Despite its size, Bakersfield is a large small town. It has the conveniences and amenities of a large urban area, but new residents and visitors comment on others smiling and saying ‘hello.'” With music, festivals, outdoor activities, performs arts and sports, there’s ample activities for visitors to explore and reasons for a return visit.
Archeological findings indicate that people have been living in the area for thousands of years. The Kern River provided ample fresh water, wildlife was abundant, and a few pioneers built log cabins in the late 1830s. With the discovery of gold in California, folks came in droves around 1851.
Among those attracted to the area by the gold rush was Thomas Baker, a lawyer and former colonel in the militia of Ohio, his home state. Baker moved to the banks of the Kern River in 1863, at what became known as Baker’s Field, which soon came to be a popular stopover for travelers.
Bakersfield’s historic and primary industries are oil and agriculture.
Oil was discovered in 1865, so by 1870 more than 600 people called Bakersfield home. In the 1930s, Bakersfield saw a surge in population from those fleeing the Dust Bowl. In 2013 Kern County produced more oil than any other county in America.
Kern County is a part of the highly productive San Joaquin Valley, and ranks in the top five most productive agricultural counties in the nation. Major crops for Kern County include grapes, citrus, almonds, carrots, alfalfa, cotton, and roses.
The city gained fame in the late 1950s and early 1960s for the Bakersfield Sound, an electric guitar-driven subgenre of country music that commercially dominated the industry for more than a decade. Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Dwight Yoakam were its best-known stars.
Opening in 1996, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace is a must see for visitors to Bakersfield. The all-in-one restaurant, museum, and music venue spotlights the rich history of the Bakersfield Sound and the career of Buck Owens. The Palace is home to countless items of memorabilia from Owens’ early days to his time as co-host of Hee-Haw and his final years as a living legend. Until his passing in 2006 Owens would perform each weekend to fans that came from across the globe to pay homage to the star.
Buck first recorded “Streets of Bakersfield” in 1972 and re-recorded it in 1988 as a duet with Dwight Yoakam, again hitting No. 1.
To see and learn about some of the local history, visit the Kern County Museum and explore a pioneer village and see history of Kern County. Stop by and enjoy the California area living Museum on the Alfred Harrell Highway. Seeing plants and animals native to the area, this is an exciting as well as educational experience.
Are you into racing? Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield is world famous. This half-mile dirt track is located just off of Interstate 5 on California Highway 43.
The California Fruit Depot is located just off of Highway 58 at the southern end of California’s San Joaquin Valley. They are one of California’s smallest fruit packing facilities specializing in growing and shipping premium quality oranges and Medjool dates.
Continue your adventure by driving on General Beale Road just east of Bakersfield and visiting the Murray Family Farms. Very tasty organic fruits and vegetables are offered year round. Take them back to your RV and have a super fresh, locally grown meal.
For RVers like us, Bakersfield is an excellent RV adventure destination with three 5-star, big-rig friendly RV parks and resorts.
Located one mile from the Crystal Palace, the Bakersfield River Run RV Park has over 120 sites with all types of sites available. All-weather sites, pull-through, 30 amp, 50 amp, some with patios or shade, just ask when you contact them.
Orange Grove RV Park is smack dab in the middle of a real, working orange grove. The air is scented with the crisp, clean aroma of orange trees. There is truly nothing quite like this. With 110 spaces available, great place for taking strolls around the park.
Last but certainly not least, the Bakersfield RV Resort is a superbly manicured resort with a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. A massive 215 spaces available, they really do great at accommodating virtually any RV.
Bakersfield is a gem. The people are friendly, the history great, the present happy, and the future bright. So, pack up the RV and discover Bakersfield.
Streets Of Bakersfield
Hey, you don’t know me, but you don’t like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?
—lyrics by Dwight Yoakam; vocals by Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam