Kern County is in California. This huge county extends across a number of geographic regions in California: The western portion is in the San Joaquin Valley, the northeastern portion is in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the southeastern part is in the Desert.
San Joaquin Valley
Kern Country cities within the San Joaquin Valley include:
- Bakersfield - Nicknamed "the country music capital of the West Coast", Bakersfield is the largest city in the southern San Joaquin Valley and is thus the best option for those seeking lodging, transportation, or other services.
- Buttonwillow - This town offers lodging options and services and is home to the Buttonwillow Tree, a state landmark that gave the town its name.
- Delano - Delano was a major center in the push for farmworker's rights, and includes a federally-landmarked complex that was the first headquarters for Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers organization.
- Keene - The Tehachapi Loop is located just outside of Keene and is a favorite of railroad fans around the world since the engineering wonder is one of the few places where a train can be seen passing over itself.
- Lost Hills - This town will be of most interest to travelers on I-5 who need fuel, food or other services.
- Maricopa - This oil & agriculture town was the site of one of the largest oil spills in history when the Lakeview Gusher unleashed nine million barrels of oil onto the surrounding countryside.
- McFarland - McFarland is a small farming community that may be best known for the cross-country team that inspired the 2015 movie McFarland, USA.
- McKittrick - An oil & gas town located on Highway 33 that is home to the McKittrick Brea Pit, a tar pit that was the site of a huge cache of prehistoric fossils.
- Taft - An oil town that offers food, gas, and lodging services. Taft is also home to the West Kern Oil Museum and a replica of Sutter's fort that was built in 1940 as a Depression-era project.
- Tehachapi - Tehachapi is home to a massive wind farm.
- The Grapevine - The Grapevine is a corridor along I-5 that is home to the outlets at Tejon and a slew of traveler-focused restaurants and hotels for the thousands of cars traveling on I-5.
- Wasco - Wasco is known as the city of roses, with 55% of all roses in the grown in the USA grown in and around Wasco.
Kern County cities within the Sierra Nevada include:
- Lake Isabella
Kern County cities within the Desert include:
- California City
- Mojave - 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 located adjacent to the town.
- Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest is a desert town that is adjacent to China Lake Naval Weapons Station. Many visitors pass through this area on the way to Death Valley or sites further north along the Eastern Sierra.
- Rosamond - Rosamond is primarily a bedroom community in the desert of the Antelope Valley, although it does have food and lodging options for tourists, and is home to a non-profit center dedicated to feline protection where visitors can see cats ranging in size from the tiny fishing cat up to the Siberian tiger.
- Bakersfield (661) 374-2227
- Ridgecrest (760) 384-2424
- Rosamond (661) 256-2227
- Tehachapi (661) 771-2227
- Tehachapi Loop, Woodford-Tehachapi Rd, 5.5 miles west of Tehachapi. The Tehachapi Loop is a favorite of railroad fans around the world. It is one of the few places where a train can be seen passing over itself. The loop is an engineering feat that lowered the grade required for the railroad to climb over the pass between the High Desert from the Central Valley. A number of historical markers can be found overlooking the loop.
- Kings County
- Tulare County
- Inyo County
- San Bernardino County
- Los Angeles County
- Ventura County - While to some extent it is an extension of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Kern County's neighbor to the west is home to rural getaways like the town of Ojai that share more with the remote Central Coast region than they do with the massive cities to the south. While the county is heavily populated (with services to match), the Los Padres National Forest dominates the northern part of this county and provides recreational opportunities for those who want to spend time outdoors.
- Santa Barbara County - Kern County's southwestern neighbor is most famous for the town of Santa Barbara and is sometimes considered the northern boundary of Southern California. While mountains run through the region, the county is well served by a network of highways, making road trips to the many beautiful wineries a popular activity. The Danish town of Solvang is a popular destination, and rocket launches can sometimes be viewed near Vandenberg Air Force base, America's west coast spaceport.
- San Luis Obispo County - San Luis Obispo County is located to the west of Kern County, and it marks a noticeable shift in landscape from areas to the south, with a dramatic and remote coastline that draws nature lovers. Hearst Castle is located here, the massive and historic former home of the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. The town of San Luis Obispo is a college town that is the last large city for over 100 miles for those traveling north along the coast.
- Monterey County - Located northwest of Kern County, Monterey County is what many people think of when they think of the Central Coast - the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the beautiful 17-Mile Drive, Cannery Row, Pebble Beach golf course, and the rugged beauty of Big Sur. The northern part of the county contains every manner of amenity for travelers, ranging from chain motels to five star resorts, while the southern portion of the county is remote and accessible mainly by the Pacific Coast Highway or on foot by hikers.