Apple Valley is a large town of about 70,000 people situated in the Victor Valley area of San Bernardino County. Once known for its sprawling apple orchards which have since disappeared, the town is known for its beautiful scenery, central location, nice weather, and variation of things to see and do.
Apple Valley is located near the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains on the edge of the Mojave Desert and the Mojave River runs along the west side of the town.
These natural surroundings provide ample opportunity to participate in outdoor activities including horseback riding, which is a popular activity on the series of trails that are scattered around the area.
Apple Valley is also home to a variety of restaurants, museums, and shopping areas including Apple Valley Commons and Jess Ranch Marketplace.
The town is about an hour’s drive away from Barstow and less than two hours away from Los Angeles and San Bernardino which means the world-class attractions of these cities are suitable destinations for a road trip from Apple Valley.
A number of festivals and events are held in Apple Valley throughout the year including the Freedom Festival and Apple Valley Round Up.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Apple Valley, California.
1. Learn about local history at the Apple Valley Legacy Museum
Apple Valley has a very interesting history and visitors to the town can learn everything there is to know about that history, the culture and the people who made the town what it is today at the Apple Valley Legacy Museum.
As you make your way through the museum, you’ll see many exhibits showcasing various items that tell the story of the town including artefacts, newspaper clippings, photos, and documents.
2. Spend a day on the green at Apple Valley Golf Course
The Apple Valley Golf Course is a beautiful 18-hole championship course surrounded by scenic views. On site, you’ll also find a driving range and pro golf shop.
After a long day on the green, you can sit down to a lovely, expertly-prepared meal at the club’s dining area and lounge. If you still have some energy left after your game, you can head to the on-site tennis court.
3. Enjoy a hearty meal at Mollie’s Kountry Kitchen
Whether you want to start your day off with a hearty, home-style breakfast or need a filling lunch to satisfy your hunger after a day of exploring Apple Valley, Mollie’s Kountry Kitchen has just what you need.
Since 1990, this family eatery has been serving freshly-made, delicious meals in a warm and friendly environment where staff treat patrons like family.
Breakfast features a wide variety of options including prize-winning omelettes. For lunch, you can choose from an array of options including soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and popular dishes such as ground beef steak and grilled cod.
After your meal, try out one of their famous cinnamon rolls or the homemade pie or cake.
4. Go on a historic road trip at The California Route 66 Museum
No doubt, you’ve heard about Route 66, the famed American Highway depicted in so many movies, books, and songs.
Whether you’ve had the chance to road-trip on this famed route or not, The California Route 66 Museum in nearby Victorville provides an interesting history from its beginnings to the current day.
This museum features many exhibits showcasing Route 66 and the roadside culture that sprung from the many epic road trips that took place along the route throughout the years.
5. Spend a day in nature at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is a large state park that’s popular with residents and visitors who wish to escape the noise and crowds of the area’s towns and cities.
Many outdoor activities can be enjoyed in the park including hiking, horseback riding, biking, and swimming in Silverwood Lake. Fishing is also popular and anglers have the chance to reel in a variety of fish species including catfish, trout, and bass.
On-site facilities include a network of multi-use trails and camping areas.
6. Enjoy a live performance at the High Desert Center for the Arts
Since 2010, the High Desert Center for the Arts in Victorville has been hosting a variety of live performances including theatrical and musical productions.
A seasonal schedule is posted in advance so make sure to check out what shows are playing during your visit. Some past productions have included A Christmas Carol and Grease.
7. Visit the Hesperia Zoo
The Hesperia Zoo provides a range of experiences that the whole family can enjoy. As you explore the 10-acre grounds, you’ll see a wide variety of indigenous species and endangered species from around the planet.
Big cats, marsupials, and many bird species are among the residents you’ll meet during your visit.
Guided tours and feeding demonstrations are available with advance notice and many events take place at the zoo throughout the year.
8. Sample local craft beer at Oak Hills Brewing Company
Since 2012, Oak Hills Brewing Company in Hesperia has been producing and serving high-quality craft beers.
This craft microbrewery is a favourite among residents and visitors alike who come to sample a wide variety of beers including the Responsible Irish Red and El Hefe Hefeweizen. Many of these beers are available on tap in the on-site taproom.
Also available are barrel-aged brews and homemade ginger ale, cream soda, and root beer. Fun events are often held at the brewery including trivia nights.
9. Enjoy fun and thrills at Scandia Family Fun Center
Scandia Family Fun Center in Victorville is a unique amusement facility featuring a wide variety of entertainment for all ages including Scandinavian-themed attractions.
A go-kart track, miniature golf, an arcade, bumper boats, and several rides, such as the Crow’s Nest, are on site. Visitors also have access to baseball and softball batting cages.
10. Get outdoors at Jess Ranch Lakes
Jess Ranch Lakes is a popular park with plenty of outdoor activities suitable for the whole family. Picnicking, relaxing in nature and hiking are some of the things you can do in the park but it’s the fishing that draws in most visitors.
As one of the biggest trout producers in the region, anglers can enjoy fishing on the lakes or the pond and tours of the on-site hatchery are available.
11. Enjoy a fun learning experience at the Victor Valley Museum
At the Victor Valley Museum, visitors of all ages enjoy browsing a series of interactive exhibits showcasing the history, culture, and natural landscape of the High Desert area.
Some of the exhibits include the live animal discovery centre where you’ll get to meet a giant sloth and the Exploration Station where you’ll explore a cave and view minerals.
The Hall of History is where you can see pottery and historic cars and the Hall of Sciences is where you’ll see a giant mastodon and many fossils that were found in the region.
12. Browse the High Desert Farmers’ Market
The main focus of the High Desert Farmers’ Market in Victorville is providing affordable and fresh local produce to the residents of the area. Visitors are welcome to browse the market too and as you make your way through the many vendors, you’ll find a wide variety of items available for sale.
Some of the items you’ll find are fresh dairy products, specialty food items, clothing, alternative health products, jewellery, ornaments, household goods, soaps, essential oils, and homemade crafts.
13. Explore the Mojave River Forks Regional Park
At Mojave River Forks Regional Park in the Summit Valley, visitors can find an abundance of things to do at any time of the day, including after the sun goes down.
This park is situated in a beautiful area with spectacular views of the San Bernardino Mountains and the Mojave Desert. Miles and miles of hiking and horseback riding trails make it easy to see as much of this stunning landscape as possible.
On-site amenities include picnic areas and a campground for visitors who wish to stay in the park overnight. If you decide to spend the night in this park, the first thing you’ll notice after the sun sets is the lack of light pollution which allows for some of the best stargazing around.
14. Get outdoors at Hesperia Lake Park
Hesperia Lake Park is another popular outdoor recreational area with plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors and participate in many outdoor activities.
The centre of the park is the scenic Hesperia Lake which is a popular spot for day and night fishing. Other on-site facilities include a soccer field, picnic areas, an equestrian area, and campsites.