Needles, CA, is a small city located in the eastern part of San Bernardino County, California with less than 5,000 people. It sits on the banks of the Colorado River and is surrounded by stunning desert landscapes.
Founded in the late 19th century, Needle City emerged as a thriving hub of industry, driven by its textile manufacturing and needle production. The city’s iconic needle-like structures, such as the impressive Needle Tower, stand as proud reminders of its manufacturing heritage and symbolize the resilience and creativity of its people.
The city has a rich history, with roots in the railroad and mining industries, as well as a strong connection to the nearby Route 66. Tourists can explore the local history and culture at museums, take in the natural beauty of the surrounding area, or enjoy outdoor activities like fishing and golfing.
Get ready to be enthralled by Needle City, where history, culture, and modernity intertwine to create an unforgettable destination. Let’s explore together the best 10 things to do in Needles, CA:
1. Explore the Mojave National Preserve
Just a short drive from Needles, the Mojave National Preserve offers visitors a chance to explore the unique landscape of the Mojave Desert. Spanning over 1.6 million acres, this vast expanse of protected land showcases the stunning beauty of the Mojave Desert ecosystem and boasts a rich cultural and natural heritage.
One of the most distinctive features of Mojave National Preserve is its diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes. From towering sand dunes and Joshua tree forests to rugged mountains and dramatic canyons, the preserve presents a tapestry of natural wonders that are waiting to be explored.
Be prepared to be amazed by the ethereal beauty of the Kelso Dunes, where the shifting sands create a mesmerizing landscape, or venture into the dense Joshua tree forests that evoke a sense of tranquility and wonder.
2. Visit the Needles Regional Museum
At the Needles Regional Museum, you have the opportunity to explore the rich history and heritage of the city of Needles and its surrounding region. This local museum offers a diverse range of exhibits and artifacts that provide insights into the area’s cultural, natural, and industrial history.
One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of Native American artifacts. Tourists can admire traditional pottery, intricate basketry, and other artifacts that showcase the craftsmanship and cultural practices of the Native peoples who inhabited the region.
The museum also delves into the fascinating history of Needles as a transportation hub. Exhibits showcase the city’s role as a stop along the historic Route 66, one of America’s most iconic highways.
3. Go fishing on the Colorado River
Fishing on the Colorado River offers a fantastic experience for anglers of all skill levels. Known for its diverse fish species and picturesque surroundings, the river provides ample opportunities to cast a line and enjoy a day of fishing in a beautiful natural setting.
To make the most of your fishing experience on the Colorado River, it’s essential to have the right equipment. Spinning or baitcasting rods and reels are commonly used, depending on your preferred fishing style.
You may want to consider using lures, such as crankbaits, soft plastics, or topwater baits, which are effective for enticing bass in the river’s currents. Live bait, such as worms or minnows, can also be effective in attracting a variety of fish species.
Remember to come prepared with appropriate sun protection, plenty of water, and necessary safety equipment. Respect the river and its surroundings, practice catch-and-release when possible, and leave no trace to preserve the natural beauty of this remarkable waterway.
4. Take a boat tour of Lake Havasu
Located just over an hour’s drive from Needles, Lake Havasu offers visitors a chance to relax on the water and take in the stunning desert scenery. Boat tours are available, and visitors can also rent kayaks, jet skis, and paddleboards.
A boat tour of Lake Havasu offers a wonderful way to explore the beauty and attractions of this stunning reservoir located on the Colorado River. With its crystal-clear waters, scenic landscapes, and iconic attractions, Lake Havasu provides a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
If you’re interested in water sports, Lake Havasu offers ample opportunities for activities such as jet skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and fishing. Many boat tours provide equipment rentals or can tailor the experience to include these adventurous options.
5. Visit the Route 66 Museum
At the Route 66 Museum, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich history and cultural significance of the iconic Route 66, also known as the “Main Street of America.” Located in the city of Needles, the museum showcases a range of exhibits and artifacts that highlight the unique charm and nostalgia associated with this historic highway.
As you explore the museum, you’ll encounter a fascinating collection of memorabilia, vintage photographs, and interactive displays that bring the history of Route 66 to life. The exhibits trace the development of the highway, from its early beginnings as a vital link for cross-country travel to its rise in popularity as a symbol of American freedom and adventure.
The museum also delves into the cultural impact of Route 66, showcasing the influence it had on American popular culture, music, and the arts.
6. Play golf at the Rivers Edge Golf Course
Designed by renowned golf course architect David Rainville, Rivers Edge Golf Course presents a strategic layout that rewards both accuracy and shot-making skills. The course features 18 beautifully manicured holes, incorporating the natural contours of the land and seamlessly blending with the surrounding environment.
Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking for a challenging round or a beginner seeking to improve your skills, Rivers Edge Golf Course offers a memorable golfing experience. The course is open to both members and visitors, and tee times can be booked in advance to ensure availability.
7. Take a scenic drive through the desert
A scenic drive through the desert in Needles, California, offers a captivating journey through the stark and beautiful landscapes of the Mojave Desert. As you embark on this adventure, you’ll be treated to an array of breathtaking sights and a sense of tranquility that can only be found in the vastness of the desert.
The drive begins with the open road stretching out before you, surrounded by vast expanses of sandy desert terrain dotted with resilient vegetation and unique rock formations.
The earthy tones of the desert landscape create a soothing and calming ambiance, allowing you to escape the noise and busyness of everyday life.
Remember to pack water, sun protection, and essentials for your drive, as the desert can be unforgiving. Ensure that your vehicle is in good condition and carry extra supplies in case of unexpected circumstances.
8. Visit the Desert View Memorial Park
Desert View Memorial Park in Needles, CA, is a serene and beautiful cemetery that serves as a memorial to military veterans. As you enter the park, you’ll encounter a poignant atmosphere of reverence and gratitude.
The park features various memorials dedicated to military veterans, each one a solemn reminder of their service and sacrifice. These memorials, adorned with plaques, statues, and other commemorative elements, stand as lasting tributes to those who have bravely served in the armed forces.
The sight of American flags waving proudly in the breeze and patriotic displays throughout the park evoke a sense of pride and appreciation for the men and women who have defended our freedom.
9. Take a day trip to Oatman, a nearby historic mining town famous for its wild burros and old-west charm
A day trip from Needles, CA to Oatman is a delightful adventure that takes you through scenic desert landscapes and transports you back in time to a charming historic mining town. Here’s what a day trip to Oatman looks like:
You’ll start your journey from Needles, taking a scenic drive along the winding roads that cut through the picturesque Mojave Desert. As you leave the city behind, the arid beauty of the desert unfolds before your eyes, with rugged mountains and vast expanses of desert stretching out in all directions.
After approximately 30 miles, you’ll arrive at the town of Oatman. This small, quirky town is known for its old-west atmosphere and wild burros that freely roam the streets. As you park your car and step onto the dusty sidewalks, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the days of the Wild West.
While exploring the town, be sure to visit the Oatman Hotel, a historic landmark that dates back to 1902. This iconic establishment has welcomed countless travelers and was once frequented by famous figures like Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Inside the hotel, you can admire the vintage decor and soak up the old-west ambiance.
10. Relax and soak up the sun at one of the local beaches along the Colorado River
Spending a couple of hours relaxing and soaking up the sun at one of the local beaches along the Colorado River in Needles is a perfect way to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Take the opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and simply enjoy each other’s company. Engage in conversation, play a game, or read a book together as you recline on the beach. Let the soothing sound of the river’s gentle flow provide a calming soundtrack to your relaxation.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider taking a dip in the cool waters of the Colorado River. The river’s gentle current offers a refreshing respite from the heat, and swimming provides an invigorating way to enjoy the natural surroundings. Just be mindful of any safety guidelines or local regulations in place.
In conclusion, Needle City stands as a remarkable destination that seamlessly blends a rich history, vibrant culture, and a modern urban landscape. This captivating city has something to offer for every type of traveler, whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, an art aficionado, or an adventure seeker.
In essence, Needle City is a captivating destination that combines the allure of its history, the vibrancy of its culture, and the beauty of its natural surroundings. It’s a place that invites you to explore, indulge, and create lasting memories.
So, pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and get ready to experience the enchantment of Needle City!