Best time to travel to California

Super Bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert in California

This unusual phenomenon proves that even dry and harsh places like deserts are actually alive!

Best time: late February–April (best in mid-March)

Super Bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert
Super Bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert
Super Bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert
Super Bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the Colorado Desert is one of the few deserts in the world that experience the super bloom in early spring. This natural phenomenon happens every couple of years after a considerable amount of precipitation in autumn or winter. During dry months, the seeds of plants like the desert sunflower, brown-eyed primrose, pincushion, sand verbena, and desert lily remain in the ground waiting to flourish when they get a little water. When they do, the desert turns into a huge field full of life, covered with colorful blooming flowers.

Best time for Anza-Borrego wildflowers

While the first wildflowers pop up across the desert already halfway through February, the peak blooming in Anza-Borrego usually falls in the middle of March, and continues through April. In March, the flowers become especially lush and beautiful. So if you happen to be in SoCal during this very right time, visiting the desert is a must. California super bloom requires 73 mi (118 km) to drive from San Diego, which is roughly 1.5 hours. But they usually last only for a few weeks so hurry up if you want to behold this rare natural wonder. Note that the blooming desert is quite a popular sight so you might not be all alone there during your visit.

What to do in Anza-Borrego

Super blooms are not the only reason to visit the area. You can pair your wildflower experience with several other equally fascinating activities, some of which are also seasonal. In March, mother nature grants you another unique chance of capturing the sight of Painted Lady Butterfly Migration. Also, you can spot the so-called desert hummers—Palm Springs and Palm Desert host Costa's hummingbirds (Calypte costae) all year round. Another must-do during your visit is hiking to Borrego Springs Metal Sculptures, the very Californian desert attraction.

Where to stay in Anza-Borrego


Camping at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the most popular option if you are planning to stay overnight. There are four developed and eight primitive campgrounds. Check out Fish Creek Campground, Blair Valley Campground, or Culp Valley campground for beautiful views and a perfect desert experience.


If you're not the camping kind of person, there are dozens of hotels near Anza-Borrego State Park. The closest accommodations may be found in Borrego Springs surrounded by the desert. However, you might want to investigate more distant opportunities as well. Find the super bloom map below and take your time to find the best fit.

Practical info

When is the best time to witness super bloom in Anza-Borrego desert?

Heading to the Anza-Borrego desert between mid-March and April is the ideal time to catch the peak blooming of wildflowers. Although they first sprout up around February, the flowers' lushest and most beautiful hue appears in March. Since the bloom lasts for a brief period, plan accordingly to capture the super bloom's colorful magnificence accurately. Show more

What other seasonal activities can be explored along with Anza-Borrego wildflowers?

While Anza-Borrego's wilderness blooms into a vibrant and colorful display, there is much more to do. During the wildflower bloom, you might witness the famous painted lady butterfly migration, venture out on hikes to the Borrego Springs metal sculptures, and spot the desert hummers, Palm Springs, and Palm Desert hosting Costa's hummingbirds all year round. It's best to research and plan appropriately according to the season you decide to visit. Show more

Where can we witness the famous painted lady butterfly migration in the area?

You will likely witness the painted lady butterfly migration in the Anza-Borrego area during March, the same period as the wildflower bloom. Adult butterflies migrate north in search of breeding grounds, covering thousands of miles during the journey. Butterfly peak populations are rare and occur every six to ten years. Don't miss the chance to witness these beautiful species fluttering amidst blooming plants while taking a leisurely stroll. Show more

Where to camp near Anza-Borrego desert?

Anza-Borrego State Park offers several developed and primitive campgrounds if you plan to stay overnight. Culp Valley, Blair Valley, and Fish Creek are recommended sites to enjoy the scenic landscape and desert experience. Those intending to stay at primitive campsites need permits that can be purchased online. Developed campsites offer essentials such as restrooms, picnic tables, fire pits, water, and other facilities. Show more

Which hotels are closest to Anza-Borrego State Park for out-of-state visitors?

Numerous hotels surround Anza-Borrego State Park. Similarly, Borrego Springs has several lodging options, but it's wise to research other options farther away. You can check with various popular sites like AirBnB or browse through Palm Springs hotels for great deals suitable for different budgets and preferences. Show more

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