Unless you are from Southern California, you probably haven’t heard of Palmdale. Surprisingly, the high desert town in the far north of Los Angeles County is home to several popular tourist attractions. There are quality Palmdale hotels in centralized locations that can be a starting point for your tour of the famous Edwards Air Force Base, the Palmdale Plant 42, and even the Devil’s Punchbowl.
- Edwards Air Force Base – The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center is the home base for several NASA aircraft that are responsible for carrying out the agency’s missions of space exploration, space operations, scientific discovery, and aeronautical research and development. The Dryden Flight Research Center has been the testing grounds for the newest, fastest, and highest aircraft over the past 60 years. They are currently helping the testing process of the shuttles’ replacement, the Crew Exploration Vehicle. There are public tours twice monthly where you will get to tour NASA, the Air Force Base flight line, and the test center museum. The base is a great educational opportunity for organized field trips. Stay in a Lancaster motel to be close to all of the high-tech action going on at NASA.
- Palmdale Plant 42 – Joe Davies Heritage Airpark is the perfect destination for Aerospace fanatics and history buffs. The airpark museum is home to 17 retired military aircraft that were developed and tested at the United States Air Force Plant 42. A few of the items on display include a scaled version of the B-2 Spirit, A-4 Skyhawk, F-4 Phantom II, F-105 Thunderchief, F-101 Voodoo, and the popular F-14 Tomcat among others. Plant 42 is where Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman all have headquarters where they develop and test new aircraft designs. The airpark is open to the public on weekends and there are guided tours operated by volunteers on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7-11am.
- Devil’s Punchbowl – If you are up for a little closer connection with nature instead of technology, the Devil’s Punchbowl is Southern California’s mini Grand Canyon. The Punchbowl Canyon is 300 feet deep and the nature center with educational materials about the flora and fauna is 4,740 feet above sea level. There are several trails you can head out on to spend a day with nature. Designated trails are anywhere from one to seven miles round trip, so plan ahead and bring some sunscreen and water to fight off the high desert heat. Make your home base one of the popular Palmdale motels and get an early morning start on the trails to catch the most beautiful views of the landscape.
About the Author: Erick D. Smith lives in Southern California and writes about travel news for a chain of Palmdale hotels. Southern California offers something for everybody, from relaxing day spas, to sporting events and cultural sights. Staying in one of the many Palmdale motels puts you close to all of these places.