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What was once a giant lake and the home of the Cahuilla is now a charming recreation area and one of the most important stops for migrating birds. Salton Sea State Recreation Area is split between Riverside County and Imperial County, spreading across 14 miles of the northeastern coast and welcoming around 30,000 visitors per year. The park’s namesake, the Salton Sea, is one of the lowest spots on earth at over 200 feet below sea level.
The park has great RV camping sites, lovely nature trails, and diverse fishing game, making it one of the most popular nature retreats in California. Another aspect that makes the park an ideal vacation spot is its proximity to other cities. Towns like Indio, Palm Desert, and La Quinta are all around 40 minutes away from Salton Sea State Recreation Area.
Campers will have plenty of places to explore once their Salton Sea Recreation Area camping trip has run its course. Don't have your own rig? Book an RV in Imperial County or find RV rentals in Riverside County and start planning your getaway.
Thanks to a diverse ecosystem home to creosote bush, varieties of desert saltbush, fan palms, fields, and wetlands, many native and migratory bird species can be seen around the lake. Salton Sea State Recreation Area supports snow geese, ducks, marsh birds, shorebirds white-faced ibis, cattle egrets, cormorants, and more. Avid birdwatchers will find no shortage of species to spot, so pack those binoculars in the rental RV.
Salton Sea's abundance of fish feeds more than 400 species of birds that live and travel through this area. Unfortunately, the water's increasing salinity levels are significantly affecting the fish population; however, Salton Sea still packs quite a selection. Tilapia is pretty common, and there's no limit to how many you can catch. Species like corvina and sargo might return once the level of salinity is better regulated. Nevertheless, guests enjoy fishing even today, and if you're an angler yourself, don’t forget your gear. Set up at the fishing jetty for the best chance of reeling in a big one.
Although the salinity makes it difficult for different fish to thrive, it makes the water's surface a lot better for boating. High salt content enables the boat engines to operate at near maximum efficiency, which means you can zoom across the water. That being said, be cautious and abide by the speed limit.
Nature lovers planning to camp at Salton Sea Recreation Area will be spoiled for choice. There are five Salton Sea State Recreation Area campgrounds with around 200 campsites. The RV campsites in the Headquarters area offer full hookups and are near the visitors' center and camp store.
Those who camp in an RV at New Camp will have easy access to hiking trails and the main boat ramp and boat washing station. Campground amenities include partial hookups, flush toilets, and sanitation stations. Salt Creek Beach and Corvina Beach are primitive campgrounds for kayakers that also have portable toilets.
Mecca Beach, on the other hand, is a large campground that's close to the beach and provides easy access to modern restrooms and showers. Some sites even have full hookups. The maximum length for RVs at all campgrounds is 35 feet.
Once you've experienced what the park has to offer, you'll want to take some time to see the nearby attractions. Make sure you visit the town of La Quinta, where you can find art galleries, golf courses, and the charming La Quinta Museum. The museum has an inspiring mural in its community room as well as a history gallery where you can learn about Cahuilla peoples who used to live near the state park area a thousand years ago.
Wildlife enthusiasts should steer their rental camper to Palm Desert and check out Desert Zoo and Gardens. Here, you can see all sorts of exotic animals and plants, sign up for different events, and even interact with animals. Needless to say, the place is ideal if you're on vacation with your kids, as they will love petting, feeding, and learning about different animal species.
For those of you who are thrillseekers, Palm Desert has agencies that organize desert adventures. You'll be riding in a jeep across California desert, learning about the region's geology, nature, history, and culture, and, of course, enjoying the scenic views. You can go on and explore the Mecca Hills Wilderness Area as well as the Painted Canyon, depending on the program you sign up for.
Lastly, Palm Desert is packed with restaurants offering several cuisine options, like Japanese, Italian, Mexican, and Mediterranean. Of course, fast food, seafood, bar and grills, and pizzerias are also options. You can find stores and gas stations here as well, but there's also a store near the park’s headquarters. The nearest gas station is about ten minutes away from the camp.