If you’re interested in exploring the vast, mysterious Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, you’ll need somewhere to hang your hat during the adventure. Borrego Springs is an obvious choice, featuring plenty of motels, resorts and camping spots.
When coming from the coast, you arrive in town after winding out driving over the Santa Rosa mountain range on your way out of Temecula. If the roads are clear, it makes for ecstatic, frenzied driving, provided you’re willing to accelerate around the occasional dopey motorhome. Time and time again, I’m shocked at what great (and sparse) driving you can still find just outside of the huge metropolis of Los Angeles. Once you get over the mountain range, you’ve reached the rain shadow and the fascinating terrain that Anza-Borrego is known for.
The town itself is more of a retirement community and there isn’t a whole lot there apart from a coffee shop, a few Mexican joints, and a bar or two. There are some permanent residents, but given that it can get up to 120 degrees in the summer—and stay there, for weeks on end—it is more or less inhospitable place for full-time settlement. But that doesn’t matter—you’ll mostly want to be out hiking and exploring the surrounding areas. Winter and spring are the best times of year to visit. See the next entries for things to do while you’re there.