Are you over the hyped-up crowded tourist attractions in Palm Springs? This list of parks and attractions will help you plan an enjoyable day out in Palm Springs, where the desert is filled with museums and natural landmarks that draw throngs of visitors while focusing on a slower way of doing things.
Continue to read to find our top 5 attractions in the beautiful nature of Palm Springs, CA for lovers of the great outdoors to explore.
Moorten Botanical Gardens
Palm Springs, CA
Located just off Palm Canyon Drive, there are over 3000 varieties of desert plants that can be viewed and marveled at in the gorgeous labor of love that is Moorten Botanical Gardens. From prickly pears to agaves to cacti, succulent lovers can get lost in this green space. A cool addition to this botanical wonder is the Indian artifacts and rock, crystal, and wood forms that can be viewed by visitors. The intimate garden has been family-owned and operated since 1938 and features a nursery that sells plants similar to the ones featured, where you can pick up a souvenir to remember your Palm Springs Vacation.
Recommended because: Moorten Botanical Garden features an impressive collection of 3,000+ desert plants, in addition to the chance at a beautiful photo opportunity in the open garden area.
Palm Springs, CA
What once stood as a community center for the native Cahuilla people, the Agua Caliente Indian Canyons are now the perfect recreational oasis for the outdoor enthusiast, where hikers, horseback riders, and nature lovers can thrive in the beauty of Palm Springs. The area’s hiking trail is protected by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and features stunning destinations such as the Andreas Canyon, Murray Canyon, and the popular Palm Canyon. For a relaxing afternoon in the canyon pack a picnic and make it a full, fun day exploring Palm Springs in its natural state. A few of the natural wonders await canyon visitors.
Recommended because: The Indian Canyons are a protected network of trails that offer a glimpse into the natural history of the desert. We recommend you go on a guided hike as it offers trailblazers a richer experience in Cahuilla folk tales and lore while walking among plants and wildlife in the canyons.
Palm Desert, CA
For its proximity to Palm Springs, the Desert Adventures in Palm Desert made this list for its exploration of the great outdoors from the open bed of a red jeep on a tour. The company in question specializes in eco-tours of the Coachella Valley, as well as tours of Joshua Tree National Park, the Agua Caliente Indian Canyons, Mecca Hills, and the San Andreas Fault Line. The fault line tours tend to be the most popular amongst visitors as it offers a rare, thrilling glimpse into the heart of the San Andreas Fault. Desert Adventures offers exclusive access to parts of the fault line through Metate Ranch, an 840-acre site that includes a recreated Cahuilla village and mining camp.
Recommended because: Desert Adventures offers guided jeep tours into the desert’s natural wonders, including the famous San Andreas Fault Line and other such thrilling destinations. To shake it up, we recommend the Desert Adventure night tour, where you can stargaze at Metate Ranch’s recreated mining town.
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
Palm Desert, CA
Another Palm Desert destination worth noting, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is famous for its meet and greet of the real-life inspiration for the desert-dwelling “Looney Tunes” roadrunner and coyote. This unique Palm Desert zoo educates visitors about animals from deserts in North America and Africa including giraffes, warthogs, jaguars, and bighorn sheep. Several gardens showcase cacti and other such plant life native to the desert. The Living Desert has 1,080 acres of undisturbed desert land and a large number of nature trails through the preserve open seasonally to the public, making for an interesting day in the sun—make sure to bring your hiking gear and a jug of water along!
Recommend because: The Living Desert exhibits wildlife and plant life from deserts around the world, including mountain lions, bobcats, and giraffes.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Palm Springs, CA
There is by far no better way to enjoy the views of Coachella Valley than from above. For the best views of the thriving desert below, take a cable car into the mountains at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Taking a ride in the world's largest rotating aerial tramway offers a 360-degree view of the greater Palm Springs area while you slow climb two and a half miles to Mountain Station in Mount San Jacinto State Park. Once you are at the top of the tram, enjoy a nature walk, a backcountry hike, or a fantastic dining experience overlooking the Coachella Valley at Peaks Restaurant.
Recommended because: The Palm Springs aerial tramway whisks visitors to Mount San Jacinto State Park where we recommend you plan your trip to the tramway in the afternoon to escape the cooler temperatures to catch the best views without baking during the hottest time of the day.
Interested in spending a day outdoors in Palm Springs, CA, and surrounding areas? From the exploration of gardens and zoos to hiking trails and aerial tramways, there is never a dull moment in the great open outdoors of Palm Springs. Visitors can find something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Explore what awaits you in the outdoors of Palm Springs, CA today.