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Palm Springs is a mid-size city in the Coachella Valley of California known for its desert hot springs, golf courses, mid-century modern architecture, vintage boutiques, and the San Jacinto Mountains. Located in Southern California, Palm Springs is only forty miles from the famous Joshua Tree National Park desert landscape, making it a popular travel destination for adventure seekers! In addition, there is so much history and culture in the greater Palm Springs area, as it’s the home of the ancient Native American Cahuilla tribes, so many visitors come to learn the area’s history.
There are many ways to experience the greater Palm Springs area, whether you want to participate in one of the fantastic walking tours, group bus tours, bike tours, or one of the numerous adventure tours. More specifically, there are full-day tours to experience the Palm Desert, the natural beauty of Joshua Tree National Park, bike tours that take you down Palm Canyon Drive, and bus tours to the former house of Frank Sinatra.
Whether you’re hoping to learn more about the history of Palm Springs, enjoy modern architecture, eat dates at a date farm, go rock climbing, or meditate in a cave, we’ve got you covered. Some tours are in the heart of Palm Springs, some are in the Palm Springs Desert, and others are just outside the city limits.
Keep reading for our recommendations of the best greater Palm Springs area tours!
- Best Tours in Palm Springs, California
- 1. Family Rock Climbing Trip in Joshua Tree
- 2. Modern & More Bike Tours Palm Springs
- 3. Joshua Tree National Park Driving Tour
- 4. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
- 5. Palm Springs Oasis Hike
- 6. Stargazing and UFO Tours
- 7. Palm Springs Indian Canyons Bike and Hike
- 8. Palm Springs: Legends and Icons Tour
- 9. Half-Day Guided Hike in Joshua Tree National Park
- 10. Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bicycle Adventure
- 11. Desert Nature Walk + Soundbath & Meditation in a Boulder Cave
- 12. Palm Springs: San Andreas Fault Open-Air Jeep Tour
- 13. Mountain Sunrise Hike and Meditation in Palm Springs
- 14. Indian Canyons Walking Tour by Jeep from Palm Springs
- 15. Palms to Vines Wine Tasting from Palm Springs
Best Tours in Palm Springs, California
Address: Joshua Tree National Park (meeting point will be provided in confirmation email)
On belay! Belay on! If you’re looking for a family-friendly outdoor adventure near Palm Springs, this private rock climbing expedition is for you! The four-hour tour includes all rock climbing equipment, entrance fees, and a certified Rock Climbing Guide and Wilderness First Responder.
Your private guide will teach you and your family the basics of rock climbing and how to wear the equipment safely. The tour company provides equipment for all ages, including pregnant moms and children. Their specialty climbing equipment includes sticky rubber baby shoes, small children’s harnesses, and helmets.
No experience is required; it will be customized to your group’s experience level since it’s a private tour. For example, with almost 10,000 climbing routes, your guide will find a suitable crag (rock face) for your group’s climbing level! Once you’ve learned the basics, you and your guide will head to a couple of crags to get started.
This five-star private family rock climbing tour is one of the best tours in the greater Palm Springs area for adventurous families!
See Related: Best Day Trips From Palm Springs (Ranked!)
Address: 1590 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
If you want to combine your love of history and mid-century architecture with bike riding, this guided bike tour is for you! This morning tour starts at Big Wheel Tours-Palm Springs at 8:30 am, where they have bike rentals if needed (some group members bring their bikes).
This guided tour starts on South Palm Canyon Drive and goes through three south Palm Springs neighborhoods, including Indian Canyons, Twin Palms, and Deepwell Estates. While pedaling at a leisurely pace and enjoying the beautiful weather, your guide will give you a history of this area.
The neighborhood of Deepwell Estates has many mid-century homes built in the 1950s, while Indian Canyons has luxury vacation homes built in the 1960s. Twin Palms Estates is another mid-century neighborhood on the city’s south side. When you visit, it’ll be hard to believe that the entire area was an open desert until the 1950s!
With over 100 five-star reviews (and no negative reviews!), this Palm Springs bike tour will surely be fun for architecture and history lovers!
Address: 74-880 Country Club Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92260
If you have never been to Joshua Tree National Park, let an expert guide take you through the park so that you can enjoy the wildlife, unique beauty, and natural landscape. This four-and-a-half-hour tour begins in Palm Desert, where you’ll hop in the tour operator’s comfortable SUV or van.
The group tour includes admission tickets, travel, water, and expert commentary. The first stop is at Keys View, where tour guests can see the view from over 5,000 feet! (It’s an Instagrammable spot for sure!) The tour guide then drives you to Hidden Valley for a short nature walk.
If you want souvenirs or a restroom break, you can stop at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center before heading inside the park. You’ll be inside the park for three hours, and the tour guide will show you the best sights based on your wishes! You can see everything from Joshua trees and abandoned coal mines to the San Andreas Fault and Skull Rock.
This Joshua Tree driving tour is easily one of the best Palm Springs tours, as you get to enjoy all of the scenery, wildlife, and landscape at the national park while led by an expert! Not only that, but it’s good for avoiding crowds, especially if you go early in the morning.
However, if you’re looking for a more adventurous and fun way to see the park, you should consider the Joshua Tree National Park Offroad Tour operated by the same provider. This rugged, offroad tour shows you different parts of the park that normal tours can’t get to!
With the proximity to Palm Springs and Palm Desert, this national park is a MUST-SEE if you’re in the greater Palm Springs area! And, with both a standard and adventure tour, there’s something for everyone!
Address: 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262
One of the most effortless and fun ways to see the beauty of Palm Springs and the Palm Desert is to ride the Aerial Tramway, which climbs to an elevation of almost 9,000 feet! Starting in Palm Springs, the Tramway goes from the floor of the Sonoran Desert close to the San Jacinto summit!
This ticket isn’t a guided tour but an opportunity to view the Ponderosa Pines, Chino Canyon, the mountains, and the desert from above the treeline. You can get off the Tramway at Mountain Station to enjoy the observation deck, eat at the restaurant, or drink at the cocktail lounge.
You can watch a 20-minute film on the Tramway when you get to the top. In the winter, a ride on the Tramway gives you access to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails in Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area. There are almost 60 miles of trails to explore!
A trip on the Aerial Tramway is easily one of the best tours in Palm Springs! Not only is it easily accessible, but you have access to all of the scenic views without having to hike, bike, or walk!
Address: 4791 E Palm Canyon Drive Ste 200, Palm Springs, CA 92264
If you want a moderate hiking tour to experience views of Joshua Tree National Park, the mountains, and Mt. San Gorgonio, this is it! This guided hike is best for moderately fit individuals, as the trail is roughly 5.5 miles long with an elevation gain/loss of about 1,000 feet.
If you’re up for the adventure, this highly-rated Palm Springs tour will take you on a three-and-a-half-hour hike with views of the desert landscape, the mountains, and the city. You’ll also see a hidden palm tree oasis – the cherry on top!
Your expert guide will teach you about the culture of Palm Springs and its nature, including the medicinal plants used by the Cahuilla people. You’ll capture the best photos from the top of Hope Overlook, where you’ll see the unique Bob Hope house.
This greater Palm Springs area tour is excellent any time of year, but it’s incredibly fascinating in the winter when the bighorn sheep give birth in the desert. So, during the winter, many tour-goers see some of these newly born lambs and their moms.
For this tour, you can expect bottled water, snacks, and a backpack (if needed) to be provided. Just don’t forget to wear your good hiking shoes for the rugged and rocky trails!
See Related: National Parks to Visit in November
Address: West Entrance Station, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
To see the wide open skies with stars aplenty, you’ll need to travel out of the city to Joshua Tree. If you want to be in awe of the night sky with state-of-the-art night vision binoculars, this small-group stargazing tour is for you! Although the viewing location is about an hour and a half from Palm Springs, you won’t regret the long drive for a minute.
With the high-powered binoculars, you’ll be able to see things hidden from the naked eye, such as planets, stars, and other phenomena. Your guide will tell you about the science of the stars while you’re enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This small-group tour allows you to ask questions and get answers. You’ll be able to see the sky as the Native Americans did thousands of years ago before light pollution. The tour company uses Gen 3 AN/PVS-7 night vision goggles for the best viewing.
This accessible stargazing tour is among the most highly-rated tours in the greater Palm Springs area!
Address: 1590 S Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264
This Palm Springs tour is a combination of walking and biking mixed with history and wildlife! It’s the perfect tour for those who want a little bit of everything squeezed into half a day.
Starting in downtown Palm Springs, you’ll ride on a 10-mile loop to Indian Canyons, then take a short nature walk in the canyon. This nature walk goes along a running stream and among beautiful palm trees. Not only is it a beautiful and serene place to explore, but as the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, it gives tour-goers an insight into the area’s indigenous past.
On your way back to the meeting point, you’ll see more Palm Springs neighborhoods and stop at a boutique ice cream shop for a treat. This half-day tour of Indian Canyons includes a knowledgeable tour guide, park entrance fees, bike rental (with helmet), and snacks.
See Related: Best Palm Springs Restaurants You Can’t Miss
Address: 275 S Indian Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262
Ride in style in a Mercedes van to see the homes of the Palm Springs rich and famous! This guided tour perfectly mixes history and celebrity gossip with possible sightings of current celebrities!
This Palm Springs tour includes more than 50 homes, some of which are from Hollywood’s golden years. For example, you’ll see where Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Bob Hope lived during their fame. (And if you are too young to know who they are, it’s okay – there are also more current celebrity homes on this tour!)
As for the history of Palm Springs, your knowledgeable guide will tell you about the Cahuilla Indians who occupied the area three thousand years before it became Palm Springs. You’ll also learn about many local landmarks, from the Plaza Theater to the Art and Air Museum and the Indian Canyons.
This highly-rated bus tour is one of the best for sightseeing, especially if you’re a Hollywood celebrity fan or want to know more about local history. It’s one of the best Palm Springs tours!
Address: Joshua Tree National Park (you and your guide choose the best meeting point)
This half-day hiking tour is customized to your group’s needs, whether you’re interested in a leisurely stroll or a more strenuous hike. Either way, you will see the magic of the Mojave Desert in the park’s history, geology, flora, and fauna.
The naturalist will guide you along the wondrous national park, focusing on your group’s objectives. This private tour is for all skill levels, from novice to expert, and the guide will customize the route accordingly. Regardless, you will be able to take in the beauty of this park while learning about its history.
This five-star tour is one of the best ways to explore Joshua Tree, whether traveling with kids or a group of adults. This is one of the best private tours in the Palm Springs area, with a naturalist guide leading the way! So, if you’re open to exploring the greater Palm Springs area, this is one tour to put on your list!
Address: 74-880 Country Club Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92260
If you’re looking for a beautiful and unique way to experience the San Andreas Fault, this guided bike tour is for you! Don’t worry, though, as it’s almost 100% downhill, except for a few flat sections! And it’s a gentle decline along the San Andreas Fault, so it’s for all ages, as long as they can ride a bike!
This guided tour starting in Palm Desert is one of the most popular ways to view the desert landscape and learn about the history and ecology of the area. The paved path makes it an easy way to enjoy the scenery of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. You’ll also pass by the Salton Sea, which provides magnificent views.
At the end of the ride, you get to stop at a date farm and try a date shake. Before you say, “no thanks,” most of the five-star tour reviews mention the deliciousness of the dates!
This fantastic bike tour includes transportation to Earthquake Canyon, a professional guide, bike and helmet rental, and water. This is easily one of the most popular greater Palm Springs area tours!
See Related: Best Places to Travel in Your 20s in the US
Address: Joshua Tree National Park (meeting point will be provided in confirmation email)
If you’re looking for one of the most unforgettable Palm Desert experiences, you must put this tour on your Palm Springs itinerary! This guided tour takes you through Joshua Tree National Park for a short hike in a hidden alcove, a guided meditation, and a sound bath surrounded by nature.
If you’re seeking balance and a connection to nature, this tour is what you need. The tour begins with a nature walk led by a local guide through the ancient growth trees, towering boulders, and local fauna. You may also see petroglyphs from the Cahuilla Indian tribes that lived in the area thousands of years ago.
Once you get to the boulder cave, you will meditate with a certified sound healer, who will help you settle into the space and relax. After meditating, you can explore nearby hiking trails, jump in the cold plunge pool, or watch the sunset. You can also arrange in advance for overnight accommodations.
Address: 38635 Monroe St, Indio, CA 92203
If you’re looking for one of the best tours in the greater Palm Springs area, look no further than this 4×4 tour of the San Andreas Fault! This Jeep tour is one of the most fun and adventurous tours in the area, where the guide takes you on an adventure of a lifetime!
You’ll get to explore an active earthquake zone on private property only accessible for this tour, so it’s a truly unique experience. In addition, the open-air Jeep gives you both visual and physical access to the Metate Ranch Reserve along the fault line’s unique geography.
You can walk along the canyons at specific points during the tour and view the immense stone corridors. You’ll also see a natural oasis and learn how the plants and animals live in the arid desert.
You will learn about the greater Palm Springs area geology and the history and culture of the Cahuilla Indians, who lived there thousands of years earlier. They used many plants in the Palm Desert for medicine, shelter, tools, and weapons, which you’ll learn about on this tour.
This open-air Jeep tour gives you unprecedented access to the San Andreas Fault zone, including admission fees, water, a granola bar, and an excellent guide. You won’t regret booking this highly-rated greater Palm Springs area tour!
Address: S Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264
There isn’t anything quite as beautiful as watching the sunrise from the mountains, and this is your opportunity to experience it in the San Jacinto Mountains! This Palm Springs tour meets at the South Lykken Trailhead, where you’ll walk roughly a mile to the group meditation spot. Although it’s only a mile, there is a grade of 25-35% and a 750-foot elevation, so it is moderately challenging.
This sunrise hike from Palm Springs offers stunning views of Coachella Valley, with the sun rising over Indian Canyons. In addition, the meditation guide will lead you through a meditation with a connection to nature and the environment.
This five-star tour is perfect for those who want to experience guided meditation in one of the most beautiful spots as you watch the sunrise over the mountains. No previous experience or knowledge of meditation or chakras is needed, as your guide will teach you all you need to know to be connected to nature. Easily one of the best tours in the greater Palm Springs area!
See Related: Best Hikes in the World
Address: 100 S Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
If you’re looking for one of the best walking tours in Palm Springs, you’ll want to put this Jeep and walking tour on your itinerary! It’s one of the best walking tours in Palm Springs, with gorgeous views of Indian Canyons.
This small group tour begins with a Jeep ride into the rocky canyons while you learn about the history of the ancient Cahuilla Indian tribes. Then you will take a short hike along a stream to see the remnants of these old Native American settlements. You’ll also see a seasonal spring and a desert oasis and visit a tribal trading post.
This three-hour tour is perfect for people who want a mix of history, culture, ecology, and breathtaking views! Plus, it’s a good combination of walking and riding comfortably in the Jeep, so you don’t have to be in tip-top shape to book this eco-tour.
Not only will you see stunning scenery, including desert flora and fauna, spectacular rock formations, and a natural palm oasis, but you can also purchase souvenirs at the small trading post.
Also, this small-group tour has a maximum of seven people, so you’ll be able to ask questions and receive more personalized attention. This is one of the best Palm Springs tours for people who want a history of the ancient Native American Cahuilla tribe, views of the canyons, and plant and animal life in the desert wilderness.
Address: Hotel pick-up and drop-off included
If you’re looking for a wine-tasting trip to Temecula but don’t want to drive, this full-day private tour is perfect! You can ride in a fun H1 Hummer with your group to three wineries in the area. While you head to your first stop, you’ll see the dramatic terrain, with seemingly endless vines of Syrah and Tempranillo.
While in Temecula, you’ll enjoy sampling up to 18 wines, from an almond-infused bubbly to the classic white and reds. The tour also includes a relaxed lunch at one of the vineyards.
Everything is included in this tour, from the transportation to the wine tastings and vineyard lunch. In addition, this tour will pick you up at your Palm Springs hotel, so you don’t have to drive anywhere.
This full-day tour allows you to experience Southern California‘s vineyards, palm trees, and mountains. It’s one of the best tours in Palm Springs for groups looking to get out of the city for fun!
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.