5 Things to Do While Staying in Borrego Springs

Clark Dry Lake in Anza-Borrego Desert Park California
Clark Dry Lake in Anza-Borrego Desert Park, photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

We spent three weeks in Borrego-Springs, our first official stop for Project Escape. It could not have been a better location for us. Besides all the great stuff we did in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we got out and explored beyond the park, even heading to San Diego for a day. Our plan had been to head to Joshua Tree for a few days as well, but quite frankly we were enchanted by Borrego Springs.

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Here are five things to do while staying in Borrego Springs, but this list is definitely not exhaustive and there is plenty more to do!

Check out all of the Galleta Meadow Statues

Galleta Meadow Dragon Borrego Springs California

A really unique aspect of Borrego Springs is the 130 full-sized metal sculptures throughout the area. They are everywhere and the town is so proud of them. The large majority of them are spread out in several meadows surrounding Borrego-Springs. All the meadows are called Galleta Meadows which can be confusing. You can get a map of them at the Chamber of Commerce office.

It is really fun to find yourself amidst creatures that roamed the desert millions of years ago – real and imagined. There are prehistoric mammals, fanciful dinosaurs, and a 350-foot-long serpent/dragon which I am standing under in this photo.

Eat Anything Apple in Julian

Julian Apple Pie

We discovered Julian by mistake. We were out scouting on Route 78 and decided to see if there were any grocery stores in the area when Don’s Market in Julian came up. The two grocery stores in Borrego Springs are super small with limited selection (thank goodness for the farmer’s market on Fridays!) so I wanted to see what other options there might be.

Well, we never made it to Don’s, we got side-tracked by apple pie! Once we drove into Julian we could see there was apple everything in a multitude of locations. We got out and strolled around the cute downtown checking out ciders, pies, candied apples and more. We ended up getting apple juice and a pie from Mom’s and went home satisfied.

A few days later we drove seven more miles down the road to the Julian Pie Company (Don’s Market turned out to be right next to it) and bought pie and cider from them as well. Verdict: we liked the cider from Mom’s better and the pie from Julian’s Pie Company. It seems that there are lots of people lined up on both sides with opinions of whom they prefer, but for us, it was a split.

Julian is a 45-minute drive from Borrego-Springs. It’s right on the way to San Diego. The drive to San Diego from Borrego Springs is a scenic one and I love coming over the hill and seeing the Ocean. We drove to San Diego a couple of time during our three weeks in Borrego Springs. We went shopping, dined on fish tacos and did a little San Diego hike which was a nice break from sand and rocks!

Eat and Drink Citrus

seley ranch-sliced grapefruit

Buy fruit here! It is fantastic!

No one was more surprised than I was to realize that this desert area grows fantastic citrus in the form of oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemons. The first clue was the grapefruit, and lemon tree on either side of our spot in the RV park. But then while driving out to Font’s Point our route took us on Henderson Valley Road where there are two farmstands: Seley Ranch and SeaView. In town, there are two fruit stands supporting the Elks Club and American Legions.

The whole time we were in Borrego-Springs we drank freshly squeezed grapefruit juice in the morning and enjoyed grapefruit cocktails several evenings. I spent an afternoon at Seley Ranch to learn more about farming in this area.

Cruise Around the Salton Sea

Abandoned Motorhome at Salton Sea California
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

Voyeur, history buff, environmentalist or outdoorsman, the Salton Sea area has something to offer just about anyone. We spent two days here exploring and being constantly surprised every time we turned a corner.

Drink a Westmoreland Date Shake

Westmoreland Date Shake
Photo credit: LA Foodie

Truth be told we were on our way to a town called Brawley to pick up some supplies when I spotted them. The signs. You cannot resist them. There is one every few feet along Highway 86 telling you how awesome the Medjool date shake is in Westmoreland. Having spent many days trying to find where I could buy dates, I practically took over the steering wheel and guided us towards the Westmoreland Date Shake store.

Westmoreland-Dates

It looks closed, it looks deserted, but once you are inside the store, you are in date heaven and Mr. Misadventures and I came here twice to buy Medjool dates as we ate through the first batch so quickly. Depending on when you go there could be a decent sized line for the delicious shake. Worth the drive, about 30 minutes from Borrego-Springs.

4×4 in Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area

Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area California

We drove through a little of Ocotillo Wells while seeking out the Pumpkin Patch. And we crossed through a bit while driving through the badlands, it was exhilarating. But what is really fun is to rent an ATV (or bring your own, or a motocross bike) and let loose in the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, an entire park set-up for off-roading.

Dune Buggies in Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area California

The park is 30 minutes from Borrego-Springs and very crowded on the weekends. I heard from a local that during the week between Christmas and New Year’s you can see a thousand RVs in the desert pulling bikes and OHV for activities in Ocotillo Wells.

Bonus: Golf

I can’t list golf as something I did, but there are six golf courses in Borrego-Springs, so if swinging the sticks is up your alley, you’ve got plenty of courses to hit.

The town is conveniently located near lots of activities and when you are not exploring the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, you can keep yourself occupied with a few of my suggestions.

How about you? Were any of my five things to do of interest to you? Have you been to Borrego-Springs and done these or other activities? Do you think you want to visit in the future? Do tell!

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5 Things to Do While Staying in Borrego Springs 5 Things to Do While Staying in Borrego Springs 5 Things to Do While Staying in Borrego Springs 5 Things to Do While Staying in Borrego Springs

22 Comments

  1. Hung Thai
    February 18, 2016

    Did you say 130 full-sized metal sculptures?! Wow – that one of the dragon is awesome!

    Reply
    1. Michelle de Guzman
      February 18, 2016

      Wow I had no idea all of this was out there. I live in Orange County CA and had often wondered about Going to the Salton Sea. I am usually told not to bother. But this Borrego Springs, I have never even heard of sounds enchanting. 130 metal sculptures?! And your pictures are all wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
      1. Andi Fisher
        February 19, 2016

        @Michelle, if you like the outdoors, then Borrego Springs is a great spot for you and not too far away, undiscovered!

        Reply
    2. Andi Fisher
      February 19, 2016

      @Hung, it is fun trying to find them all!

      Reply
  2. Gwendolyn Mulholland
    February 18, 2016

    This place sounds like a truly fantastic vacation experience. I love the 130 metal sculptures and the one of the dragon is amazing. It definitely looks like a great place to visit.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 19, 2016

      @Gwendolyn, it is a really great discovery!

      Reply
  3. LisaLDN
    February 18, 2016

    I must admit, I have never heard og Borrego-Springs! But now I really want to visit! Especially the golfing sounds perfect, as my entire family are keen golfers 🙂 I love the sound of Julians too, I love my food 😉

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 19, 2016

      @LisaLDN, it’s a great place for golf, you’d love it!

      Reply
  4. LaShawn
    February 20, 2016

    What a great discovery! I’ve never heard of Borrego Springs! My husband would LOVE the golfing and I would love taking photos of the sculptures! And since I love apples, I would get side tracked too! Looks like a great place to visit!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      March 2, 2016

      @LaShawn, Julian is the town for you if you love apples!

      Reply
  5. Aileen Adalid
    February 21, 2016

    This is a great round-up! I honestly haven’t heard of this place but I’ll take note of it. The statues specially look amazing, apart from the landscape.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      March 2, 2016

      @Aileen, it was such a nice surprise to discover!

      Reply
  6. Travel Quest
    February 22, 2016

    We own a 4×4 Jeep Wrangler, my husband and I loves to visit desert and off-road trail. I remember i saw this National Park randomly in facebook. After reading your post I seriously want to go there like sometime soon.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      March 2, 2016

      @TravelQuest, I was nervous at first but it was great fun and if you like 4x4ing then you MUST go to Borrego Springs!

      Reply
  7. Tiffany
    February 22, 2016

    This looks like such an amazing trip!! I love a vacation that finds the perfect balance between memorable experiences and yummy food!!

    Reply
  8. Katie @ Recipe for Perfection
    February 23, 2016

    Those statues are something else! And of course, the apple pie and the date shake really caught my eye. I’ve got to get out there and see more of the world soon…

    Reply
  9. Cara (@StylishGeek)
    February 24, 2016

    I would think my family loves traveling and looking into uncanny but absolutely wonderful places to see. Interestingly we have not been to Borrego Springs, but I would certainly be open to planning a trip there after seeing your pictures and reading the adventure you had! Sounds a really awesome place! Bookmarking Anza-Borrego Desert State Park! Can’t wait to see that too!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      March 2, 2016

      @Cara, it is so under the radar, so not a lot of people and so much land to explore.

      Reply
  10. clojo9372
    March 14, 2016

    Sounds like a great trip! Those statues look so cool. Did the chamber of commerce include a backhistory on them? Like who built them, how old they are, etc.?

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      March 18, 2016

      @Chloe, oh yes, the volunteers at the Chamber of Commerce are awesome. They have tons of information on the statues and all things Borrego, worth the stop in to chat with them.

      Reply
  11. Samantha Michelle
    March 21, 2016

    I always wanted to visit more canyons like I did when I was in Las Vegas near the Grand Canyon. I love spring especially. Borrego springs is on my list of places to visit

    Reply
  12. tammy ohagan
    March 22, 2017

    Wow! Thank you!! I now have a new place to add to my visit wish list! That metal dragon is awesome!

    Reply

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