Every time you drive to Vegas or Arizona, you pass right along Mojave National Preserve, at 1.6 million acres, this amazing desert land stretches from Interstate 15 to Insterstate 40. As you drive along these interstates you don't realize the amount of cool things there are to explore here but each one of those random little roads you see all lead to something cool so whether you're in need of a quick detour or spending a day or two, there's a whole lot to explore here! About 3 hours from Orange County, you can easily visit this National Preserve in a single day while seeing several of its cool features although it'll likely take you a few visits to see all of it.
Mojave National Preserve
If you don't know where to start and exactly where to go in this vast desert, here is our suggested route which is doable in a single day from Orange County and back. Once you visit these great stops, it will be easier to understand the area and look up more things to do in the area on a future visit.
Do a loop starting from Interstate 15 at Baker and ending at Interstate 40 at Amboy. Baker is 3 hours from Orange County and once you arrive there, you'll DEFINITELY want to fill your fuel tank and get water/snacks as there are no gas stations or services in the preserve or for a while after you exit the preserve. From Baker, you'll basically be taking Kelbaker Road (short for Kelso/Baker) south until it runs into Interstate 40, stopping to check out the sights along the way. Below is a list of what I recommend seeing on your visit in order driving from Baker to Amboy, there is much more to see than what's listed below but just visiting these few spots will fill your entire day and be well worth it.