- Baker. A tiny town along I-15 that is frequented by travelers visiting Death Valley or Las Vegas.
- Barstow. A moderately large city that lies at the junction of I-15 and I-40.
- Bombay Beach. A small town on the east shore of the Salton Sea.
- Palm Desert
- Palm Springs. A desert resort oasis that serves as a vacation getaway to guests from around the world and a playground for Los Angeles and other Southern Californians.
- Twentynine Palms. A small town north of Joshua Tree National Park that caters to park visitors.
- El Centro, county seat of Imperial County
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
- Death Valley National Park - Mother Earth in the raw
- Joshua Tree National Park - Many well developed campsites and great rock climbing
- Mojave National Preserve - 1.6 million acres of mountains, jumble rocks, desert washes, and dry lakes
- Salton Sea - boating in the desert
For many travelers the California desert is merely experienced on the other side of their car windows on their way to more popular destinations. However, for the adventurous few that take an exit and their supplies, the rewards are unforgettable.
Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles is the largest airport near the California Deserts area. However, there are many small airports for public use.
However, the full glory of this region is very difficult to access without a vehicle. Many of the parks in the region have paved roads and developed campsites. However the complete experience can not be had without a bit of exploration on the dirt roads and an inspiring piece of dirt to set up camp - see California desert camping. Believe it or not, even a compact car will survive valiantly on many of the well graded roads in the region although a high clearance vehicle is recommended for full access.
The desert can be a brutal and unforgiving place. Even if you're planning to just pass through, you should be prepared to be fully self-reliant and follow these minimum guidelines. Additional safety guidelines should be adhered to if you are planning to go camping.
- Drink even when you do not feel thirsty.
- When hiking, carry a gallon of water for each day plus extra in case of an emergency.
- Store extra water in your car.
- Carry water even if you are only planning to explore a short distance from your car.
- Dress for Success
- Wear a hat with a brim (a cowboy hat would be a good idea) and light-colored, lightweight clothes.
- Pack warm, wind-proof clothes in case the wind picks up or the weather cools.
- Wear sunglasses and sunblock, lots of sunblock.
- Carry a Flare & a Spare
- Ensure that your car is in good working order - service stations are few and far between.
- Carry a spare, a jack, and some flares.
- 'Fix-a-Flat' can be a lifesaver along with jumper cables.
- Do not leave your car unless you are certain that help is close by.
- Gas: when the sign says "Next gas 50 miles," you better know you've got enough to make it before you pass the pumps! Never go lower than a quarter tank.
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