The Salton Sea

A few days ago, Alanna and I took off into the desert for an impromptu honeymoon road trip. Along the way, we stopped at the Salton Sea. After all, what better place to honeymoon than a beach resort town? There’s just one catch – while once a thriving vacation hot spot, towns around the Salton Sea are now mostly abandoned. Bear with me for a quick history lesson…


In 1905, the Colorado River broke its levees and flooded the Salton Sink. The flooding created the largest lake in California – the Salton Sea. With its creation, the Salton Sea brought birds, fish, and other wildlife to the desert. Developers soon followed, and built resorts, golf courses, hotels, yacht clubs, and homes along the shore. People flocked from all over to visit the “miracle in the desert.”

But it was short-lived. By the 1970s, lack of rainfall and pollution from nearby farms, coupled with increased salinity and a lack of oxygen in the water, took a toll on the fragile ecosystem. The fish died off, the birds left, and shortly after that, the tourists left.

Nowadays, the shores are largely abandoned. The beaches are empty and the sunbathers have been replaced by fish skeletons. The sand is a mixture of salt and bone fragments. And there’s nobody there. When Alanna and I stopped at Mecca Beach, we were the only two people on the beach. No swimmers, no water-skiers, no boaters. It was quiet – and a bit surreal.

Here’s the first batch of photos from the trip. Next stop, Bombay Beach

3 thoughts on “The Salton Sea

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