Barstow is a city of 24,000 people (2018) in the southern desert of the state of California. The city's location at the junction of Interstate 15 and Interstate 40, as well as its position on the old Route 66, make it a frequent pit stop for travelers passing through on their way to more exotic destinations.
Barstow does not have commercial airline service. The closest commercial airport is LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT IATA) about a 1-hour 14 minute (77 mi (124 km)) drive south of Barstow on Interstate 15, passing through Victorville, Cajon Pass, and Rancho Cucamonga en route. The next nearest commercial airport is Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport about 2 hour 15 minutes (153 mi (246 km)) drive, northeast, on Interstate 15.
- & , both major cross-country highways, intersect in Barstow. I-15 (Mojave Freeway) comes from San Diego in Southern California to the south and to Las Vegas in the north. I-40 (Blue Star Memorial/Needles Freeway) comes from Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon ends at its junction with I-15 in Barstow (exit 184A from NB lanes of I-15 only) while WB traffic on I-40 merges into I-15 SB only. Travelers going between Las Vegas (I-15) and northern Arizona (I-40) would have to get onto Main St (exit 184 from I-15 or exit 1 from I-40) as there are no direct onramps from I-40 WB to I-15NB or from I-15SB to I-40EB.
- Bakersfield-Barstow Hwy (exit 179 of I-15) connects I-15/40 in Barstow to CA-99/I-5 in Bakersfield. Travelers going towards I-5 can get off CA-58 at Bear Mountain Springs and continue west on CA-223 to exit 239 of I-5, to bypass local traffic in Bakersfield. This route serves as a northern bypass of the Los Angeles metropolitan area for travelers coming from Northern California and the San Joaquin Valley in the north & west, and going to Las Vegas, Northern Arizona or the Inland Empire in the east (and vice-versa).
- & The Historic Route 66 goes alongside I-15 & 40 as County Road (CR) 66, through town as Main St and becomes National Trails Highway west of town.
- S Barstow Rd (exit 183 of I-15) winds its way south towards CA-62 in the Yucca Valley (via Lucerne Valley), at the northwestern edge of the Joshua Tree National Park. It is another way to go towards Joshua Tree and Palm Springs without going through the busier San Bernardino. Going north, it goes into downtown as Barstow Rd. and ends at its intersection with E Main St (CR-66).
- 2 Amtrak Southwest Chief (Barstow Harvey House), 685 North First Ave. The Southwest Chief line stops in Barstow. The westbound train stops in Barstow at 3:40AM and the eastbound stops at 9:55PM, so plan accordingly.
The 1 Barstow Station. on 1611 E Main St is a mini-mall (Baja Taco, Dunkin Doughnuts, McDonald's, Panda Express, Subway, etc) built in a historic train station that serves as a de-facto bus station for:
- 3 Greyhound, (Bus station) Barstow Travel Center at 1611 E Main St (Behind McDonald's at Barstow Station at E Main and I-15 (Exit #184)), ☏ , toll-free: . Greyhound travels primarily on Interstate 15 (San Bernardino, Barstow, Las Vegas). Other variations of this route go towards downtown Los Angeles along the 210 without going into San Bernardino or continue south towards San Diego from San Bernardino. They have an additional stop in Claremont.
- Flixbus, (Bus stop) Barstow Travel Center at 1611 E Main (Bus will board at the Barstow Travel Center. Please proceed to the bus parking behind the station along the tracks.).
- Las Vegas Shuttle, (Bus stop) Barstow Travel Center at 1611 E Main, ☏ . Connects Las Vegas to the Mexican border in San Ysidro on one route and to Los Angeles on another. Some trips may continue south of the border to the Tijuana Airport. Prearrangements for pick-up and drop-off at this location may be required.
- Other buses traveling between Southern California and Las Vegas tend to take a break here to allow passengers to buy something to eat, buy souvenirs, use the restrooms, and/or smoke.
The following are local public transportation routed through Barstow in other parts town:
- Barstow to Fort Irwin bus, (first/last stop) Tanger Outlet Center, ☏ . Tu Th Sa. Bus service between the Fort Irwin Army Base and the city of Barstow. $2.75.
- B-V Link (Rt #15), (first/last stop) City Hall at E Mountain View St & Belinda Ave, ☏ . M W Th 7:50AM-6PM. Bus service between Barstow, Victorville and San Bernardino in the Inland Empire. One way $6, round trip $12, senior or disabled half price.
The downtown area of Barstow is small enough to easily get around by walking.
Main Street, L Street, Rimrock Road, and Montera Road encircle Barstow, while Barstow Road bisects the city.
Barstow is a small town with no traffic problems.
- Victor Valley Transit Authority, ☏ . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 8AM-4PM. VVTA provides service on three bus lines that run hourly. For areas not covered by the routes, dial-a-ride service (☏ ) is available. $1.25, senior or disabled $0.65, child 6-17 $1, under 5 free.
- 1 Desert Discovery Center, 831 Barstow Rd, ☏ . Tu-Sa 11AM-4PM. The highlight of the DDC is the 6,700-pound (3,039kg-) Old Woman Meteorite, the second largest meteorite ever found in the United States. Free.
- Main Street Murals (See website for a map of locations). 24 hours. A series of 16 murals depicting the history of Barstow are painted on the sides of buildings along Main Street. All of the murals have jackrabbit painted into them, some obvious, some require searching. Free.
- 2 Mojave River Valley Museum, 270 E. Virginia Way (Exit I-15 at Barstow Road, go north two blocks then turn left.), ☏ , [email protected]. Daily 11AM-4PM except Christmas Day. Presents the history of the Mojave River Valley from the arrival of Father Garces in 1776 through the space program. Free.
- 3 Barstow Harvey House, 681 N. First Ave, ☏ . The "Casa Del Desierto" is one of the hotels built by Fred Harvey during the effort to build his vision of "3,000 Miles of Hospitality" along the Santa Fe Railways. No longer in operation as a hotel, the Harvey House houses the Barstow Route 66 Museum, the Western America Railroad Museum, the Barstow Chamber of Commerce and the Barstow Visitor's Bureau.
- 1 Rainbow Basin Natural Area, Fossil Bed Rd (north on Irwin Road for 6 miles, turn left onto Fossil Bed Road, then follow the signs to Fossil Canyon Loop Road), ☏ , fax: . Rainbow Basin is a natural basin that features fantastic and beautiful shapes in its rock formations. The road is one-way narrow dirt road is best driven with a high clearance or four-wheel drive vehicles. Free.
- 2 Skyline Drive-In Theater, 31175 Old Hwy 58 (heading north, it's about 3/10 of a miles (500 m) west from the "Old Highway 58" exit on the I-15, just before Soap Mine Rd), ☏ . Open seven days a week, first showing at sundown (8PM Summer, 6PM Winter). As one of the last drive-ins in San Bernardino County, this is a chance to experience the classical drive-in cinema under the dark desert sky, while seeing the newest blockbusters. It frequently has packed nights on new movie openings and even has a small (but fully functional diner) attached to the projector house. Bring your own car (obviously). If you wonder why you are not hearing any sound, it is broadcast on FM that you can tune into using your car or a personal stereo. The entry kiosk and diner staff can help you to find the frequencies for each screen. There are two separate screens each showing two new movies per night, allowing visitors to watch two movies for one price (with "theater hopping" allowed between pictures if you don't like the one you picked.) Entrance fee is $6/person.
- 2 Tanger Outlet Center, 2796 Tanger Way (just South of Barstow along Interstate 15), ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 9AM-8PM. Dozens and dozens of places to shop for virtually every name brand merchandise one can think of. There are plenty of places to eat for the weary traveler too.
- 1 Jenny's Grill Steak & Mariscos, 1231 E. Main St. (exit I-15 at E. Main Street, head west for 1 mile; restaurant is on right hand side in front of Comfort Inn), ☏ , fax: . M-Sa 7:30AM-10PM, Su 7:30AM-9PM. A family run Mexican restaurant with Sonoran, Continental, and Seafood entrees. Good food, and reasonable prices with dinner entrees starting around $6. $8-12 a plate.
- 2 McDonald's Barstow Station, 1611 E. Main St., ☏ . Lobby - daily 5AM-11PM, drive-thru - daily 24 hours. If not the largest McDonald's in the world, it is certainly the most unique. Barstow Station is a McDonald's with an ice cream shop, candy store, gas station and the home of several radio stations that broadcast to travelers crossing the Mojave Desert. The most unique aspect of Barstow Station is the eating area. You can dine in old train cars and enjoy the view of travelers passing through this town. There is also a stand inside that sells homemade fudge.
- 3 Lola's Kitchen, 1244 E. Main St., ☏ . M-F 4AM-7:30PM, Sa 4AM-4:30PM. Excellent Mexican food in the Von's shopping center. Cash only.
- 4 Del Taco (Del Taco #1), 2871 Lenwood Rd. (exit I-15 at Lenwood Rd., restaurant is on the east side toward Barstow Outlet Center), ☏ . 6AM - midnight. Opened in 1964, this is one of the first Del Tacos (the chain started in Barstow) and has an extensive menu, serving otherwise long discontinued offerings. A special menu available only at the Barstow restaurants offers a selection of items with increased quantity at a discounted price.
- 5 DiNapoli's Firehouse, 1358 E Main St (Exit I-15 at E. Main St, head west 1 block, turn left on Mountain View, restaurant is on the righthand side facing Main Street.), ☏ . 11AM - 9PM. DiNapoli's Firehouse is a dark yet warmly lit and arranged Italian restaurant with Fire Department of New York memorabilia and New York crooners during their heyday lining the walls. Meals cover the gamut of Italian cooking and pasta/baked lunch and dinner variety. $15-25 a plate.
- 1 Bar 66, 1624 W. Main St (Take the West Barstow exit), ☏ . 4:30PM - 2AM. A casual bar on legendary Route 66. Very friendly, great staff and low-key until about 9PM when the music starts and the place starts jumping. Special events and happy hours go on all year, so check the website out to see what is coming up.
- 1 Baymont by Wyndahm Barstow Historic 66, 1861 Main St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
- 2 Best Western Desert Villa Inn, 1984 E. Main St, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Swimming pool, complimentary continental breakfast and Internet access. Pet friendly. $65-130 (doubles).
- 3 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 2700 Lenwood Rd, ☏ . $100–220 (doubles).
- 4 Motel 6, 150 Yucca Ave, ☏ , fax: . $45–55 (doubles).
- 5 Rodeway Inn, 1261 East Main St, ☏ . $40–60 (doubles).
- 6 Stardust Inn, 901 E Main St, ☏ . $35–60 (doubles).
- 1 Calico Ghost Town, 36600 Ghost Town Rd, Yermo (13 mi. (21 km) east on I-15), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Daily 9AM–5PM except Christmas Day. A family destination with mines, gunfights, and more. A short train ride gives a brief history of the town and the surrounding desert. $6, youth 6-15 - $6, under 5 free..
- 2 Calico Early Man Site, Minneola Rd, Yermo (15 miles northeast of Barstow; take Interstate 15 north and exit Minneola Road; follow the signs 2 miles north on graded dirt roads to the site). Guided tours: W 1:30PM and 3:30PM; Th-Su 9:30AM, 11:30AM, 1:30PM, and 3:30PM. This archaeological site is the location of a stone tool workshop, quarry, and camp site used by nomadic hunters and gatherers around 200,000 years ago, one of the oldest sites found in North America. Adult $5, child (12 and under) $1, senior (62 and over) $2.
- 3 Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, 93 Goldstone Rd, Fort Irwin (35mi (65km) north), ☏ , [email protected]. Guided tours of the 53-square-mile (137-km²) complex housing the massive antennas that NASA uses to communicate with its deep space missions to the planets. All tours must be scheduled in advance. Note that the tour requires entry to the Fort Irwin Army Base so ID is required and vehicles may be searched. Free.
- Mojave - 70 miles west of Barstow on Highway 58, Mojave is a hotbed of aerospace activity, with the Mojave Spaceport the headquarters of Scaled Composites, the first private company to launch a human into space. Edwards Air Force base, a landing site for the space shuttle and a center for the development of experimental aircraft, is next to the town.
- Baker - About 60 miles to the northeast of Barstow on I-15, Baker is the only significant town on the interstate in the remote desert stretch between Barstow and the Nevada border. It offers food, fuel and lodging, is home to the world's tallest thermometer, and is the starting point for those journeying north to Death Valley.
|Routes through Barstow|
|Los Angeles ← Victorville ←||S E||→ Needles → Albuquerque|
|Las Vegas ← Baker ←||N S||→ Apple Valley → San Bernadino|
|END ←||W E||→ Needles → Kingman|
|Santa Monica ← Victorville ←||S E||→ Amboy → Kingman|
|Bakersfield ← California City ← Jct N S ←||W E||→ END|