Posted on 19 Mar
From otherworldly national parks to awe-inspiring natural wonders, Palm Springs is just a short drive away from some of the country’s most breathtaking destinations. Below is our pick of five incredible places to spend the day near Palm Springs.
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK - With its comfortably warm days and mild nights, spring is one of the best times of year to visit Joshua Tree National Park. Just under an hour from Palm Springs and among the most magical natural wonders in California, the park’s rugged rock formations, mythical Joshua Trees and scenic hiking trails draw over 2.5 million climbers and outdoor enthusiasts annually. Pack a picnic and spend the day exploring the sights, and if you’ve got the time, be sure to checkout nearby Pappy & Harriet’s for some delicious bbq and live music (Sir Paul McCartney recently graced its modest stage), the new-agey Integratron, or the delightfully eccentric Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum.
ANTELOPE VALLEY CALIFORNIA POPPY RESERVE - There’s a reason the poppy is California’s official state flower. The delicate gold bud rears its head almost anywhere the sun shines, but perhaps nowhere is there a more radiant display than Antelope Valley California Poppy State Reserve. Located just west of Lancaster, the reserve features eight miles of trails and draws thousands of wildflower—and Instagram—enthusiasts each year, eager to catch a glimpse of the electric orange canopy. The wildflower viewing season typically lasts from mid-March through April, with a variety of blooms springing throughout the season.
ANZA BORREGO STATE PARK - California’s largest state park is probably best known for its stunning spring wildflower display in March and April—making it a worthy day trip alone—but it’s also host to canyons, caves and hundreds of miles of hiking trails that will inspire countless returns all year-round. One of our favorites is Borrego Palm Canyon, a scenic canyon hike that leads to a lush palm oasis—and may even include a few desert bighorn sheep sightings along the way.
JULIAN - If you like apple pie (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t like apple pie???) you’ll love Julian. The historic mountain town, nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains approximately two hours from Palm Springs, was established during the California gold rush. Its charming Main Street is lined with specialty shops, local wineries, old gold mines, and of course, plenty of award-winning apple pie made fresh from nearby apple orchards.
THE SALTON SEA - A “sea” in the middle of an arid desert may seem like an impossibility, but the Salton is not a mirage. Just east of Greater Palm Springs, the area features 115 miles of shoreline where you can spot thousands of birds, gurgling Mud Volcanoes and, toward the East Shore, the wonderfully bizarre folk art creation Salvation Mountain.