10 Things to See at the Salton Sea
There is so much to explore around the Salton Sea, and I recommend planning a full day to see all the top sights. The Salton Sea is just a couple of hours outside of Palm Springs, and to make visiting the area simple for families, I have listed the sights to see along your drive through the desert.
International Banana Museum
It will be the first place to stop while on your way to the Salton Sea. Your kids will literally go bananas when walking into this quirky museum that is flooded with every banana. The museum is covered from floor to ceiling with dolls, trinkets, memorabilia and more.
Salton Sea Bay Club
After exploring the banana museum, then your next stop should be to the Salton Sea Bay Club. It is one of the weirdest sights where your kids will see an abandoned tackle shop, crumbled pier, and a brand-new Bay Club. If you take your children for a walk around the area, they will see hundreds of dead fish along the shore and lots of unique birds.
Salton Sea Visitors Center
The next stop on your drive, you’ll stop in at the visitors center. At the center, your family can take a break from the heat, purchase water and learn about the area from the park ranger. There are also bathrooms and picnic tables if your family packed a lunch to bring with you on the day trip. The center is open from 10 am to 4 pm during the summer.
Bombay Beach Ruins
Once you’ve left the visitors center, the next stop will be the Bombay Beach Ruins. Expect to stay here for at least an hour to take pictures of all the ruins, explore the beach and neighborhood. It is a photographers dream, but I recommend bringing a bandana or nose plugs for younger children – the smell is STRONG!
Buckshot Deli and Diner
Right before turning off the highway towards the Salton Sea is the Buckshot Deli and Diner. While it is not always open, this is the perfect place to stop with your kids for a refreshment before continuing exploring the Salton Sea area.
Your next stop will be at Salvation Mountain. Here your children will see one of the largest interactive art exhibits. It gets very hot here so your visit will only take about 15 minutes to see the entire mountain, snap some photos and create unforgettable memories.
Just about 100 yards away from Salvation is Slab City. It is an art community where people live and create giant art sculptures out of recycled items. Your family could spend hours driving around and photographing all the beautiful sculptures.
Mud Volcanoes and Mud Pots
Our last stop around the Salton Sea was to see the mud volcanoes. While it is not easy to get to this magical place, you’ll want to make the truck over to see them. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for your children to see the Earth’s seismic activity happening right before their eyes.
One of the highlights for bird lovers is all of the owls that live in the area. Our kids were fascinated by them when learning about them at the visitors center, but the only place that we could find them was along the dirt road to the mud volcanoes. While on the dirt road, I recommend making a couple of stops to see if you see these beautiful creatures in the irrigation pipes.
Sony Bono Wildlife Refuge Area Visitor Center
If your family has the energy to continue your journey along the Salton Sea, then there is the Sony Bono Wildlife Refuge Area Visitors Center. While our family did not make to the center, it is a must-see for bird lovers. It was almost 4 pm when came to this stop on our list, and made the decision to head back towards Palm Springs.
- I recommend leaving Palm Springs with 100% full tank of gas. There are no gas stations in the Salton Sea area.
- Bring lots and lots of water. Pack a cooler with plenty of water and snacks for the day. Temperatures were in the high 100+ degrees, and our family drank almost a case of water during our day exploring the area.
- Wear plenty of sunscreen, hats and summer clothes. The sun is hot, and you are right in the middle of the desert.
- If your kids are train lovers, then you’re in for a treat. There is a train track the runs along the Salton Sea giving children a fun glimpse of cargo trains close-up.
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