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California Bucket List

Here’s your daily travel guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State. Each of these essential California adventures has been tried and tested by a Travel section staffer or contributor.

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Family-friendlyL.A. County

Find deep-fried pleasure at a roadside farm stand near Palmdale

 (Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Why: Maybe you’ve finished a hike through the Devil’s Punchbowl and you’re hungry. Or you’re looking for unexpected holiday gifts. Or you’ve been hit by a craving for deep-fried fair food and it’s not fair season. For all these reasons and more, seekers like you end up at Charlie Brown Farms near Palmdale, where all your snack/drunk food fantasies, and your dreams of owning life-size replicas of the “Blues Brothers,” collide and come true.

What: What started as a fruit stand in 1929 is now a six-acre hodgepodge of stores, a restaurant and a snack shop. The main building is a hokey cabin with advertisements for the various tchotchkes and snacks inside. From the road, it’s impossible to miss with signs that scream “collectibles,” “funnel cake,” “smoothies,” “jerky,” “Dole whip.” And just off the side of the building, an enclosed area with dinosaur statues. You may get whiplash trying to take it all in.

 (Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Once through the front door you experience sensory overload. Directly in front of you is a rack of jerky (the store boasts more than 60 kinds, including elk and ostrich).

To the right is a counter where you can order milkshakes, fried candy bars, Texas-style barbecue, funnel cakes, ice cream and a host of other foods any decent doctor would advise you stay away from. To the left, packaged nuts, candy, a room where you can fill your own honey jar, a room devoted to pickles, a room devoted to soda, a fudge counter, and all that food is mixed in with things like raccoon figurines and coffee mugs. 

This is also where you can find raw frog legs for that stew recipe you’ve been dying to try. And alligator meat too. But past the fudge counter is where things really start to get weird. There are rooms completely lined with dolls from all over the world. A little creepy, but if you’re in need of a doll (seriously, any doll), this is the place to find it. The life-size “Blues Brothers” statues I mentioned earlier? They’re on the way to the doll rooms. 

Out back is a patio with tables and chairs, where you can break open that package of elk jerky or come down from that sugar rush of deep-fried Oreos. You could wander around this place for hours and not see everything. But it’s sure fun to try. 

Where: 8317 Pearblossom Highway, Littlerock, a 17-minute drive from downtown Palmdale and about 65 miles northeast of downtown L.A.

How much: Depends on what you’re in the mood for. Barbecue plates start around $11.50, the deep fried Oreos and Snickers are around $4 for each order, the jerky is around $8 a bag depending on the size, and the knick-knacks will range in price. If you’re not a fan of lots of people in tight spaces, plan accordingly.

Info: Charlie Brown Farms  

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