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Deserts

Varied and diverse, the desert region, which is running along the Eastern edge of Southern California, offers plentiful opportunities for solitary getaway as well as romantic escape. And what can be a better place to reduce the world to just two people than a desert?

The possibilities for a vacation getaway are endless here. In the rain shadow of the Sierra is Death Valley National Park which is home to Badwater, the lowest spot in the Western Hemisphere. The unique geological formations like the painted canyons of Artist’s Palette, the sparkling salt flats of Devil’s Golf Course, not to mention dune fields that all the time are changing location and shape beg for exploration.

A major recreational area and the site no to be missed, the high-desert terrain of Mojave National Preserve is less than 100 miles Southeast. The Southernmost end of the Mojave extends into Joshua Tree National Park which is especially popular with campers, SUVers and rock climbers who tackle bald knobs poking out of the desert wilderness.

And the closest to the population centers of San Diego are the magnificent landscapes of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Here you are surrounded by 600,000 acres of virtually nothing, but this nothing sets an ideal framework for solitude indulgence and is truly spectacular. Walk up Borrego Palm Canyon and stroll towards the oasis of fan swaying palms looking like Hawaiian hula dancers.

Not only does Anza Borrego enjoys beautiful and romantic scenery, but is also a realm of raw grit, rock summits and rain-cut canyons - everything that remained after a vast lake that had been here thousands years ago. You will be surprised by a number of wildlife survived in this sere landscape, including bighorn seep as well as about 60 species of mammals and 225 kinds of birds. Walking along Erosion Road you can enjoy the huge scale of the desert, with alluvial fans spreading from mountain ranges to the desert floor and Fonts Point where you can marvel spectacular sunsets over Borrego Badlands.

California state parks are mostly known for their scenic beauty, but not for their gastronomic possibilities. Yet Anza Borrego is a rare exception, with nearby Red Ocotillo offering marvelous breakfast and lunch and the Krazy Coyote, in the Palms Hotel at Indian Head, serving sumptuous dinner.

Between Anza Borrego and Joshua Tree is Coachella Valley that looks like an oasis of blue swimming pools and emerald fairways due to the necklace of resorts running from Two Bunch Palm Resort & Spa, a Hollywood getaway in Desert Hot Springs, to the venerable La Quinta Resort & Club which dates from 1926.

And of course, there is Palm Springs, a fashionable retreat and a pop icon which is all about luxuries hotels, outstanding restaurants, world renowned desert resorts, arts, the finest shopping and outdoor fun. When in Palm Springs, be sure to take Palm Springs Aerial Tramway featuring the largest rotating tramcars in the world. In a stunning 10 minutes these glass-walled cars will lift you up to a mile and even more to float above the pristine wilds of Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Pamper yourself with a clay and sandalwood wrap, then dip into a naturally heated mineral pool at The Spring Resort & Spa, located 15 minutes from Palm Springs. It is one of the greatest natural thermal spring areas featuring lush accommodations and outstanding spa services. With breathtaking views of Palm Springs and snow-capped San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, the Spring Resort and Spa is a magical place in the area known as Miracle Hill. Gorgeously beautiful views, the sun and the palms swaying in the breeze and naturally magnificent water create a peaceful, elegant and relaxing atmosphere for you to be reborn in the bounty of nature. It’s a pleasure to soak in the Earth hot mineral spring under the summer desert sun or relax in the shade of a palm reading the favorite book in the tasteful uncluttered environment of the resort.

While tennis, golfing and hanging by the pool are popular activities, there is plenty else to do like hiking magnificent greens at the Indian Canyon or Joshua Tree National Park, or just playing blackjack and poker at the local casino. Or you may just as well dine al fresco under the stars, visit seasonal outdoor festivals and concerts, go shopping with options for every taste available here.