Inland Empire, CA

Splash and Play Family Getaway

From high-country hikes to high-speed racing, get ready for a lively circle tour.

Trip length: 3-4 days, Total distance: 258mi/413km


orange empire railway museumDAY 1

Riverside See vintage aircraft and watch military planes zoom overhead at March Field Air Museum. Let the kids feel grownup at pretty Las Campanas Mexican Cuisine & Cantina at the elegant Mission Inn.

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Perris (18mi/28km). For a hint of Southern California’s history, ride trains and trolley (weekends and holidays) at Orange Empire Railway Museum. Order burgers, fries, and creamy shakes at 1950s-diner-style Jenny’s Family Restaurant.

Hemet (16mi/26km). Go boating on Diamond Valley Lake. Learn about mastodons and mammoths found in nearby digs at the Western Science Center, then dig into house-smoked ribs at Sweet Baby Jane’s.

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Mountain and Valley Marvels

Hike, pedal, splash, and play in a mountain wonderland.

Trip Time: 3 Days


Day 1

San Bernardino. Save gas with a walking tour of historic downtown. Nearby, take a self-guided tour of the eco-built Highland Library and Environmental Learning Center.

Rim of the World Scenic Byway (19.6 mi/31.5 km). Mountain vistas line this picturesque drive along the crest of the San Bernardino Mountains. Take a hike among the giant sandstone Mormon Rocks.

Lake Arrowhead (32 mi/52 km). From spring to autumn, bike the trails surrounding the pine-fringed lake, or hike the North Shore trail alongside Little Bear Creek.

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Explore, Play, Relax in the Temecula Valley Wine Region


temecula balloonsDay One

Explore. Begin your day by exploring the Temecula Valley, soaring high above the natural rolling hills and vineyards, with a relaxing and refreshing Hot Air Balloon ride. Your next stop is the growing Old Town District, where you can explore the many unexpected discoveries. Dating back to the early 1800s, this charming escape offers a fun way to experience the boutiques, theaters, and museums lining its wooden boardwalk.

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Be Idle and Sample the Wild on a Visit to Idyllwild


IdyllwildNot usually much of a dot on the tourist map, the artsy, pine-shaded town of Idyllwild, and the surrounding San Bernardino National Forest, offer a mountain playground both charming and challenging.

Trip length: 2 days, Total distance: 39mi/62.7km

DAY 1

SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST. This Forest Service office, on the corner of Pinecrest and Highway 243, is the place to get tips on hiking trails, fishing spots, and where to camp. The region is also mountain biking heaven, with miles of dirt fire roads and challenging single-track trails, such as Hurkey Creek, Coyote Run, Sylvan Meadows, and 17-mile Romona Trail Loop. Get advice and rent bikes at Hub Cyclery.

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Inland Empire Museums

No Visit to a California destination would be complete without visiting one of the many museums. California has a reputation as a haven for people with creative minds, and you can see this in its multifaceted cultural offerings. Arts abound here in four main formats: large-scale, world-class organizations; smaller, quirkier museums, often showcasing the Golden State’s history and its abundant idiosyncratic subcultures (think surfers, Silicon Valley techno-wizards, and Peanuts aficionados).

When the weather hinders traditional camping activities (or not) stretch your mind with a visit to one of California’s museums. Need more encouragement? Check out The 10 Reasons to Visit a Museum!

Pennypickle's Workshop - Temecula is located off Interstate 15 from Rancho California Road. Situated in Old Town Temecula, Pennypickles Workshop is a children's museum cluttered with hands-on inventions, gadgets, experiments and more. Join a Robot Building Workshop, travel time through the Blacklight Maze Room, become a human kaleidoscope, play a record on the sewing machine and see the peanut butter & jelly sandwich-making machine. Visit www.pennypickles.org

Southern California Medical Museum - Riverside is located off the 91 Freeway from Central Avenue. This is the only museum in Southern California dedicated to collecting and preservating medical artifacts and the history of medicine throughout the state. Various specialties of medicine include dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and medical. Exhibits include art, instruments, pills, electric shock devices, ether masks, microscopes, tooth extractors and much more. Visit www.socalmedicalmuseum.org

Riverside International Automotive Museum - Riverside is located near the intersection of the 60, 91 and 215 Freeways. The museum pays tribute to California's rich motorsports history and the Riverside International Raceway. Exhibits include California racing memorabilia and classic & exotic cars including Maseratis, Indy cars, Formula cars, Ferraris and more. Visit www.riversideinternational.org

Riverside Metropolitan Museum - Riverside is located off Highway 91 at the University Avenue exit, southwest of Highway 60. They feature artistic works representing cultural and natural history. Emphasis is placed on the preservation of local history. The museum is situated in a former Post Office building that was constructed in 1912. Closed on Mondays. Visit www.riversideca.gov

March Field Aircraft Museum - Riverside is located off Interstate 215 south of Highway 60 in Riverside. This is an aircraft museum featuring a historic collection of warbirds from the SR-71 "Blackbird" to Soviet Migs. Over 3,000 aviation artifacts are on display as well as over 50 planes. Visit www.marchfield.org

Editorial information provided in part by CaliforniaRevealed.com, a collection of native Californians and travelers who spend their time exploring California and sharing their discoveries.

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Los Pinos Peak Trail

In the summertime, rangers open the gate to the Main Divide Road allowing you more direct access to this short ridgeline trail. Your ascent begins abruptly from the parking area, up a talus-strewn slope. The worst is over once you have attained this first summit. You'll drop down another saddle and then climb Los Pinos Peak proper.

The peak lies past a thicket. Look for the trail register among the stones and sign it. If you wish, you may continue along Los Pinos Ridge for several miles. Due to blockage by a private owner, however, you must return the way you came.

Expect brilliant wildflowers in the late springtime. The trail is not shaded, so bring a hat and water.

Trailhead: From Interstate 15: Take the Central Avenue (California 74) exit in Lake Elsinore and proceed west about 11 miles to Long Canyon Road (unsigned). Turn right on Long Canyon Road. Follow Long Canyon for approximately 4 miles to the Main Divide Road. Turn left on the Main Divide Road, climbing until you reach the parking area at Los Pinos Saddle.

Distance:             1.94 miles round trip

Elevation Gain:    433 ft

Hike Time:           1 hours

Difficulty:             Moderate

Trail Condition:     OK, but a few difficult spots

HikeType:             Out and Back

For more information visit www.LocalHikes.com

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