fun to do kids anza borrego california   Travel for Kids
  | California | San Diego | east county

Anza Borrego Desert State Park


January to March or April, the wild flowers in Anza-Borrego are just incredible – red ocotillos, orange poppies, purple lavender, lupine and sand verbena, little yellow flowers close to the ground. The desert is also chock full of cactus, including the "jumping cholla." There are palm groves with streams and waterfalls. Keep your eyes peeled for desert iguanas, roadrunners, hummingbirds, golden eagles and bighorn sheep (borrego means "big horn sheep").

Anza-Borrego is a wonderful place to visit with kids in fall, winter or early spring – it's too hot in summer (the park is closed June - September).

    Wildflowers To plan a visit, check out when and where to see wildflowers in Anza-Borrego, print out maps updated weekly: Anza Borrego State Park Wildflowers.
    Stop into the Visitor Center for information and exhibits about the natural history and Indians of the area, including a kids' discovery area. The Desert Garden identifies some of the many plants you'll see in the desert. And don't miss the pupfish pond. The silvery pupfish, only 2-3 inches long, survive in the tiny amounts of water in the desert.
    Take the Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail to the waterfalls. From the panorama outlook (a longer hike), you can see the Borrego Badlands in the distance. Due to flooding in the canyon, the trail has changed somewhat, so pick up a map at the Visitor Center and get the latest information about the trail.
    Scenic drive Take Route S2 south for a scenic drive and wonderful views of the Badlands.
    Agua Caliente Regional Park (on S2) - Stop into Agua Caliente for a soak in two large pools, fed by hot springs (indoor and outdoor swimming pools). There's also a picnic area and children's playground. For easy hikes in the area, try trails to Moonlight Canyon or Squaw Pond.
    Go camping Family camping in Anza Borrego is memorable. (I remember camping here as a little kid and scrunching around in the sand looking for little yellow flowers, or hiking along the creek in Palm Canyon).
      You may be out in the desert, but the campgrounds are equipped with showers and a convenience store (in case you need to stock up on marshmallows). Also, the town of Borrego Springs has markets and stores with camping supplies.
      Tip: When you're out hiking with kids, take plenty of water, wear hats and sunscreen. Scrambling on rocks, watch where you put your hands – there are rattlesnakes in Borrego, especially around Bow Willow.
kids books california
over and under the canyon  
Over and Under the Canyon
Kate Messner, Christopher Silas Neal

A family visits the California desert, hiking down the trail into the canyon, bighorn sheep leaps from rock to rock, hawks fly overheard, jackrabbits hide, walking on the sand, the people leave tracks, so does a horned lizard, colorful wildflowers bloom, camping in the desert, coyotes yip and owls take to the sky full of stars. Plus fun facts about about desert animals you'll see in Anza-Borrego. (Picture book)


Wake, Sleepy One
Lisa Kerr, Lisa Powell Braun

Bright orange poppies grow in Anza-Borrego Desert. Poppies just need rain and warmth, in spring seeds wake up and bloom with a single flower. Some years there are also superblooms. (Picture book)


wake sleepy one
Best Easy Day Hikes Anza Borrego  
Best Easy Day Hikes: Anza-Borrego
Bill Cunningham, Polly Burke

20 easy hikes in Anza-Borrego, ideal for families (all are less than five miles round-trip.) Maps, detailed hike descriptions, desert hiking tips, trail difficulty, and what you'll see along the way. (Guidebook)


travel for kids | united states | california | san diego | east county | anza borrego state park
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