Capturing the serene beauty of a desert sunset.

Desert Quotes: Finding Beauty in Barrenness

When competing with lush meadows filled with colorful wildflowers and calm blue seas, it can be hard to appreciate the soulful beauty of a barren desert. But these powerful desert quotes will inspire you to see this ecosystem in a new light.

To be considered a desert, an environment must receive no more than 10 inches of rain a year. With limited water to support plant and animal life, a vast desert can seem depressingly barren. But there is a unique beauty in the shifting sands of these dry and dusty landscapes. 

Whether you plan to visit the Chihuahuan Desert that straddles the US-Mexico border, the Great Victoria Desert covering much of Australia, the Sahara Desert in North Africa, or another dusty destination, these thought-provoking desert quotes provide inspiration and will help you caption your photos and Instagram posts.

The best desert instagram captions.


Table of Contents

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Do You Enjoy the Desert?

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Saguaro cactus in the desert.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Beautiful Desert Quotes

“The planet’s famous red colour is from iron oxide coating everything. So it’s not just a desert. It’s a desert so old it’s literally rusting.”
— Andy Weir, The Martian

“Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple.”
— Terry Pratchett, Jingo

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“The desert tells a different story every time one ventures on it.”
Robert Edison Fulton Jr.

“I don’t see the desert as barren at all; I see it as full and ripe. It doesn’t need to be flattered with rain. It certainly needs rain, but it does with what it has, and creates amazing beauty.”
Joy Harjo 

Painted hills national monument, nebraska.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Inspirational Desert Quotes

“The phoenix hope can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite, revive from ashes and rise.”
Miguel de Cervantes, quoted by Varla Ventura in The Book of the BIZARRE: Freaky Facts & Strange Stories

“Without music, life is a journey through a desert.”
Pat Conroy

“On your journey to your dream, be ready to face oases and deserts. In both cases, don’t stop.”
Paulo Coelho

“If a flower can flourish in the desert, you can flourish anywhere.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

“A desert is a place without expectation.”
Nadine Gordimer

“A flower blooming in the desert proves to the world that adversity, no matter how great, can be overcome.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

A yellow flower is growing on a cactus.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

“You can’t fight the desert. You have to ride with it.”
— Louis L’Amour, The Lonely Men

“This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.”
— Mary Austin, Stories from the Country of Lost Borders

“If seeds waited for perfect conditions to grow, there would be no plants in the desert.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

“Desert…is a very good place to find yourself. Or lose yourself.”
Maynard James Keenan

“Life is a desert of shifting sand dunes. Unpredictable. Erratic. Harmony changes into dissonance, the immediate outlives the profound, esoteric becomes cliched. And vice versa.
— Ella Leya,
The Orphan Sky

“A rose in a desert can only survive on its strength, not its beauty.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

“Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert.”
— Frank Herbert, Dune

“I had to live in the desert before I could understand the full value of grass in a green ditch.”
Ella K. Maillart

The magic of the desert is hard to define.

“A cactus does not live in the desert because it likes the desert; it lives there because the desert has not killed it yet.”
— Hope Jahren, Lab Girl

“Everything that ever happened to me that was important happened in the desert.”
— Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

“I love the desert and its incomparable sense of space.”
Robyn Davidson

“The magic of the desert is hard to define.”
— Henno Martin, The Sheltering Desert

A group of cactus plants in the desert.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Desert Quotes That Make You Think

“Sadly, it’s much easier to create a desert than a forest.”
James Lovelock, English scientist

“Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you’re a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in the desert.”
Kahlil Gibran

“The desert does not mean the absence of men, it means the presence of God.”
Carlo Carretto

“The desert, to those who do listen, is more likely to provoke awe than to invite conquest.”
Joseph Wood Krutch

“But in the desert, in the pure clean atmosphere, in the silence — there you can find yourself.”
— Father Dioscuros, 5th-century archdeacon in Alexandria, Egypt 

“Too much good fortune can make you smug and unaware. Happiness should be like an oasis, the greener for the desert that surrounds it.”
— Rachel Field, And Now Tomorrow

“All you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see it all in the marvels of creation.”
Paulo Coelho

“The rules for survival never change, whether you’re in a desert or in an arena.”
Bear Grylls, British adventurer

“The desert is a natural extension of the inner silence of the body.”
Jean Baudrillard

A cactus with a quote that says if a flower can flourish in the desert, you can anywhere.

“What draws us into the desert is the search for something intimate in the remote.”
— Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

“The desert is so huge, and the horizon so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.”
Paulo Coelho

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


“The desert is so vast that no one can know it all. Men go out into the desert, and they are like ships at sea; no one knows when they will return.”
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio

“Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.”
Will Durant


“Rebellion without truth is like spring in a bleak, arid desert.”
Kahlil Gibran


“The desert has its holiness of silence, the crowd its holiness of conversation.”
— Walter Elliot, British naturalist


“The thing about tears is that they can be as quiet as a cloud floating across the desert sky.”
— Benjamin Alire Saenz, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life


“When you are young, there is so much ahead of you, it’s like the Sahara Desert. You can’t even see across it.”
Henry Rollins, American musician


“The desert could not be claimed or owned — it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names.”
— Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient


“Time has a way of burying things, shifting like the desert and swallowing entire civilizations, erasing them from map and memory. Always, in the end, everything returns to dust.”
— Jessica Khoury, The Forbidden Wish


“Man is a complex being: he makes deserts bloom and lakes die.”
Gil Scott-Heron, American musician

Saguaro cactus in the desert at sunset.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Desert Sunset Quotes

“Night comes to the desert all at once, as if someone turned off the light.”
Joyce Carol Oates, The Wheel of Love

“For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars.”
Mary Austin

“The desert, when the sun comes up. I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”
Tom Hanks

In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated.”
Terry Pratchett

“Stars are brighter in the desert sky
No need to wonder or justify”
Amanda Marshall, Dark Horse (song)

Quotes About Water in the Desert

“Water is a desert’s gold.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

“Water, water, water…There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, ensuring that wide, free, open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation.”
— Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

“Like water in the desert is wisdom to the soul.”
— Edward Counsel

“In the empire of desert, water is the king and shadow is the queen.”
Mehmet Murat Ildan, Turkish writer

“You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst.”
William Langewiesche

“My desert soul erupts with turquoise water, floods and cascades and waterfalls rushing in around my rocky parts, pushing and reshaping and filling every hidden dark spot.” 
— Kiersten White, American author

Joshua tree in joshua tree national park.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Desert Quotes About the American Southwest

“I think the American West really attracts me because it’s romantic. The desert, the empty space, the drama.”
Ang Lee, Taiwanese filmmaker

“Every time I come, I’m still amazed at the breadth California has: Big Sur, Yosemite, the desert…I love it!
Theo James, English actor

“Ask the dust on the road! Ask the Joshua trees standing alone where the Mojave begins.”
John Fante

“No wonder the film industry started in the desert in California where, like all desert dwellers, they dream their buildings, rather than design them.”
Arthur Erickson, Canadian architect

“The Mojave is a big desert and a frightening one. It’s as though nature tested a man for endurance and constancy to prove whether he was good enough to get to California.” 
John Steinbeck

“I’m a part of the desert. I feel like, really, I’m from the Sonoran Desert, which extends to both sides of the border. I’m really from that part of Mexico, also. And I hate that there’s a fence, you know, running through it.”
Linda Ronstadt

“To a person who expects every desert to be barren sand dunes, the Sonoran must come as a surprise. Not only are there no dunes, there’s no sand. At least not the sort of sand you find at the beach. The ground does have a sandy color to it, or gray, but your feet won’t sink in. It’s hard, as if it’s been tamped. And pebbly. And glinting with what else mica.”
Jerry Spinelli

A close up of a cactus plant.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Funny Desert Quotes

“Someone asked me, if I were stranded on a desert island what book would I bring… How to Build a Boat.”
Steven Wright

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
Milton Friedman

“Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!”
Golda Meir

“The sand has rules. F***ed up rules, but rules nonetheless.”
Kameron Hurley

“I may be able to spot arrowheads on the desert but a refrigerator is a jungle in which I am easily lost.”
Edward T. Hall, American anthropologist

“I like the desert for short periods of time, from inside a car, with the windows rolled up, and the doors locked. I prefer beach resorts with room service.”
Anne Lamott

“I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, Damn. I am less nurturing than a desert.”
Demetri Martin, American comedian

“I guess somebody else made the country in these parts. It’s not nearly so well done. They forgot the water and the trees.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


A branch of dried flowers with the sun behind it.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Desert Quotes for Instagram

If you’re looking for catchy captions, fun puns, and short quotes for your Instagram posts, here is a long list of ideas to get you started, whether your photo is from the Sahara Desert, Gobi Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, or another beautifully barren spot in the world.


  • Adventure awaits
  • Adventure is out there
  • Adventures fill your soul
  • Always take the scenic route
  • Are we dune yet?
  • Been there, dune that
  • Born to explore
  • Prickly cacti, abundant sunshine, and desert life
  • Cover the earth before it covers you
  • Desert hair, don’t care
  • Desert hearts
  • Everything makes sense in the desert
  • Feeling fueled by solar power
  • Find me where the wild things are
  • Follow me to the desert
  • Forever wandering where the WiFi is weak
  • Go where you feel most alive
  • Having a fan-cactus day!
  • How you dune?
  • I’ll never desert you
  • Into the desert I go, to lose my mind and find my soul
  • Into the dunes
  • It feels good to be lost in the right direction
  • Just a girl dreaming of the desert
  • Lost in the desert
  • Making my own oasis in the desert
  • Meet me under the stars
  • My favorite color is sand
  • My favorite color is sunset
Never met a sunset i didn't like quote queendom.
  • Never met a desert sunset I didn’t like
  • No WiFi, but going to find a better connection out here
  • Not all who wander are lost
  • Of all the paths you follow, be sure a few of them are through the desert
  • Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are sandy
  • Out here when there’s a lull in the conversation, nature sends a real tumbleweed to break the silence
  • Peace, love, and desert dust
  • Pretty fly for a cacti!
  • Real beauty is imperfect
  • Serving up just deserts
  • Soaking up the sun
  • Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.
  • Take me to the desert
  • Take only memories, leave only footprints
  • Talk to the sand
  • The desert has a holiness of silence
  • The desert is a place for growth
  • The desert is my therapy
  • The magic of shadows are best seen in the desert
  • The sand has rules
  • The stars are better out here
  • The stars are brighter in the desert sky
  • To receive the grace of God, you must go to the desert and stay for a while
  • Wanderlust and desert dust
  • Windows down, wind in my hair, and desert dust in my shoes

Do You Love the Desert?

What is it about the desert that appeals to you? Do you have a favorite quote about the desert not included here? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article originally appeared on Everyday Wanderer.

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