In 1873, construction began on a railroad line that would head east out of Los Angeles. At the time, Indio was called Indian Wells, and the newly constructed railroad reached the town in 1876 before heading eastward to the west bank of the Colorado River. The City of Indio came about because the railroads needed a waystation halfway between Yuma, Arizona, and Los Angeles where the steam engines could be refilled with water. The budding city was renamed Indio, which is a Spanish variation of the word "Indian," due to the number of other towns and areas in the region that were also named Indian Wells.
Once the railroad arrived, population growth in Indio boomed. Southern Pacific Railroad, in particular, invested heavily in the area to try and make life as comfortable as possible for its workers and keep them from leaving what was an extremely difficult area to live in at the time. Although Indio started as a railroad town, it also rapidly developed as an agricultural center to feed the growing population. Crops like onions, cotton, grapes, citrus, and dates thrived in the arid climate thanks to local farmers finding several ingenious means of attaining water. Initially, crops were watered from the many artesian wells found throughout the region and, eventually, through the All-American Canal. Although water was sometimes hard to find, the desert city was also prone to flash floods until several stormwater canals were created throughout the Coachella Valley.
By 1920, roughly 2,000 people lived in Indio year-round. The population ballooned to nearly 5,000 during the winter months thanks to its advertising as a health resort for senior citizens and people suffering from respiratory diseases. In the second half of the 20th century, Indio saw a massive decline as residents moved outward towards Coachella, Thermal, and the increasingly popular Palm Springs. In recent years, however, this trend has reversed, and Indio is, once again, experiencing a population boom.
Nowadays, Indio is most known as the city that hosts the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. This event had humble roots as just another music festival, but over the years, it has evolved into a destination of art installations and multiple celebrity sightings. Another popular Indio attraction is Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. This destination resort not only features 1,800 slot and video poker machines and 40 table games, but there are also fine dining establishments serving American, Mexican, Asian, and Italian cuisine, four bars; concerts; and an 18-hole golf course.
Night Sky Festival – This event is held each November at Joshua Tree National Park, an International Dark Sky Park.
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Held each spring, this festival draws crowds of thousands and features some of the biggest music acts on the planet.
Stagecoach Country Music Festival – Held each spring immediately following Coachella, this festival features several Western-style events and the biggest names in country music.
Explore the barren but majestic beauty of the desert where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet at Joshua Tree National Park, which is about a half-hour east of Indio. Offering more than 1,200 miles of vast desert wilderness and surreal rugged vistas, Joshua Tree National Park is also a great starting point for two more of our pre-planned road trips, including Joshua Tree to Long Beach and Joshua Tree to Santa Fe.
For an even more surreal desert experience, you can head 250 miles north to one of the hottest, driest, and least hospitable places on Earth, Death Valley National Park. The park's Furnace Creek is the location of the world's highest recorded air temperature, a sweltering 134 degrees Fahrenheit in July 1913.
When you are tired of the desert and want to enjoy some water sports and activities, head 205 miles west to Channel Islands National Park, where you can explore nearly 250,000 acres of undeveloped, seabound wonderlands, including a wide variety of unique flora and fauna that has thrived on these pristinely preserved islands. You can also learn about the indigenous history of the islands, stretching back thousands of years before the islands became a national park.
At the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, about 25 miles southeast of Indio, you can watch birds and other wildlife at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge or spend a few hours kayaking in one of the lowest points on earth. As the name implies, however, be prepared for the high salinity of this body of water.
If you prefer the rugged beauty of high mountain wildernesses, you may want to visit the 14,000-acre Mount San Jacinto State Park, which is approximately an hour and 10 minutes from Indio. The park contains granite peaks, subalpine forests, high-country wilderness, and mountain meadows bordered by an abundance of ferns.
If you enjoy terrain somewhere between harsh deserts and high mountain ranges, you may enjoy a visit to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park located a little over 100 miles southwest of Indio. This park features close to 25,000 acres of woodland forests filled with oak and pine trees, which are home to bobcats, mountain lions, badgers, foxes, and a host of amphibian species.
The Carl G. Bray Smoke Tree Painter monument, located on east Highway 111 in Indian Wells about seven miles from Indio, commemorates the international artist. It is comprised of rock walls and colorful display panels, and a palette sign. Approximately 35 miles northwest of Indio in Palm Springs is the Angel Cove Monument. According to legend, this angel-shaped rock formation at the top of a mountain peak was named by the Cahuilla Indian Tribe to show gratitude for a sick child who did not die from their illness.
If you want to camp in luxury in Palm Springs, you should stay at Palm Springs Oasis RV Resort. The resort provides a swimming pool, a hot tub, an on-site restaurant, restroom and shower facilities, a golf course, WiFi, and many more amenities. Each of the 140 sites has full hookups. Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert offers 255 RV sites with concrete pads and manicured lawns along with 30/50-amp electricity, WiFi, and cable TV. The resort also features dog parks, a gym, and a pool, and a spa. Desert Springs Spa RV Park, approximately 30 miles northwest of Indio in Desert Hot Springs, boasts a natural hot springs mineral water pool and spa in addition to shower and restroom facilities, a laundry room, and a clubhouse with a kitchen. There are 95 RV spaces, which come with 30/50-amp electricity and can accommodate RVs up to 42 feet long.
Motorhomes are divided into Class A, B, and C vehicles. On average expect to pay $185 per night for Class A, $149 per night for Class B and $179 per night for Class C. Towable RVs include 5th Wheel, Travel Trailers, Popups, and Toy Hauler. On average, in Indio, CA, the 5th Wheel trailer starts at $70 per night. Pricing for the Travel Trailer begins at $60 per night, and the Popup Trailer starts at $65 per night.Do you need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Indio?
Yes. The minimum age is 25 to be eligible to get an RV Rental in Indio from RVshare.Does RVshare have emergency roadside assistance?
Yes. Every RV rental booked through RVshare receives 24/7 emergency roadside assistance.Does RVshare offer one way RV rentals in Indio?
Yes. Prior to renting any RV, check with the owner since not all will offer this particular option.