What to do outdoors in Palms Springs, CA
Spring is one of the best times of year to visit famously sunny Palm Springs, California. Think this desert oasis is just for golfers and retirees? Think again! We love Palm Springs with kids, because of its interesting geological features, fun activities, and great recreation.
Stay in a Palm Springs vacation home to have a pool to yourself (and avoid the weekend party crowds that flock to hotels in the region). From this home base, plan morning excursions and afternoons by the pool and in the shade.
Hike in Joshua Tree National Park:
Joshua Tree National Park is a rock climber’s dream. However, you don’t have to be an expert to have fun here (and stay safe). Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that does not involve ropes, and while the experts take it to the limit, kids can have fun scrambling on any one of the many boulders and rock formations in the park. Hike the three miles from 49 Palms to an oasis, or head to the stamp mill at Lost Horse Mine.
Spend a day at Wet ‘n Wild:
If the day turns out to be a scorcher, head to Wet ‘n Wild, where kids have their pick of slides, tubes, wave pools, and rivers to float in. Pack a lunch for the shaded picnic area, or grab burgers and other ‘theme park fare’ inside the park. Arrive early to ensure a shady spot to rest and regroup throughout the day, or reserve your own cabana.
Try the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway:
Want a whole new perspective on Palm Springs? Head up the world’s largest rotating tram car up Chino Canyon. At the top, you may even need a winter coat! Plan to eat a nice meal at the restaurant at the mountain station, or do some hiking around the peak. In season, there’s even guided nature walks hosted by California State Parks.
Take a desert jeep ride:
See the Mecca Hills, Indian Desert Canyon, or San Andreas Fault from the back of a jeep as you get a tour across the desert floor with one of several jeep tour operations in Palm Springs. Sightseeing tours also depart for Joshua Tree National Park, if you’d rather see the park with an expert along for the ride. Bring sunscreen, water, and a hat or sunglasses for any trip into the open desert.