Attractions Nearby Palm Springs, Day Trips and Excursions

(Palm Springs, California - CA, USA)

California is America's most westerly state and is edged by Nevada to the east and Oregon to the north. Many Californian attractions are reachable from Palm Springs, especially for those with their own set of wheels.

If you have time for a day trip from Palm Springs, love nature and enjoy scenic natural attractions, then do consider an excursion to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, the Death Valley National Park, the Mojave Desert National Preserve or to the San Bernardino National Forest. If you are holidaying in Palm Springs and looking for more family orientated attractions in this part of California, then Anaheim's Disneyland theme park is especially enticing, as is SeaWorld at San Diego and the glorious beaches of Oceanside.


An exciting city in Orange County, some 90 miles / 145 km to the west of Palm Springs, day trips to Anaheim are incredibly popular thanks to its number one attraction - Disneyland. The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim opened in the mid-fifties and features a myriad of fast rides, themed lands, and non-stop parades of cartoon characters - brought to life. Also in Anaheim is the Disneyland California Adventure, Knott's Soak City USA Water Park, the striking Crystal Cathedral, and a fun Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park

The Anza Borrego Desert State Park is a simply vast area and is actually amongst the biggest in the whole of the US, outside of Alaska. A car will be necessary to travel to the main attractions within the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, such as Blair Valley, Borrego Springs and Split Mountain, each of which has something special to offer visitors.
Open hours: daily - dawn to dusk, visitor center: November to April, daily - 09:00 to 17:00; May to October, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge for vehicles, varies with peak or of-peak season

Death Valley National Park

The Death Valley National Park is very worthy of consideration, since its rugged mixture of sand dunes, arid canyons, characterful ghost towns and lush oases is surprisingly appealing. The US record for the hottest temperature ever recorded was in the Death Valley National Park, when in 1913 a thermometer measured a staggering 56°C / 134°F. Driving tours of the park can generally be fitted into a single day if you here at the beginning of the day, and so those venturing from Palm Springs often choose to stay over the night before to catch the early morning sunrise at Dante's View or Zabriskie Point. Other park attractions include Artists Drive, Badwater, Furnace Creek, Scotty's Castle, the Stovepipe Wells and the Ubehebe Crater.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge, applicable to vehicles or individuals, unlimited entry for seven days


An appealing mountain resort just under an hour's drive from Palm Springs, Idyllwild lies next to the Fern Valley and Pine Cove. If you have the time, you can reach Idyllwild by taking a 10-mile / 16-km hike, starting at the top of the Palm Springs Tramway. There is an impressive network of hiking trails and rock climbing opportunities throughout the Sac Jacinto mountains and forests, with the most impressive mountain peaks around Idyllwild being the San Jacinto Peak and the Tahquitz Peak.


The city of Irvine is especially modern, with much of it having either recently been built or refurbished. Established as recently as the 1960s, Irvine is home to the University of California, the Irvine Historical Museum, the William R. Mason Regional Park and a series of theme parks, such as the Wild Rivers Waterpark, the Great Park and Boomers! Irvine is just under 100 miles / 161 km to the west of Palm Springs and can be reached in under two hours by car.

Mojave Desert

The sprawling Mojave Desert (pronounced 'mo-ha-vee') stretches between the northerly border of LA County and to the edge of Nevada. On the eastern side of the desert, the Mojave National Preserve is famed for its stunning rock formations and mature Joshua trees. Attractions worth looking out for here include the Cima Dome, the Cinder Cones National Natural Landmark, the Kelso Dunes and the Mitchell Caverns.


A sizable city on the Pacific shoreline of the northerly San Diego County, Oceanside is brimming with seaside attractions and sandy beaches, and is situated 108 miles / 174 km to the southwest of Palm Springs. The Oceanside Pier is an especially noteworthy coastal landmark and is actually the longest wooden pier on the western side of the USA, dating back to the late 19th century and measuring just under 600 metres / 1,970 feet in length. Further leading attractions at Oceanside include the California Surf Museum, the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia and various surfing contests off the Oceanside Harbor Beach.

Santa Ana

The most densely populated city in California's Orange County, Santa Ana is to be found 93 miles / 150 km to the west of Palm Springs and is just about close enough to make a day trip possible. Central Santa Ana is where the most noteworthy tourist attractions reside, with its Historic Downtown District now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and full of impressive architecture, such as the City Hall, the Civic Centre, the Old Orange County Courthouse and the Ronald Reagan Federal Building. Santa Ana Zoo is a firm family favorite and sees annual visitor numbers approaching 300,000.

San Bernardino National Forest

Particularly close to Palm Springs and to the southwest is the San Bernardino National Forest, where many imposing mountains and elevated viewing points await. The San Bernardino National Forest contains five main areas of wilderness, named Bighorn Mountain, Cucamonga, San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and Santa Rosa. Cascading more than 120 meters / 400 feet, the Bonita Falls are one of the most impressive of all the waterfalls within the park and much photographed. Interestingly for movie buffs, much of the 1969 Clint Eastwood classic 'Paint Your Wagon' was filmed here.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

San Diego

As soon as you arrive in San Diego, it really is very easy to fall in love with this enchanting city. Located approximately 130 miles / 209 km to the southwest of Palm Springs, San Diego boasts one of the planet's great natural harbors, a truly vibrant downtown district, a simply enormous urban park and top attractions, such as Mission Beach, SeaWorld, Knott's Soak City USA, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego Zoo, and the Old Town State Historic Park, where a collection of reconstructed 19th-century buildings stand.