During the 1950s and ’60s, Bombay Beach on the east coast of the Salton Sea was a booming resort town. Celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, the Beach Boys, Jerry Lewis, and Desi Arnaz flocked to the lake to swim, water-ski, golf and party. It was nicknamed the “Salton Riviera” and rivaled nearby Palm Springs.
But starting in the mid-’60s, the real estate bubble started bursting. Then tropical storms in the ’70s destroyed marinas and plans for new resorts. Environmental catastrophes, rising salinity, and a receding shoreline caused tourism to come to a standstill, leaving the town with an abandoned, post-apocalyptic feel.
While it seemed for a long time there was no hope for the city, it has slowly been rediscovered as an interesting destination for photographers, movie makers and artists. Since 2011, Bombay Beach has been reinvented as a destination for desert art.
Here is a list of my favorite spots to visit in Bombay Beach…
Last Resort Sign
Bombay Beach Drive-in
Television Art Display
Burning Man Airplane
Treasures on Bombay Beach Shoreline
Bombay Beach is located on the Salton Sea in the Southern California Desert. From Palm Springs, take Highway 111 South for approx 60 miles. Turn right on Avenue A, which will take you right into town.
There is plenty of parking throughout the town. Please note that Bombay Beach is not completely abandoned. It is home to approximately 250 residents so please respect the locals.
Best Time to Visit:
October – May. The temperatures in the summer months can reach 120 degrees so if you do plan to visit during this time, try to arrive in the early morning and bring plenty of water.
Bombay Beach is definitely one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been and highly recommend a visit!