Best Places to Stop on a California Road Trip: 2022 Bartell’s Best

As final destinations – or as part of a journey – this collection of stories will give you fun ways to stretch your legs the next time you hit the back roads.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Here’s a collection of John’s favorite Backroads adventures from the past year. The list is in order of appearance on the show. Watch only the ones that catch your eye in the list below, or watch the whole special in the window at the top of the page. Enjoy!

WORLD’S SMALLEST AIRCRAFT CARRIER LAUNCHES BALLOONS OVER LAKE TAHOE

The view is so much better from a balloon, and the take-off and landing is a one-of-a-kind experience.

MAGNIFICENT BUT DEADLY: THE GEOLOGICAL SITE OF HOT CREEK

The smell is nothing to write home about, but the view of the Hot Creek geological site is incredible. Don’t go swimming.

SLEEP IN AN ICONIC WIGWAM ALONG HISTORIC ROUTE 66

This classic roadside attraction is an unforgettable place to rest your head.

TAKE A TRIP ON THE CHIMNEYS OF BARTELL:
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FORT BIDWELL: CALIFORNIA’S LUMIEST PLACE TO GET A GOOD STEAK!

A Bartell’s Backroads adventure in California’s most northeastern city.

John Bartell visits a kitsch roadside attraction in an inexplicable part of California’s redwood forest.

Celebrate with a free float in Lodi, home to the original A&W root beer store.

TAKE A TRIP ON THE CHIMNEYS OF BARTELL:
See an interactive map of everywhere John has visited on back roads
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John on Facebook

THE POINTE REYES LIGHTHOUSE WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY

The views are great, but if you descend the 313 steps to Point Reyes Lighthouse, the climb back up will have you gasping for more than the scenery and migrating whales.

CALIFORNIA’S PROTECTED ISLANDS ARE A PRINT OF THE PAST

Channel Islands National Park provides a glimpse of what California used to be like with rugged terrain isolating different plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

SMUGGLER’S CAVE HAS STUNNING OCEAN VIEWS

La Jolla’s Cave Store is a fun detour when visiting San Diego. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

TAKE A TRIP ON THE CHIMNEYS OF BARTELL:
See an interactive map of everywhere John has visited on back roads
► Watch all Backroads videos
► Follow
John on Facebook

DIVE AT THE MARITIME MUSEUM OF SAN DIEGO

Say hello to the sailor with the coolest name ever – Captain Zoltan – then fight your way through the hatch of the world’s deepest dive submarine.

NO RADIO NEEDED ON LANCASTER’S “MUSIC ROAD”

Your tires play the tunes on this road, which was originally built for a car advertisement.

A TRIP TO THE PINACLES OF TRONA IS LIKE EXPLORING ANOTHER WORLD

Alien rock formations have served as the backdrop for many films and music videos.

FORTUNE HUNT AT GOLD BUG MINE

“Placerville is the only municipality in the United States that has its own gold mine.” Once home to countless mine shafts, only one is still open to visitors.

MORE BACKROADS: Follow spicy peppers from a Woodland field to a SoCal factory where they’re made into Huy Fong Foods’ famous “rooster sauce.”