Review: DeAnza Springs Resort in Jacumba, California

Review: DeAnza Springs Resort in Jacumba, California

Oh boy, how much would we have loved it if someone had said “How you doin’ cowboy” when we arrived at the DeAnza Springs Resort! This truly is the wild west. An open desert full with rocks, cactuses and coyotes and only the sound of the wind. Every moment we expected some tumbleweed passing by, or maybe a couple of cowboys or indians on a horse. This is the place you’ve seen in so many wild west movies. Although neither of us has ever shot a gun before, over here we felt the urge to put some cans on poles and start shooting at them. Or just put one foot at the side of our trailer and tip our cowboy hat while chewing on a grass halm.

 

But we didn’t have any guns (luckily) and neither did we bring cowboy hats. Maybe we could complete the image by getting some tequila shots or getting into a fight at the saloon (read: the campground bar), but the saloon was closed that day. In fact, other than Kim who works at the reception there appeared to be few other people in our new cowboy village. The emptiness did add to the atmosphere though and while we sat at the porch of our rental camper, watching the sun go down over the desert, we knew that this was going to be a nice experience.

Location
We know that we’ve been using the term “end of the world” a couple of times before when describing the location of a nudie place, but we’re afraid we’ll have to do it again. DeAnza Springs is located at about 100 kilometres east from San Diego city, right at the Mexican border and in between several Indian reservations (yes, we also think that this term sounds strange but apparently that’s how you officially describe these places). The nearest supermarket is at about 30 kilometres on the way back to San Diego in a town called Alpine, we learned this the hard way, and so is the nearest Mc Donalds.

 

Jacumba is a town which you could pass by in the blink of an eye, so keep your eyes open when you’re driving on freeway eight. Not only because you might miss the only exit but also because the landscape is absolutely stunning. Once you get off the highway there are two gas stations, a road into town and a dirt track. The latter will bring you right into DeAnza Springs Resort.

Accommodation
DeAnza Springs Resort is mostly an RV camp and many of the campers seemed to bring their own accommodation. Or better said, have brought their own accommodation a long time ago and started building around it so they now have some kind of desert villa on wheels. Some of them even took off the wheels because they knew the thing wasn’t going anywhere else.
For those arriving in a Hyundai Elantra instead of an RV (yep, ourselves), there are a couple of rental options available. One is a room at the motel and the other one is a “park model unit”, which we took. Basically this is one of those campers without wheels which has a bathroom, bedroom, living room and fully equipped kitchen and a very nice porch where we would be spending lots of time looking over the desert, drinking wine, eating pre-made salads we’ve got at the supermarket in Alpine and writing for Naked Wanderings of course.

 

Facilities
For a campground in the middle of nowhere, we have to say that they have quite some facilities. Next to the bar and restaurant there are two swimming pools, an indoor and an outdoor one, there’s a tennis court, a fitness centre, a library/indoor relax room and there are almost daily activities ranging from aqua aerobics to water volleyball to quizzes, karaoke and dance nights.
Many of the amenities and especially the swimming pools and their surrounding parasols and deck chairs look like they haven’t been replaced since the late seventies. We’ve had quite a heavy discussion about this (as far as a discussion can be heavy while we were lounging with our bare asses in the sun next to the pool) but we didn’t come to an agreement. One of us said that this old fashioned style completely added to the atmosphere while the other said that this place urgently needs some refurbishments. We’re not going to tell you who said what, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide who was right. (but please let us know, we’re keeping stats!)

Surroundings
One of the facilities we didn’t mention above because we believe that they have the right to be at the beginning of a paragraph are the walking trails. We’ve already told you that the area is stunning and the owners of DeAnza Springs Resort have made several hiking trails in the environment. And here’s some more good news: Because no sane person ever comes to this desert it’s completely possible to hike all of the trails naked. How cool is that? You’ll be hiking through the Californian desert, get amazing views over the surrounding mountains and valleys, over the resort and if you get high enough even over the Mexican border. Along the way you may run into a typical wooden far west house or an old train track, complete with an abandoned train. You’ll rarely find better photo opportunities if you’re into that.
Beware though, it does get hot in the afternoon so bring enough water and also there are rattle snakes in the area. They won’t attack you unless you step on them, so keep an eye on the ground.

 

Staff
You may call it vanity and although we promise you that we haven’t gotten light it the head (except from the Californian wine maybe), we have gotten a bit used to the fact that when we mention our names or at least the name Naked Wanderings, people start smiling and give us a warm welcome. Yes, we are the couple who travels the world from one nudie spot to another. To our big surprise, when we mentioned our name at the gate, the lady at the reception said she had never heard of us and also didn’t know about a reservation. Big bummer.
It took us some time explaining who we were and once we mentioned the name of the person we’ve been talking to, eventually the gates went open.
Such a big place like this must have quite a number of staff, but we’ve never been sure who was who, except for Kim, the lady at the reception who did assign us a place although we weren’t in her booking system and who showed us around. From time to time we would see someone passing by in a golf cart but we’ve never been sure whether it was someone from the staff or another visitor (many visitors over here have their own golf carts).

Guests
When we arrived (on a Wednesday), DeAnza Springs Resort was a ghost town, the campground is quite large and widespread so if there were other guests, we hadn’t noticed them. On Thursday the place got a little more crowded, in a sense that we met one guy at the swimming pool and another one while we were walking around the camp. But on Friday a huge group of naked hikers came along and that was the signal that the weekend was about to be very busy. Or at least more busy than Jacumba town. Most of the other guests seemed to be from the area and visit their camper van during the weekends. The trick we often used in Europe, checking out the license plates, didn’t result in much more info. Most license plates were Californian except a single one from Texas. No foreign plates to be spotted, but then again, our Hyundai also has a Pennsylvania plate.

 

Summary
We can truly understand that people have different opinions of DeAnza Springs Resort. It’s nothing like any place we’ve ever been to. It’s a camp in the middle of the desert and you have to appreciate this in order to appreciate DeAnza. All we can say is that it’s an experience, it’s unique and that alone could be a reason for you to get your naked ass over here.

 

More info and reservations: DeAnza Springs Resort

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited as guests of DeAnza Springs Resort, but of course all opinions are our own.

10 thoughts on “Review: DeAnza Springs Resort in Jacumba, California

    1. Hi Fred, I do believe that is their plan. They will be walking with Claudia K. as Blair and Alexander have a conflict this year.

  1. Great article and a true representation of De Anza Springs. Their indoor pull volleyball is always good fun and they do a great job of including visitors regardless of their skill level.

  2. Glad to hear it sounds that overall you had a good time. My wife and I go there occasionally because it’s a long drive. I agree the place needs several upgrades. The motel especially. Other than that it’s very secluded and great for naked hiking. My wife and I have enjoyed that. At night it’s quite beautiful to see so many stars. Safe travels!

  3. Sorry you were not there on a weekend as that is when all the members come out of their homes for the karaoke bar and the water volleyball games. During the week it is always slow and the restaurant is closed, unfortunately. Frank is a great cook. Come back on a weekend after Memorial weekend to see the place as it really is!

  4. “haven’t been replaced since the late seventies”
    For me, it depends on what condition things are in. Old, faded, 1/2-3/4 broken, run-down busted junk is not acceptable. But if things have been maintained and just lasted a long time, there’s no need to fix what ain’t broke.
    And opinions can vary on what is kitschy and what is one step from falling apart.

  5. I agree the equipment isn’t that old looking. The chaise lounges are in good shape are are the umbrellas. I know some were replaced last year. Dave does a good job of keep the place hospitable. If you came during the winter months, there can be a lot of dust and wind during the off season. But I agree the description is unfair overall. They made have just got a bad motel room as they are usually kept very clean.

  6. You know me Nick .. im always for old school retro stuff.
    It just makes things different, less fancy, more real more closer to reality.

  7. We lived there for 3yrs. Location is great for hiking,views, and the night sky. But the management/owners need to learn how to treat guests. Heard over and over about reservations being lost and changed after being checked in. Everyone has a problem at the gate of Kim is at the desk. But overall everyone that lives there and members make you feel welcome even if staff dont.

  8. I stayed in the motel for a week last month (April 2018). The room was very clean and while it’s not the Quality Inn in the luxury department I enjoyed it. There aren’t many people around during the week, but toward the weekend things pick up. The food was really good, cooked to order and I enjoyed the bar when it was open. Nobody at the pool most of the time, other than me, but I did cruise around quite a bit on my mountain bike. All of the staff seem friendly. The major downsides were that the motel rooms didn’t have microwaves, but then I’m not sure the electrical system would support one; there were a lot of things plugged into one outlet. Also, while there the wind was blowing lot. Since the food wasn’t cooked every day I ended up driving either to San Diego (70 miles) or El Centro (50 miles) to dine or pick up food; but I had no way to cook or heat it. I ate “tv dinners” cold. But for those that would enjoy a quiet, uncrowded, remote place to be cloths-free this would be nice if you had a mobile home. I’m still considering getting a house on wheels and spending more time there.

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