With other popular California destinations like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, is Palm Springs worth visiting as well? For decades Palm Springs has been famously known as a vacation destination for the rich and famous in southern California.
However, I am here to tell you Palm Springs offers so much more than warm weather and luxury hotels. By the end of this post, I will answer the question for you, is Palm Springs worth visiting?
Palm Springs is highly underrated, and I can understand why. I am originally from the east coast, and before moving to California, I knew absolutely nothing about Palm Springs. It was never on my radar or bucket list of places to travel to in the United States. I’m sure many others who haven’t visited before feel the same way.
After traveling to Palm Springs on more than one occasion, I have firsthand experienced and learned that there’s way more to Palm Springs than a city in the middle of the desert. There are, of course, many luxurious amenities such as world-class hotels, restaurants, and shopping. However, there are also many other things to do that you wouldn’t expect from Palm Springs.
8 Reasons Why Palm Springs is Worth Visiting
1. To Escape the Winter Chill
People love to visit Palm Springs in the winter months for a couple of days of sunshine and warm weather. January through April are Palm Springs’s peak tourism season.
The weather is absolutely perfect during this time of year. Most days average temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which is great for hiking, sitting by the pool, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors of Palm Springs.
2. The Countless Outdoor Activities
When it comes to Palm Springs, the outdoor activities do not just consist of lounging by a pool with a cocktail in hand. Don’t get me wrong. I am always up for a relaxing day at the pool. However, there are numerous other exhilarating things to do in Palm Springs.
🌵Visit Joshua Tree National Park
Palm Springs is only an hour’s drive to the well-known and must-visit Joshua Tree National Park. You can go for a day trip and explore the national park by car or hike one of the many trails. Other popular things to do at Joshua Tree include rock climbing, camping, horseback riding, and biking.
Also, another favorite of ours is to go stargazing. Joshua Tree is one of the best locations for stargazing in the country. On a clear and moonless night, you can easily catch a glimpse of some shooting stars, the big dipper, and if you plan accordingly, possibly the milky way.
⛳ Practice Your Golf Swing
Palm Springs is considered the Golf Capital of the World. It is a golfer’s paradise with over 100 options of top-notch golf courses.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world! The aerial tram takes you to the top of San Jacinto Peak, where you can find gorgeous views of Coachella Valley, numerous hiking trails, a natural history museum, and two restaurants.
San Jacinto Peak is a cool place to relax and escape the desert heat in the summer months. Or visit in the winter, when you can find snow at the top of the mountain.
✅ Get tickets for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway here
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens are a small nonprofit zoo in Palm Desert. The zoo is home to over 500 animals from around the world and beautiful botanical gardens.
3. Beautiful Hikes
There is so much unbelievable natural beauty in Palm Springs. It is one of the only places in the country you can find majestic snow-capped mountains and lush palms tree in the same gorgeous vista. There are so many incredible hikes for you to choose from; some of the favorites are:
- Indian Canyons & Tahquitz Canyon: Offers numerous hiking trails throughout the canyons.
- Coachella Valley Preserve: A 20,000-acre sanctuary that is home to many rare wildlife species and the famous Thousand Palm Oasis, which boasts more than 25 miles of hiking paths.
- Araby Trail: A 4.1 mile out and back trail near downtown Palm Springs. The Araby Trail features beautiful views of the Santa Rosa Mountains and a close-up view of the Bob Hopes house, which is an architectural icon.
- Mt. San Jacinto State Park: Offers 54 miles of hiking trails at the second-highest mountain range in California. You can access the entrance of Mt San Jacinto State Park from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
4. To Experience the Art and Culture
Palm Springs is bursting with art, culture, and rich history. Take a walk, drive, or guided tour of the neighborhoods to see the unique midcentury modern architecture of the homes.
Or a visit to The Palm Springs Art Museum which exhibits a variety of pieces from national and international artists.
Explore the cultural and historical desert oasis at Indian Canyons. A few minutes from downtown is where you can find the Indian Canyons, the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Indians.
Indian Canyon consists of Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon. You can find over 60 miles of hiking trails to a lush oasis of breathtaking views, fan palms, water flowing from the high mountains, and ancient rock formations.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is a popular and frequently visited museum located at the international airport. The Museum educates and exhibits the aircrafts from World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam Wars.
5. Easy to Get to Destination
You can reach Palm Springs by plane, car, bus, or train. The Palm Springs International Airport, PSP, is a 5-minute drive from downtown. The international airport offers nonstop flights from many major cities including, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and more.
Greyhound and FlixBus offer bus routes to Palm Springs from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and other western cities. To get to Palm Springs by train there is an Amtrak train station that is a 10-minute drive from downtown.
Road Tripping to Palm Springs?
If you are flying into one of the other major airports, you will need to make the 2 to 3 hour drive to Palm Springs.
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Distance from Palms Springs to Major Nearby Cities:
- Los Angeles to Palm Springs is a 2-hour drive
- San Diego to Palm Springs is a 2.5 to 3-hour drive
- Las Vegas to Palm Springs is a 4 to 4.5-hour drive
- Phoenix to Palm Springs is a 4-hour drive
- San Francisco to Palm Springs is a 7.5 to 8-hour drive
Other fun road trip destinations in southern California:
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6. To Get Some R&R
If you desire to sit back, relax, and get pampered, Palm Springs has everything you will need for a rejuvenating experience. There are several hotels in Palm Springs with spas that offer massages, facials and soaks in a natural spring.
The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs hotel will make sure your stay is nothing less than luxurious with its many lavish amenities. Such as in-room spa appointments, a fitness center, multiple restaurants and cafes, and bikes for riding around town. Also most importantly, a rooftop pool with private cabanas, a rooftop bar, and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
7. Downtown Palm Springs
Downtown, even though touristy, is the hot spot and hub of Palm Springs, you could easily stay busy and spend an entire weekend exploring downtown. Walk along the main street, Palm Canyon Drive, for shopping, art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, the Walk of Stars, and the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Some of our favorite places to grab a bite to eat are Cheeky’s for brunch and their bacon flight. Teleport to France and enjoy your meal at FARM in their beautiful outdoor gardens. It’s a farm-to-table restaurant that serves traditional French cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
About 1.5 miles from downtown Palm Springs, you can visit the peaceful and magical gardens at Moorten’s, a privately owned one-acre botanical garden specializing in cacti and other desert plants.
At Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium, you can find a wide assortment of desert trees, plants, and cacti that have come from around the world. Guided tours of the gardens are available, and you can purchase your own plant from their nursery.
8. Palm Springs is Dog Friendly
Pups can visit Palm Springs too! We have taken our dog to Palm Springs twice now and have found so many dog-friendly activities to do. A lot of the restaurants have outdoor seating. And many of the hotels, such as The Hilton, The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, Ace Hotel, and Talavera Palm Springs, are all dog friendly.
Other fun things to do with your four-legged friend are driving through Joshua Tree National Park, hiking at Mission Creek Preserve, or sipping a cup of Koffi’s coffee out on their beautiful lawn and gardens.
A visit to Palm Springs is not complete without pampering your pup. You can spoil your pup at one of the many doggy spas for a relaxing doggy facial or full groom.
If you also love bringing your dog along with you on road trips, some of our favorite dog friendly locations in California are:
Do You Need a Car in Palm Springs
It is not absolutely necessary to have a car in Palm Springs. Downtown Palm Springs is very walkable and close to the airport. There are also options for public transportation:
SunLine Transit Agency operates a bus that runs 15 routes throughout Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. Taxi, Uber, and Lyft are available as well.
However, I recommend having a car if you plan to leave the downtown area and visit one of the points of interest, including Joshua Tree National Park, Coachella Valley Preserve, or a round of golf at La Quinta.
✅ Check rates & availability for a rental car here
What is the Best Time of Year to go to Palm Springs
Tourist peak season in Palm Springs is between January to April. At this time of year, you will find the best weather. However, accommodations are more expensive, and you will see an influx of tourists.
The summer, especially July, August, and September, tend to be the hottest months of the year in Palm Springs. Most daily temperatures hit the triple digits this time of year.
The best time to visit is Palm Springs off-season, which is between October and December. It’s the perfect time to visit Palm Springs because the weather has cooled off a little from the summer months, and there will not be as many tourists.
Pros & Cons of Visiting Palm Springs
Pros: Is Palm Springs Worth Visiting
Palms Springs offers something for just about everyone, including recreational activities, shopping, restaurants, and relaxation. Palm Springs is also worth visiting as a destination in the winter months for warm and temperate weather.
Another pro to visiting Palm Springs is it’s easy to get to. You can reach this gorgeous oasis in the middle of the desert by plane or a quick car trip from Los Angeles, one of the biggest cities in the country.
Cons: Reasons Palm Springs is Not Worth Visiting
One thing that makes Palm Springs not worth visiting is the extreme temperatures in the summer months.
Another reason not to visit is a trip to Palms Springs could be costly. There are some budget accommodations, but staying at one of the luxury hotels in Palm Springs will cost you $300 + a night.
Getting around Palm Springs without a car can be difficult. To get to some of the popular sights nearby, such as Joshua Tree, you will need to rent a car to get there.
In Conclusion: Is Palm Springs Worth Visiting
If you are looking for a destination to relax, partake in outdoor activities, have warm weather, and be surrounded by stunning vistas the entire time. Then Palm Springs is worth visiting for you!
I hope this guide has helped you decide if Palm Springs is Worth Visiting and, if so, encourages you to start planning your weekend getaway to Palm Springs soon.