Where's the cool desert in SoCal?

charlie chitlin

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We're going to be in San Diego area and maybe heading up to the Bay area.
Mama Chitlin wants a desert experience...seguaro...tumbleweeds...meep, meep...far enough from civilization to see serious stars at night.
Any suggestions?
 

JL_LI

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High desert or chaparral. Stay a few days in Palm Springs. Joshua Trees NP isn’t too far away. Then let your wife hit the Palm Springs outlets. Outlet stores with a decidedly non-outlet flavor. I went with my wife and after an afternoon of shopping she told me, “I saved so much, it’s like coming here was free.” :eek:
 
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fishermike

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Hop on the 8, and head east until you see what you're looking for. You're describing the Sonoran Desert if you're looking for the classic saguaros and tumbleweeds, so you need to head towards Arizona or Mexico. It starts in way southeastern CA, though.

Another really cool desert area is Joshua Tree. You actually get two deserts for the price of one there - part of the park is in the Mojave Desert, the other part in the Colorado Desert. Totally different ecosystems, from the landscapes to the plants.
 

Sax-son

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No saguaros in California. Only East of the Colorado River in Arizona. Joshua Tree is cool, neat rock formations. Check out the desert near Twenty nine palms. There are some semi desert ghost town like Essex and Amboy.
 

JRapp

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No saguaros in Cali...only (except for very few) in AZ. The Colorado desert along I-8 east of Jacumba is one big sandbox, not much veg. Mohave is a little better, but still miles of creosote bush. Plan a couple days for Death Valley---that's worth the drive.
 

dented

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After living and playing there for more than 40 years you are positioned perfectly in San Diego to go to Borrego Springs. If you hit there on a Saturday go to the Ocotillo Wells Discovery Center. My good friends Bill and Linda are there and they will give you a super inside scoop of the area and where to see the stars(Milky Way.) Hope you get there you will never forget it. From there travel north to Joshua Tree and then to Death Valley and then head west. Travel safe.
 

Tarkus60

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Gotta agree with those who say "Joshua tree." it's pretty nice desert up there, if that's your thing.

We found a spring/ damn way back up the rocks dated 1860 it was very hard to read.....I have no idea if was real . But there was green plant life around the area.
Same in 49 palms pools of water and palm trees and bees....
 

PastorJay

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Yep, Joshua Tree.

Stay in Palm Springs/Palm Desert area. Head out to Joshua tree for a day trip. Palm Springs is probably a shorter drive, although Palm Desert is physically closer.
 

Muddyshoes

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Whipple Mountains and Imperial County areas of California I do believe have saguaros? I agree, the Joshua tree area is very cool to see. If you are driving make sure you try to spend a day or so in Santa Barbara it's absolutely beautiful....I sure do miss living there.

If you are going to stay in the Bay area and visit SF I would suggest staying in Oakland at the hotel in Jack London square, ask for a room on the second floor with balcony and a view, ;) then catch the fairy ride just outside the hotel. You will save yourself a nice piece of change and the ferry ride is only $6.00 round trip per person.

If you and the Miss. like to explore rent one of the "GoCars Tours" absolute fun fun fun. If kicking back is more your speed do the "Hop-on Hop-off double decker bus tours" little tip don't buy your ticket on the street get it at the office near the end of the Embarcadero near the restaurants. The manager will cut you a break on the price.:)
 
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keithb7

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Yup Joshua Tree. Awesome.
I also drove from San Diego thru Ocotillo Wells. Saw some cool stuff yet Joshua Tree was nicer.

We Just about drove over a tortoise on the hiway to Ocotillo. Was a cool experience for my young sons. We stopped and got out to check him out.

Here are a couple photos of both areas.
 




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