Planning a summer vacation is relatively easy unless you’re bringing along your entire family. And with you, your spouse, and the children all looking for different amenities and activities, it might be a bit hard to find your next destination that caters to everyone’s whims.
To help you whittle down your options, we have made a list of family-friendly destinations in Bakersfield that are ideal for your next summer vacation.
Hart Park Lake
This 370-acre park is one of the oldest in Kern County. It was opened in 1929 and was initially called the Kern River Park, but in 1947 it was renamed after Kern County Supervisor John O. Hart.
The Hart Park has been transformed into a centerpiece of the 1,012-acre Kern River County Park, a recreational complex that offers a wide range of activities such as hiking, horseback riding, picnic, boating, and swimming.
Between winter and early spring, the lake is stocked with rainbow trout and catfish during summer. Other freshwater species here include largemouth bass, carp, crappie, and bluegill.
Location: The Hart Memorial Park is located 1 mile northeast of Bakersfield on Alfred Harrell Highway. (Bakersfield, CA 93308)
Contact: (661) 872-3179
Operating hours: 5 am – 10 pm
Just like the Hart Memorial, Lake Ming is also part of the Kern River County Park which is famous for its multiple campgrounds and hiking and equestrian trails. In 1959, this 104-acre man-made lake was named after Kern County Supervisor Floyd Ming.
The lake is bordered by the Greenhorn Mountains along the eastern horizon and some hills where you can take a short hike to reach the hilltop picnic ground.
The lake park has two boat launching ramps, two landscaped shorelines, barbecue grills, and picnic tables, drinking fountains, restrooms, a playground, and a parking space.
Lake Ming offers a wide range of recreational activities such as water skiing, boating, and fishing, which are only allowed from the shoreline and not from any boat. Meanwhile, swimming and the use of any inflatable/floatable device such as waders and inner tubes are prohibited.
(Note: Lake Ming is closed to the public a few times a year and reserved for special events. Contact the Kern Administration Office to learn more about the schedules and activities.)
Location: 13375 Lake Ming Rd, Bakersfield, CA 93306. It lies around 10 miles northeast of Bakersfield on Alfred Harrell Highway.
Contact: (661) 868-7000
McMurtrey Aquatic Center
Located near the Centennial Garden, this aquatic center offers swimming, diving, and recreational facilities to visitors. It also provides lap swim sessions and aquatic fitness and hosts activities like water polo, scuba, and swim practice.
The center houses an 8,551-square foot recreational pool with double water slides, plunge pool, water volleyball area, interactive wet play equipment, and diving boards. It also has a “zero-entry” design, meaning that the edge gradually slopes from the deck into the water, similar to a natural beach.
Because the recreational pool has a zero-entry design and no stairs and ladders, this is perfect for young children, seniors, and people with accessibility issues.
The McMurtrey Aquatic Center also has a heated Olympic-sized pool with nine 25-yard lanes, nine 50-meter lanes, and 1- and 3-meter diving boards. Meanwhile, its deepest end is around 14 feet, while its shallowest end is 3 feet.
Other facilities include locker rooms, showers, picnic areas for public use and party rentals, and a snack bar.
Location: 1325 Q St, #100 Bakersfield, CA 93301
Contact: 661-852-7440 / 661-852-7430
Schedule: Public recreational swimming is open between June and August.
Recreational fees: $4 per person or $13 for a group of four people
Kern River County Park
This 1,012-acre park is famous for its campgrounds that offer different recreational activities and landscapes: the Greenhorn Mountain Park, the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area, the Kern River Campground, and the Tehachapi Mountain Park.
As a family-centric recreational park, it also features 40 picnic areas, most of which have playgrounds, picnic tables, and shade trees, making this a perfect place for birthday parties and small gatherings.
In addition, some picnic areas have deep pit barbecues, raised bandstands with electric outlets, large grills, and a food preparation area. As a result, the park is a popular wedding venue and team building site.
The Kern River County Park is a must-visit place for anglers and boaters alike because it encompasses multiple lakes, including Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area, Hart Memorial Park, Lake Isabella, Lake Ming, and Lake Woollomes.
Other features and amenities include a dog park next to Lake Isabella, multiple building rentals, three 18-hole golf courses, and soccer and baseball fields.
Location: 13375 Lake Ming Rd Bakersfield, CA 93306 (Around 10 miles from Bakersfield.)
Operating hours: Sunrise to sunset