It may technically be Spring, but speaking for the majority of Americans, it’s still cold outside. Old Man Winter even shook his dandruff over Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee. Low teen and one-digit temperatures have brought many a mothball smelling jacket out of storage in areas where residents are unaccustomed to seeing their own breath, while sub-zero temperatures are keeping America’s cold-blooded northern tier citizens indoors huddled around their fireplaces.
For anyone caught in nature’s wintery grip with no relief in sight, there is but one remedy. It requires thawing out their ice-encrusted vehicle and pointing it towards to one our nations awesome little desert towns where sunshine and warmth are an everyday occurrence. Cold snaps, or more like chilly-snaps, require no more than a light sweater or jacket in these oasis locations.
Here are a few highly-rated desert towns to thaw out in. These are the coolest of the cool.
1 Silver City – New Mexico
While many desert mining towns went bust when their silver ran out, Silver City discovered vast veins of copper and switched to mining it which allowed them to flourish. It remains an active mining town with a population of just over 10,000.
Siver City’s downtown remains as rustic as it always has been but the buildings are now inhabited by small unpretentious cafes, bars with live entertainment, and privately owned shops and galleries.
For those wishing to explore, Gila National Forest with over 3-million acres is located just outside of town. The forest consists of some ancient dwellings built by the Mogollon people around 1280 AD, as well as agave plants and thickets of junipers, ponderosa’s, and pinons.
2 Borrego Springs – California
Borrego Springs is the only town in America completely surrounded by state-owned land, sitting squarely in the middle of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Because of this, the town can never expand beyond its borders and maintains a population of around 3,500.
Kit foxes, golden eagles, bighorn sheep, roadrunners, and of course, rattlesnakes, are commonly seen. The desert itself is known for its colorful wildflowers and the entire area is prime for stargazing, being designated as an International Dark Sky Community.
Hiking, camping, tennis, swimming, biking, and a host of other activities keep visitors busy but just laying around in the sun doing nothing is acceptable behavior also.
3 Terlingua – Texas
Located in the southernmost corner of Texas, Terlingua is by Big Bend National Park which is larger than Rhode Island. It’s a remote town located 300-miles from El Paso and the drive between the two will display almost no signs of human life. The town was formed by mercury-miners in the 1890’s but later became a ghost town when the mines ran dry.
Today, Terlingua is inhabited by artsy types, adventurers, and hippies. They enjoy whitewater rafting in Santa Elena Canyon and go all out for the towns two annual festivals, an international chili cook-off, and one entitled a Dia de los Muertos which takes place in the town cemetery.
The Terlingua House is a small 4-room hotel located two miles out of town. If at all possible, reserve a room there for enjoying the desert right outside the rooms doors, and the close proximity to town. Other small hotels are located in town. The Holiday Hotel is very nice. According to them, they offer sophisticated accommodations in a primitive setting.
The Starlight Theater is an exceptional restaurant and bar and the Terlingua Trading Company offer arts and crafts, books on the area’s history, and gourmet locally produced snacks.
4 Palm Springs – California
Palm Springs is much better known than some of the smaller out of the way desert towns, but if certain amenities are a must have it’s the place to go. With a population of just under 50,000, modern and rustic coexist here.
The golden age of Hollywood put Palm Springs on the map when celebrities like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra built vacation homes in the desert hills right outside of town. Much of the town’s architecture is reminiscent of that era.
The surrounding landscape is full of massive vistas for exploring on foot or by dune buggy. There is also a 2 1/2-mile tramway for those wanting a bird’s eye view.
Expect to spend a little more in Palm Springs than in the smaller towns. Being one of the better-known desert getaways with full modern amenities comes with a price.
5 Tubac – Arizona
Just 45-miles from Tuscon, Tubac was constructed in 1752 as a fortified city to protect a mission house from a bloody revolt by the native Pima’s. Tubac is now a peaceful and serene city on the banks of the Santa Cruz River with a population of less than 2000.
As an artsy type community, Tubac is home to over 100 eclectic shops, art galleries, and studios. There is an 1855 schoolhouse, an archeological dig site, a museum, and a center for the arts. Biking, hiking, and exploring are the main activities and it’s the perfect location to just chill out and forget about life’s stresses.
There are several comfortable B&B’s and even a golf resort for those requiring luxury. Locally owned restaurants offer assorted cuisines and there a few friendly bars in town for those needing a cocktail after a long day of having fun.
6 Bisbee – Arizona
With a population of around 5,600, Bisbee should be top on anyone’s list. A town with a sordid past and rich history of striking miners being killed or railroaded out of town, battles between the cavalry and native Apache’s, corruption, and poker players being shot over a cheating hand, Bisbee is now a peaceful arts community with lots of cool things going on.
There is a monthly art walk, a weekly farmers/craft market, a Bisbee Pride Festival, historic home tours, and much more. There is live music on the streets and in local bars, and art galleries are everywhere. Just roaming around downtown in the evening is fun because something is always going on somewhere.
Now that you know where you need to head to thaw out the ice running through your veins, what’s stopping you?