C.H. Garrigues, a noted journalist and columnist from Imperial, CA, once wrote that, 'There are times when you want to leave home. There are times when you want to leave your hometown. There are even times when you want to leave this world. But be sure of this, there's immense solace in knowing that you have a home, you have a hometown, and you have a world!'
These beautiful words make us realize what it is like to have what we have. Imperial, California, is a small city that is all about such important realizations in life. By no means can Imperial be called a city of note. There are no world famous landmarks. There are no natural wonders. Indeed, no wars were fought on its soil, and no Shakespeare was born in one of its houses. What, then, makes Imperial a tourist attraction?
To know, you will probably have to visit it yourself. Imperial is an enigma in itself. It's a town-city that has not allowed itself to grown beyond limits, eating every small parish that came in its path. It has, quite dutifully, remained a permanent fixture of permanent size in the El Centro Country of State California. Not remarkable in its stature, but Imperial is certainly remarkable in being inconspicuously significant.
Budget Hotels in Imperial
If you are traveling to Imperial, the first concern you would have, and quite rightly so, is finding cheap hotels. Given the small stature of the city, you will be in good luck, in that a handful of budget hotels in Imperial will definitely fit the bill for you. To be quite blunt about it, Imperial does not have a hotel culture. It is, even after being mildly popular, still a city that seems to reject commercialization.
Luxury Hotels in Imperial
In the same vein, it must be mentioned that it will be a very difficult task for tourists to find a luxury hotel in Imperial. Most of the Imperial hotels are of budget and semi-luxury kind. There are no Radissons, no Regents and certainly no Hyatts. Considering this fact, those who are averse to staying at budget or less than luxury hotel establishments should think twice before taking a trip down to Imperial. To bolster this point, another observation can be made here. Imperial is mainly a hub where tourists gather in order to better organize their various camping and other outdoor activities. Quite predictably, one can guess that outdoorsy tourists are not really fond of a luxury hotel. So, it makes sense, in a way, that Imperial is without its luxury establishments.
What to Do/See in Imperial
For outdoorsy people, there are quite a few one or more day activities present in Imperial. The most popular of its kind, however, is camping. There are many camping friendly sites present in Imperial that attract many tourists from nearby cities and other parts of the country, as well. Camping sites around Imperial are mostly sand dune based and a few woods based, too. Sand dunes around Imperial are particularly famous for their rapid structure alternation capabilities that are much similar to the sand dunes found in large deserts like Sahara.
Another peculiar thing to do in Imperial is dune buggy riding. Dune buggies have become, for all practical purposes, extinct in other parts of the state. Perhaps that is exactly why, dune buggy clubs around Imperial attract a sizeable number of tourists and adventure seekers. For bird watchers and nature enthusiasts, Imperial provides a number of bird species that are either seasonal or perennial. Ducks and geese are particularly found in abundance in some parts of the desert and are, during winter months, allowed to be hunted. Hunting in Imperial is, however, a strictly regulated sport and you need proper licenses from local authorities to hunt birds around Imperial.
History buffs who plan on touring to Imperial can mark their calendars for a visit to the Pioneer Museum in Imperial. It is one of the most underrated museums in the west, but definitely one you should make it a point to visit. It documents the artefacts and documents from a number of families that made the fateful westward journey during the pioneer days of America, in the 19th century. The Pioneer Museum is, in a way, a collection of memories that have played an instrumental role in the very building of the country.
For foodies, Imperial has some special rewards. The Maranatha Steakhouse in Imperial is famous in the region for its succulent cuts of meat that are specially cured over locally sourced redwood. El Zarape is another food joint that can be relied on for authentic Mexican food of both grilled and non-grilled kind. For the lovers of the Orient, Kotori Japanese Food Cafe brings the best of Japanese fish and rice delicacies. To unwind at the end of a long day in the sun, you can chill out in the Wine and Sand Cafe that regularly features local up and coming artists.
What Should I Know Before Sightseeing in Imperial
The only thing you should know and be aware of before and while sightseeing in Imperial is that some of the areas near Imperial fall under the Native American Heritage Trust's jurisdiction. So, unauthorized hunting efforts should be refrained from. To make the most of your stay in Imperial, you can take assistance from numerous local guides and knowledgeable folk. Even the cheapest of Imperial hotels can help you secure good deals with these guides.
Transportation in Imperial
Including cheap hotels, all hotels in Imperial do provide their guests the option of hiring house owned private cars for getting around Imperial. This is of importance as Imperial is not really a large city that can boast of efficient and frequent public transport.
Imperial is reachable from San Francisco and San Jose by road, with relative ease. There is no airport allotted to the city, and hence, travelers coming from outstations are advised to land at SFX, or San Jose Airport.