Sea and Desert Interpretive Association
Salton Sea State Recreation Area
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Attractions and Places of Interest

~ Salton Sea State Recreation Area ~


1.  GO FISHING The weather is warming and the Tilalpia are biting.  Fish from the rocks on the jetty, by the Visitor Center, using worms for a sure catch.  If you are over 16 you will need a valid California fishing license.

Dos Palmas2. VISIT DOS PALMAS PRESERVE Cross the highway and the RxR tracks, up the hill turn right, and follow the signs to the oasis.  There is a locked gate so park your car, and from there you can walk into the historic rancho area.  To your right there is a lovely loop trail of about 1.5 miles through the San Andreas Palms.

Right behind the entrance station you can identify the local plants around our pupfish pond.  You might spot one of these endangered species as well.  Bring your binoculars….the birds like the garden too.

Painted Canyon
Head east from Mecca on Box Canyon Road and veer off to the left on the Painted Canyon Road.  Park and meander up the slot canyon.  If you have more time, you can make a longer trip by doing the whole loop up the ladders.

5. GO BIRDING Join us for a short bird walk every Saturday Morning at 9:00 am, or go explore one of the many famous birding spots along the Sea.   Take a ride down Johnson Street 1 mile south of Mecca to see the shorebird show. 

6. HIKE THE IRONWOOD TRAIL From the Visitor Center campground head south down the beach on our nature loop.  This flat trail will take you through a habitat important to rabbits, coyotes, lizards, and nesting birds too.  Watch for  signs of  the animal life, but watch out where you put your hands and feet too!!

7. BOAT AND FLOAT Bring your kayak, rubber boat, or yacht and launch it at our newly opened Varner Harbor launch area.  The salty sea makes everything super buoyant so you can swim and float with little effort.

8. BRING OUT THE KIDS Our visitor center is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10-4pm.  Kids from 8-12 years old can earn a real badge at the Junior Ranger Program every Saturday at 1:00.  Bring a picnic lunch and eat it in the shade of our beach ramadas.

9. FLY A KITE Let the wind entertain you .  The cool breezes of the Sea and the spacious beaches make it an ideal place to let your spirits soar.

10. WATCH THE SUNRISE OR SUNSET   Unparalleled  360 degree views  of the Santa Rosa, Oracopia, and Chocolate Mountains make every morning and evening an amazing event.  Have a campfire in one of our many fire rings on the beach and enjoy the view.


Box Canyon and Beyond


Salton Sea SRA

The SDIA works with the Salton Sea State Recreation Area and Picacho State Recreation Area by providing educational and interpretive activities for the public.

California State Park

Help support the park by planning a visit. There are many great outdoor activities available. Go fishing or hiking, bicycling or off-roading, your desert adventure awaits!

Contact SDIA for more information

Several campgrounds in the area offer a wide range of camping experiences. There are full hookups, tent sites and primitive beach sites available.

Read more about camping


The Salton Sea has been shrouded in bad publicity. The SDIA wants to clear up some of the rumors by providing this helpful page with facts and information. Find out the truth behind the Salton Sea and plan a visit to the area.

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