By Kevin Lankes


Fort Irwin is an isolated post in the middle of the Mojave Desert. There are a handful of cities and towns nearby that offer some fun sites and activities to engage within the cultural and entertainment spheres. Mostly there’s a lot of natural resources around. That means, for lovers of the outdoors, it’s going to be a kind of paradise to PCS here. The American southwest is a wide open space with beautiful vistas and striated rock faces that provides insight into the nation’s frontier past. It’s a wildly interesting place to be stationed, and this guide will show you how to take advantage of it while you’re here. Know what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to go right to what you go: (1-3) Gyms (4) Movies (5-8) Nearby Attractions (9-12) Museums (13) Bowling (14-17) Outdoor Recreation

Suggested Read:

Fort Irwin, CA: In-Depth Welcome Center

Fort Irwin Things to Do

Fort Irwin Gym

1. Memorial Fitness Center

Second St. Bldg. 322 Fort Irwin 92310


1 (760) 380-7715 Memorial Fitness Center is a huge facility with everything you could need to put in a successful workout. Just some of the amenities you’ll find include a cardio theater, resistance and aerobic machines, fitness classes, tennis courts and lessons, and much more. You can also book an appointment with a massage therapist to relieve some of the stress you’re carrying around.

2. The Box Fitness Center

Inner Loop Road Bldg. 127 Fort Irwin 92310


1 (760) 380-7720 The Box Fitness Center is the place to go for group fitness activities. Here you’ll have access to programs that will get you in shape fast. Their bootcamp class is an hour long and focuses on interval training. They also offer yoga, monthly runs, zumba, rock climbing, and more.


3. Fitness MD 24/7
320 E Main St Barstow, CA 92311


1 (760) 255-3639 Fitness MD 24/7 is a gym in nearby Barstow that offers a range of equipment and classes. The gym features free weights and machines, cardio equipment, knowledgeable staff, and generous membership plans. The range of classes they offer is extensive and includes full body workouts, kickboxing, zumba, yoga, tabatas, spin, and more.

Fort Irwin Movie Theater

4. Reeltime Theaters

Main Exchange 918 Langford Lake Rd Fort Irwin, CA 92310


1 (760) 386-2060 This Fort Irwin movie theater in the PX is a great option for convenient, affordable films. Take a solo trip or come by with family and friends to see what’s playing. Adults pay $6.50 to get in. Attractions Near Fort Irwin

Nearby Attractions

Fort Irwin

5. Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex
93 Goldstone Rd Fort Irwin, CA 92310


1 (760) 255-8326 The Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex is a NASA facility that serves as part of a worldwide network that communicates with spacecraft venturing deep into the solar system and beyond. Sites around the world work in tandem to track probes and other exploratory craft currently on mission. The Goldstone Complex provides public tours for visitors.


6. Painted Rocks
Fort Irwin Road Barstow, CA 93211 Just outside of Fort Irwin’s gates is a stretch of road that’s home to Painted Rocks. Painted Rocks is a monument to the units that have trained at the National Training Center. The boulders often rotate in and out, and each unit paints their insignia on a rock when they complete their stay.


7. Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Rd Yermo, CA 92398


1 (800) 862-2542 Calico Ghost Town is the site of an enormous silver strike in the state of California. At one time, over 500 mines exhumed $20 million in silver over the course of a single decade. Today, it’s a tourist destination, with reenactors, shops, and attractions that showcase the history of the old west mining towns that once dotted the land.


8. Disneyland
1313 Disneyland Dr Anaheim, CA 92802


1 (714) 781-4636 Disneyland in Anaheim, California has been synonymous with fun for generations. Both a theme park and a resort, this sprawling entertainment zone has something for kids and adults alike. There’s too much to list here, from selfies with your favorite characters, rich dining, daily parades, Star Wars attractions, Adventureland, Main Street, U.S.A., and more. Plan to stay for a while in order to take it all in. Museums and Culture Near Fort Irwin

Museums and Culture


9. Route 66 Mother Road Museum
681 N 1st Ave Barstow, CA 92311


1 (760) 255-1890 The Route 66 Mother Road Museum is a roadside attraction that serves to commemorate the history of the famous U.S. road and the local Mojave Desert area. It’s located in a historic building in Barstow. Come discover Route 66 through the several objects and documents collected from its origins as an early pioneer trail to today.

Palm Desert

10. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
47900 Portola Ave Palm Desert, CA 92260


1 (760) 346-5694 The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a great place for the whole family. They offer animal encounters, petting zoos, a discovery center, hiking trails, conservation education, and much more. They also host a speaker series and provide resources for the community. You can call to book private events here as well.

San Diego

11. San Diego Air & Space Museum
2001 Pan American Plaza San Diego, CA 92101


1 (619) 234-8291 The San Diego Air & Space Museum is a preeminent institution focusing on flight in American history. From the first transatlantic flight to the Apollo program, the museum has plenty of objects and exhibits to keep its visitors enthralled over the advances in technology and capability. You can set foot inside a simulator, the 4D movie theater, and see the command module from the Apollo 9 mission.
12. Fleet Science Center
1875 El Prado San Diego, CA 92101


1 (619) 238-1233 Fleet Science Center is home to over 100 interactive exhibits. You’ll investigate and discover hands-on experiences in fields like electromagnetism, virtual reality, astrophysics, and much more. They offer plenty of educational programming as well. There are classes and workshops for kids and adults, including events for people over the age of 21. Fort Irwin Bowling Alley

Fort Irwin Bowling Alley

13. Desert Winds Bowling Center

Langford Lake Rd. Bldg. 905 Fort Irwin 92310


1 (760) 380-4249 This Fort Irwin bowling alley features a ton of lanes with super affordable prices. Just $3 per person will get you bowling, along with a $3 shoe rental. Cosmic Bowling is available on Saturday nights, where $20 gets you 3 hours of unlimited lane time under the crazy glow lights. Make sure to check out the snack bar and the Sunday family rates. Fort Irwin Outdoor Recreation

Fort Irwin Outdoor Recreation


14. Rainbow Basin Natural Area
Fossil Bed Rd Barstow, CA 92311


1 (760) 252-6000 Rainbow Basin Natural Area is a beautiful area not far from Fort Irwin. You can hike through the impressive geology or camp with the family. There’s a loop around the area that takes 2 hours to drive around. It’s not very developed, so it’s a good idea to come with a vehicle that can handle the terrain.
15. Mojave National Preserve
Mojave National Preserve Conservancy 400 S 2nd Ave Barstow, CA 92311


1 (760) 957-7887 The Mojave National Preserve is an enormous 1.6 million acres of land in the Mojave Desert. You can hike, camp, and explore this huge landscape and keep a look out for the wildlife that lives here. It’s one of the best places there is to experience nature in its primal form. The Preserve Conservancy is headquartered in Barstow and keeps the public updated on its conservation efforts. Contact them for more information or to get involved with their efforts.

Las Vegas

16. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
1000 Scenic Loop Dr Las Vegas, NV 89161


1 (702) 515-5350 A bit up the road aways toward Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area features a 13-mile scenic drive for those looking to stay in the air conditioning. There are miles of hiking trails here, as well as picnic spots, horseback riding, a bookstore, and more. It’s an incredibly scenic area that offers truly breathtaking views of the natural world in combination with an opportunity to commune with the wildlife that lives here.

Mt Charleston

17. Charleston Peak
78C3+VX Mt Charleston, Nevada A local mountain peak in the area, Charleston Peak is at a great elevation for scenic hikes. It also provides a great location for seasonal skiing. It’s cooler here than in the nearby desert, and the pine forest can offer some respite from the sun.


Finding yourself stationed at Fort Irwin can be a blessing for those looking to make more of an effort to pursue outdoor activities. The local community is hot on conservation and numerous volunteer opportunities are available for intrepid outdoor folk. There are as many fun things to do inside in the surrounding area though, and with cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Diego within driving range, it’ll be easy to schedule an action-packed day trip with the family.

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