Planning a trip to Palm Springs? We’ve created the ultimate itinerary, “What to do in Palm Springs,” so you’ll see all the highlights.

big horn sheep

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Friends, rest assured, if you’re planning a trip to the Palm Springs area, this post includes the best things to do in Palm Springs, California! Let us help take the stress and hassle out of planning, so you can enjoy your time.

What to do in Palm Springs

This post will tell you about our 5 weeks in the desert earlier this year–where to eat, and many activities to keep you busy. If you love the great outdoors, you will love this post. I say, everyone needs to experience the Palm Springs area at least once in their lifetime. So take it all in …

fly fishing

My husband and I enjoyed a five week stay in LaQuinta, California, and took in the experience of sunny Palm Springs.

poolside PGA west

PGA West, La Quinta, California

We stayed at PGA West in a rented condo, but there are many places to stay in the area. Located in La Quinta, Ca, PGA West is known as “The Western Home of Golf in America,” and is a preferred destination of the greater Palm Springs area. Old town in La Quinta is lovely, too, with many quality restaurants.

pga west ponds

You may remember reading my post in Palm Springs, where I stayed downtown with my sisters at the Kimpton Rowen Hotel. That is a more “city-life” experience.

Where to stay in La Quinta

We recommend several places to stay in La Quinta.

You can rent through Air B&B here, and here.

condo in palm springs

You can rent condos and houses at PGA West. The prices are spendy in the winter, because the weather is perfect. This is the time where snowbirds go to the desert. We now know why. It’s truly lovely durng this time of year. We swam every day, grilled on the back patio, and really enjoyed the condo that we rented.

My husband and I both work from home, so of course we worked our normal work week, but just in warmer weather!


The flowers smell so good, everywhere you go there is beauty. 

bass fish at PGA West

We fished the big pond (huge bass fish!)

late at night palm springs

Enjoyed the evenings with our new friends/neighbors. So lovey!

hills pga west

We loved staying out in LaQuinta, a paradise for sure. In March, the big horn sheep would come off the mountain almost daily, and being there in the springtime, we got to see a lot of babies.

sunrise PGA west

Up every morning for cofee and this beautiful sunrise, the early months of the year are the best time to visit Palm Springs!

We also enjoyed the citrus trees (grapefruit, lemons, lime, oranges) that were plentiful.

citrus in palm springs

Best things to do in Palm Springs

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Topping the list of must-do Palm Springs activities is the Aerial Tramway, which carries visitors from the desert floor up to an Alpine forest. It goes up more than 8500 feet. The slow, ten-minute ride gives you a chance to take in the Coachella Valley from above. Linger with a stop at the mountaintop restaurant, café or lounge, or hike deeper into the San Jacinto Mountains. Stunning!

family in palm springs

Golf & tennis

Palm Springs is known today as the Golf Capital of the World, but the initial sport associated with the area was tennis. It’s still popular today!

joshua tree view

A day trip to Joshua Tree

With peaks and climbable boulders, we took our Sprinter van out for the day to enjoy Joshua Tree.

sprinter van life

Since you cannot have dogs, we had to leave Alder behind. Joshua Tree National Park is a popular destination for overnight campers, but you can explore plenty in a single afternoon, hiking around the Hidden Valley to vistas from 5,000 feet up at Keys View.

paul sandy joshua tree

My husband rode his bike there, and we picked him up along the way (a 50-mile ride!) We brought dinner, hiked around, and enjoyed the sunset. Beautiful country. A must-see if you’ve never visited Joshua Tree National Park.

joshua tree national park

architecture tour PS

Take a DIY architecture tour

We loved this tour of all the handsome mid-century modern homes. Even though the homes are private, we cruised around some notable neighborhoods and learned a lot about the architecture (Sandy ADD MORE)

thai food

Eat good food

  • Boozehounds Palm Springs (bring your own dog)
  • Tac/Quila (same owners at FARM)
  • FARM (French-inspired–our favroite eating out experience on the trip!)

Farm restaurant

  • El Patio
  • The Heyday
  • Rooster and the Pig
  • Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

steak and asparagus

  • La Quinta Cliffhouse
  • Stuffed pizza bar and grill
  • La Brasserie Bistro & Bar
  • Fortun’s Kitchen & Bar


  • Downtown at the Kimpton: Juniper Table
  • Biscuit and Counter at the Tiki Hotel
  • Workshop Kitchen + Bar

desserts Shermans

  • Sherman’s Deli and Bakery – best desserts!
  • Lavendar Bistro
  • The Grill on Main
  • Cork & Fork

tacos in la quinta

Our first meal and our last meal was at Tampico Meat Market in old town La Quinta in old town.

It’s a fish market, and we love their food!

pga big horn sheep

Visit LaQuinta and see the big horn sheep

Bighorn sheep meander along neighborhood streets and love feasting at golf courses in La Quinta! Where we stayed, they love to eat the grapefruit that fall from the trees.

big horn sheep eating grapefruit

Since we were there in springtime, babies were everywhere. 

big horn sheep lambs

How many bighorn sheep are in Coachella Valley?

Behind Palm Springs in the San Jacinto Mountains is a population of about 80 adult sheep.

cycling in palm springs

Join a cycling group

Joining a riding group was easy. Paul just went online and found group rides that fit his schedule and ability level. Paul hadn’t done that kind of group ride in almost 10 years, and it reignited his love for road bike riding again.

paul sandy citrus tree

Walk and walk and walk and walk

Stop and smell the roses! Take a lot of photos and enjoy the pools, heat, palms, and beauty!

the cross hike


Surrounded by four different mountain ranges (San Bernadino, Santa Rosa, San Jacinto, and Little San Bernadino), the incredible terrain of Palm Springs and the sheer natural beauty of the surrounding Coachella Valley make for some great hiking.

hiking in palm springs

Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Palm Springs, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. But here are more hikes to look up and try!

  • Palm Canyon Trail
  • Hahn Buena Vista Trail
  • Tahquitz Canyon Trail
  • Cactus to Clouds Hike
  • San Jacinto Peak Hike
  • Araby Trail
  • Berns Trail
  • Palm Springs Museum Trail
  • South Lykken Trail
  • The Cross Hike

PGA West

Feed a giraffe at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

Oh, I love the zoo. You can read more about my experience with my sisters, here.

Located a couple of miles outside of Palm Springs, the largely outdoor locale is broadly split into North American and African environments. My favorite? The giraffe feedings!

Enjoy your family and friends in Palm Springs

We had friends come and stay with us. I made a Strawberry Brie Crostini appetizer board one night, we ate outside, rode bikes, went to the pool, and also hiked around and LOVED the big horn sheep and the new babies!

laying down Don’t forget you can SHOP until you DROP in Palm Springs. There are so many shopping areas and places to eat.

A sunny, bright, refreshing experience, especially in the winter. We loved having our Sprinter van with us (easy to transport bikes)!

nighttime pga west

The evening walks are amazing!

A trip we will do again someday! Maybe you could too!

driving sprinter van

(This post was not sponsored by any brands, but I’m sharing my own personal tips and recommendations for the travel section of RE.)

What to do in Palm Springs, CA