Palm Springs Activities
Joshua Tree National Park
Just 45 minutes from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree is at its most majestic at night, when the sky glitters with stars and all you can hear are the yelps of resident hyenas (weirdly romantic). At almost 800,000 acres, the stunning terrain should be experienced by everyone at least once. This geologically unique intersection of the Mojave and Colorado deserts was granted national park status in 1994 and is home to all manner of intricate ecosystems. You can get a feel for Joshua Tree by driving through but we recommend booking a spot at one of nine designated camping grounds. There are also a ton of hiking trails, bird-watching expeditions, rock-climbing oops, and historic tours on offer.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
One Tram Way, Desert Highlands
The concept for the tramway was born in 1935, but the project didn’t come to fruition until 1963: It was really ambitious. After boarding at the Valley Station, the ride up the mountain (elevation 8,516 ft) takes no longer than ten minutes and the views of Chino Canyon from the rotating tramcar are nothing short of breathtaking. At the top you’ll find Peaks restaurant (the food isn’t too memorable but the setting is extraordinary), the ultra laid back Pines Café, and The Lookout Lounge cocktail bar. There are hikes and the like available (you'll probably share your tram with a troop of eager campers). Because temperatures in the valley and the top of the mountain vary drastically, riding the tramway offers a much-needed reprieve from the desert’s sweltering heat in the summer—off-season, pack a sweater.
PGA West Golf Academy
49499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta
The Waldorf Astoria resort, La Quinta is also home to the PGA West's legendary golf academy (which is, apparently, a big deal if you play). Golf school and private lessons are obviously on offer, but they also do custom club fittings, health and wellness consultations, and high-tech video analysis. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to take a lesson or book a tee time.
The Modern Tour
While Palm Springs packed with modern and mid-century architecture (drive around for a few minutes and you'll see several marquee name homes), the best way to see it all and get the backstory is by guided tour. A three-hour, fully-immersive tour (we told you there's a lot to see!). To keep things intimate and encourage conversation, groups are kept to six people tops. These sell out fast, so a self-guided tour using the Palm Springs Modern app is a great alternative.
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