If you’re dreaming of a travel nursing assignment in California, cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, or San Francisco probably come to mind. But Bakersfield, set along the Kern River about 114 miles north of L.A, is a destination that really needs to be on your travel nursing shortlist.
In addition to being an attractive area with a relatively low cost of living (and yet generally higher pay), there are so many great things to do outside of the facility. The experienced team at HCTN outlines just a few of these opportunities below:
1. ONE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST TREASURES IS A SHORT DRIVE AWAY
Sequoia National Park, about an hour and 45 minutes from Bakersfield, offers miles of hiking trails that wind through giant old-growth sequoias. Take the trek to Moro Rock and capture a selfie with the incredible view of the Continental Divide from over 6,700 feet. Of course, the trees are the highlight here. One of the most impressive areas is the Giant Forest, boasting three square miles of colossal trees that include General Sherman, the single largest tree on the planet alive today, estimated to be 2,200 years old.
2. EXPERIENCE THRILLS AT KERN COUNTY RACEWAY PARK
When you’re in the mood for speed—or just want to see some impressive racing—Kern County Raceway Park will be at your doorstep. It hosts car shows and racing events like the K&N Pro Series West and NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series.
3. SEE NATIVE WILDLIFE IN THE CALIFORNIA LIVING MUSEUM
The California Living Museum in Bakersfield guarantees sightings of many of the state’s native plants and animals, set across 14 beautifully-landscaped acres. There are black bears, birds of prey, reptiles, endangered desert bighorn sheep, and an award-winning cat exhibit which features mountain lions and bobcats. Various environments were created here that replicate the scenery and natural environment of California with a special focus on Bakersfield and Kern County.
4. STAR-SPOTTING AND MORE IN LOS ANGELES
Southern California’s largest city is about an hour and 45-minute drive south of Bakersfield, offering a wide range of attractions for a fun overnight excursion or an exciting day trip. Soak up the sun and the sand on one of the area’s many beautiful golden stretches, window shop in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood while keeping an eye out for the stars, dine on haute cuisine, visit world-class museums, and so much more—the list is nearly endless.
5. EXPLORE HISTORY IN A LIVING GHOST TOWN
Located in eastern Kern County, Ransburg is a living ghost town, with its population only a tiny fraction of the 3,500 that resided there during its peak in the late 19th-century. Popular with history buffs as a former gold-mining town, its dusty streets are lined with antique stores, an opera house, a general store with an old-fashioned soda fountain, and an authentic western saloon where you can sip a refreshing drink and dine on tasty pub grub in a historic atmosphere.
6. DRIVE THE SCENIC LAKE ISABELLA / BRUSH CREEK / CALIFORNIA HOT SPRINGS LOOP
This 163-mile drive that takes a little over four hours to complete will bring you to Lake Isabella, multiple natural hot springs, and the Brush Creek Campground, with its day use area an ideal spot for a picnic along Brush Creek. From there, travel west along the twisty road that parallels other pretty creeks through tiny towns like Johnsondale and California Hot Springs.
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