Three hours out of Los Angeles off Highway 111 lies an unassuming 9×5 mile grid of a town called Bombay Beach. Driving by, one might assume this is like any one of hundreds of coastal towns surrounding any number of bodies of water. What lies down that turn onto Avenue A is much more nuanced than a simple beach spot.
Were it not for an accident, Bombay Beach may have never existed at all. In 1905, a man-made canal overflowed, causing a flood that created the largest lake in the California Area–the Salton Sea. It didn’t take long for entrepreneurs to see the economic potential. Fish were introduced to the sea, resorts began to open, and by the 1950s the area had become a huge tourist attraction.