My husband and I have been RVing part time for the past five years. We are fortunate to own a seasonal business that allows us to leave Wisconsin during the coldest months of the year, and we have made trips to Florida and Texas in search of warmth and sunshine. We discovered, however, that 75 degrees is not that common in January, and it was upon this realization that my husband suggested a trip to the California desert. My initial response was “the desert? Really?” My idea of a winter destination had tropical components … ocean breezes, white sand, Pina Coladas. And then we discovered Borrego Springs, California.
About Borrego Springs
Most people have heard of Palm Springs. A playground for the Hollywood elite in the days of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Palm Springs is currently known for mid-century modern architecture, golf, abundant sunshine, and oh, that’s right … LOTS of traffic. Interstate 10 passes by Palm Springs on its way to Los Angeles with multiple lanes of non-stop traffic. Not so for Borrego Springs. Less than 100 miles south of its cosmopolitan cousin, Borrego Springs is truly a world away in its experience.
Located amidst the 650,000 acres of the Anza Borrego State Park, Borrego Springs is surrounded by the Santa Rosa Mountains. The drive in from the west, especially by RV, is a thrilling experience in and of itself. We travel in a Winnebago Forza and tow our car, and while my driver/husband has no qualms about the trip down into Borrego from the mountains, I tend to keep a death grip on my arm rests. But the drive is stunning, with gorgeous mountain vistas giving way to the unique beauty of the desert floor.
Borrego Springs is a village with fewer than 4,000 full-time residents. Recognized as a “dark sky” community, there are no stop lights, and an effort is made to keep lighting to a minimum to protect views of the night sky. The night sky is spectacular indeed, with a multitude of stars shining brilliantly against the blackest of backdrops. To make the most of your star gazing experience, “star parties” are organized by both amateur and professional astronomers.
Daytime activities in Borrego abound, especially for the active RVer. There are five public golf courses, organized bike tours, and guided off-road experiences. For my husband and I, Borrego Springs is where we fell in love with hiking, and there are thousands of miles one can hike in the Anza Borrego park.
Ranging from a few miles to all-day excursions, hikes can be guided or un-guided. Some are easily accessible and family friendly, like Borrego Palm Canyon which is three miles round-trip and leads to a native palm grove. A favorite of ours is “the Slot” which, as its name indicates, is a slot canyon with narrow passages and towering walls. The Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce website lists several hikes and has abundant information about the outdoor opportunities that await you.
Where to Camp
At the end of the day, we like to retire to a nice RV park where we can relax and relive the day’s adventures. For a small village, Borrego Springs has several options from which to choose including the state park campground, as well as several privately-owned parks that range from rustic and quirky to quite luxurious. We highly recommend The Springs at Borrego RV Resort.
There are also a handful of good restaurants, a well-stocked grocery store, and some great local shops and outfitters.
When it comes to RVing, my husband and I have an appetite for active adventures that sometimes take us on the path less travelled. We are delighted to have stumbled upon the path to Borrego Springs, and we are eager to keep exploring this beautiful oasis in the California desert.