Home of Auto Club Speedway
A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in raceday excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...
Planes of Fame Air Museum- Chino, CA
Distance from track- 17.1 miles, approximately 45 minute drive in traffic. Google map*
Aviation is something that has fascinated folks for hundreds of years. At the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California, you can explore the wonderful and rich history of aviation. The museum and hangar houses a spectacular assortment of aircraft, including somewhat rare planes that were flown in World War II.
The museum’s founder, Mr. Ed Maloney opened the doors in 1957 and had begun with a humble collection of only ten planes. That collection has grown to over 150 planes, 50 of which are still in flying condition. What began as a passion for aviation grew into the West’s oldest flying museum.
General admission is just $11 for adults, and $4 children 5-12 years. For hours and more information, visit their website.
Riley’s Farm- Yucaipa, CA
Distance from track- 35.8 miles, approximately 1 hour, 10 minute drive in traffic. Google map
Just about an hour from the track, nestled in the San Bernardino mountains, lies Riley’s Farm. Riley’s allows you to pick your own fruit including apples, raspberries, peaches, pumpkins, and even flowers. Don’t let the name fool you though, it is so much more than a farm- it is a historical experience. You can take a tour through time with their Living History Tour or dine Colonial-style in the Colonial House Restaurant. So if you’re looking for more than picking apples or pumpkins for Halloween, be sure to visit the quaint early American farm.
There is no admission fee to view the farm or Colonial House Restaurant, but there is a nominal fee for picking fresh produce. You might want to call them for their most recent prices on picking. Be sure to check out Riley’s website for dining, events, and hours of operation.
Castle Park- Riverside, CA
Distance from track- 23.4 miles, approximately 1 hour, 20 minute drive in traffic. Google map
Had enough history for one day? How about a visit to Castle Park? The Renaissance-themed park features four championship level miniature golf courses, an arcade, magic show, and dozens of rides. There’s something for everyone to do at Castle park.
Rates and admission vary depending on what you want to do at the park. Call them or view their website for more information on hours and admission rates.
SpeedZone- Los Angeles, CA
Distance from track- 29.5 miles, approximately 1 hour, 10 minute drive in traffic. Google Map
If you still haven’t had enough fun or speed for one week, check out the SpeedZone near Los Angeles. A must see for motorsports enthusiasts and die hard fans, this racing themed park features racing experiences you will not want to miss! From top fuel drag races to Grand Prix style courses and a speed-themed miniature golf course, you’ll be in a motorsports fan’s paradise. After all that excitement, you’ll be ready to dine at the SpeedZone Bar & Grill and see if you can handle the sextuple patty Top Eliminator burger! They offer a ride on a Top Eliminator Dragster if you can finish the whole thing.
Prices vary depending on your choice of attractions or rides so visit their website for more information.
Bizarre: Roadside Attractions in California
Distance from track- view individual attractions for information. RoadsideAmerica.com map
Every state and many towns have them. You’ve seen them. You probably wondered “what the #*%^@?” while driving past them. yeah, I’m talking about roadside attractions.
A now defunct Egyptian-themed park in Redlands was once the home of this Sphinx face, because you know you’ve always wanted to visit a dead and gone amusement park. In Fontana, you can view a historic orange stand which has no clear purpose. Of course, roadside attractions rarely ever do. In keeping with the citrusy theme, you might want to stop and pay your respects to the navel gods by visiting the Parent Navel Tree located in Riverside.
For more fun and bizarre sights, visit RoadsideAmerica.com. Orange you glad you decided to visit California?
*All credit to Google for the maps