For generations, the vibrant city of Palm Springs has been a desert hideaway for everyone from Hollywood stars to vacationers seeking the sunshine. Amidst the sandy dunes of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is an oasis brimming with things to do. Take your adventure to new heights with a trip on a rotating aerial tramway, watch out for prickles as you explore the world’s first-ever Cactarium, and get up close and personal with the flora and fauna that call this desert habitat home. While the desert heat can be scorching come summertime, you can beat the heat with a springtime visit to Palm Springs!
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Get a bird’s-eye view of the Coachella Valley on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: head from the valley floor to the top of Mt. San Jacinto, gaining over 6,000 feet of elevation on your 10-minute, 2.5-mile journey to the summit. The world’s largest rotating tram offers 360° views of Chino Canyon’s cliffs and mountainside, as well as the Valley below. At the top, you’ve entered Mt. San Jacinto State Park & Wilderness Area, the crisp mountain air welcomes you to a pristine wilderness area that boasts 50 hiking trails, just waiting to be discovered. Before you head back down the mountain, dine above the clouds at one of the award-winning restaurants while you soak in the magnificent vistas. Take in the scenery from the Observation Deck, admiring the views that naturalist John Muir once described as “the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”
Moorten Botanical Gardens
Step into the world’s first Cactarium at Moorten Botanical Gardens, where an Instagram-worthy display of over 3,000 species of cacti and desert plants has been collected and cultivated with care. This Mediterranean-style estate was once the Moorten family’s home before being transformed into a living museum in 1938. The extraordinary collection is arranged by region so that you can explore the globe via desert plants. Visiting the arboretum in spring is your best chance to see the vivid blossoms emerge from the cacti and succulents, popping against the dusty desert landscape.
Nature’s springtime showcase is visible at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, where bright floral pops of color stand out amongst the lush palm trees and sandy dunes. Experience a variety of desert terrains, from Australia’s outback to Africa’s savanna, which have been replicated in Palm Desert to create diverse natural habitats for the 450 animal species that live here. Perched on their hind legs, meerkats welcome visitors to the zoo, who can learn about desert conservation while while feeding giraffes, watching bighorn sheep climb the craggy mountainside, and even taking a ride on a camel’s back! Every ticket supports the Living Desert’s mission to conserve and protect the native species of the Coachella Valley so that the beauty of this desert can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Beat the blazing heat by gaining elevation on the Aerial Tramway, take in the brilliant cactus blooms at Moorten’s, and feed some leafy greens to a giraffe at The Living Desert. From the sandy desert floor to the crisp mountaintop, there is something spectacular about springtime in Palm Springs!