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Palm Springs Explore Local With RVshare

Why We Love Travel

Suggest a Local Tip

From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.

Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.

Benefits of Traveling Locally

While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:

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More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.

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Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.

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Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.

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Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.

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More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.

Explore Local: Palm Springs, California

When you think of Palm Springs, you probably imagine stylish hotels, golf courses, hot springs, and fancy spas. As any Palm Springs resident will tell you, however, there’s so much more to this city than meets the eye.

Nestled within the Colorado Desert's Coachella Valley, the city is home to stunning, midcentury-modern architecture and world-famous attractions such as the Cabazon Dinosaurs, Aerial Tramway, and The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens – all set among picturesque palm trees and rocky outcrops.

Even those who have lived in the city for a decade would agree they haven’t experienced all that Palm Springs has to offer, while for those new to the region – well, they’ve got a lot to look forward to as well.

Ready to discover the best of Palm Springs, California? Let’s get started!

*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.

Parks in Palm Springs, California

Coachella Valley Preserve

Palm Springs isn’t all hustle and bustle! There are also plenty of state parks and national parks both within and surrounding the area, all of which provide a tranquil escape for those looking to surround themselves by nature.

Mt San Jacinto State Park

Just 87 kilometers from Palm Springs is the popular Mt San Jacinto State Park. Set at a high altitude, the park is open for both day use and overnight camping and offers plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. From hiking and horseback trails, to picnicking, wildlife viewing, geocaching, and guided tours – there’s something here for absolutely everyone!

Coachella Valley Preserve - Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

You’ve probably heard of Coachella before, but this is the valley where the magic takes place. Of course, when the area isn’t crawling with thousands of festival goers, it’s a recreational area in its own right, offering guided hikes, picnic areas, and bird watching opportunities, among others. The best part is, it’s just a 25-minute drive from Palm Springs!

Wildwood Canyon State Park

Less than an hour’s drive from the city center is Wildwood Canyon State Park, which is set in the eastern foothills of the majestic San Bernardino Mountains. Wildwood Canyon offers panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and native plants, as well as past ranches and homesteads. Take a step back in time and see how the region operated many decades ago.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Just over a 1.5-hour drive will take you to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, known for its Mars-like rugged landscape. It’s one of the most popular camping destinations within the region, with numerous primitive, family, RV, and backcountry campsites available. Here, you can also enjoy recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, as well as interpretive exhibits, wildlife viewing, picnicking, and more.

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is another state park within the region, and it’s less than a 1.5-hour drive from Palm Springs. It sits along the Pacific Crest Trail and is home to Silverwood Lake reservoir, as well as numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, and campsites. Other activities on offer include boating, swimming, fishing, windsurfing, and more.

Hiking in Palm Springs, California

Still need to get your nature fix? If you’re craving seeing even more of the beautiful scenery that surrounds Palm Springs, then there are also plenty of hiking and walking trails for you and your family to enjoy.

Cactus to Clouds Trail

Looking for an epic hike in the Palm Springs region? They don’t get any tougher than the Cactus to Clouds Trail, which was rated one of the hardest day hikes in the world by Backpack Magazine. The trail starts in Palm Springs and after climbing over 10,000 feet, ends at the summit of Mt San Jacinto. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, nor those who aren’t incredibly experienced hikers, so be sure to do your research beforehand so you arrive fully-prepared. 

San Jacinto Peak from The Tramway

The San Jacinto Peak from The Tramway hike is also labelled a ‘hard’ hike, but it’s certainly not on the same level of difficulty as the Cactus to Clouds trail. It’s a 16.9 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail that’s best used between March and November when the conditions are more favorable. Those who have completed the hike call it “phenomenal”, so as long as you come prepared and have previous hiking experience, you too should love it!

Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail

If it’s an easier, more leisurely hike you’re after, then the Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail will be more up your alley. This 2.7 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail is good for all skill levels and even passes by a scenic waterfall. There is a $12.50 entry fee, but it’s a great morning or afternoon out with the family.

Restaurants in Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is home to a bustling and trendy dining scene, so there’s sure to be a restaurant, café, or diner to satisfy your cravings. If you’ve worked up an appetite after a long hike, or simply feel like treating yourself to a delicacy, then you’re in luck. Here are our top restaurant recommendations!

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

If you love gourmet vegan food, you’re in luck. Chef Tanya’s Kitchen is a deli style quick service eatery that’s hugely popular among locals who love plant-based food that tastes incredible. The El Cubano and Chupacabra hot-pressed sandwiches are not to be missed, nor are the mouth-watering desserts.

Rooster and the Pig

Rooster and the Pig is another popular restaurant within Palm Springs and it features a mash-up of American and Vietnamese cuisine for a fusion you’ll love. Think BBQ duck buns with a homemade plum sauce, sweet potato noodles, pork belly, and Vietnamese style beef jerky. Delicious!

Elmer’s Restaurant

Elmer’s has been a northwest favorite since 1960 and it continues to impress. Originally opened as a pancake house, the restaurant now also serves delicious lunches and dinners and has 29 locations across multiple states. From crepes, waffles and pancakes, to omelettes, French toast, Benedicts, and skillets – it’ll be love at first bite.

Billy Reed’s Palm Springs

Billy Reed’s is a much-loved restaurant and bar in Palm Springs serving American fare in an old school setting. There are breakfast favorites on offer, as well as tasty lunches and dinners such as burgers, melts, salads, soups, steak, seafood, and more. Don’t miss their lengthy dessert menu too!

Spencer’s Restaurant

Spencer’s Restaurant can be described as “four-star American cuisine with a French-pacific rim influence”. They’ve been voted the best restaurant across a number of categories, including pet-friendly, romantic, seafood, weekend brunch, and outdoor dining. The restaurant is nestled at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains and offers scrumptious meals such as Norwegian salmon, Angus filet mignon, lobster, wild mushroom risotto, and so much more.

Activities in Palm Springs, California

After feasting and enjoying all that the hiking trails and state parks have to offer, you may be wondering: “what next?” Well, when it comes to Palm Springs’ attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!

For kids and families

Looking to entertain some little ones? Or perhaps you’ve got some teenagers in-tow who are starting to get a little bored? Either way, these attractions will entertain both children, teens, and adults alike!

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

One of the most popular things to do in Palm Springs is to take a ride on the Aerial Tramway. It’s perfect for all ages and takes you up 6,000 feet in altitude during a ten-minute (per way) trip. Once up the top, there are plenty of things to enjoy, including two restaurants, a cocktail lounge, observation decks, a small natural history museum, two theaters, a gift shop, and over 50 miles of hiking trails along with other nature activities.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

The Cabazon Dinosaurs have long been regarded as one of the most iconic roadside attractions, so while residing in or visiting Palm Springs, you won’t want to miss them! They make for a great photo opportunity, or on weekends and holidays, you can grab a dinosaur themed ice cream from The Wafflesaurus Truck.

At night

What should you do in Palm Springs once the sun goes down? We’re glad you asked! Here are our suggested night-time attractions.

Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa

Looking for some night-time entertainment? At the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa, you can enjoy everything from live entertainment and a casino, to numerous bars and restaurants, a relaxing spa, and so much more. It’s nestled in the desert mountains of Rancho Mirage and is just the place to treat yourself to a glam night out.

Stargazing at GarganOptics

Palm Springs is home to very little light pollution, making it the perfect place to enjoy a spot of stargazing. GarganOptics is one of the largest private observatories in the state of California and allows you to see the galaxy like you’ve never seen it before in the desert! They have a Meade telescope with 100-mile range laser pointer for viewing, as well as a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled environment for stargazing shows and dining events.

Cheap things to do in Palm Springs

What can you do in or around Palm Springs that won’t cost anything more than a few dollars? The answer: plenty! Here are just two of our favorite attractions within the area that can be enjoyed on the cheap.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Fancy a fun day out at the zoo that won’t cost you a small fortune? The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens aims to provide desert conservation through preservation, education, and appreciation. They’re home to numerous animal species, including both native and exotic, and offer interactive attractions such as giraffe feeding, hiking trails, a discovery center, model train, carousel, and more. Admission costs just $14.95 - $24.95.

Moorten Botanical Gardens

The Moorten Botanical Gardens is a cactarium, nursery, and event venue that’s sure to provide a great day out! It was established in Palm Springs back in 1938 to share the beauty and extraordinary varieties of desert plants with everyone who visits. It’s the world’s first cactarium and features more than 3000 varieties of plants. Admission costs just $2 - $5!

Free things to do in Palm Springs

Looking to get the most out of your time spent within the city of Palm Springs? Whether you want a fun way to waste away a Sunday afternoon or a date idea that won’t break the budget – here are our most recommended things to do in Palm Springs that won’t cost you a cent.

Palm Springs Art Museum

The Palm Springs Art Museum is a beautiful art gallery set amongst the gorgeous desert scenery of Palm Springs. Enjoy numerous exhibits featuring work from local, regional, and international artists spanning across painting, sculpture, photography, and more. Free admission is available every Thursday from 4:00 - 8:00 pm and on second Sundays. Additionally, children under 18, active duty military and their family, and NARM and ROAM participants enjoy always-free admission.

Sunnylands Center & Gardens 

Sunnylands Center & Gardens has been open to the public since 2012. Sprawled across 15 acres, the site features over 70 species of native and arid-adapted plants from North and South America, Africa, and the Mediterranean, while the Sunnylands Center references Midcentury Modern Architecture. Enjoy a rotating art exhibition, café, gift shop, trails, and more.

Wellness in Palm Springs, California

Best spas in Palm Springs

Alright, by now you’ve probably been on your feet all day exploring the sights and delights that Palm Springs has to offer. If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.

Palm Springs Spa and Massage

Palm Springs Spa and Massage is a family owned spa that has been operating since 1999. Their therapists deliver a traditional and authentic approach to reduce stress, increase circulation and promote greater wellbeing, whether it’s through an aromatherapy massage, prenatal massage, Lomi Lomi massage, rain drop massage, or more.

Azure Spa & Salon

Looking for a spa oasis in the middle of the desert? The Azure Spa & Salon is the signature, award-winning spa of the Riviera Palm Springs. Covering 11,000-square-feet, the popular salon is home to 18 treatment rooms and specializes in cross-cultural and global treatments inspired by Indonesian, Thai and Balinese rituals. 

Best gym and yoga studios in Palm Springs

If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Palm Springs is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.

WorkOUT Gym

WorkOUT Gym in Palm Springs is a high-end gym dedicated to helping you achieve greater wellbeing, strength, and fitness. They offer everything from spin classes and circuit training, to HIIT classes, personal training sessions, and so much more. It’s a great place to get fit and have fun while doing it!

Power Yoga Palm Springs

Power Yoga Palm Springs has been a part of the desert yoga and wellness community for over 10 years, so you know you’re in good hands. They offer classes such as park yoga, gentle yoga, hot yoga, power yoga, beginner’s sessions, and so much more.

Day Trips near Palm Springs, California

Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend decades within Palm Springs without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.

Joshua Tree National Park

With one of the most famous national parks virtually in your own backyard, it’d be silly to miss out on the opportunity to see Joshua Tree National Park up-close! It’s just a 1.5-hour drive from the center of Palm Springs and is a sprawling landscape characterized by the collision of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. Named for its vast collection of Joshua trees, the park also offers stunning mountain views and unique rock formations.

Long Beach

Long Beach is another city in the state and it’s just less than a 2-hour-drive from Palm Springs. This coastal city and port is home to plenty of famous attractions, including The Queen Mary ship, Knott’s Berry Farm, Aquarium of the Pacific, and numerous parks and pristine beaches. You can easily fill a few hours here, or why not make a weekend out of it and enjoy as many attractions as you can?

As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Palm Springs that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Palm Springs? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.

Joshua Tree National Park

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