Location: Borrego Springs is surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert (93 Miles/ 2 Hours East of San Diego Coastal Areas)
When to Visit: October through May
Features: Desert Town Providing Hospitality to Guests of the Anza-Borrego Desert; Includes Resorts, Spas, Stargazing, Adventure Activities, Life-Size Pre-Historic Animals, and Cultural Events.
Borrego Springs Highlights: Welcome to a small desert community surrounded by the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, the largest contiguous state park in the country. To the north and west are 6,000+ foot mountains shielding it from San Diego and Los Angeles. To the south and east is nothing but desert for hundreds of miles. This little oasis is where stargazers come from around the world to see the night sky and hard working city dwellers come to get away from it all.
Lodging – Visitors can set up a tent for free anywhere in the Anza-Borrego State Park. Those who are looking for basic lodging can find inexpensive motels while those looking for first-class creature comforts can stay at one of resorts with spas and golf.
Despite offering the widest range of lodging options you could ask for, there are fewer than a couple dozen hotels and vacation rentals to choose from. It behooves you to make your reservations weeks in advance. Otherwise, bring your tent. You will see the full list of offerings on the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce web site.
Nightfall Stargazing – Serious stargazers can join a group of Telescope Makers each fall to spend up to 4 days attending seminars on astronomy, exploring the Desert, and more importantly enjoying the night sky. (Read more about astronomy in San Diego County.)
Prehistoric Animals – The Anza-Borrego Desert is regarded as one of the best archaeological sites in North America.
San Diego businessman Dennis Avery, heir to the Avery-Dennison office supply empire, is funding the development of life-size art pieces resembling the pre-historic animals that roamed the San Diego desert over a million years ago. Dozen of art pieces are being placed on his property between the Anza-Borrego Desert Visitor Center and the town of Borrego Springs. You will see gomphotheriums (elephants), saber tooth tigers, turtles, llamas, and camels. They are spread along Borrego Springs Road, north of Palm Canyon Drive. It is a popular spot for tourists to stop and take pictures standing beside these huge mammoths that used to roam the Earth. Visit the prehistoric link provided above to see photos and learn more. Watch the four minute video interview of Avery and the artist creating the animal sculptures.
Desert Adventures – Take guided tours of the Desert on Jeeps or Military Transport Vehicles. This is one of the best ways to capture the best views and find the best hiking spots in this vast desert. You will also learn about special events for stargazers and those looking to find ghosts.
Borrego Desert Nature Center – Attend Seminars or go on Nature Walks with the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association. The Nature Center is not a museum but it does sell numerous desert related publications and gifts to support its educational programs. Open 9AM – 5PM from September through June. (Fridays and Saturdays only during July and August.) Directions from Google Maps to 652 Palm Canyon Drive.
Performing Arts – If you are looking to relax from your day’s adventures in the desert and want to spend a relaxing night in this remote oasis before heading back home, you can find entertainment at the Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center. In addition to the schedule posted at the Borrego Performing Arts Center, take a look at the Borrego Springs Community Concert web site for additional events, which are also held at the Performing Arts Center. Directions from Google Maps to 590 Palm Canyon Drive.
Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce – To find more information on restaurants, services, shopping, and special events in Borrego Springs, the best source of information is the Chamber of Commerce web site. It lists just about everything that is available.
Visiting Borrego Springs
Weather – From June through September, you will see very few visitors. Average high temperatures during these months are over 100 degrees. The best time to visit is during the winter months when you will want to spend long hours exploring the warm desert. Learn more about weather in the San Diego Desert or check the current Desert Weather Forecast
Directions from Google Maps to 200 Palm Canyon Drive in Borrego Springs, CA 92004. (Note: These directions take you to the Visitors Center at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. You may have noticed above that just about all of the attractions in Borrego Springs are on Palm Canyon Drive, which is the same street where you will find the Visitors Center. The town is very small and easy to get around. The resorts are a little outside of the town center.)
Most visitors from the San Diego area drive through the historic mountain town of Julian and use SR-78 to reach Borrego Springs.
If you are driving down from the Los Angeles area, the quickest route takes you on the S-2 to the S-22. If you want to detour to Julian, just drag the blue route marker on the Google Map south to Julian. It will add about an extra half hour of total driving time to reach Borrego Springs.
Both of the aforementioned routes into Borrego Springs take you through the San Diego Mountains and provide expansive views of the Desert as you drive down towards Borrego Springs.
For those who like the solitude of a long desert drive, you can enter at the south end of the Desert Park on the S-2 from highway I-8. It’s a very quiet 60+ mile drive through the Desert to reach Borrego Springs.
However, you will pass by the Carrizo Badlands Overlook where fossils of mammoths over 1 million years old have been found, Agua Caliente Hot Springs County Park, and an original Butterfield Stage Coach Station at the Vallecito County Park.
Traffic – If you are heading towards Borrego Springs from the Northern Part of San Diego County, you may have some heavy traffic if you head eastbound on SR-78 until it reaches I-15. You will also have heavy traffic if you head southbound on the I-15 during the morning rush hour and northbound on the I-15 during the evening rush hour. Once you are east of highway I-15, you will have very little traffic. However, do keep an eye out for motorcyclists around Palomar Mountain, which is a favorite destination for motor cycle enthusiasts because of the large curves in the road. (Learn more about traffic in San Diego.)
If you are heading towards Borrego Springs from the Southern Part of San Diego County, you will have heavy traffic when heading eastbound on highway I-8 between downtown San Diego and El Cajon during the evening rush hour. Also, listen for Strong Santa Ana Winds in the weather forecast. On occasion (usually limited to the fall and winter months), the winds may be strong enough that highway I-8 is shut down to any high profile vehicles, such as RVs and Campers from the Sunrise Highway eastward to the Desert. Once you are past El Cajon and exit highway I-8, there will be moderate traffic as you head through the mountains. Slower vehicles should look for occasional pullouts to allow faster traffic to pass. There is very little traffic once you reach the desert. (Learn more about traffic in San Diego.)
Also note, the State of California places restrictions on RVs over 40′ in length.
Transit - There are no transit options that provide regular service into the desert.
Related Attractions – Cyclists should check out bike ride events in the San Diego Mountains and Desert.
Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: Astronomy & Outer Space, Borrego Springs / Northern Desert, Communities, Cultural Gifts, Desert Adventure, Golf, Scenic Views, Souvenirs, Wildlife - Places to See |