Oasis In The Desert: Borrego Springs

The tiny resort community of Borrego Springs is not a place you just happen on, en route to someplace else. It’s off by itself, surrounded into perpetuity by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Borrego Springs is an ultra-mini Palm Desert, with views of the nearby Santa Rosa Mountains just as beautiful, the weather just as pleasing, but without the crowds.

The town center is a large traffic center, Christmas Circle, which asks nothing more of drivers than to yield. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The town center is a large traffic center, Christmas Circle, which asks nothing more of drivers than to yield. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This “oasis in the desert” does not have a traffic light. The town center is a large traffic center, Christmas Circle, which asks nothing more of drivers than to yield. Christmas Circle leads to a mall, theater, shops, small hotels, cafes, Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association Nature Center and Botanical Garden, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center.

Being a village without a single stop light might lead some to believe there is little to do in Borrego Springs. That would be a mistake.

Borrego Springs offers an astounding variety of experiences. Exploring the vast Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (which surrounds the little hamlet) is a great place to start. But perhaps the best part of visiting Borrego Springs is having the option to do nothing at all.

Palm Canyon Campground near the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitor center contains 65 non-hookups and 52 full-hookup sites including 50/30/20-amp electric service. It includes campsites for virtually every type of camper and every size of rig. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Palm Canyon Campground near the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitor center contains 65 non-hookups and 52 full-hookup sites including 50/30/20-amp electric service. It includes campsites for virtually every type of camper and every size of rig. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There is as much or as little to do in Borrego Springs as one wishes. Surrounded by the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, this tiny eastern San Diego County town is nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by beautiful craggy mountains.

It’s also an official International Dark Sky Community—the first in California—dedicated to protecting the night sky from light pollution.

Dramatic sunsets dissolve into a huge vista of stars on a seemingly endless black velvet sky, punctuated by a chorus of coyotes…this is Borrego Springs.

An award-winning recreational vehicle resort, The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course offers 90 spacious pull-through sites—each 35 feet wide, and 70 premium back-in sites that average 40-feet wide by 80-feet long with dual hook-ups that allow you to pull-in or back-in. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An award-winning recreational vehicle resort, The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course offers 90 spacious pull-through sites—each 35 feet wide, and 70 premium back-in sites that average 40-feet wide by 80-feet long with dual hook-ups that allow you to pull-in or back-in. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During spring, this area can become a carpet of blossoms. Besides the display of wildflowers and flowering cacti and ocotillo, the nearby Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is one of the few places you can spot the desert bighorn sheep.

The park includes such desert features as washes, mesas, palm oases, great stands of cholla, elephant trees, slot canyons, and badland formations. The area is a mecca for hiking and biking.

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort offers a 9-hole championship golf course with unique character. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort offers a 9-hole championship golf course with unique character. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Palm Canyon Campground near the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitor center contains 65 non-hookups and 52 full-hookup sites including 50/30/20-amp electric service. It includes campsites for virtually every type of camper and every size of rig.

An award-winning recreational vehicle resort, The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course offers 90 spacious pull-through sites—each 35 feet wide, and 70 premium back-in sites that average 40-feet wide by 80-feet long with dual hook-ups that allow you to pull-in or back-in.

Borrego Springs is a citrus growing region. North of town, the desert has been replaced with citrus trees. Hundreds of acres of grapefruit, mandarin oranges, and tangerines grow commercial citrus fruit shipped around the nation.

There are over 130 meticulously crafted metal sculptures sprinkled throughout the small town of Borrego Springs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are over 130 meticulously crafted metal sculptures sprinkled throughout the small town of Borrego Springs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

These groves are the source of the famous Borrego red grapefruit, a super-sweet variety that uses the abundant sunshine to make extra sugar in the fruit. Fruit stands, both in Borrego Springs and at roadside locations among the groves, provide visitors with ample opportunities to sample and buy the freshest of in-season citrus. Some local fruit stands are run on the honor system: pick up a bag and place your money in the box.

This is the only produce or crop cultivated here, except for grass on the golf links.

Something prehistoric. Something mythical. Something otherworldly. Here, in the middle of the desert, is a magical menagerie of free-standing sculptures that will astound you.

There are over 130 meticulously crafted metal sculptures sprinkled throughout the small town of Borrego Springs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are over 130 meticulously crafted metal sculptures sprinkled throughout the small town of Borrego Springs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The forms are representative of prehistoric animals, the original inhabitants of Borrego Springs.

The Gomphotherium free-standing art structures were the idea of Dennis Avery, land owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs. The art structures are placed in various locations along Borrego Springs Road and Henderson Canyon Road. The sculptures are set in natural areas where the animals appear to be a normal part of the landscape.

Where to Stay: Palm Canyon Campground (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park); The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course

Worth Pondering…

The Universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

—Eden Phillpots

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