If there’s one thing that brings nature-lovers, adventurers, and desert-enthusiasts together it’s the thirst for new and exhilarating experiences. Fortunately, San Bernardino County in Southern California is home to some of the top sightseeing destinations and outdoor adventures in the nation.

Here are a few places where you can experience adventure all year-round in the deserts of San Bernardino County.

Joshua Tree National Park

The world-known national park is a hot-spot destination to California locals, national travelers and international adventurers alike. Throughout the park, visitors have the opportunity to hike, bike, rock climb, bird watch, practice photography, go backpacking and enjoy horseback riding. With more than 750,000 acres of open space, it is hard to pick just one activity to do while visiting. The vast landscape filled with outstanding rock structures, historic landmarks, and diverse wildlife allows visitors to experience a natural piece of California with their bare hands.

Mojave National Preserve

This of it as your personal outdoor playground. The Mojave National Preserve offers outdoor adventures an open space to explore the wonders of the majestic desert with fewer crowds. Having a past history of volcanic activity, the landscape highlights many quirky features that add to the personality of the region such as lava tubes, extinct volcanoes and rugged mountains. Similar to Joshua Tree National Park, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing, camping, and other outdoor activities. Exploring the Mojave National Preserve puts you closer to nature because of its isolated location, so make sure you are well prepared with all of your essentials before making the trek into the preserve.

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Amboy Crater

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and located just off historic Route 66, the 6,000-year-old Amboy Crater is an almost perfectly symmetrical volcanic cinder cone in the Mojave National Preserve. A maintained trail climbs gently around the cone’s western half, leading into the breach. At the cone’s center, the 1,508-foot/460-meter-wide rim offers epic panoramic views of the vast Mojave Desert.

Teutonia Peak Trail

Anyone looking for a scenic hike should head out on the Teutonia Peak Trail. Located within the Mojave National Preserve, the nearly four-mile hike takes you through a forest of Joshua Trees to the edges of the Cima Dome. At the end of the trail, you will find some of the best panoramic views of the desert.

Fun Fact: Cima Dome is the most symmetrical rock formation of its kind in the United States, standing at 1,500 feet tall covering seventy square miles.

Photo Credit: Benoit Ollive Sr. @graphicfury

Mitchell Caverns

Mitchell Caverns is an outdoor adventure with a trio of limestone caves connected by a man-made tunnel. These caves are the only limestone caves in the California State Park system. (stateparks.com) The Caverns are only accessible via a guided tour that happens two days a week and, while hard to book, the tour consists of 1.5–2 hours of exploring the caves and learning about the area’s history.

Kelso Sand Dunes

The Kelso Dunes cover 45 square miles and rise 650 feet above the desert floor. What do you do with such a big pile of sand? Climb it! Even if you have hiked other dunes before, Kelso will be an interesting experience because of the “singing sand.” The 3-mile round trip hike to the top features fantastic views of the surrounding dunes and peaks in Mojave National Preserve. (hikespeak.com)

Pirate Cove Resort

The desert resort offers a few traditional and no traditional desert activities. As it sits along the Colorado River, visitors can enjoy views of the Topock Gorge as they take a boat ride downstream or make their own waves on a jetski. Did we mention they also have a water park for kids? Aside from the waterworks, the resort encourages visitors to explore the destination offering The Pirate Cove Off-Highway Vehicle experience, an offroading adventure highlighting a designated 3,200 miles of majestic desert on Polaris RZR vehicles.

Photo Credit: Pirate Cove Resort

With so many great adventures available, you are going to want to stay a while.