THINGS TO DO IN THE SOUTHERN DESERT

There’s no denying it: Outdoor adventurers, beginners and experts, can find plenty of opportunities to explore and experience the Southern Desert. But there are more than a handful of, shall we say, unconventional attractions not to be missed. Case in point: Galleta Meadows, a massive freestanding art park created by self-taught metal sculptor Ricardo Breceda. More than 130 intricately detailed larger than life prehistoric creatures, including a fantastical 350-foot-long serpent, “roam” the land off Borrego Springs Road. Find a self-guided driving tour at the Borrego Springs Visitor Center.

There’s no other place in the world like the International Banana Museum. This whimsical one-room museum pays over-the-top homage to the banana, containing more than 20,000 items related to the curvy fruit. After you’ve eyed the collection, have a seat at the banana bar for a banana-flavored treat.

At the southeastern end of the Salton Sea near Niland sits Salvation Mountain, a manmade mountain painted over in a beautiful palette of eye-engaging art with the profound message of “God is Love.” The late Leonard Knight devoted almost 30 years to building this visionary spiritual monument, which annually draws thousands of visitors and photo ops.

Just south of the city of Coachella, burning rubber is encouraged at the BMW Performance Driving School, one of only two in the nation. Book a fast track driving experience, get behind the wheel and push performance-standard BMWs and Mini Coopers to the limit on challenging full-length courses at this exciting facility in Thermal.

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