For area information, contact the (800/559-5524).
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Although bloom is highly variable, depending on rainfall and temperatures, wildflowers typically peak in the first half of March and last about two weeks. Bloom continues into April at higher elevations.
Your first stop should be the (9-5 daily; 200 Palm Canyon Dr.; 760/767-4205), which offers free ranger-led hikes (call for tour times). Recently renovated with new exhibits, the visitor center is your best source for wildflower updates. Or, before you arrive, try the park’s wildflower hotline (760/767-4684) or the (818/768-3533).
Another good resource is the nature center and bookstore (9-5 daily Oct-Jun; 652 Palm Canyon; 760/767-3098).
Borrego Valley Inn. Small Southwest- and Mexican-style inn offers desert luxury. 15 rooms from $150. 405 Palm Canyon; or 800/333-5810.
La Casa del Zorro Desert Resort. Early-California atmosphere and lush grounds makes this 1930s hotel a classic oasis. 79 rooms from $360. 3845 Yaqui Pass Rd.; or 800/824-1884.
Badlands Market Cafe. Hip, casual spot with baked goods and gourmet items. $; breakfast and lunch daily Oct-May. 587 Palm Canyon; 760/767-4058.
Butterfield Room. La Casa del Zorro’s formal (jacket required) dining room features historic desert paintings and a sophisticated seasonal menu. The outdoor terrace is ideal for lunch. $$$$; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. In La Casa del Zorro Desert Resort.