MENTION A DESERT DESTINATION TO A PAL... and they're apt to cite the sunsets and the mountains and the coyotes howling by moonlight and the swimming pools and the blooming ocotillos and a hundred other details that make the location lovely and singular. It isn't often, though, that you hear "dramatic serpent" or "fighting dinosaurs" on the roster of a desert city's pluses. Borrego Springs is no ordinary town, though; the arid-awesome enclave, which sits snugly surrounded by the largest state park in the contiguous U.S. -- that's the Anza-Borrego, of course -- is a pretty quirky place. Exhibit A? The amazing sculptures by artist Ricardo Breceda. There are over a hundred of them around town, and beyond its center, too, and the eye-catching pieces run the photographable gamut.
OVER THERE IS A HUGE TORTOISE; back here is giant sloth; and in the distance is a serpent running under the road, a stunner of a sculpture that has become a symbol, of sorts, of the project. The project itself is referred to as Galleta Meadows, and it was a dream of local Dennis Avery, who saw that stunning sculptures dotting the private land could really add something beautiful to the already beautiful deserty area. Mr. Avery passed away in 2012, just a few years after the sculptures were installed, but you can still take a drive to see the serpent, the the mammoths, the giant birds, and the dozens of divine artworks that have become synonymous with this tucked-away slice of desert goodness.
WHERE TO GET A MAP? You can find lots of fresh info online, but if you want a map in your hands as you track down the large-scale beasties -- most of which can be seen from paved roads, though a few are off on dirt tracks -- best stop in town. Where? At the Anza-Borrego Foundation and State Park Store on Palm Canyon Drive, the main east-west thoroughfare through Borrego Springs.