experience Tip: Early morning or just before dusk are prime times to catch the big ones!

Riverwalk Park

11298 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, California 93311

Looking for something within city limits? Try the fishing area at Riverwalk Park, where the city often restocks fish. It’s kid-friendly and perfect for a spontaneous fishing day out.

Fishing: Shoreline
Species: Trout, catfish, bass, sunfish
Local’s Suggestion: Pack a picnic; there’s plenty of green space to relax after you’ve caught your fill.

Lake Ming

Lake Ming Road Bakersfield, California 93301

A bit of sunshine and fresh air do wonders, and Lake Ming is the ideal spot to find both. Plus, it’s a popular place to cast your line.

Fishing: Shoreline, kayak
Species: Bass, catfish, bluegill, sunfish, crappie

Best Hiking Trails Within 1 Hour From Bakersfield

Fancy a hike? Just a stone’s throw from Bakersfield, Hart Memorial Park is your go-to for a quick nature fix. Picture this: you, your dog, and the open trail. Hart Park Trail offers breathtaking views and is a mere 20 minute drive from Bakersfield — ideal for when you want an outdoor adventure without spending hours on the road.

Hart Park Trail

Alfred Harrell Hwy, Bakersfield, California 93308

Hart Park Trail offers outdoor enthusiasts a scenic escape into the natural beauty of the Kern River Valley. This picturesque trail winds through Hart Memorial Park, a sprawling oasis of greenery and tranquility nestled along the banks of the Kern River. As hikers and nature lovers traverse the well-maintained paths, they are treated to breathtaking views of the river, lush landscapes, and towering cottonwood trees.

Distance: 3.6 miles
Type: Out & back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 152 m
Time to Complete: 2 hours

Bakersfield Bluffs

Panorama, Bakersfield, California 93305

The Bakersfield Bluffs, a prominent geological feature overlooking the Kern River Valley in Bakersfield, California, offers visitors a captivating blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. These towering cliffs, carved over centuries by the meandering Kern River, provide stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the sprawling valley below and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance.

Distance: 3.2 miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 84 m
Time to Complete: 1.5 hours

Mount Pinos Trail

Cuddy Valley Rd, Frazier Park, California 93225

As one of the highest points in Ventura County, Mount Pinos stands at an elevation of over 8,800 feet, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail, which winds through pine forests and alpine meadows, is a popular destination for hikers, birdwatchers, and stargazers alike. During the spring and summer months, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, while in the winter, it transforms into a snowy wonderland, attracting snowshoers and cross-country skiers.

Distance: 3.7 miles
Type: Out & back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 158 m
Time to Complete: 1.5 hours

Best Golf Courses around Bakersfield

When you’re in Bakersfield and itching to practice your swing while soaking up the California sun, you’ve got some top-notch greens at your disposal. Ever heard of The Links at Riverlakes Ranch? Known among locals and visitors alike, this course pairs the joy of golf with a welcoming ambiance. If luck has it, you might even snag a tee time at a special price! Prefer a course with a family legacy? Kern River Golf Course comes highly recommended, where brothers, sisters, and friends often revel in the laid-back vibes and well-kept fairways. It’s not just a round of golf; it’s a round of good times too!

The Links at Riverlakes Ranch

5201 Riverlakes Dr, Bakersfield, California 93312

With its meticulously manicured fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and stunning water features, the course provides a picturesque backdrop for a day on the links. Beyond golf, the club features an array of amenities, including a clubhouse with dining options, a pro shop, and practice facilities.

Holes: 18
Designer: Ron Fream
Highlights: Friendly atmosphere, often available at a bargain

Visit their website for more information

Kern River Golf Course

Rudal Rd, Bakersfield, California 93306

This 18-hole course showcases the natural beauty of the Kern River Valley with its lush fairways, rolling hills, and majestic views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Golfers can test their skills on the well-manicured greens, navigate challenging bunkers, and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding scenery. The course’s layout provides a balance of playability and difficulty, making it suitable for both casual rounds and competitive tournaments.

Holes: 18
Designer: William P. Bell
Highlight: Well-kept and casual, perfect for a family outing

Visit their website for more information

Buena Vista Golf Course

10256 Golf Course Rd, Taft, California 93268

Nestled in the heart of Taft, California, Buena Vista Golf Course offers a charming and inviting destination for golfers of all levels. Designed to challenge and delight players, the course features well-manicured fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and small, undulating greens. With its relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff, Buena Vista Golf Course provides an ideal setting for both casual rounds and competitive play.

Holes: 9
Designer: William F. Bell

Visit their website for more information

Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in Bakersfield

Inspect Photos Carefully

Look closely at the property photos to ensure they accurately represent the rental. Pay attention to details like furnishings, cleanliness, and the overall condition of the space.

Check Reviews

Read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the property’s condition, cleanliness, and overall experience. Websites like Airbnb, VRBO, and TripAdvisor are great resources for this.

Consider Insurance

Depending on the length and cost of your stay, it may be wise to consider travel insurance to protect yourself against unexpected cancellations, damages, or emergencies.

Understand Policies

Familiarize yourself with the rental policies, including check-in/check-out times, cancellation policies, and any additional fees or rules. Knowing these in advance can prevent misunderstandings later on.

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Jet Skiing

Hey there, looking for a home away from home in Bakersfield? Whether you’re here for business or pleasure, snagging the perfect vacation rental is a breeze with these savvy tips.

Location, Location, Location

Downtown Delight: If the vibrant city life calls your name, aim for a contemporary downtown house close to restaurants and nightlife.
Quiet Retreat: Prefer a quiet neighborhood? A private guest house among tree-lined streets might just be your ticket to serenity.

Know Your Amenities


– Air conditioning is crucial in Bakersfield’s heat.
– Don’t forget parking—especially if you’re bringing a car.
– WiFi and a kitchen or kitchenette are lifesavers for both work travelers and small families.


A pool to beat the heat?
– Stainless steel appliances for that sleek, modern look?
– Maybe a hot tub for a touch of luxury?

Choose Your Style

The Modern Explorer: Luxurious, modern homes with smart tech are all the rage.
Historic Charm: If you adore character, check out renovated historic homes with mid-century modern furnishings.
Pet Lovers Welcome: Many Bakersfield vacation rentals are pet-friendly, so your furry friends can join in on the fun!

Size Matters

– Going solo or with a plus one? A cozy studio in the westside or a Moroccan-inspired apartment might suit you.
– Need more space? A 3 bd/2 bath home could be the great family getaway you’re after.

Proximity Perks

– Shopaholic? You’re a stone’s throw away from Valley Plaza Mall.
– Self-care aficionado? Be near Smitten Café or Blue Oak Coffee Roasting.

Ready to Book?

Airbnb and Vrbo are your go-to’s for a wide range of options.
Double-check for verified homes to ensure a smooth stay.

Remember, the early bird gets the worm, so book your Bakersfield vacation rental early, especially if you’re eyeing peak seasons or specific amenities. Happy hunting for your perfect temporary nest in the heart of California’s welcoming Central Valley!

With vacation rentals ranging from quaint homes to full-sized houses, you can choose the perfect spot to make your base. Whether you’re eyeing a cozy stay or a property big enough for all your friends and family, Bakersfield’s got you covered.

Remember, this isn’t about rushing from one tourist spot to another; it’s about immersing yourself in the local vibe. So, why not grab your calendar, circle some dates for your Bakersfield adventure, and start planning? Your next story is waiting to unfold in the warm embrace of Kern County.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bakersfield

To find budget-friendly rentals, compare prices on platforms like Lake and Airbnb. Sometimes, adjusting your travel dates or choosing a rental just a little bit away from the city center can lead to better deals.

When bringing your pet, look for pet-friendly listings—Airbnb and Evolve have filters for this. Consider the additional fees or deposits often required, and make sure to respect the rental’s rules regarding pets to avoid any issues.

Renting directly from owners could enhance your stay with a personal touch—think customized recommendations and better communication. Vacation rentals by owner often provide a more individualized, homey experience.

Yes, you have options for extended stays. Websites like Airbnb and Rent By Owner™ offer rentals that cater to longer-term accommodations, allowing you to settle in and enjoy Bakersfield for more than just a weekend.

Absolutely! Many vacation rental listings, such as those you’ll find on IHG or Evolve, offer pools. With Bakersfield’s warm climate, a rental with a pool is a popular choice, ensuring you can cool off and relax in style.

You can check out Lake, Airbnb, and VacationRenter for a variety of options in Bakersfield. These websites are known for their extensive lists of properties, where you can find everything from cozy downtown homes to apartments with all the amenities.

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