Nipton was originally founded in 1900, as a place for gold miners to reside. Nipton contains a five-room motel, originally constructed in 1910, a trailer park, a small general store, and a café that is open on most days. The cafe advertises that they have the best burgers in Nipton, CA, even though there is only one hamburger restaurant there.
For many years, Nipton had the most lottery ticket sales in the state for the California State Lottery. When a new office opened nearby, immediately outside Primm, Nevada, Nipton lost its number one ranking, as Primm was easier and faster for Las Vegas residents and others to get to.
In June 2010, Nipton unveiled a sun-powered generator that is expected to provide about 85 percent of the town’s electricity. The 80-kilowatt project is part of the one-time mining camp’s plan to become an eco-tourism mecca. Nipton is on the northern edge of the Mojave National Preserve, home of the popular Kelso Dunes. Some intend to make Nipton the gateway to the Mojave National Preserve. Many park visitors favor environmentalism, and they often stay at campgrounds and hotels in Nipton. The town is betting that stepping up its environmental reputation will drive tourism growth.