Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs
Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Pack Your Bags! Here Are 6 Greater Palm Springs Itineraries for Every Type of Traveler

Hike and Explore or Unwind and Lounge Poolside—the Choice Is Yours!

Looking for a fair-weathered getaway where you can relax, get active or enjoy the best of both worlds? Known for its beautiful desert atmosphere–think sunny days and clear, starlit nights– Greater Palm Springs is the perfect destination for every type of traveler, from loungers and foodies to sun chasers and hikers. Home to Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella, each city in Greater Palm Springs offers its own personality, allowing you to fill your days with unique and unforgettable experiences. 

 

For the Sun-Seeker

Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs @visitgreaterps

For travelers who want to soak up as much vitamin D as possible, we recommend taking advantage of Greater Palm Springs’ open air and scenic spaces. Dine al fresco for breakfast, lunch and dinner thanks to must-visit restaurants like Wilma and Frieda, Cork Tree and Jillian’s. When it’s time to venture out, enjoy the blue skies by either teeing up at Indian Wells Golf Resort or taking a relaxing stroll around Moorten Botanical Garden—a 1-acre family-owned arboretum. You can also get airborne with your very own hot-air balloon ride! Want to catch some rays? Book a room at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa to make waves at the waterpark or rent a tranquil cabana next to the adults-only Oasis Pool.

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For the Mindful Foodie

Heirloom Craft Kitchen - greater palm springs itineraries
Credit: Heirloom Craft Kitchen

With its diverse mix of cuisines, eateries and other food-centric activities, Greater Palm Springs is perfect for foodies—especially those who are interested in mindful eating, whether that means culturally, sustainably or economically. Start your trip right by booking your stay at Ace Hotel Palm Springs, which is home to a roadside-style diner called King’s Highway and a cozy bar known as The Amigo Room. Indulge in a celebration of local ingredients at independent coffee shop Ernest Coffee, the chic Workshop Kitchen + Bar, sustainability-minded Heirloom Craft Kitchen and the authentically French restaurant Farm. Wondering what to do in between reservations? Peruse the shelves of The Upper Crust at The Shops on El Paseo, browse the Coachella Valley’s certified farmers markets or mark your calendars for Indio’s one and only International Tamale Festival (in early December)!

 

For the Culture Connoisseur

greater palm springs itineraries
Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Whether you’re mainly interested in mid-mod architecture, free-spirited boho designs, authentic cuisines, expressive artwork or a mix of all of the above, Greater Palm Springs is the ideal spot to explore for those who are eager to learn and experience something new. Head over to Shields Date Garden, an Indio staple since the ‘60s, for a quintessential date shake and a walk around the vast botanical garden. Then, take in the spectacular exhibits at the Palm Springs Art Museum or download the free artsGPS app to take a self-guided tour of the local murals! For hotel reservations, we recommend the beautiful Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs for its sophisticated design and inspiring view of the San Jacinto Mountains. When it comes time to dine, make reservations at the retro-fabulous Melvyn’s, the award-decorated Wally’s Desert Turtle, the French-inspired Le Vallauris or Bar Cecil, which pays homage to renaissance man Cecil Beaton.

 

For the Taste Trailblazer

greater palm springs itineraries - Miramonte Resort & Spa
Credit: Miramonte Resort & Spa

Even tastemakers could use some itinerary inspo from time to time! If you’re looking for a well-rounded trip that highlights some of Greater Palm Springs’ favorite gems, we recommend starting your vacation by booking a room at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, which offers countless on-site activities, or for a truly local experience, book a fun vacation rental! Pick up a batch order latte, chai or cold brew to enjoy in your room from Everbloom Coffee; later, you can pull up a seat at the unforgettably colorful Pink Cabana or the artful rooftop bar at 4 Saints. You can also enjoy Greater Palm Springs to the fullest by exploring its number of hiking trails, local boutiques in the iconic Shops at Thirteen Forty Five or the beautiful flora at Sunnylands Center and Gardens.

 

For the Enlightened Traveler

Credit: Azure Palm Hot Springs

While you can’t book a ticket to Nirvana, this itinerary is comparable. For some true rest and relaxation, treat yourself to a two-night stay at Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa Oasis. You may also want to consider booking a short stay at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, where you can spend the day practicing yoga, meditation and breathwork or exploring the different energy vortices across the property. Nourish your body with food that prioritizes wellness from restaurants like Copley’s on Palm Canyon, Grand Central Palm Springs and Wildest Restaurant + Bar. Then, recenter and calm yourself with visits to the Coachella Valley History Museum, to honor the local land and heritage, and Sunstone Spa, to soothe your mind and body.

For the Nature Lover

greater palm springs itineraries - Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Credit: Visit Greater Palm Springs

Pack some SPF and a pair of sunglasses—Greater Palm Springs is known for natural outdoor attractions! Get in touch with your wild side at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, take in a sky-high view of your surroundings on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and explore your way through the truly magnificent and one-of-a-kind Joshua Tree National Park. Fuel up and reserve a table on the patio for al fresco dining at the effortlessly beautiful Birba, fun and carefree Cheeky’s or the La Quinta Cliffhouse with its rugged yet refined atmosphere. Then, after a long day in the great outdoors, sit by one of La Quinta Resort & Club’s outdoor fire pits for a nightcap before retreating to your cozy casita for the night. 

Local Insight: If you plan on spending most of your time outdoors, we recommend planning your visit between the months of October and April!

Writer | Website | + posts

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.

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