Giving thanks at Agua Caliente

Thanksgiving season is a wonderful time to visit Agua Caliente County Park, a San Diego County Park that is 111 miles from San Diego.  Agua Caliente (Spanish for hot water) is best known for its geothermally heated hot springs, which attract visitors who like to enjoy the pools and therapeutic spa in a desert oasis setting.  There are also spectacular vistas, trails, abundant wildlife, and full hookup campsites.  We are thankful that this park now allows dogs, so we booked five nights and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.


Kumeyaay Native Americans once lived here centuries ago. The first European to visit the area was Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza in 1775.  Miners, pioneers, soldiers and prospectors were thankful for the relatively abundant water supply here after crossing the arid desert.  We were thankful for the view.


The Ocotillo were very green from the recent rains.


We are also thankful for our Safari Airstream with two solar panels and three awnings, which was a custom factory order placed on the day before Thanksgiving four years ago.


Vallecito Mountains are seen in the background of this Thanksgiving table setting.

We were also thankful for the waxing moon, which brilliantly lit up our campsite and surrounding terrain.


The Tierra Blanca Mountains are seen in the background.  The Moonlight Canyon Trail is a 2.5-mile loop near here.

We are also thankful for our two wonderful Corgis, Mac and Tasha, who always enjoy camping.


This has been a brief introduction to Agua Caliente County Park.  Future postings will cover additional information and images of its history, geology, plants, wildlife, trails, and other features.  Hear and see Ranger Kevin Benson give an overview of this park, along with its pools and therapeutic indoor spa, in the YouTube video, “County Chronicles – Agua Caliente Park“.


We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and invite you to listen to the beautiful “Thanksgiving” music by George Winston.


  1. says

    wow. it looks so beautiful there. this one is going on our list for sure. county parks seem to be hidden gems that i kept forgetting to search for when airstreaming is on my mind! thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Bill D. says

    Thanks, marlene… overall, it is beautiful, but be aware that many sites are very close to each other with minimal privacy. We were lucky to get a site on the perimeter, away from the pools. Also note there is no cell phone coverage here.

    insightout, we took advantage of the full hookups and did a lot of microwave cooking that worked well but was usually not a “photographic event”.

    Camera setting for “waxing moon” photo shot: I set the mode dial of my Nikon D40 to Auto (Flash off) mode, which inhibits the built-in flash. The AF-assist illuminator lamp will still work to assist in autofocus, but the camera needs to be close enough for an illuminated object to be detected by the camera’s autofocus sensors. The camera is placed on a tripod and the camera’s self-timer mode is utilized to prevent blurring.

  3. says

    You have some of the nicest night shots in your blog entries that I’ve ever seen. The D40 is doing a great job for you!

  4. TinLoaf says

    Great blog entry as always. I’d love to see the photo of your Airstream in the moonlight entered in the November Airforums photo contest with the theme of “Airstreams at Night”.