Palm Springs: A Hot Spring Oasis in the Sonoran Desert

Palm Springs: A Hot Spring Oasis in the Sonoran Desert

Palm Springs is a city located in the midst of the Sonoran Desert in Southern California. It's well known thanks to the hot springs found here and makes a perfect weekend getaway that offers tourists a collection of attractions not just limited to relaxing in the hot springs or swimming pools. There's a range of incredible things to do here but here are some great places to start.

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Palm Springs: A Hot Spring Oasis in the Sonoran Desert

1. Palm Springs Air Museum

Photo by Theresa O'Connor/Flickr

The Palm Springs Air Museum is located on the north-east side of Palm Springs International Airport and is dedicated towards educating, showcasing and describing the significance of aerial fighting over several wars. The museum has a number of military aircraft used during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, many of them still in a flyable condition. Visitors taking part in one of the tours offered will get an opportunity to see a large display of artifacts, artwork and library sources that are used to teach about American history.

2. Palm Canyon Drive

Photo by joenevill/Flickr

Get moved by the amazing attractions and galleries at the Palm Canyon drive which is mainly known as the home to VillageFest. Check out the special museums found here such as the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum that contains the heritage of people, historical society and the oldest structure in the area. Explore the Canyon theater to get the best entertainment and later pass by the restaurants to enjoy unique international cuisines such as Italian, French, Japanese and Mexican. Do some shopping in the beautiful and pleasant places that sell books, clothing and gifts.

3. Palm Springs Art Museum

Welcome to the Palm Springs Art Museum that is a 75,000 modern square building that was founded in 1938 and was initially known as the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Its goals are to maintain and showcase the regional, performing and natural arts in the area. The museum contains a collection of contemporary paintings, sculptures and artistic glass work. The physical museum holds a remarkable collection of items showcasing the region's archaeology, biology, and geology all related to the earth and discovery. Before your visit check if there are any events at the Annenberg theater, which is often alive with music, dance and theater performances.

4. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Photo by Glenda Gilreath Gallery/Flickr

Get to experience the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world‘s largest spinning tramcar that started in 1963 after its successful construction. It's located at over 2500 meters, and one gets to enjoy the ten-minute-long ride with a trip that commences at the valley and ends at the beautiful scenery of the mountain. As a tourist attraction, visitors will get to enjoy the most comfortable transport from the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains. The tram ride will take you to must-see places such as the wilderness area and Jacinto state park.

5. Indian Canyons

Photo by melissamn/Shutterstock

The Indian Canyons have been a popular retreat since the 19th century, once home to several Indian communities who settled there around the Murray, Palm, Andreas and Chino canyons. Nowadays it's particularly popular for the fan palm oases, some of the few places to see them in the world. Within the canyon you'll find some fantastic food joints along with places to experience Indian arts and crafts as you learn the about the exiting cultural heritage of the communities around. Make sure to check out the spectacular waterfall, rock art, old age irrigation systems and the unique plants and wildlife.

6. Moorten Botanical Garden

Photo by btwashburn/Flickr

The Moorten Botanical Garden is a historical landmark that covers a large area of the city and specializes in cacti and other rare desert plants. Its located in South Palm Canyon drive, belonging to a family who were awarded the 'Golden Palm Stars' due to their contributions to the community. The garden is home to more than 3,000 plants that are organized according to their geographic regions along with outdoor collections such as Agaves, Bombax, crested Cereus, Cardoon and Boojum trees. These gardens often host significant events such as weddings and parties along with music and video shoots.

7. Coachella Valley Preserve

Photo by sbedaux/Shutterstock

Coachella Valley Preserve is located ten miles east of Palm Springs near the edge of the city. It covers a 17,000-acre area filled with a range of different flora and fauna including some rare species. While here head to the visitor center where you'll find information about some great hiking trails such as the McCallum, Hidden Palms and Willis palm trails.

8. Ruth Hardy Park

Ruth Hardy Park has a wealth of fun-filled activities across its 22-acres of land in the downtown area of Palm Springs. As a popular tourist site, it's a great spot to take a family, containing a collection of spots for both children and adults. You'll find a total of eight public tennis courts, three sand volleyball courts that you can enjoy watching sports at, picnic tables and baseball courts. Enjoy walking and picnicking in beautiful scenery that has well-maintained grounds and clean pavements. The park is open everyday but closes at 10 PM.

9. San Jacinto Mountain

Photo by Don Graham/Flickr

San Jacinto Mountain is named after a popular patron saint in Latin America. The mountain covers a distance of about 50 kilometers with a height of over 3.300 meters. Since Palm Springs can get quite hot, especially during the summer, the mountains here have a refreshing temperature and cool winds that make hiking and walking around much more doable. From the top of the mountain you'll get some beautiful scenic views over the scenery below. You'll also find a number of rock climbing areas which are all designated as tourist attractions with towering rocks and beautiful views into the valleys.

10. Windmill Farm

Palm Springs' Windmill Farm is a modern engineered set of wind turbines dedicated to generating energy for the areas around the desert. The site contains thousands of windmills, which makes for some impressive scenery set against the desert backdrop. You can join a tour to learn about the alternative power generation in this area as you enjoy the company of others or even explore on your own to discover the fascinating structures. You are not allowed to enter or touch the windmills for safety reasons, instead just make sure to view them from a close range.


Palm Springs offers a uniquely memorable experience in a desert that you might not expect. The attractions are fascinating starting from the parks, walking trails, mountains, unique oasis and rare wildlife animals. Palm Springs is one of the best places in the US to escape the cold winter weather, but the low season in the summer is also worth it if you don't mind the heat.