BEST-KEPT SECRET: There are so many phrases that pop up in brochures and guidebooks that can instantly bring a smile. The word "nestled" is charming, and oft-used for any building situated in a valley. And "best-kept secret" regularly shows up in reference to places more than a few people know about. These chestnuts can comfort a traveler, and we'd never want to see them truly go, but let's pause to put a spin on the whole "best-kept secret" idea when it comes to the desert in the summertime. That's not a secret that's been well-kept but rather well-shared; many people know that the days when temperatures top out in the three digits are some of the most excellent times of year to venture into our stark and arid and gorgeous landscapes. And this "well-shared secret" isn't about travelers heading into the desert for several hours but rather keeping close to a hotel pool, or spa, or heading out at night when temps have dropped. La Casa del Zorro is a prime place to do the desert in June, July, and into August. It's located in Borrego Springs, so you'll get your vast vista on, for sure, and it has a pool, so you'll get your water-close lounging in, and there are astronomy nights on the summer calendar, so you'll have your fill of Jupiter and Venus, too.
STARGAZING PARTIES: In fact, in the "well-shared secret" realm, the Anza-Borrego region and astronomy are a pretty longtime twosome. So hopping into a stargazing night at La Casa del Zorro is as sense-making as sunscreen before heading outdoors. June 18, July 23, and Aug. 13 are the nights, and the themes of each night, what can be seen far into the cosmos, shall differ depending what's happening above. If staying up and looking up isn't your bag -- and we're sure it is, but if it isn't all you like to do, you can snack poolside from the Fox Den Cantina, which offers specials to pool-lounging guests or stay into the night, on a Friday or Saturday night, for pool-close live tunes. Is the desert the place to be come summertime? We've long heard otherwise, but travelers in the know talk about this well-shared secret often: The off-season in the desert, when warm gets warmer, can make for some fine swimming and stargazery, without the wintertime bustle.