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How to Spend 3 Days in Palm Springs

How to Spend 3 Days in Palm Springs

Located about a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles, Palm Springs serves as a popular weekend getaway for Southern Californians, as well as a relaxing destination for tourists looking for vintage vibes and desert adventures. With three days, you can explore the full range of attractions and activities this sunny locale has to offer. Here’s how to make the most of your time.

Day 1: Explore the City

Take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway high up into the San Jacinto Mountains inside a revolving gondola. The temperature in the mountains can be up to 40℉ (4℃) cooler, making this a great escape from the desert heat. Up top you can hike, picnic, or just enjoy the views of Mount San Jacinto State Park and the surrounding wilderness. Winter activities include tobogganing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. In the afternoon, take a guided tour of Palm Springs’ celebrity homes, including the former residences of Marilyn Monroe, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley, and learn about the area’s history along the way. Alternately, ride the aerial tram in the evening hours, followed by dinner at the restaurant located at the top.

Day 2: Head Into the Desert

Now that you’ve seen those endless skies and the ever-changing rugged landscape from the tram, head farther afield to Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. (Get an early start in the summer to beat the heat.) Alternatively, stay closer to town and hike into the scenic Indian Canyons, ancestral home of the Cahuilla tribes; bring your swimsuit in case the streams are running. Those interested in geology can venture to the San Andreas Fault, and adventurous travelers can bike along the faultline on a guided cycling tour. In the evening, take advantage of the lack of city lights to view stars in the dark desert sky. With the help of a telescope and your guide, you’ll learn how to spot celestial objects like a pro.

Day 3: Day-Tripping

On your final day, head about 1.5 hours out of town to Temecula, taking in views of the Syrah- and Tempranillo-vine-covered countryside along the way. Once there, visit a series of wineries, sampling some of Southern California’s best wines, including the popular almond-infused sparkling wine. Book a guided tour with round-trip transportation for added convenience. Another easily accessible day trip option, the Salton Sea (which is twice as salty as the Pacific) is a little more than an hour away from Palm Springs. Outdoor activities like boating (boats float better here because of the salt content) and fishing are the main attractions, as well as bird-watching, and the colorful outdoor art installation Salvation Mountain is located nearby.

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10 Tours and Activities

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Joshua Tree National Park Offroad Tour

Joshua Tree National Park Offroad Tour

star-5
186
Explore a remote national park less than an hour's drive from the lush resorts of greater Palm Springs. Wonder at the otherworldly plants and rock formations in a unique, and wild desert setting. THIS IS A RUGGED, 4x4 ONLY TRAIL. For those wanting a smoother experience and to see more of the park highlights please consider our Joshua Tree Driving/Van Tour. We don't recommend it for anyone with any back injuries, with any neck injuries, anyone that is pregnant or gets car sick easily. Age limit is 6 years old. This is group tour.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$189.00
From
$189.00

Joshua Tree National Park Driving Tour

Joshua Tree National Park Driving Tour

star-5
158
Explore the uncanny landscape of Joshua Tree National Park with a 4.5-hour van tour from Palm Desert, near Palm Springs. Enjoy the comfort of an air-conditioned van or SUV as you navigate soaring granite formations and groves of the park’s famously spiky trees, and capture unforgettable images of terrain that spans the Colorado and Mojave deserts. Trace a gentle trail into the rocks at Hidden Valley and Keys View, watch for the park’s reclusive wildlife, and experience the unique beauty of one America’s most remarkable national parks.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$209.00
From
$209.00

Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bicycle Adventure
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bicycle Adventure

star-5
159
Take a leisurely bike ride in the desert. This guided mountain bike tour will take you down a gentle grade along the San Andreas Fault where the Mojave Desert transitions into the Colorado Desert. Enjoy beautiful views of the desert landscape as you pedal along the paved path. The tour concludes with a rest stop at a date farm where you can try a date shake.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$120.00
From
$120.00

Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs

Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs

star-5
103
Pack seeing three South Palm Spring neighborhoods into just one morning with this South Palm Springs Architecture, History, and Bike Tour. Although your bike rental isn't included, you can bring your own bike for ultimate comfort along the way or get a discount to rent a bike nearby. You'll explore Deepwell Estates, Twin Palms, and Indian Canyons while your guide tells you the history of the area.
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  • 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$125.00
From
$125.00

Palms to Vines Wine Tasting from Palm Springs

Palms to Vines Wine Tasting from Palm Springs

star-4.5
20
Taste Temecula’s most celebrated wines on a private full-day tour from Palm Springs, and explore the valley’s dramatic terrain in a powerful H1 Hummer. Pass undulating lines of Syrah and Tempranillo vines as your knowledgeable guide drives you to a series of three wineries, and discover Temecula’s unpretentious approach to fine wines. Sample up to 18 wines that range from classic red and whites to an almond-infused bubbly, pause for a relaxed vineyard lunch, and enjoy the sun-drenched scenery of the Temecula Valley.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$299.00
From
$299.00

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Admission Ticket

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Admission Ticket

star-4.5
509
Soar over Palm Springs on the Aerial Tramway for spectacular views of the desert. Ascending to 5,783 feet (1,790 meters), the tram transports you to the cool air in the San Jacinto Mountains. View unspoiled wilderness, including mountain spires and Ponderosa pine trees, during your ascent. Disembark and explore the area around Mountain Station, which includes a cocktail lounge, restaurant and observation deck. Hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski on the trails in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area around Mountain Station.
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  • 1 to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$30.00
From
$30.00

Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs

star-5
21
Go deep into Palm Springs’ Indian Canyons on a 3-hour, small group Jeep and hiking tour to the ancestral home of the Cahuilla tribes. Take in views of the rugged desert landscape as you ride into the rocky canyons, and learn the rich history of the Cahuilla; take a 1-mile (1.6-km) walk along a palm-lined stream to see the traces of historic Native American settlements. Visit a shady desert oasis, walk to a seasonal spring and browse a tribal trading post, then finish the tour at your Palm Springs hotel.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$175.00
From
$175.00

Private French-Inspired Cooking Class with a Fun Local in Palm Springs, CA

Private French-Inspired Cooking Class with a Fun Local in Palm Springs, CA

star-5
22
Enjoy an introduction to classical French cooking, and prepare your meal right in your local host's home, with this one-on-one, hands-on class. Choose between lunch and dinner start times, and get ready to roll up your sleeves. You'll learn to prepare a three-course meal of French-inspired treats from your host (a former French resident), from cheesy gougères to ratatouille and beyond. At the end, sit down to enjoy your meal together, with wine on the side.
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  • 3 hours
From
$106.00
Price varies by group size
From
$106.00
Price varies by group size

Rappelling Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park (4 Hours)

Rappelling Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park (4 Hours)

star-5
2
Interested in rapping down through some of the most scenic areas of Joshua Tree National Park? Let our professionally certified rock climbing guides and Wilderness First Responders guide you through the rock terrain of Joshua Tree and set you up for a memorable, awesome experience. Regardless of your experience level, desires or goals there is a fantastic rappelling trip ready and waiting for you!!!
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  • 4 hours
From
$225.00
Price varies by group size
From
$225.00
Price varies by group size

Private Vacation Photography Session with Photographer in Palm Springs

Private Vacation Photography Session with Photographer in Palm Springs

Flytographer Private Vacation Photo Shoot Connect with a local hand-picked professional photographer in Palm Springs and capture your most memorable moments during this private photo shoot. Get insider tips on the best things to do in Palm Springs including where to eat & what to see from your vacation photographer. Return from your trip with beautiful, high-quality vacation photos — the best souvenir ever. We specialize in: - honeymoons - family trips - engagements - anniversaries - romantic getaways - multi-generational trips - babymoons - solo travellers - and just because! With over 10,000 5-star reviews, Flytographer is the global leader in vacation photography and has captured over 3 million memories for travellers across six continents. We’ve been featured across A-list media, including Conde Nast Traveler, Oprah, Forbes, Travel + Leisure, New York Times, BRIDES, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle Magazine, Elle, Buzzfeed, Refinery29, Huffington Post, & many more.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$299.00
per group
From
$299.00
per group