It’s about the journey, not the destination.
If you are like me, you appreciate a good road trip. Although you could cut your time by 3/4th through flying, the fun is in the journey and the experience. Flying sometimes becomes more of a hassle than it’s worth due to security checks, lines, and waiting at the airport. It makes me want to throw everything into the trunk, take off, and feel the wind breeze in my hair. When you have time to spare and a driver, consider taking the car rather than a plane. It is a cheaper route of travel and you can just sit back relax.
Las Vegas is a popular vacation destination for those who are living in the neighboring state California. From Orange County, it should take about 4 hours on a good day. With Friday traffic, it could take a lot longer (almost double the time), sometimes you get a little restless and want to get out to stretch your feet and some fresh air. Here are a few interesting roadside attractions that you can stop at on your way to Sin City:
Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch
24266 National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande, CA 92368
Free to visit and serves as a great stop on the historic Route 66 on the way to Vegas, Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is a unique art display made with recyclables.
Sometimes Elmer, the owner, will come out and talk to guests and tell them the history of items and how the Bottle Tree Ranch became to be. Be sure to say hi!
1611 E Main St, Barstow, CA 92311
A popular rest stop for travelers on the I-15.
As soon as the Greyhound buses, tour buses, and minivans park their vehicles, the doors begin to open, and floods of people make their way to the bathrooms and eateries to replenish their energy.
Barstow Station, designed like a train station, serves as a stop for the hungry tourists with several fast food options available, McDonald’s, Panda Express, Subway, Wetzel’s Pretzels, and eateries. There are several of tourist shops with trinkets, candy, clothing items, souvenirs, novelty, and liquor store items as well to take a break from the road.
Peggy Sue’s 50 Diner
35654 Yermo Rd, Yermo, CA 92398
Signs plastered everywhere on the billboards on the way to Las Vegas, it is no surprise that Peggy Sue’s Diner is popular, watch out for the crowd! A 50’s themed American roadside diner serving American cuisine such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, and milkshakes, giving you a different experience than your average fast-food drive thru.
Peggy Sue’s Diner serves as both a food stop and a road trip attraction. There is also a dinosaur display in the back, perfect for kids and the young at heart!
Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Rd, Yermo, CA 92398
Calico Ghost Town is a historic Western-themed mining town catered to kids and the cowboy enthusiasts. It is a true Ghost Town since no one actually visits but remnants of history that occurred in this area still remains. You pay when you enter through to the frontier with your vehicle to park.
Admission Fee: $8 per person.
Another good stop for the kids and to walk around to stretch your legs.
36017 Calico Rd, Yermo, CA 92398
A clean quick stop for everything you need. Drinks, ice cream, snacks, candy, and food. There’s an abundance of clean bathrooms, making it a comfortable rest area to rejuvenate.
Alien Fresh Jerky
72242 Baker Blvd, Baker, CA 92309
Beef jerky is a great road trip snack. You can get it on a quick stop in Baker at Alien Fresh Jerky. Alien Fresh Jerky plays on the gimmick that the beef jerky is actually made from “aliens”, which led them to great success. It used to be a small shack and grew due to its popularity, the store got a makeover by sprucing up their exterior, making it a pleasant road trip attraction. Alien Fresh Jerky is outer space-themed, selling novelty items based on aliens.
Inside, they sell chamoy flavored candy, nuts, hot sauces, novelty items, and of course, beef jerky. There are over 10 different types of beef jerky flavors to choose from.
My favorite is the Colon Cleanser, which is the spiciest beef jerky they carried. However, when I visited, it was nowhere to be found , except in Filet Mignon, which costs more.
56383 Mojave Pointe Rd, Baker, CA 92309
Smokey’s Jerky is Western themed with the logo of their store being a man with a pipe. I noticed the sign for Beef Jerky to Smokey’s on my drive to Alien Jerky.
Since Alien Jerky did not have my Colon Cleanser and the prices increased, I decided to check out Smokey’s instead. There are samples available and I got to try most of the flavors I was interested in.
I walked out with Ghost Pepper which is spicy but still tasty. I would recommend stopping by Smokey’s Jerky since it is a tad cheaper than Alien Jerky with different flavors and chilis.
Seven Magic Mountains
S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89054
Colorful stacked rocks that you can see from afar before entering into Las Vegas territory. Seven Magic Mountains is a public art display, perfect for those Instagram photos. The parking and admission are free and is just a small walk on a rocky pathway from the parking lot.
Please respect the art and leave no trash behind to allow future visitors to enjoy them as well.