15 Best Things to Do in Santa Clarita (CA)

Written by Veronique Raes
Updated on
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The city of Santa Clarita is located approximately 35 miles away from Los Angeles, so with that in mind it is easy to make the trip out here if you are in the area.

Many visitors to California overlook this city, which is a great shame as there is a huge amount to see and do here.

The scenery in and around Santa Clarita is some of the most stunning in the region and for that reason many Western movies were filmed here in day gone by.

You can see some of the original filming locations here to this day, or you can simply go trekking in the area and imagine the time when cowboys would have still roamed over this region.

As well as hiking and biking opportunities, you will also find an amazing range of indoor activities such as museums, wineries, and cultural spots like musical attractions, and if you like art then you will be delighted with the public art installations all over the city.

For younger visitors, there are play areas and indoor centers to choose from, or many of the trails and parks here have a huge range of activities that children can also enjoy.

1. St. Francis Dam

St. Francis DamSource: flickr
St. Francis Dam

One of the greatest historical sites in Santa Clarita is the St. Francis Dam which dates from the 1920s and is best known for having burst in 1926. The dam caused hundreds of death as it razed several towns as its waters raged through the area unchecked, and now you can learn all about this history on a tour here.

Guides will take visitors out to the site of the dam, which is no longer in use and is mostly made up on ruins, and will fill you in on how it was built and why it failed.

The trek to the dam site is also an excellent opportunity to take in the local plant and wildlife.

2. Mountasia Family Fun Center

Mountasia Family Fun CenterSource: mountasiafuncenter
Mountasia Family Fun Center

For anyone traveling with a family, the Mountasia Family Fun Center is not to be missed.

The center is dedicated to good old fashioned gaming, and to that end you will find classic amusement rides like bumper boats and go karts, as well as a miniature golf course and batting cages if you are feeling sporty.

There is also a rock climbing wall as well as a laser tag room, and if you want something mellower there is also a gaming arcade packed with vintage games.

One of the best parts of the center is undoubtedly the ice cream parlor that also features here, so you can stop for a sweet treat before you go home.

3. Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez RocksSource: flickr
Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez Rocks is one place that may seem familiar; especially if you like Friends, New Girl, or even Star Trek IV, which all used the rocks as a filming location.

Visitors flock to the rocks due to the gorgeous scenery that the formations here provide, and you can climb the rocks if you are looking for some light exercise.

There are also guided tours with local rangers who will fill you in on the flora and fauna found here as well as the geology of the formations.

4. Gibbon Conservation Center

Gibbon Conservation CenterSource: zozi
Gibbon Conservation Center

The Gibbon Conservation Center is the place to come if you love animals and want to know more about these gorgeous primates.

The center dates from the 1970s when it first opened its doors and the facility is dedicated to the preservation and research into these amazing animals.

You can book a guided tour of the center where a member of staff will show you the different conservation areas and you can learn all about the great work that the center does when it comes to rescuing and caring for injured gibbons.

5. Santa Clarita Central Park

Santa Clarita Central ParkSource: santa-clarita
Santa Clarita Central Park

Santa Clarita Central Park covers 130 acres of land and with that in mind you will find a huge range of diverse activities on offer here.

The best of the Santa Clarita plant and wildlife is on show here, and there is a trail that stretches for over 3 miles that will let you take in the scenery firsthand.

There are also fields, meadows, and sports areas, and as the park is also used a sports training ground, you may be able to catch a fast paced game of basketball or baseball.

6. Passages

PassagesSource: museumofthebible

For a quirky museum experience, head to Passage, a museum that is dedicated to teaching visitors all about the history of the Bible.

The museum sprawls over 300,000 square feet and has a range of interactive galleries and exhibits that will take you back in time to the Caves of Qumran, before bringing you on a journey that also includes significant moments in history and how they relate to the Bible.

You can also learn about Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant history along the way.

7. Santa Clarita Trails

Santa Clarita TrailsSource: flickr
Santa Clarita Trails

Santa Clarita is famous for its hiking opportunities, and these come courtesy of the Santa Clarita trails that stretch for more than 70 miles.

There are a huge number to choose from such as Lost Canyon Road Trailhead, South Fork Trailhead, and Iron Horse Trailhead, and each one has different spots of interest along it and there is something for all levels of ability here.

If you are a beginner hiker then you can choose one of the easier trails, or if you are more experienced, there are some challenging hikes that will take you up into the mountains.

8. Santa Clarita Public Art

Santa Clarita Public ArtSource: flickr
Santa Clarita Public Art

Santa Clarita is known for its public art installations and there are art projects all over this city, making it the perfect place for art lovers.

Some of the best art in Santa Clarita can be found in the form of public sculptures, paintings, murals, and fountains that are dotted all over the city, and now there are self-guided walking tours available where you can wander around the city and explore these amazing creations for yourself.

9. Old Town Newhall

Cowboy FestivalSource: flickr
Cowboy Festival

Old Town Newhall is an ideal spot if you want to feel as if you have stepped back in time.

The town has a walk of fame exhibit where you can learn all about famous celebrities from Western movies, and there is an annual Cowboy Festival that is held here.

You will also find plenty of olde worlde shopping and dining opportunities and you can take a self-guided tour that will take you around this town and show you the many historical gems that are found here.

10. Quigley Canyon

Quigley CanyonSource: yelp
Quigley Canyon

Quigley Canyon sprawls over 160 acres of land and is known as the place to visit if you want to get out of the center of Santa Clarita and spend some time communing with nature.

The canyon has over 4 miles of trails and there is something for all levels of difficulty here, so even if you are a beginner hiker, then you can still find something suitable.

Hiking and biking are often considered the most popular ways to explore the canyon, but you can also go horseback riding here.

11. Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra

Santa Clarita Philharmonic OrchestraSource: scphilharmonic
Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra

The Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra is on a mission to provide the best in classical music to the local community in Santa Clarita, as well as giving local talented musicians the chance to hone their skills.

Many of the performances by the orchestra are free of charge, and there are also outreach programs run here in order to educate visitors about classical music.

12. Robinson Ranch Golf Club

Robinson Ranch Golf ClubSource: golfadvisor
Robinson Ranch Golf Club

The Robinson Ranch Golf Club is known as one of the best golfing destinations in California and the golf club has won awards in the past for its facilities.

There is a mountain course here as well as a valley course to choose from, and there is a newly built club house that runs over 25,000 square feet.

You can enjoy fine dining in the club house and there is a terrace lounge if you prefer something a little mellower.

13. Pulchella Winery

Pulchella WinerySource: evewine101
Pulchella Winery

If you love wine then you shouldn’t miss the chance to come to the Pulchella Winery where you will find a range of signature Paso Robles Wines on offer.

The winery was developed by two local wine connoisseurs in 2006 and you can take a tour of the facility and learn how the wine is made, from the planting of the grapes to the finished product.

There is a tasting room where you can try some of the blends available here and you can also purchase the wine to take home as a souvenir.

14. Tesoro Adobe Park

Tesoro Adobe ParkSource: scvhomepro
Tesoro Adobe Park

Many people to the area may not know that you can actually follow in the footsteps of cinematic greats like Gary Cooper and John Wayne with a trip to Tesoro Adobe Park.

Here you will find a ranch which was originally built by Harry Carrey, a famous star of Western movies in days gone by.

In the park you will find historical buildings dotted around as well as nature trails and picnic spots, and there are both guided and self guided tours if you want to learn more about the history of this amazing park.

15. The Gentle Barn

The Gentle BarnSource: gentlebarn
The Gentle Barn

If you love animals, and especially if you are travelling with children, the Gentle Barn makes an ideal day out in Santa Clarita.

The barn has more than 170 resident animals, all of which have been rescued after being abused, and the barn is dedicated to providing them with a safe sanctuary.

You will find cows, turkeys, chickens, pigs, and sheep here, and you can take a tour of the barn and enjoy a petting zoo experience with some of the animals.

15 Best Things to Do in Santa Clarita (CA):

  • St. Francis Dam
  • Mountasia Family Fun Center
  • Vasquez Rocks
  • Gibbon Conservation Center
  • Santa Clarita Central Park
  • Passages
  • Santa Clarita Trails
  • Santa Clarita Public Art
  • Old Town Newhall
  • Quigley Canyon
  • Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Robinson Ranch Golf Club
  • Pulchella Winery
  • Tesoro Adobe Park
  • The Gentle Barn