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How to Spend 1 Day in Palm Springs

How to Spend 1 Day in Palm Springs

Located in the Colorado Desert, 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is an oasis of sun, fun, and money that’s not just for retirees anymore. Thanks to events such as the Coachella music festival, it’s taken on a hip, laid-back vibe that attracts all ages. Here’s how to get the most out of one day there.

Morning: Take a Ride

Begin your day with expansive desert views from Palm Springs’ Aerial Tramway. Ascend 5,783 feet (1,790 meters) into the San Jacinto Mountains and experience the transition from hot and dry to cool alpine temperatures. At the top, enjoy the scenery from the observation deck or restaurant, then head out to hike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski on the trails around the station. Alternatively, join a Jeep tour and explore the surrounding desert before the afternoon sun becomes uncomfortable.

Afternoon: See the Stars’ Homes

Once known as “Hollywood's Playground,” Palm Springs boasts an impressive lineup of celebrity homes, including the former residences of Marilyn Monroe, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley. Join a guided tour to view some of these properties, as well as learn about the architecture and history of the area, which is renowned for its mid-century modern designs. Another trademark of Palm Springs is its windmills. Take a tour of the town’s 2,000-plus windmills and learn why this renewable energy source is so important to the region. Along the way, try a date milkshake, the signature treat of the California desert.

Night: Catch the Other Stars

One of the big advantages of being out in the desert, away from the city lights of Los Angeles, is the chance to see the stars—in the nighttime sky. Come evening, small-group tours venture out into Palm Desert via 4WD vehicles to do some stargazing. In addition to learning about desert wildlife and geology, get a clear view of the visible planets and stars, with the help of a telescope and your guide. Alternatively, you can book an aerial tram ride for the evening, then enjoy dinner at the Mountain Station restaurant or café and grab a drink at the lounge.

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7 Tours and Activities | All Palm Springs Tours

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San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour from Palm Desert

San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour from Palm Desert

star-5
Explore the geology around California’s legendary San Andreas fault during a Jeep tour from Palm Desert. See a desert oasis fed by an underground spring as your naturalist guide describes how the Native American Cahuilla tribe used the desert's plants for food, medicine, and shelter. Marvel at steep-walled canyons and tall twisted rock mountains, and learn about the plant and animal life of the area. Choose from a morning or afternoon tour that includes light snacks, bottled water, and round-trip transport from Palm Desert.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$250.00
Price varies by group size
From
$250.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Joshua Tree National Park Driving Tour

Joshua Tree National Park Driving Tour

star-5
Explore the uncanny landscape of Joshua Tree National Park with a 4.5-hour van tour from Palm Desert, near Palm Springs. Enjoy the comfort of an air-conditioned van or SUV as you navigate soaring granite formations and groves of the park’s famously spiky trees, and capture unforgettable images of terrain that spans the Colorado and Mojave deserts. Trace a gentle trail into the rocks at Hidden Valley and Keys View, watch for the park’s reclusive wildlife, and experience the unique beauty of one America’s most remarkable national parks.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$177.67
From
$177.67
Taking safety measures

Palm Springs Windmill Self-Driving Tour Interactive Fun Safe

Palm Springs Windmill Self-Driving Tour Interactive Fun Safe

star-4.5
Opt for this Palm Springs windmill tour, and try something a little different from your typical celebrity homes or San Andreas Fault tours you’d usually do in Palm Springs. This self-driving windmill tour allows you to explore the evolution of wind turbines on a private wind farm from the comfort of your own vehicle. The tour allows you to exit at each stop and guides you with a curated video.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$49.00
per group
From
$49.00
per group
Taking safety measures

Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs

Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs

star-5
Go deep into Palm Springs’ Indian Canyons on a 3-hour, small group Jeep and hiking tour to the ancestral home of the Cahuilla tribes. Take in views of the rugged desert landscape as you ride into the rocky canyons, and learn the rich history of the Cahuilla; take a 1-mile (1.6-km) walk along a palm-lined stream to see the traces of historic Native American settlements. Visit a shady desert oasis, walk to a seasonal spring and browse a tribal trading post, then finish the tour at your Palm Springs hotel.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$250.00
Price varies by group size
From
$250.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Half-Day Joshua Tree National Park Jeep Tour

Half-Day Joshua Tree National Park Jeep Tour

star-5
The lush resorts of Palm Springs will feel a million miles away when you get out in the wilds of Joshua Tree National Park on this small group Jeep tour. Leave the city behind as you head off-road and over a rocky landscape some people say feels like being on another planet. See plants and rock formations that are unique to the desert, and learn what makes Joshua Tree so special.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$177.67
From
$177.67
Taking safety measures

Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bike Tour

Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bike Tour

star-5
Take a leisurely bike ride in the desert. This guided mountain bike tour will take you down a gentle grade along the San Andreas Fault where the Mojave Desert transitions into the Colorado Desert. Enjoy beautiful views of the desert landscape as you pedal along the paved path. The tour concludes with a rest stop at a date farm where you can try a date shake.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$110.39
From
$110.39
Taking safety measures

Palm Springs Celebrity 2.5-Hour Grand Tour

Palm Springs Celebrity 2.5-Hour Grand Tour

star-4.5
Discover Palm Springs on a bus tour of the place that was once known as 'Hollywood's Playground.' Your guide provides commentary on stars that have lived in this exclusive California destination; including luminaries like Marilyn Monroe, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley. You'll also learn about the desert, the architecture and history of the region, and the Native American heritage. Top it off with a stop for a date milkshake at the popular Windmill Market.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$58.85
From
$58.85