Nestled at the base of Tehachapi, San Gabriel, and Sierra Pelona mountain ranges, lies California’s Lancaster city. Located in the Antelope valley, this underrated tourist destination features astounding desert landscapes, world-class racetracks, outrageously-coloured poppy fields, diverse wildlife, remarkable aerospace museums, sprawling crimson canyons, and so much more. The magnificent Mojave desert offers opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor recreation, such as camping, hiking, star gazing, rock climbing, picnicking, and several others. Visit and explore the Antelope valley’s incredible natural beauty.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
The vast spreading, brightly coloured wildflowers in the Antelope Valley create a heavenly visual to behold. Watch the fields painted in brilliant shades of saffron, violet, yellow, blue, and green. The perfect time to visit this reserve is in spring when the flowers are in full bloom. Enjoy an invigorating hike along the picturesque nature trails and view the region’s diverse wildlife. You can spot snakes, lizards, rats, meadow larks, scorpions, beetles, hawks. Primarily a poppy field, it also features cream cups, lupine, owl’s clover, coreopsis, and more. Come here to experience nature’s miraculous work of art amidst a desert.
The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Centre at the site features an art gallery, flora and fauna displays, a souvenir store, and picnic tables.
Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
Located in Palmdale, this airpark features over 20 real aircrafts that were once used by the US Airforce. Additionally, the park exhibits real missiles, bombers, transport aircrafts, plane components, and more. All the exhibits share some history with the US Airforce Plant 42 which is located in Palmdale city. Tour the park and learn more about the aviation history of the country. Admission to the site is absolutely free for all. The park is a 15 minutes’ drive from Lancaster.
Los Angeles County Air Show
This annual event takes place for two days in October and features remarkable stunt flying by the US air force and navy, a broad array of army jets, skydiving, helicopters, vintage army aircrafts, hot air balloons, a science fair, exhibits displaying aviation history, and plenty more. The venue rotates between William J. Fox Airfield and Edwards Air Force Base every alternative year. Attend this event to enjoy the entertaining and awe-inspiring performances.
Lancaster Museum of Art and History
Museum of Art and History or MOAH includes permanent collections as well as rotating exhibitions. It has four locations in Lancaster that collectively offer several thousands of diverse exhibits such as, historical artifacts, aviation related displays, artworks by regional artists, a pinball machine, local memorabilia, history of surf boards, and many more. It majorly focuses on the Antelope Valley’s regional art, culture, natural resources, and history. Various events are organised throughout the year, including open mic nights, annual art competitions, exhibitions by students of local schools. Visit the museum and explore the stunning artistic works.
Antelope Valley Indian Museum
This historic museum features thousands of historical and contemporary exhibits that relate to the regional Native American culture. The items on display include pottery, sandals, baskets, jewellery, paintings, textiles, rugs, hunting equipment, ropes, sculptures, and more. The outdoor area of the museum features nature trails and picnic areas. It is one of the major attractions of Lancaster and provides you with a unique experience. Tour the museum and learn interesting facts about the indigenous people of this region. The museum is open to public on weekends from 11 am to 4 pm.
Lancaster Performing Arts Centre
Founded in 1991, this theatre offers a wide range of entertaining and lively performances, such as ballets, orchestra, comedy, plays, musical concerts, magic shows, musicals, and plenty more. It not only features regional talent but also presents world famous performances. Some of the renowned artists who have graced the stage here include Debbie Reynolds, Willie Nelson, Henry Mancini, Penn & Teller, Billy Ray Cyrus, Natalie Cole. It is the largest and the best theatre in the entire Antelope Valley. Get tickets to a show and enjoy an amazing performance.
Western Hotel Museum
Formerly a hotel, it was converted into a museum during its centennial year in 1988. It educates its patrons about the regional history of the Antelope Valley. It’s permanent collection displays historical artifacts and local memorabilia, that include household items, maps, pictures, traditional masonry equipment, black and white albums, sculptures, clocks, china, baskets, furniture, crockery, a pump organ, Native American stones, and more. It is affiliated to the Museum of Art and History and is one of the oldest buildings of this region. It is open to public on second and fourth Fridays and Saturdays of every month from 11 am to 4 pm. Explore the ancient artifacts in this historic museum.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Enjoy mind-blowing aerial views of the scenic Mojave desert and Antelope Valley with Don’s Early Light Hot Air Balloon Flights. Feast your eyes to mesmerising views of the skies changing colours during sunrise or sunset and appreciate the unparalleled natural beauty of this region. Try this amazing experience in Lancaster and create unforgettable memories to cherish.
Encompassing over 50 acres, this park features 3 enchanting lakes, picnic areas, invigorating hiking trails, barbeque grills, snack bars, playgrounds, and more. You can spot ducks, geese, rabbits, and swans. The lakes provide access to fishing. This park has been named after the astronauts who travelled in the Apollo 11 spaceflight. Go for a refreshing stroll here or enjoy a nice picnic by the lakeside.
Drive on the Civic Musical Road
This fascinating and unique road is one of Lancaster’s prime attractions. Located between 30th and 40th Street West on Avenue G, it consists of grooves that cause music to start playing every time a car is driven on it. The grooves are located at regular intervals on the road. It was originally paved by Honda Motor Company in 2008 as a publicity stunt. This road is the only one of its kind in the United States. Enjoy a scenic and musical drive on this road while visiting Lancaster. Make sure to be on the left lane of Avenue G which is headed west and maintain a speed of about 55 mph.
Prime Desert Woodland Preserve
This preserve features hiking trails that traverse remote areas in the desert. It provides excellent opportunities to explore the astounding beauty of the Mojave desert and its native flora and fauna. It is also a perfect place for star gazing at nights. Go hiking in the wild and sandy desert and view the exotic wildlife. You can spot ravens and hawks patrolling the sky, numerous jackrabbits, coyotes, lizards, quails, squirrels, cottontail rabbits, Joshua trees, cactus, and several others. The Elyze Clifford Interpretive Centre is located here. It emphasises on the regional flora and fauna, history, culture, and geology of the Mojave desert. The various exhibits include live animals, historical artifacts, pictures, interpretation of the regional Native American history, mining history, minerals found in the desert, and more. The interpretive centre is open on Wednesdays and weekends from 10 am to 4pm.
Red Rock Canyon State Park
This historic state park features enormous rustic red cliffs and sedimentary rock formations spread throughout 27000 acres of desert land. Centuries ago, this site used to be inhabited by Native Indians. Estimated to be over 10 million years old, this renowned archaeological site is a palaeontologist’s heaven. Numerous fossils can be found at this site which provide significant insights into the region’s ancient environment. Enjoy an invigorating hike along these dramatic and brilliantly coloured cliffs or camp here at night to experience nature and gaze at the stars. Try hunting for fossils and appreciate the picturesque views. You can spot roadrunners, tortoises, wild burros, rabbits, squirrels, eagles, and plenty more. Owing to its incredible beauty, this site is popular among photographers and movie makers. It has been featured in a wide range of films, such as Jurassic Park, The Mummy, The Big Country, Westworld. Destiny’s Child’s Cater 2 U music video was also filmed here. Primitive camping is possible at Ricardo Campground. The park is open from dawn to dusk. This place is on every tourist’s itinerary here.
Lancaster National Soccer Center
Watch a game of soccer at this renowned stadium. It has 35 soccer fields and hosts a multitude of soccer tournaments throughout the year, such as Cal south state cup, LA cup, California cup, and more.
Edwards Air Force Base
It consists of a flight test centre for the US air force, NASA’s research centre, a test pilot school, and a museum. The museum is open to public once a month and free guided tours are provided. Its exhibits feature over 35 aircrafts, missiles, aircraft components, technical diagrams, pictures, model planes, and lots more. Additionally, the free guided tour includes a bus tour of the main base. You are only allowed to get off the bus at the museum. Visit this place and enjoy viewing their incredible collection of diverse aircrafts. It is recommended to make reservations for the tour a few months in advance.
Saddle Butte State Park
Located in the Mojave desert, this state park is a popular site for hiking, picnicking, and camping. It features the Saddleback Butte whose peak is at a height of over 3600 feet from the ground. Follow the hiking trails to the top of the mountain and enjoy grand vistas of the Antelope valley and Mojave desert. The view of the sunset from the top is heavenly. Enjoy a nice picnic against the picturesque backdrops. Campgrounds are available for both primitive as well as RV camping featuring barbeque grills and bonfire areas. You can view foxes, lizards, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, squirrels, snakes, kangaroo rats, and several others. The park is open daily from 9 am to dusk and the campgrounds are open 24×7.
California Poppy Festival
This two days festival takes place in April every year. It features live performances, amusement rides, delicious food stalls, fun activities, a petting zoo, trampolines, animal encounters, arts and crafts stores, vintage and modern car shows, a farmer’s market, and more. Pottery, handicrafts, home décor, jewellery, candles, apparel, glassware, body care products are offered for sale by over 200 regional vendors. The event is organised at the Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park. Be a part of the festivities and experience the vibrant local culture here.
Baseball is a prominent part of the local culture in Lancaster. The Lancaster Jethawks is the city’s official minor league baseball team. They have won two California League championship trophies. The Hangar stadium is this team’s home ground and can accommodate more than 7000 patrons during a game. A US Navy aircraft known as F/A–18 Hornet is exhibited at the gates of this stadium.
The Agua Dulce Winery is the largest winery in the region and is renowned for its chardonnay and red wines. This place has won several awards at numerous national level competitions and has also been honoured as the best fine wine producer in the county. Their tours are followed by a delectable lunch. Spend a relaxing day touring their 400-acre vineyard and tasting delicious wine. They’re open every day of the week except Mondays.
Quail Run Ostrich Ranch
Home to numerous ostriches, this farm lets you get close to and feed these majestic creatures. You can learn loads of interesting facts about these birds from the guided tours offered here. Ostrich eggs, meat, honey, fresh apples and cherries, ostrich chicks, body care products, home décor, furniture, feather dusters, and plenty more are offered for sale at the store of this farm. Additionally, this is a primitive camping site and also features a cherry and apple orchard. Take a tour of this farm and get close to nature.
Willow Springs International Motorsports Park
Established in 1953, this park encompasses 600 acres and features multiple racetracks. Over the years, it has hosted several world-class racing events, such as NASCAR cup series, Grand Prix motorcycle races, Cal club races, American Motorcyclist Association events, and plenty more. It is one of the fastest and most difficult racecourses in the United States and has recorded speeds close to 200 mph. A multitude of racing events are organised here consistently throughout the year. Get tickets to a race and enjoy a mind-blowing experience.