Leaving Your Heart at the Salton Sea in Mecca, California
Eaten away by salt, tagged by vandals, and littered with the bones of long-dead fish, the Salton Sea is now one of the last places you’d think of taking your family for an idyllic weekend. Formed by a catastrophic flood in the early 20th century, the dead-end lake was a hot tourist spot and yacht club in the 1950s, attracting celebrities and a building boom in the middle of the desert. After decades of soaking up the salts deposited by an ancient sea, by the mid eighties, the man-made lake's saline level had grown too high for most of the aquatic life. The resort closed, and the era died. What’s left is a decaying shell of a mini lake resort blanketed by fairy-like snow-white salt and a major stopover for feathered travelers on the Pacific flyway. The view of a pelican-dotted lake from a rusted playground as the sun sets justifies the three-hour trip from Los Angeles. Bring a friend, stay for the stars.