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David Litschel/Alamy

International Banana Museum

International Banana Museum
Unpeel a bunch of secrets at this desert oddity

Home to some 20,000 banana themed items, this wacky museum could drive you ape-crazy. “Some people call it bananabilia,” says owner Fred Garbutt, who is frequently on hand to talk about his collection, housed in a bright yellow building in the sleepy desert town of Mecca, on the north end of the Salton Sea. (Just look for the guy in the banana coloured sunglasses pulling up in a yellow 1960s Volkswagen bug.) “People who stop in here are always happy and surprised by what we have,” he says.

Garbutt’s collection includes banana shaped and themed gadgets and gizmos—from harmonicas and squirt guns to a “Go Bananas” slot machine and road crossing signs for banana slugs. For an a-peeling treat, have a seat on a yellow barstool and slurp a banana milkshake, nosh on banana bread, or split a banana split. Everything is deliciously weird, or weirdly delicious, depending on your perspective. Garbutt will waive your admission fee if you buy a souvenir. Surely someone back home yearns for a banana shaped fridge magnet, right?

The museum, about an hour’s drive south of Palm Springs, is usually open Friday through Monday, but call ahead before you make the trek.

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Kodiak Greenwood

Southern California

Discover the Deserts

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18
December
Average (°C)
Dec - Feb
20°
High
6°
Low
Mar - May
33°
High
11°
Low
June - Aug
41°
High
21°
Low
Sept - Nov
37°
High
16°
Low

The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.

Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.

Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

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At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
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Lucas Himovitz

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A boutique in the California Deserts region
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Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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South Coast Plaza
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Kodiak Greenwood

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With world-class golf courses set against dramatic desert landscapes and top-quality tennis courts beneath towering palms, two sports get classy...

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Courtesy of Elvis Presley Estate

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The lowest golf course in the world is Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at 214 feet below sea level.
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The Lumineers at Coachella by Lucas Himovitz
LGBTQ Party in Palm Springs
David A Lee

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Fabulous pool parties. Stylish bars and impeccably designed hotels. Pampering spas and energetic nightclubs. Lavish events. There’s no question...

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Joshua Tree National Park by Alex Farnum
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Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

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Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

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Photo by The Greater Southwestern Exploration Company/Flickr

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Rushing river, sculpted black lava

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