Cal State San Bernardino is located in the city of San Bernardino, which is part of the vast region known as the Inland Empire of Southern California.
The Inland Empire covers some 27,000 square miles, including all of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Geographically, it is bigger than 10 states, and with a population surpassing 4 million people, it is more populated than nearly half of the states in the country.
The Inland Empire is the unofficial name for the area, but is widely recognized throughout Southern California. The area was previously known as the Orange Empire for the area's historical orange groves and citrus industry. According to the Inland Empire News, the term Inland Empire was coined in the 1950s to distinguish it from the larger coastal regions, including Los Angeles and Orange County.
Because of its location about 50 miles from the coast at what is considered to be its western-most border, the term "inland" is self explanatory. The word "empire" was originally used in connection with the area's abundant and productive orange industry. The term later gave description to the size and growth of the region. And thus, the term Inland Empire was born.
The Inland Empire is generally considered to be San Bernardino and Riverside counties, but there are no proper boundaries. Some 35 major cities include San Bernardino, Riverside, Chino, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Loma Linda, Montclair, Upland, Redlands, Corona and many more. The communities of eastern Los Angeles County are considered to be part of the Inland Empire, including Pomona, Claremont and La Verne, among others.
Without formal boundaries, the Inland Empire is roughly defined by mountain ranges and hills on all sides, with natural passes to Los Angeles and Orange County to the west, San Diego County to the south and the low desert communities, including Palm Springs, to the east.
The mountain elevation tops more than 10,000 feet in at least four places in the Inland Empire. But the mountains share the topography with great valleys and deserts. In fact, the Inland Empire might be the only place in the United States where a person can spend the morning on the ski slopes and drive an hour to go surfing at one of Southern California's beaches. During much of the year, the weather allows for both skiing and surfing o the same day.