During World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americans were moved from their homes throughout the West and brought to internment camps like Manzanar. This remote site in the wind-swept Owens Valley, aims to shed light on that sobering time, through recreated buildings, photographs, films, oral histories, and interactive displays. Today you can sort through layers of history at the Manzanar Visitor Center, where some 8,000 square feet/743 square meters of exhibits relay a fascinating, albeit disturbing, part of California’s history. A 3.2-mile/5-km loop offers a chance to see the remnants of orchards and structures, as well as a Buddhist cemetery. Adjacent to the Visitor Center is Block 14, with two reconstructed barracks and an exhibit-filled mess hall where you can check out a large-scale model of Manzanar War Relocation Center crafted by former internees. Ranger-led tours occur regularly and run from 15 to 90 minutes. Be sure to leave time to watch the insightful 22-minute film Remembering Manzanar, which plays every half hour.
Manzanar National Historic Site