Situated in San Bernardino County, Southern California, Apple Valley is a large town with 76,224 residents as of the 2021 census.
The town used to have plenty of apple orchards until it declined during the Great Depression.
Today, Apple Valley is known for its strategic location at the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, its sunny weather, welcoming locals, and fun activities.
Interested to know more about this place?
Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Apple Valley, California:
Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Horsemen's Center Park
Enjoy various outdoor activities at Horsemen’s Center Park, an 80-acre rural park with a desert-like setting.
Nestled around stunning rock formations, this is the best place for camping, hiking, rock climbing, and simply basking under the warm sun.
Other park facilities include horse show arenas, playgrounds, day-use picnic areas, hiking trails, restroom facilities, and primitive campsites.
The park also houses the Apple Valley BMX Moto Park, a newly renovated BMX park.
Tourists can spend the afternoon hiking or having a relaxing picnic, but you can also stay overnight to make the most of your visit.
From Horsemen's Center Park, take a short five-minute drive to Deadman’s Point, a fascinating rock formation with an even more interesting history behind its name.
Dine at Mollie’s Kountry Kitchen
Start your day or have a heavy lunch at Mollie’s Kountry Kitchen, located along the Happy Trails Highway.
Since the 1990s, the American restaurant has been serving generous servings of classic diner food in a warm atmosphere where customers are treated as family.
At Mollie’s Kountry Kitchen, try their breakfast meals like bacon and eggs, chili verde skillet, omelets, and pancakes.
The restaurant also offers burgers, sandwiches, and hot plate lunches served with potatoes, vegetables, cornbread, or toast.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of freshly-baked pie, cheesecake, banana nut bread, or their famous homemade cinnamon roll with walnuts.
Shop at Apple Valley Commons
For all your daily essentials, shop at Apple Valley Commons, your one-stop destination for shopping and dining.
It has a strategic location along Highway 18 and is near other places of interest, like Apple Valley Golf, Thunderbird Park, and Civic Center Park.
With 54 tenants scattered across 424,000 square feet of shopping space, you can find everything here, such as groceries, gadgets, coffee shops, juice bars, and more.
At Apple Valley Commons, find bargain clothes at Ross, have a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and shop for groceries at Target.
After shopping, grab a meal at restaurants like Subway, Panda Express, Carl’s Jr., or Round Table Pizza.
Play Different Sports at the Lenny Brewster Sports Center
The Lenny Brewster Sports Center is a 39-acre green space where locals and tourists can indulge in a variety of outdoor sports.
Located in Brewster Park, the sports center has 11 full-sized soccer fields, two baseball or softball fields, horseshoe pits, basketball courts, and pickleball courts.
In addition, there’s a paved walkway around the park's perimeter for jogging or walking.
Visit the Lenny Brewster Sports Center and join different sporting activities.
After playing, head to the picnic tables or BBQ grill area for a well-deserved snack or light meal.
Hang Out at The Market at Town's End
If you’re looking for a place to chill, socialize, and enjoy the small-town vibe of Apple Valley, head to The Market at Town’s End, located at the heart of town.
The open-air market and events center features local crafts, homegrown restaurants, and live music to keep everyone entertained.
Its central location makes it easy for anyone passing by to visit and check it out.
Other events held at The Market at Town's End include wine-tasting sessions, art workshops, yoga, and sip & paint classes.
Shop for locally-made soaps, handcrafted glasses, scented candles, and other artisan products at the flea market while sipping on a glass of mimosa as you explore the market.
On certain nights, bring your roller skates and skate around the venue and bond with other locals and visitors.
Learn about the Town's History at Apple Valley Legacy Museum
For history buffs and anyone who wants to learn more about the town's history, visit Apple Valley Legacy Museum.
The museum houses several scrapbooks, news clippings, displays, artifacts, and collections that showcase Apple Valley's history.
Take a trip down memory lane and learn how Apple Valley used to be before it had sprawling apple orchards.
Drop by Apple Valley Legacy Museum and take a look at the exhibits while helpful docents recount stories and anecdotes about the town’s past.
On select days, the museum offers guided tours of the Apple Valley Inn, a former hotel that used to be a favorite vacation spot for Hollywood celebrities from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Visit the Victor Valley Museum
Learn more about San Bernardino County at the Victor Valley Museum, located along Apple Valley Road.
The museum is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum, showcasing the natural and cultural history of the High Desert.
As such, visitors can find cultural and natural science exhibits related to the High Desert.
Explore the Victor Valley Museum and learn about the archaeology, geology, and biological history of the desert lands.
Other highlights of the museum include scavenger hunt artifacts, geodes, and a prehistoric mammoth.
Aside from its exhibits, the museum also offers educational programs and events for families, children, students, and more.
Play a Few Rounds of Golf at Ashwood Golf Course
Conveniently located along Apple Valley Road, Ashwood Golf Course is the best golf course in town.
The well-maintained 27-hole golf course provides an amazing view of California’s High Desert landscape, making your golf experience a memorable one.
In addition, the establishment has a grass driving range, a fully-stocked golf equipment shop, and an on-site bar & grill for a post-game meal.
Spend the afternoon at Ashwood Golf Course and put your golf skills to the test.
If you’d like to improve your game, enroll in short classes led by a PGA and/or USGTF-certified golf instructor.
After your game, head to Ashwood Bar & Grill and enjoy American-style meals, like burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, salad, and more.
Bring Your Dog to Civic Center Dog Park
Civic Center Dog Park is one of the few dog parks in the area, located on the eastern edge of Civic Center Park near Apple Valley Commons.
The park has two fenced sections for dogs based on weight class, assuring a safe yet fun way for all your four-legged friends to meet and interact.
One area is dedicated to dogs 25 pounds and under, while the other is for dogs weighing more than 25 pounds.
Each section features benches, a drinking fountain for humans and dogs, water clean-up stations, and a wide space so you can let them play off-leash.
If you’re traveling with your dog, bring them to Civic Center Dog Park and watch them play, run around, and have the time of their lives with other fur friends.
Get Your Dose of Italian Cuisine at Mama Carpino’s
Craving Italian food in the middle of the High Desert?
Head to Mama Carpino’s, a cozy deli and restaurant in the middle of Apple Valley.
The restaurant has been in Apple Valley’s food scene since 2003, offering high-quality Italian favorites in a relaxed yet romantic setting.
At Mama Carpino’s, try their rigatoni pasta, baked ziti, meat lovers lasagna, chicken alfredo, and other lunch specials.
Customers also love their deli sandwiches and wraps, minestrone soup, and tequila chicken.
Health-conscious eaters can order gluten-free dishes such as turkey bolognese, oven-roasted tomato-basil pasta, chicken and kale ravioli, and veggie florentine.
For dessert, don’t miss their cannoli, rum cake, cream puff, berry tart, or a scoop of homemade gelato.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Go Back in Time at the California Route 66 Museum
Route 66 is one of the most iconic highways, stretching from Santa Monica in California to Chicago in Illinois, and has been featured in several movies, shows, and songs.
Find artifacts, memorabilia, and photos as you learn how this highway helped boost the economy and culture of the surrounding towns.
This interactive museum features plenty of photo ops, so get ready to pose at a 1950s-style diner, the VW Love Bus, a 1917 model T Ford, and other props.
Along your tour of the California Route 66 Museum, listen to anecdotes about the highway from the helpful docents and staff.
Take a Day Trip to Mojave Narrows Regional Park
The park, once called "one of Southern California's least-known parks," is now a popular day trip option from Apple Valley and nearby towns.
It offers lush greenery, an old riverbed, cottonwood trees, willow thickets, and hiking trails.
You can also find thousands of watchable wildlife species, with over 250 bird species spotted around the park.
From Apple Valley, take a day trip to Mojave Narrows Regional Park and spend the day surrounded by natural wonders.
Some activities you can enjoy at the park include disc golf, fishing, camping, horseback riding, and hiking.
Spend the Day at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area
Escape the fast-paced city life and surround yourself with the pristine scenery of Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area.
The state park is located in Hesperia, 35 minutes south of Apple Valley, and is popular among residents and tourists who want to enjoy a day in nature.
The vast recreation area offers miles of multi-use trails for horseback riding, hiking, trail running, and biking; boat ramps and rentals for water activities; campgrounds for those who want to stay overnight; and swim beaches.
At Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, hike trails, swim on the beach, and picnic along the shore.
In addition, anglers can reel in different fish species like bluegill, largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, and trout, available throughout the year.
Camp at Mojave River Forks Regional Park
Located 30 minutes south of Apple Valley, the regional park features otherworldly landscapes and views of the Mojave Desert.
Although visitors at Mojave River Forks Regional Park can go hiking, biking, and horseback riding, there are other things to do at the park after sunset.
Stay overnight and enjoy the calm breeze on the campgrounds and on a cloudless sky, and marvel at the stars above the night sky.
Camping facilities at the park include RV full hookup sites, tent sites, group camping areas, dump stations, hot showers, and restrooms.
See the Animals at Hesperia Zoo
Travel 20 minutes south of Apple Valley to Hesperia Zoo, home to several native, exotic, and endangered animals from different continents.
The zoo aims to promote animal welfare, strengthen the human-animal bond, and protect the rights of responsible animal professionals.
As you explore the 10-acre zoo, see a variety of primates, big cats, exotic birds, mammals, and other fascinating animals you’ve not even heard of.
Hesperia Zoo also offers events and activities that will let you encounter select animals closely.
Get the chance to have a continental breakfast with a primate, walk with a herd of your choice of hoofstock, and hang out with a sloth.
Note that the zoo only accepts reservations, so make sure to book in advance to secure your slot.
Once a town bursting with apple orchards, Apple Valley is a town with a perfect location near the San Bernardino Mountains.
It offers pleasant weather, various activities, and a laid-back lifestyle suited for those who want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Its location near Highway 15 also makes it an ideal side trip if you’re traveling from California to Las Vegas.
If you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend getaway, check out the best things to do in Apple Valley, California, and plan your itinerary today!