Manzanar National Historic Site is a place every van or RV nomad should visit. It’s located 5-miles north of Lone Pine on US Highway 395. The site is the location of a Japanese American Internment camp in WWII. While there, you can take a self-driving tour of the camp that showcases the grounds. Manzanar provides a sobering history lesson on the dark side of our countries past.
Manzanar National Historic Site is a location every van or RV nomad must visit at least once. It provides a sobering history of how the country treated Asian-Americans during WWII.
The historic site has plenty of parking and a visitor center. There are guided tours available every day, but you can take a self-driving tour around the grounds of Manzanar. The self-driving tour takes around 30-minutes to 1-hour, depending on how many times you stop.
After visiting once, I left there with a better appreciation of what the Japanese Americans endured during WWII.
Entrance Fee – FREE
In 1942, the US government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were incarcerated during World War II.
The first Japanese Americans to arrive at Manzanar were volunteers who helped build the camp. By mid–April, up to 1,000 Japanese Americans were arriving daily, and by July, the camp’s population neared 10,000.
90 percent of the incarcerated were from the Los Angeles area. Manzanar held 10,046 adults and children at its peak, and a total of 11,070 were incarcerated there.
Manzanar closed November 21, 1945. Although the Japanese Americans had been brought to the Owens Valley by the US Government, they had to leave the camp and travel to their next destinations independently.
The US Government gave each person $25 ($355 today), one-way train or bus fare, and meals to those who had less than $600 ($8,521 today).
- Manzanar is located on the west side of U.S. Highway 395, 9 miles north of Lone Pine, California, and 6 miles south of Independence, CA.
References and Other Adventures
- National Park Service: Manzanar National Historic Site