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Overview

Set in a desert basin surrounded by mountains (snow-capped in winter), Palm Springs has been drawing visitors for eons — the Cahuilla Indians utilized the hot springs for which Palm Springs is named. Growing from a small health resort in the 1920s, Palm Springs soon began to draw flocks of Hollywood stars. Fashionable mid-century homes, such as those of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, are an architectural highlight. Despite its small size, Palm Springs boasts superb museums, including the Palm Springs Air Museum, remarkable for its World War II aircraft; the Palm Springs Art Museum, focusing on the Southwest; and the Living Desert, ...

Set in a desert basin surrounded by mountains (snow-capped in winter), Palm Springs has been drawing visitors for eons — the Cahuilla Indians utilized the hot springs for which Palm Springs is named. Growing from a small health resort in the 1920s, Palm Springs soon began to draw flocks of Hollywood stars. Fashionable mid-century homes, such as those of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, are an architectural highlight. Despite its small size, Palm Springs boasts superb museums, including the Palm Springs Air Museum, remarkable for its World War II aircraft; the Palm Springs Art Museum, focusing on the Southwest; and the Living Desert, showcasing animals and plants from arid lands. Nearby Joshua Tree National Park protects half a million acres of delicate desert environment, while granite outcrops draw rock-climbers and hikers seeking challenging trails. Palm Springs' own palm-lined Indian Canyons prove there's no lack of greenery in the desert: year-round aquifers keep the area's more than 100 golf courses lushly green. When the heat gets too much, let the revolving Aerial Tramway whisk you up to the top of San Jacinto mountains, where trails lead though pine forests at a crisp 7,000 feet.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winter months are idyllic. Summer is brutally hot.