So, last time I talked about Interesting San Diego attractions, but to continue this little series on all So Cal has to offer, I wanted to talk about some interesting attractions in Imperial County. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the region, Imperial County is directly inland from San Diego county and stretches from the San Diego County border to the Arizona border. It’s a pretty big place, but if you find yourself in the area, there are definitely some fun and quirky things to be discovered. Some of these attractions are even worth the road trip all by themselves!
Salvation Mountain is something you have to see to believe. Located just East of the Salton Sea and about an hour from Palm Springs, this interesting attraction was created by a man named Leonard Knight. It took him 28 years to create this awesome sight. The mountain is an interesting art piece as well as Leonard’s tribute to God. It was a passion project and a totally unique place in this world.
If you’re going to be visiting Salvation Mountain, you might as well check out Slab City. Slab City is an off-the-grid community of artists, snowbirds, campers, and others who just want to live in a free, off-the-grid place. Located very near to Salvation Mountain, it is an ideal (and free) place to camp in the area. Slab City is entirely off the grid, so residents rely on solar panels, their own waste treatment system, and a communal shower. It is also home to live music stages, a golf course, a sculpture garden, and a library. It’s an interesting place where you can meet some truly fascinating people. Just be sure to be kind and respectful, and perhaps bring something to share. 🙂
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East Jesus is a desert art community and despite the harsh sounding rules of the community, actually a pretty friendly and welcoming place as long as you are cool and come with the right intentions. It’s a really interesting place and definitely worth checking out!
Center of the World
Right off the 8 not too far from the Arizona border and Yuma, AZ, you’ll find the town of Felicity, California. If you’re driving through that area, you may find it worth your while to stop off in Felicity and check out the Center of the World. Yes, the center of the world has been found…and apparently it’s right here in California! All joking aside, it’s kind of neat to check out the pyramid and some of the other attractions in the area.
Goat Canyon Trestle
If you’re down for a 6 mile hike, you might want to check out the Goat Canyon Trestle (although not in Summer, when the temperatures can soar). It’s an un-shaded hike with a lot of elevation gain, so make sure you’re in good shape and have plenty of water with you before you head out. That being said, you can check out an old railroad bridge, caves, and other desert wonders on this hike!
Also known as the “boiling mud pots of the Salton Sea“, these strange pools are an interesting sight to see. Much like Yellowstone, these geothermal volcanic pools are not for swimming, but are interesting to look at and take pictures of. There is some debate as to whether or not people are actually allowed to go here as there are some sporadic No Trespassing signs around, so visit at your own risk. That being said, they are cool and worth the trip if you’re going to be in the area anyway.
International Banana Museum
If you like bananas or you just like odd places, the International Banana Museum is for you! Here you’ll find all kinds of banana-related items to delight even the most hardcore banana enthusiast. Located in the town of Mecca, California, they aren’t too far away from Palm Springs and Palm Desert, so definitely stop in for some quirky banana fun if you’re in the area!
Desert View Tower
Located off the 8 freeway near the towns of Jacumba and Ocotillo, the Desert View Tower is worth a stop off on your road trip. This historical monument is an interesting place to explore (and there’s a nearby pile of boulders that kids love to play on in case you’re road tripping with the kids).
Ruins of Bombay Beach
To understand the Salton Sea, you’ll need to know a little about it’s history. The area used to be a resort area for the wealthy in the 40’s and 50’s, originally intended to be a California Version of the French Riviera. Unfortunately in the 1970’s, the sea’s rising salinity levels began to cause major bird and fish die-offs, and the area never recovered. Today, the area has very few residents who live in trailers and the area is in ruins. The ruins are popular among photographers and those who are interested in abandoned places.