Welcome to Salton City & the Salton Sea!
California’s Premier Seaside Wasteland
You’ll enjoy spending a relaxing day on the beach.
Fun Fact: The sand here is made up of millions of crushed fish bones. The brisk sea breeze will carry the smell right to you. (Seriously, anywhere near the water smells completely awful)
Strangely seagulls and other birds don’t seem at all bothered by the smell or destruction and were blissfully diving into and out of the water.
Fuel up for Fun in the Sun with nearby seaside concessions.
You can still see the marks on the pavement outlining where the parking lot would have been, though the desert has reclaimed most of it. Shower heads line the outside wall and a poster selling beach towels has managed to cling to its place.
No super mutants attacked…in fact I didn’t see life of any kind in this section, not even insects.
Spend some time with artwork from our talented local artists
Many of the graffiti pieces in the area are actually stunning. I don’t know how its possible to get such vivid color and detail with spray paint, its a very impressive feat. I was particularly fond of the work of “Night Owl”. His trademark owl was on many of the building exteriors and I knew I would be rewarded for delving into those ones.
I will also say that abandoned public restrooms are not the most pleasant of things to explore. It certainly tests the boundaries of my adventurous spirit. But this one, with the welcoming Robot on the Men’s room door was worth the effort.
Don’t forget to stop by our Seaside Shops for a souvenir of your time with us…
I believe these buildings were meant to be a little shopping center based on the layout and the rubble left inside but I cant be completely sure of that. This area was especially grim with many doomsday and hopeless messages on the walls. In one of the shops someone had lined up 20 or so mis-matched shoes on one wall and a line of broken TV’s on the other. I felt a kinship with that someone. Its very much like my Fallout collections. If you can pick it up it must be worth something right?
The Story of Salton City:
Salton City had a bright future. It was poised to become an upscale beach resort. A mecca for tourists owned by the wealthy elite. In 1958 Salton City was at the very beginning of that bright and shining future.
An accident of engineering had created the Salton Sea and it seemed that the piece of good fortune was taken for granted. No one looked deeper. A mistake because so much was happening below the surface. With no outlet, the sea became more and more salty. Nearby farms dumped their run off full of chemicals into the water. And like the salt, the chemicals had no place to go. Soon that pretty lake, that shiny accident, became a toxic pool.
Meanwhile Salton City pushed on, ignoring the warnings or maybe not even seeing them. The water was filled with salt water fish when all the fresh water ones started dying off. In 1960, Salton City got its very own Yacht Club.
The final end of the bright future came from something tiny. Algae. Specifically Phytoplankton Algae. Not only did it turn the water an ugly brown but it produces a truly awful smell. Like sulfur, rotten eggs, and general death. The smell is everywhere, you cant escape it. And there was no amount of marketing that could entice you to spend a weekend with that smell.
By the 1970’s the tourists were gone, the resorts had closed their doors, and the business owners had fled.
In 1986, California announced that people could no longer eat any of the fish caught from the sea. They had become too toxic for consumption. Less than 30 years to go from potential to ruin.
The wealthy seaside resort town of Salton City was dead. But that death had given birth to my own perfect Wasteland.
In all fairness, Salton City is not completely abandoned. People still live here. Mixed into the rubble and ruin you will find well-kept normal seeming houses. I even found a little diner by the sea that served up a decent Banana Cream Pie.
Many many more visits to the area await in my future. There are no maps or guides, you really just have to drive or walk around until you stumble on a building or business to explore. It calls to my sense of adventure more than a pristine city could.
One benefit for Urban Explorers, most of these places are wide open with no fences or posted trespassing signs so they are easy to get into and explore.
Real Life Wasteland – A more perfect wasteland could only be found in a video game