Over winter break we took a two day road trip and made a big loop from San Diego County to Imperial County to Riverside County. It was such a fun family adventure. Today, I am sharing everything that we did on our road trip and our 36 hours in Imperial County.
We made a big loop down to the 8 freeway, across to the 111, and into Palm Springs. Then, on our drive home, we took the 10 to the 60 to the 215 to home. We stayed at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, which was a new hotel in a great little new developed corner. Here is our little family travel guide to Imperial County.
Imperial County – Desert Tower
Oh the desert tower. First off, on your way to the tower…. There will be UFO’s. Yes, I said UFO’s and a whole lot of strange vehicles. We couldn’t help but laugh. We decided to pay for the desert tower which allows you to go up to the top of the tower and to also venture through the Boulder Park Mystery Caves. The girls loved the caves and the tower. It’s definitely a trek and I’m not going to say it’s totally worth the drive, if that’s your only destination. However, if it’s on your route, you should stop and check it out.
Imperial County – Salvation Mountain
This was so cool and worth the drive. We loved Salvation Mountain. It’s a beautiful work of art in the middle of the desert. I do recommend visiting in the cooler months, because there is no real shade to speak of. You have one tiny section along a yellow brick road that is covered and built into the side of the mountain. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream. We will definitely be going back because my husband was totally sick and he wanted no part of being an Instagram husband. LOL.
Imperial County – East Jesus & Slab City
If you make the trip to Salvation Mountain and feel brave enough to venture into Slab City and East Jesus, it is pretty cool. I would like to point out they do have a very interesting set of rules and you may want to read them. The art garden was amazing and open to the public. The girls absolutely loved it, but I must warn you, you enter at your own risk.
Imperial County – Eateries
Lulu’s – We ate at Lulu’s for dinner. This was such a cool restaurant. The cherry margarita was pretty tasty. It was a little sweet but still tasty. Everyone loved their dinner and the service was good. I got the vegetarian asian salad and the hubs got the Chicken Piccata. The girls got pizza and butter noodles. One recommendation would be to have your little ones share a kids meal, if they are small eaters. Both kids dishes were huge (and a little on the pricey side)!
Elmer’s – They are known for their german pancakes and they were seriously amazing. If you don’t know about german pancakes, listen to your waiter, use the lemon and no syrup. Service was also amazing here, great atmosphere, you can tell it’s a local favorite.
Great Shakes – They did not have a vegan option, but they had the most tasty lactose free blueberry lemonade shake. It was amazing. Did I mention that every shake comes with a mini donut on the straw? It’s the little things in life…
Imperial County – Tio’s Tacos
So, I’m putting Tio’s Tacos in it’s own category because it’s in Riverside County and it’s not just a restaurant. It’s a destination, not just a stop. Another great collection of art and the food was pretty tasty. It’s a great stop on your way back to LA or San Diego.
Imperial County – Places We Missed
There were a couple places that were on our list that we just didn’t make it to. So, once we finally make it to them I will officially add them. These are the places we wish we would have had a chance to see. Cabazon Dinosaurs, International Banana Museum, and Shields Date Farm. Have you ventured to any of these places in Imperial County? What was your favorite?
If you are looking for another great destination in California try out Santa Barbara and use all my tips to family fun.