Highland is a city with a population of around 55,000 people situated in San Bernardino County, California. It was once known for its lumber industry and for growing some of the best navel oranges around.
Today, this suburb of San Bernardino is all about the great weather and outdoor recreational opportunities. Its central location gives it easy access to Riverside, Palm Springs, and the wilderness areas of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains.
Highland is home to many parks, hiking trails, restaurants, and shopping areas, such as Highland Village Plaza and Stoney Creek Retail Center.
Several festivals and events take place in Highland, and the surrounding area throughout the year, including the San Bernardino County Fair and The Highland Citrus Harvest Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Highland, California.
1. Find Your Bearings in Highland Community Park
Paying a visit to a community park is one of the best ways to get to know a new place. The park is where you’ll meet some of the locals, see the landscape, and learn more about the city’s culture.
Highland Community Park is a large green space with wide-open spaces where you can relax and people-watch or have a picnic. It has several baseball fields and a playground.
2. Learn about Local History at the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum
Highland and its neighbouring communities, including San Bernardino, have a long and interesting history, particularly when it comes to the region’s railroad history. The San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum provides visitors of all ages with a fun and educational trip into the past.
Situated in the 1918 San Bernardino Amtrak Station, the museum showcases many exhibits featuring memorabilia, old photos, and life-size artefacts.
Some of the items on display include an antique traffic control unit, 19th-century horse-drawn buggies, a 1910 centennial buggy, and a re-creation of an early 1900s railroad station. This comes complete with equipment that would have been used during that time.
3. Satisfy a Craving for Italian Fare at Two Guys Pasta and Pizza
Nothing is more satisfying than a big plate of pasta or fully-loaded custom pizza. At Two Guys Pasta and Pizza, you’ll find these items and much more.
All the dough and sauces are made fresh every day and only top-quality ingredients are used in the preparation of every dish.
The menu offers a wide assortment of items, including appetizers, homemade soups, salads, specialty pizzas, sandwiches, and pasta entrees.
4. Explore the San Bernardino National Forest
At 680,000 acres, the San Bernardino National Forest is a paradise for nature lovers. This popular wilderness area spans the areas of San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Santa Rosa, and San Jacinto Mountain ranges.
Several hiking trails pass through the park, and fishing and horseback riding are also popular activities. As you explore the park, you’ll see many interpretive panels detailing the area’s geography and history.
Picnic areas are also located around the park, and if you would like to explore the area for multiple days, there are several campgrounds available.
5. Take a Road Trip Along the Rim of the World Highway
There are many opportunities for day trips around the Highland area. If you’re seeking one that includes spectacular scenery, without having to travel too far, the Rim of the World Highway is a great choice.
You can enter this highway about half an hour outside Highland, and embark on an epic road trip along this beautiful stretch known as Highway 18.
The 110-mile scenic byway offers views of the San Bernardino Mountains, cliffs, rolling countryside and picturesque towns. Landmark sites include San Gorgonio Mountain, Big Bear Lake and the Lucerne Valley.
6. Attend a Concert at the Glen Helen Amphitheatre
Since the early 80s, The Glen Helen Amphitheatre has been hosting large-scale concerts and festivals featuring world-renowned musical acts. This outdoor entertainment venue holds around 65,000 people and is the biggest venue of its type in the country.
Even if you don’t attend a concert at the amphitheatre, it’s still worth checking out as you explore the adjacent Glen Helen Regional Park.
7. Visit the Original McDonald’s Site and Museum
While you’re likely familiar with the world-famous McDonald’s restaurants, something you may not be familiar with is the fact that the first McDonald’s Restaurant opened in San Bernardino.
Today, this original restaurant site is a museum dedicated to the history of the renowned restaurant franchise.
Inside, you’ll find exhibits showcasing memorabilia, such as advertising campaigns, old Happy Meal toys and photos. The outside grounds have a collection of Ronald MacDonald statues.
8. Take in the Excitement of the Glen Helen Raceway
Throughout the year, several top events are held at the Glen Helen Raceway and, if you’re lucky, one of those events will coincide with your trip to the Highland area.
Situated in nearby San Bernardino, this outstanding raceway extends over 250 acres and has been entertaining visitors since the mid-80s.
Some well-known events that have been held here include the United States World Championship Motocross and the Off-Road Winter Series.
9. Play a Round of Golf at the Shandin Hills Golf Course
One of the top golf courses in the region, Shandin Hills Golf Course has all the amenities needed for a fantastic day on the green.
This 18-hole, par-72 championship course in San Bernardino is suitable for all levels.
Course facilities feature a driving range, putting green, chipping green, and practice bunker. Lessons are available and a pro golf shop is on-site.
Breakfast and lunch are served at the Shandin Grill. Enjoy a meal or snack surrounded by views of the nearby mountains.
10. Go on an Adventure to Deep Creek Hot Springs
Paradise is not always easy to reach and, in the case of Deep Creek Hot Springs, if you want to get there, you have to embark on a bit of an adventure.
Situated in the San Bernardino foothills, the only way to get to the springs is via a two-mile hike into Deep Creek. The trail is rugged and very steep in some places, so proper hiking gear is necessary.
The reward for having made this hike is a relaxing soak in the rejuvenating waters of the hot springs.
11. Take a Tour of the Norton Air Force Base Museum
The Norton Air Force Base Museum has been showcasing fascinating history related to the base since 2013.
The exhibits feature a range of artefacts and photos related to former military and civilian personnel who worked at the base.
You can tour the museum on your own or take a guided tour with a veteran who was once stationed at the base.
12. Dine on Classic Mexican Cuisine at Mi Cocina Restaurant
There’s something for everyone on the extensive menu at Mi Cocina Restaurant. This family eatery serves a wide variety of tasty, classic Mexican dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a traditional Hacienda-style environment.
Appetizers, salads, soups, enchiladas, tostadas, and fajitas are just some of the items you’ll find on the menu. On nice evenings, you can take your meal on the patio. Sometimes, there’s even live music.
13. Take a Hike Along the Santa Ana River Trail
The Santa Ana River Trail is a multi-use trail that spans 50 miles from San Bernardino to the Pacific coast.
The trail runs along the scenic Santa Ana River, and passes through a variety of urban landscapes and pristine wilderness areas. The trail is also suitable for cycling.
14. Admire Beautiful Art at the Robert Frances Fullerton Museum of Art
One of the leading cultural centers in the area, the Robert Frances Fullerton Museum of Art has World Ceramics, Ancient Art, and the biggest display of Egyptian artefacts in the region.
Throughout the year, a variety of educational events, such as workshops, special exhibits and lectures, take place at the museum.
15. Go Racing at SB Raceway Indoor Karting
Visitors of all ages will have a blast at SB Raceway Indoor Karting where you can race down the track in modern go-karts.
After all your energy is spent on the track, kick back in the Raceway Lobby and relax with some snacks and beverages.
In this lounge area, you’ll also find several pool tables, air hockey tables and a variety of arcade games.