The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, lake located in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys in Southern California’s Colorado Desert. Originally a dry lake bed, Salton Sea was created accidentally by man and formed during a flood in 1905. The lake’s salinity is greater than the waters of the Pacific Ocean. One of the lowest spots on earth, the Salton Sea is -227 ft. under sea level.
Located on the north shore of the Salton Sea, the Salton Sea State Recreation Area is about a three-hour drive from the Los Angeles or San Diego areas and has four campgrounds with varied amenities. With full hookups, a pull through site, and a five-star view, we chose Headquarters Camp next to Varner Harbor and the visitor center for our first attempt at RV-ing.
Set in an asphalt parking lot environment, we were allotted one tree, a picnic bench, electric, water, and a dump hole. We also got an unobstructed, panoramic view of the Chocolate Mountains, an overabundance of migrating birds, and the Salton Sea shoreline. The spectacular view more than made up for the parking lot style campsite.
After setting up our home on wheels for the next few nights, the grandson and I were off to explore the shoreline of Salton Sea. True to the reviews, the banks of the lake were littered with decaying carcasses of well-preserved Tilapia and barnacled sand. After awhile the stench of fish and bacterial run off made its presence and we returned to camp.
As the sky began to adjust from day to nightfall, I grabbed my camera and enjoyed my first fiery sunset capturing the yellows, pinks, and reds only the California desert can offer. It’s time to make dinner and prepare for some star-gazing.
With the camp store closed early and no firewood to burn, we opted for a few hands of Rummy, 21, and Crazy 8s in the RV. The grandson questioned why we didn’t have a TV in our RV, like most did in the campground and this old school, regular old grandma said, “Because camping isn’t about watching TV. It’s about watching the stars and the sun setting and playing cards and spending time with each other.”
Stay tuned for day two of our adventure.