By Chris La Porte


Your new installation at Naval Air Facility El Centro puts you in the heart of Southern California’s Imperial Valley. You’ll be about two hours away from both San Diego, California, and Palm Springs, with a shorter one-hour drive to Yuma, Arizona. El Centro has consistent, year-round flying weather making it an integral part of Naval Aviation Training. You’ll have plenty of things to do in Southern California and near NAF El Centro as you settle into your new home. We have organized activities into categories below; click any of them to jump to the section if you already know what you want to do around NAF El Centro. (1-3) NAF El Centro Golf (4-6) NAF El Centro Gyms (7-8) NAF El Centro Theaters (9) NAF El Centro Bowling Alleys (10-15) NAF El Centro Outdoor Rec (16-17) NAF El Centro Museums

Related read:

NAF El Centro: In-Depth Welcome Center

Southern California Golf Courses

There is not a golf course located on NAF El Centro, but there are options within a short drive.


1. Del Rio Country Club
102 Del Rio Rd. Brawley, CA 92227


: 1 (760) 344-0085 Del Rio Country Club offers up a challenging 18 hole, old-style golf course. With narrow fairways and small Bermuda greens, you’ll be sure to work on your game here. The Del Rio Country Club also hosts events and offers up a full-service restaurant.

El Centro

2. Lakeview Golf Course
1589 Drew Road El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (760) 352-6638 What started out as an RV resort for winter visitors to the Imperial Valley has turned into a traditional golf course at Lakeview Golf Course. This nine-hole course has a nice assortment of different challenges among the different holes. There’s also a putting green and natural grass driving range.
3. Desert Trails Golf Course
225 Wake Ave. El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (760) 353-4653 Another RV Park turned Golf Course, the Desert Trails Golf Course is the perfect place to park the RV and play a round of golf. This 9-hole golf course has four lakes and is open year-round, and is complete with a driving range. NAF El Centro Gyms

NAF El Centro Gyms

4. NAF El Centro Gym

Bldg. 327 3rd St. NAF El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (760) 339-2488 The NAF El Centro Gym is the Fitness Center on base that’s a part of the NAF El Centro MWR. You’ll have access to weights, cardiovascular machines, a regulation-sized basketball court, and 2 racquetball courts.

El Centro

5. IV Fitness Club
220 Wake Ave. El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (442) 283-5029 IV Fitness Club is veteran-owned with the goal to change the culture, perspective, and outlook members have on fitness. IV Fitness Club offers up strength and cardio equipment, cross-training, swimming pools, basketball court, racquetball court, and free weights.
6. Heavy Hitters CrossFit
1102 S Dogwood Rd B. El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (760) 335-6886 Heavy Hitters CrossFit is a training facility with comprehensive CrossFit programs that are accessible to all ages and fitness levels. Their goal is to create a supportive community that will help you hit your fitness goals and create the results that you desire.

NAF El Centro Movie Theater

7. NAF El Centro Movie Theater

3053 2nd St. El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (760) 339-6015 The NAF El Centro Movie Theater is part of the NAF El Centro MWR and right on base. They show current and first-run movies and offer a new snack bar and intimate setting for your movie-going experience.

El Centro

8. Century Imperial Valley Mall 14
3651 S Dogwood Rd. El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (760) 482-9200 The Century Imperial Valley Mall 14 Cinemark Theater is a large movie theater showing a wide range of blockbuster and independent first-run movies. With full surround sound, spacious seating, and affordable matinees, you’ll be sure to find an enjoyable experience at the movies here. NAF El Centro Bowling Alley

NAF El Centro Bowling Alley

9. Desert Lanes & Kingpin Pizzeria Cafe

Bldg. 485 3rd St. NAF El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 ((760) 339-2918 The newly remodeled Desert Lanes and Kingpin Pizzeria Cafe is part of the NAF El Centro MWR. This eight-lane bowling center offers open and league play with special events like birthday parties and cosmic bowling. NAF El Centro Outdoor Rec

NAF El Centro Outdoor Rec

Borrego Springs

10. Superstition OHV
Wheeler Rd. Borrego Springs, CA 92004


: 1 ((877) 462-3342 Superstition Mountain OHV is north of the Plaster City OHV Open Area in Imperial County. This area offers up a wide range of challenging OHV riding, and cross-country OHV is permitted in this area. Use caution as Superstition OHV is adjacent to the NAF El Centro bombing ranges, so be sure to observe and obey all posted signs.


11. Imperial Lakes
2828 W Evan Hewes Hwy. Imperial, CA 92251


: 1 (760) 337-8855 Imperial Lakes in California is a water ski community host to the 2007 Western Regionals. Imperial Lakes consists of 2 tournament lakes with slalom courses and a single jump ramp.
12. Festival of Lights
3400 Wheeler Rd. Imperial, CA 92251 The Festival of Lights in Imperial, CA, is part of the traveling Lights Festival music tour. It typically heads to the Imperial Valley in November and is an event where participants come together to enjoy music and release paper lanterns as a way to celebrate and honor the year that is nearly behind them. This results in a breath-taking sight of lanterns lighting the night sky.


13. North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area
Ted Kipf Rd. Brawley, CA 92227


: 1 (760) 337-4400 The North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area covers more than 26,000 acres and is divided into two distinct zones with the primary dunes on the west side of the area. You can take the walking trails but are also welcome to go horseback riding in this remote area. All wilderness areas are closed to vehicles and mechanized use.


14. 5 Palms Hot Springs
92227 Unnamed Rd. Yuma, CA 85365 5 Palms Hot Springs is a natural desert oasis in the middle of a large group of palm trees. 5 Palms Hot Springs flows into a sandy-bottomed pool in the middle of the palms large enough for a dozen or so people to sit in the springs at once.

El Centro

15. Bucklin Park
1350 S 8th St. El Centro, CA 92243


: 1 (760) 337-4555 Bucklin Park is a green oasis with a park lake and walking paths. This large park has fountains, play areas, and even a library box. For a day to escape the stark desert of Imperial Valley, Bucklin Park is a close and suitable escape. Southern California Museums

Southern California Museums

There is not a museum located on base, but there are others within a short distance.


16. Imperial Valley Desert Museum
11 Frontage Rd. Ocotillo, CA 92259


: 1 (760) 358-7016 The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is in the heart of the Yuha Desert and showcases Native American and historical artifacts from within the Imperial Valley. Their goal is to preserve and celebrate the deserts of Southern California through their exhibits and educational programs.


17. Pioneers' Museum (Imperial County Historical Society)
373 E Aten Rd, Imperial, CA 92251


: 1 (760) 352-3211 The Pioneer’s Museum is run by the Imperial County Historical Society, whose goal is to preserve the life and history of the early settlers in the area. They offer a wide range of artifacts in their exhibits and offer access by appointment to their historical research library.


Whether you like to relax in the shade on a hot afternoon in the parks of El Centro or want to soak in the 5 Palms Hot Springs for a while, we are sure that you will have plenty of things to do in Southern California and near NAF El Centro. You will find your favorite spots, and be sure to talk to the locals for more ideas!  




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