Crop loss due to soil salinization is an increasing threat to agriculture worldwide. This review provides an overview of cellular and physiological mechanisms in plant responses to salt. We place cellular responses in a time- and tissue-dependent context in order to link them to observed phases in growth rate that occur in response to stress. Recent advances in phenotyping can now functionally or genetically link cellular signaling responses, ion transport, water management, and gene expression to growth, development, and survival. Halophytes, which are naturally salt-tolerant plants, are highlighted as success stories to learn from. We emphasize that (a) filling the major knowledge gaps in salt-induced signaling pathways, (b) increasing the spatial and temporal resolution of our knowledge of salt stress responses, (c) discovering and considering crop-specific responses, and (d) including halophytes in our comparative studies are all essential in order to take our approaches to increasing crop yields in saline soils to the next level.