You know how they say that the mountains or the beach is only an hour away when you live in Southern California? Well, as it turns out, if you go just once more hour you can also get to a real ghost town! We took the kids on a Calico Ghost Town day trip last month and we had such a great time. It was adventurous, educational and we caught picturesque moments that we wouldn’t have seen if we hadn’t ventured out further into California.
Things to do in Calico Ghost Town in California
Calico Ghost Town is known as California’s Silver Rush Ghost Town. It’s located off of Route 66 somewhere between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. First established during the largest silver strike in California, it was a bustling town around the 1881 until about 12 years later when the price of silver dropped and everyone left town. Interestingly enough, it was Walter Knott (of Knott’s Berry Farm) that bought the town and refurbished some of it. Since then, Calico has received State Historical Landmark 782 and became “California’s Silver Rush Ghost Town” by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Calico Ghost Town makes for a great family trip because there’s something for everyone, kids of all ages can enjoy it, and you’ll come across tons of unique places to discover and peek into to. There are plenty of restrooms, eateries, and spots to just chill out and relax.
One of our favorite spots was the old school house at the top of the hill. You have to cross this little bridge to get to it, and inside it’s set up as school houses used to be. The kids got a kick out of learning about what school was like, and looking inside to see all the desks set up like they were. They couldn’t believe that kids of all ages were put in the same classroom! And a chalkboard? Yeah, that had to be explained.
We also took them to the top of another hill that overlooks Calico. You can see the train passing through the mountains, the restaurants, cemetery, school house – basically everything. It’s a great place to take pictures too. The top of the mountain is a bit rocky and uneven, so make note of that and make sure to bring your closed-toe shoes.
We picked up a few souvenirs at their gift shops, enjoyed treats like their old fashioned sodas (and yeah, I picked up a coffee too) and headed out after a day at Calico Ghost Town happy to have discovered a location that we hope to return to one day. As we drove out, we saw many people camping in their RVs out by the front of the town. They also have a KOA available for travelers. We went in April, so the weather was perfect. When you visit, I recommend dressing comfortably and bring a light sweater. It does get warm. Also, it’s a popular spot for tourists (and tour stops) as well as school groups, so definitely try to get there early.
p.s. many of the silver mines are closed off – but you can view them through the wired fence. The town is also known for ghost sightings, and if that’s your thing, I suggest you check out the Calico Ghost Town ghost tour.
Calico Ghost Town Tours
The Calico Ghost Tours happen every Saturday night of the year. The times for the tours vary with the seasons.
Currently the first tour is at 6:00 p.m. and the second one at 7:30 p.m. The type of tours rotate each weekend.
Tickets can be purchased from the Maggie Mine 9-5, Mon-Thur or The Other Side (located in the Bottle House) Friday-Sunday 9-5. If you would like to purchase your tickets in advance or without visiting the town you can call 760-254-3719 any day 9-5. This is recommended for busy or event weekends as we do sell out. The number of tickets are limited and on a first come first serve basis. There are no refunds.
The price are:
- Adults (over 10) $12.00
- Children (5-10) $6.00
- 4 and under are free
To get a more detailed account of our visit, visit Travelocity.com where we share our stop-by-stop itinerary.
Calico Ghost Town Hours and Address
36600 Ghost Town Road
Yermo, CA 92398
I-15 at Ghost Town Road Exit
Open daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. except Christmas Day
Fax: (760) 254-2047
email: [email protected]
Online Camping Reservations: www.sbcountyparks.com
Central Reservation: 1-877-387-2757
Where to stay near Calico Ghost Town
- Hampton Inn & Suites Barstow – 90 individually decorated guestrooms, featuring refrigerators and microwaves. Your pillowtop bed comes with down comforters. Wired and wireless Internet access is complimentary, while 32-inch plasma televisions with satellite programming provide entertainment. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. A complimentary hot/cold buffet breakfast is included.
- Ayres Hotel Barstow – 92 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and microwaves. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include desks and complimentary weekday newspapers, and housekeeping is provided daily. Take advantage of the hotel’s room service (during limited hours). A complimentary buffet breakfast is served daily.
- Comfort Suites Barstow – Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming provides entertainment. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers.
Originally published on May 19, 2016. Last Updated on May 28, 2019 by Pattie Cordova