Fort Irwin and the National Training Center is conveniently located in a central area of Southern California within the Mojave Desert. The communities near our military installation constitute an area of Southern California affectionately known as the High Desert. The High Desert includes Baker, Barstow, Victorville, Silver Lakes and Apple Valley; some of these communities are located on what used to be U.S. Route 66. The Inland Empire is located south of the High Desert and is comprised of cities such as San Bernardino, Riverside, Redlands, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Fontana. The greater Los Angeles metropolitan area is located southwest of the High Desert and includes communities such as San Gabriel, East Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Burbank, Long Beach, and the San Fernando Valley. North of Fort Irwin and the NTC is located Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The travel, recreational, cultural, and entertainment opportunities in proximity to Fort Irwin and the NTC are numerous and extraordinary. Southern California is one of the few places on earth where you can ski and enjoy the beach in the same day. The Los Angeles area boasts a Mediterranean climate, with moderate temperatures year-round. Famous beaches and surf spots include Huntington Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu. Within the San Bernardino Mountains and Angeles National Forest (approximately two hours from post), there are ski resorts such as Bear Mountain and Mountain High.
Historical and cultural activities are substantial. Nearby Calico Ghost Town presents a look at the booming days of silver mining that took place in the area. Barstow has the Mojave River Valley museum and Route 66 “Mother Road” Museum inside the historic Harvey House. Los Angeles is home to many museums such as the Getty, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the California Science Center (home of the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour). The Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has been the venue for performances of “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Wicked.”
Recreational attractions range from off-road areas to National Parks. The High Desert is home to a thriving community of off-road enthusiasts. Many areas around I-15 in the High Desert are available for off-road recreation. National Parks nearby include: Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Sequoia, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Water sports and recreation opportunities are also abundant. The Colorado River is approximately three hours away. The river serves as the state line with Arizona; boating, swimming and fishing is allowed in areas such as Lake Havasu, Needles, and Laughlin. The harbor areas of Los Angeles allow visitors to book trips for whale watching, deep-sea fishing and excursions to Catalina Island. It is also a launching point for cruise vacations on the Pacific.
Southern California sporting venues, events and teams include: NASCAR racing in Fontana; the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; the annual Rose Bowl game; the Los Angeles Lakers; the Anaheim Ducks hockey team; the L.A. Galaxy soccer team; numerous marathons and fund-raising 5k/10k runs; professional boxing in Las Vegas, and; horse racing at Santa Anita.
Entertainment venues run the gamut from Las Vegas to Disneyland. In Las Vegas you’ll have a chance to see performances of all genres-from concerts to celebrity impersonators to elaborate magic shows to comedians. Southern California is home to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Knott’s Berry Farm, LEGOLAND, Raging Waters, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and many more.
If you were wondering what there is to do outside Fort Irwin, then you have nothing to worry about. Many of the attractions and venue tickets can be purchased at Leisure Travel Services. The LTS and Outdoor Recreation (both are FMWR sub-agencies) can also help you plan an outing or vacation.